Law and Legal
Internet Archive Blogs – “Imagine if your favorite song or nostalgic recording from childhood was lost forever. This could be the fate of hundreds of thousands of audio files stored on vinyl, except that the Internet Archive is now expanding its digitization project to include LPs. Earlier this year, the Internet Archive began working with the Boston Public Library (BPL) to digitize more than 100,000 audio recordings from their sound collection. The recordings exist in a variety of historical formats, including wax cylinders, 78 rpms, and LPs. They span musical genres including classical, pop, rock, and jazz, and contain obscure recordings like this album of music for baton twirlers, and this record of radio’s all-time greatest bloopers. Unfortunately, many of these audio files were never translated into digital formats and are therefore locked in their physical recording. In order to prevent them from disappearing forever when the vinyl is broken, warped, or lost, the Internet Archive is digitizing these at-risk recordings so that they will remain accessible for future listeners…” [This work is made possible by the Music Modernization Act]
ALA’s Report to Congress on Libraries and the Ebook Industry: A Primer George H. Pike – InfoToday – “ALA recently made a case to Congress that the ebook publishing industry has been engaging in anticompetitive behavior at the expense of libraries and library patrons. Congress has been involved in an ongoing series of hearings and work sessions exploring competition issues in various digital marketplaces and reached out to ALA for its views on competition issues involving ebooks, academic journals, textbooks, and other digital library resources. The ALA report, issued on Oct. 15, criticizes a wide range of “unfair behavior by digital market actors” and emphasizes the need for updated “public policies” that more effectively address the digital environment. If changes do not come, ALA warns, “America’s competitiveness and our cultural heritage as a nation are at risk.”…
The New York Times – Charles Finch: “…Until the 2010s, if you were reading, it generally meant you weren’t doing it online. Though change had been in the offing, this was the decade that irreversibly altered how we consume text — when the smartphone transformed from a marvel to a staple…It would seem as if few times in history could be less hospitable to literature. Not even 20 years ago we mostly read about things in lag, on thin slices of tree, whereas now we do — well, this, whatever this is. Yet instead of technology superannuating literature once and for all, it seems to have created a new space in our minds for it…”
Mark Leibovich – The New York Times: They Toil Gladly Offstage. Impeachment Lands Them in the Spotlight. “They are, in a sense, the permanent, beating, bipartisan heart of the government of the United States. They are deeply credentialed, polyglot, workaholic and respectful before Congress. They are graduates of Harvard and West Point, and veterans of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. They take meticulous notes, are on key phone calls and give “readouts.” Of the dozen witnesses who have testified in the House impeachment inquiry, 10 are career professionals — members of the “deep state” that President Trump derides — who normally toil far from television. But over the past two weeks of hearings, they have been enduring, if not enjoying, rare turns in the spotlight on Capitol Hill, at times in defiance of the White House. They have put faces on a Washington bureaucracy often dismissed and disparaged. Their stories are compellingly human, uniquely American, often immigrant…”
See also The New Yorker: The Extraordinary Impeachment Testimony of Fiona Hill. “…Hill, who appeared at the Longworth House Office Building, on Thursday morning, didn’t appear to be nervous at all, and why should she have been? At Harvard, she earned a Ph.D. in Russian history. In 2002, she became an American citizen. For many years, she has been a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, in Washington. From 2006 to 2009, she served as the senior expert on Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council, an internal think tank for U.S. intelligence agencies. In 2013, she and Clifford G. Gaddy, an economist at Brookings, published “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin,” which a reviewer at Foreign Affairs described as the single book about Putin that is most useful to policymakers. In 2017, Hill was named the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, where she served as a deputy to H. R. McMaster and John Bolton…”
“The Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey 2019 represents the input from more than 6,000 U.S. office workers across a variety of industries and demographics to provide new insight into not only what makes an effective workplace, but the investments companies can make to improve employees’ workplace experience and performance.
- Overview »
- Introduction to the U.S. Workplace Survey 2019 »
- 14% of Corporate Workers Use Coworking Spaces Regularly »
- People Are Asking for More Private Space at Work »
- Which Workplace Amenities Perform Best? »
- What Makes a Great Workplace Experience? »
- The Open Office Isn’t Dead »…What matters is that design aligns with employees’ needs.
Robocall Scams Exist Because They Work—One Woman’s Story Shows How (Wall Street Journal) – “The FBI agent sounded official on the phone. He gave Nina Belis his badge number and a story about how her identity had been compromised. She gave him her life’s savings. For most Americans, robocalls are an annoyance. For Ms. Belis, an oncology nurse in her 60s, a law-enforcement impersonation scam that appeared to have started with a robocall drew her into financial losses that sapped her family’s nest egg and derailed her retirement. The scale of her loss—nearly $340,000—and the ease with which the money was moved out of her accounts show why scam calls persist. They work, even on people who think they would never fall for one. The caller preyed on what psychologists describe as a habitual reliance on people in authority, and kept Ms. Belis in a state of isolation and heightened emotion to cloud her judgment. He told Ms. Belis her Social Security number had been stolen and that crimes had been committed under her name, and persuaded her to transfer assets to accounts he controlled on the pretext of protecting the funds. He coached the New York-area resident on how to satisfy compliance questions at financial institutions as she moved the funds and kept her on the phone for hours at a time. In the first nine months of the year, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 139,000 reports of fraud in which people claimed to be from the Social Security Administration, with losses totaling nearly $30 million…”
Truth on the Market – “…People who analogize data to oil or gold may merely be trying to convey that data is as valuable in the 21st century as those commodities were in the 20th century (though, as argued, a dubious proposition). If the comparison stopped there, it would be relatively harmless. But there is a real risk that policymakers might take the analogy literally and regulate data in the same way they regulate commodities…A better—though imperfect—analogy, as author Bernard Marr suggests, would be renewable energy. The sources of renewable energy are all around us—solar, wind, hydroelectric—and there is more available than we could ever use. We just need the right incentives and technology to capture it. The same is true for data. We leave our digital fingerprints everywhere—we just need to dust for them…”
NISAR Science Users’ Handbook – “The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), or NISAR mission is a multi-disciplinary radar mission to make integrated measurements to understand the causes and consequences of land surface changes. NISAR will make global measurements of the causes and consequences of land surface changes for integration into Earth system models. NISAR provides a means of disentangling and clarifying spatially and temporally complex phenomena, ranging from ecosystem disturbances, to ice sheet collapse and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides. The purpose of this handbook is to prepare scientists and algorithm developers for NISAR by providing a basic description of the mission and its data characteristics that will allow them to take full advantage of this comprehensive data set when it becomes available…”
Opinion – By Sherrod Brown, Ohio’s senior US senator and Liz Schuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO: “The Workers’ Right to Training Act allows employees to evolve as their employers adopt new tech. When the global economy shifted in the late 19th century, working people were the first to adapt. They moved to cities like Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo, Ohio, and worked long hours in unsafe factories. They drove the Industrial Revolution and changed the nature of work forever. When it became clear that employers were exploiting their productivity, the labor movement formed to protest abuses like sweatshops, child labor, and poverty wages. Every day, new technology and workplace innovation is changing how we live, work, and relate to each other. The potential benefits are undeniable—higher productivity, an increased standard of living, and a cleaner, healthier world. Too often, though, when companies decide to adopt new technology, workers are left out of the conversation…”
The Guardian UK: “Half the world’s donkey population could be wiped out in the next five years, as millions are slaughtered for their hides to meet rising demand for a traditional Chinese medicine. It is estimated that 4.8m donkey hides a year are needed to satisfy demand for a gelatin-based traditional medicine called ejiao, according to a new report from the Donkey Sanctuary. At the current pace, the global donkey population of 44m would be halved over the next five years, the report warns. Donkey populations in Brazil have declined by 28% since 2007, by 37% in Botswana and by 53% in Kyrgyzstan, and there are fears the populations in Kenya and Ghana could also be decimated by the skin trade. The report reveals how donkeys – many stolen from communities who rely on the animals for their livelihoods – are transported on long journeys without access to food or water, with up to 20% dying on route. Demand is so high that even pregnant mares, young foals, and sick and injured donkeys are being rounded up for slaughter, and since injury and illness often do not affect the quality of the hide, traders have little incentive to ensure humane treatment, the report said…”
Be Smart. Shop Safe. “How creepy is that smart speaker, that fitness tracker, those wireless headphones? We created this guide to help you shop for safe, secure connected products…”
The New York Times – “The company says it is increasing the recording of rides to settle disputes between drivers and passengers and to improve safety…Uber began the video recording program in Texas in July, and is conducting smaller tests of the program in Florida and Tennessee. In November, it announced a similar effort in Brazil and Mexico to allow riders and drivers to record audio during a trip. The audio recording feature, first reported by Reuters, is managed by Uber, and begins a recording if either the rider or driver requests it. At the end of the trip, the rider or driver has the option to send the recording to Uber for review, but cannot save it themselves, a safeguard Uber built to prevent riders and drivers from recording each other and posting the clips online, the company said. Uber’s video recording feature is a partnership with Nauto, a technology company that uses artificial intelligence to analyze video from vehicles…”
The New York Times – Opinion: “Manufacturers can prevent the Department of Defense from repairing certain equipment, which puts members of the military at risk…In the United States, conversations about right-to-repair issues are increasing, especially at federal agencies and within certain industries. In July, the Federal Trade Commission hosted a workshop to address “the issues that arise when a manufacturer restricts or makes it impossible for a consumer or an independent repair shop to make product repairs…”
AdAge: “Twitter said it will start letting all users hide replies to the tweets they send in an effort to improve the health of discussions and interactions on the service. The company has been testing the feature since summer in different markets, including the U.S. and Japan, but it is now rolling it out globally. The tool lets users hide specific comments made on their posts, meaning those comments won’t be visible to other users unless they click a button to reveal them. The change provides a degree of control that could be used to keep spammers away or to hide hateful or inappropriate replies…”
EFF: “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a forceful opinion today holding that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being forced to disclose the passcode to their devices to the police. In a 4-3 decision in Commonwealth v. Davis, the court found that disclosing a password is “testimony” protected by the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.
EFF filed an amicus brief in Davis, and we were gratified that the court’s opinion closely parallels our arguments. The Fifth Amendment privilege prohibits the government from coercing a confession or forcing a suspect to lead police to incriminating evidence. We argue that unlocking and decrypting a smartphone or computer is the modern equivalent of these forms of self-incrimination…”
Law.com: “DLA Piper outdid its competitors in digital marketing in 2019, according to a new report, while law firms in general are using Facebook far less and using LinkedIn, Instagram and paid social marketing more. Firms are also measuring the impact of their social marketing efforts more closely, the report found. Consultancy Good2bSocial has released the annual report card, the Social Law Firm Index, since 2013, though this year it includes more firms than ever. The group measures law firms’ social media reach, engagement, and marketing performance on their own websites and on public social media platforms. The latest rankings, released Tuesday, place DLA Piper at No. 1, followed by White & Case, Norton Rose Fulbright, Baker McKenzie and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Norton Rose Fullbright, which topped the overall rankings last year, came in first in 2019 when it came to “thought leadership,” while Baker McKenzie led the pack in SEO optimization…”
“The vast digitized collections of the University of Texas Libraries are now becoming available through a new web portal. A new access point on the Libraries’ website – the Collections portal – allows users to undertake remote research and study utilizing rich resources that have previously only been available in person or through more time-intensive on-demand processes. Students, faculty, researchers and the broader public will have access to collections that have not been directly available in the past, and the project’s infrastructure work will create a framework for a more consistent stream of new digital content in the future. Each item in the portal also contains contextual data so that users may learn underlying information about the material, locate physical counterparts and determine reuse rights for digital files. At launch, the portal highlights two of the Libraries’ most notable collections: the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection and the Alexander Architectural Archives. The portal contains various materials like scanned photographs, manuscripts, books, broadsides, architectural drawings and maps. Further content is constantly being added, including digitized maps from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection and material for scholarly research from the Libraries’ Global Studies Collections. All content in the portal is being indexed by search engines, significantly improving searchability and discoverability…”
Reuters: “An obsessive compulsive dog who was abandoned as a puppy has a new mission: helping find and save koalas injured in Australia’s recent devastating bushfires. Bear, a Cattle Dog cross-breed, is trained to find both koalas and quolls, another small Australian marsupial, in the wild. “This is the first year that we have been involved in the fires,” Romane Cristescu, his minder and ecologist at The University of the Sunshine Coast, told Reuters. “It is a bit more dangerous than what we usually do.” Bear, who usually looks for sick or injured wildlife for conservation and research purposes in calmer conditions, has been wearing protective socks on his paws to search through areas scorched by fire.
Bushfires have ravaged around 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of farmland and bush across Australia’s east coast in recent weeks, killing four people and destroying hundreds of homes. The country’s koala populations have also been a major victim of the flames, with more than 350 of the marsupials feared killed in a major habitat…”
SearchHRSoftware – The political polarization in the nation is also causing problems in the workplace. Political discussions are more common, and it may impact hiring choices. “Employees are discussing national politics in the workplace now more than ever. This is making some employees uncomfortable, if not irritated. But political leanings may become more than just an office irritation. Managers tend to hire people of similar ideology, and doing so could create a hiring bias. In recruiting, some employers try to reduce hiring bias by anonymizing demographic-related information. This may involve automated removal of candidate photos and names to help recruiters focus on qualifications, not on gender, race or other characteristics that may bias the recruiter. But political leanings aren’t as easy to hide on a resume. Hiring managers can find clues in volunteer work or veteran status, as well as social media posts. There are employment discrimination protections for gender, race, religion and other characteristics. But political affiliations are not a protected class under the law. Two new surveys of workplace attitudes on politics point to what some believe is a problem…”
Google Blog: “With creation tools in Google Earth, you can draw your own placemarks, lines and shapes, then attach your own custom text, images, and videos to these locations. You can organize your story into a narrative and collaborate with others. And when you’ve finished your story, you can share it with others. By clicking the new “Present” button, your audience will be able to fly from place to place in your custom-made Google Earth narrative. See what people are making with the new creation tools…”