Law and Legal
Articles for April – May 2019
- Casetext’s New ‘SmartCite’ Citator Is Its Clever Answer to Shepard’s and KeyCite
- Terms, Tags, and Classification
- Whither Law Student Information Literacy?
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues May 26, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Finland is winning the war on fake news. Other nations want the blueprint; Ari Mahairas and Peter Beshar on AI and 5G security risks; Age of fraud: Are seniors more vulnerable to financial scams?; Concern Growing Over ‘Nefarious’ Website Offering Individuals’ Personal Information, Reputation Rating.
- Moving to a Paperless Law Firm: 3 Tips for Working With PDFs
- Online Research Browsers 2019
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues May 19, 2019 Four highlights from this week: WhatsApp fixes bug that allowed hackers to hijack smartphones; Reclaim Your Privacy with These Privacy-Focused Alternatives to Google’s Services; How facial recognition is changing life as we know it – for better or worse; and Crippling ransomware attacks targeting US cities on the rise.
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cybersecurity issues, May 11, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: The Challenges of Implanted Cardiac Device Security; Scammers Exploit Home Rental Listings With ‘Let Yourself In’ Link; New Rules On E-Evidence Could Streamline Criminal Investigations in the EU; and a Parental Advisory: Dating Apps
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues May 5, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Google to roll out auto-delete controls for location history and activity data; Rights groups challenge warrantless cellphone searches at U.S. border; U.S. cyber spies unmasked many more American identities in 2018; and Spies, Lies, and Algorithms.
- Manage Information Overload Resources 2019
- Is it a “Good” Case? Can You Rely on BCite, KeyCite, and Shepard’s to Tell You?
- Move to a paperless law firm with these scanning tools
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues April 28, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: ‘They think they are above the law’: the firms that own America’s voting system; Why You Should Use a Password Manager; Cyberspies Hijacked the Internet Domains of Entire Countries; and Huawei: Chinese spies or trustworthy 5G industry partner?
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues April 20, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: WikiLeaks set 21st century model for cyber-leak journalism; Your car is watching you. Who owns the data?; Facebook, lose my digits: Here’s how to unlist your phone number; and What e-books at the library mean for your privacy.
- Legal Research: Resources for Reviewing Employment Policies on Harassment
- Opinion – How a national library endowment could help Philadelphia
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues April 13, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Eyes on the Road! (Your Car Is Watching); New privacy assistant Jumbo fixes your Facebook & Twitter settings; UK to introduce world first online safety laws; and The Robocall Crisis Will Never Be Totally Fixed.
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues April 6, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Make Sure You’re Aware Of These Safety Tips When Using Uber And Lyft; Researchers Demonstrate Malware That Can Trick Doctors Into Misdiagnosing Cancer; Silicon Valley is Fighting a New Kind of Identity Fraud; and Popup enlarges at the last second so users click on ads instead of ‘Close’ button.
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JSTOR Text Analyzer provides students with an additional resource for finding scholarly material – Rachel Hermann – “Many first year undergraduates enter university not knowing how to manage their time. They have extra-curricular activities. Or jobs at the local grocery store. And then there are all those assignments—they always seems to be due at once! My students, I’ve found, need help learning how much time to spend researching, writing, and editing their assignments—and help locating the appropriate tools to do so. One of the most rewarding aspects of first year teaching is helping them develop these skills, and I’ve tried to do so especially in teaching my History in Practice class, which focuses on research methods. It’s essentially “how to be a historian” for history majors. In teaching History in Practice, I’ve used JSTOR Text Analyzer, a research tool built by JSTOR Labs, to help students hone their researching and editing abilities. The easiest way to describe Text Analyzer is that it lets you upload files you’ve read or are working on, then uses the data in this file to provide additional reading recommendations…”
Washington Post – “It has become the most natural thing to do: get in the car, type a destination into a smartphone, and let an algorithm using GPS data show the way. Personal GPS-equipped devices entered the mass market in only the past 15 or so years, but hundreds of millions of people now rarely travel without them. These gadgets are extremely powerful, allowing people to know their location at all times, to explore unknown places and to avoid getting lost. But they also affect perception and judgment. When people are told which way to turn, it relieves them of the need to create their own routes and remember them. They pay less attention to their surroundings. And neuroscientists can now see that brain behavior changes when people rely on turn-by-turn directions.
In a study published in Nature Communications in 2017, researchers asked subjects to navigate a virtual simulation of London’s Soho neighborhood and monitored their brain activity, specifically the hippocampus, which is integral to spatial navigation. Those who were guided by directions showed less activity in this part of the brain than participants who navigated without the device. “The hippocampus makes an internal map of the environment and this map becomes active only when you are engaged in navigating and not using GPS,” Amir-Homayoun Javadi, one of the study’s authors, told me. The hippocampus is crucial to many aspects of daily life. It allows us to orient in space and know where we are by creating cognitive maps. It also allows us to recall events from the past, what is known as episodic memory. And, remarkably, it is the part of the brain that neuroscientists believe gives us the ability to imagine ourselves in the future…”
“uBlacklist blocks specific sites from appearing in Google search results. This Chrome extension prevents blacklisted sites from appearing in Google search results. The same function is already provided by Personal Blocklist (by Google). However, sites blocked by Personal Blocklist appear in search results for a moment and then disappear, which annoys me. uBlacklist prevents blacklisted sites from appearing in search results as far as possible. You can add rules on search result pages, or on sites to be blocked by clicking the toolbar icon. Rules can be specified either by match patterns (e.g. *://*.example.com/*) or by regular expressions (e.g. /example\.(net|org)/)…”
Bennardo, Kevin and Chew, Alexa, Citation Stickiness (April 19, 2019). 20 Journal of Appellate Practice & Process, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3375050 – “This Article is an empirical study of what we call citation stickiness. A citation is sticky if it appears in one of the parties’ briefs and then again in the court’s opinion. Imagine that the parties use their briefs to toss citations in the court’s direction. Some of those citations stick and appear in the opinion — these are the sticky citations. Some of those citations don’t stick and are unmentioned by the court — these are the unsticky ones. Finally, some sources were never mentioned by the parties yet appear in the court’s opinion. These authorities are endogenous — they spring from the internal workings of the court itself. In a perfect adversarial world, the percentage of sticky citations in courts’ opinions would be something approaching 100%. The parties would discuss the relevant authorities in their briefs, and the court would rely on the same authorities in its decision-making. Spoiler alert: our adversarial world is imperfect. Endogenous citations abound in judicial opinions and parties’ briefs are brimming with unsticky citations.
So we crunched the numbers. We analyzed 325 cases in the federal courts of appeals. Of the 7552 cases cited in those opinions, more than half were never mentioned in the parties’ briefs. But there’s more — in the Article, you’ll learn how many of the 23,479 cases cited in the parties’ briefs were sticky and how many were unsticky. You’ll see the stickiness data sliced and diced in numerous ways: by circuit, by case topic, by an assortment of characteristics of the authoring judge. Read on!”
Artificial Intelligence and Legal Decision-Making: The Wide Open? Study on the Example of International Arbitration
Scherer, Maxi, Artificial Intelligence and Legal Decision-Making: The Wide Open? Study on the Example of International Arbitration (May 22, 2019). Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 318/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3392669“The paper explores the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in arbitral or judicial decision-making from a holistic point of view, exploring the technical aspects of AI, its practical limitations as well as its methodological and theoretical implications for decision-making as a whole. While this article takes the angle of international arbitration, it looks at examples and studies from a wide variety of legal areas and its conclusions are relevant for judicial decision-making more globally. The author assesses existing studies on decision outcome prediction and concludes that the methodology and assumptions employed put into doubt the claim these models might be used for ex ante outcome predictions. The article also discusses whether AI models, which are typically based on information extracted from previous input data, are likely to follow ‘conservative’ approaches and might not be adapted to deal with important policy changes over time. The paper further finds that a blind deferential attitude towards algorithmic objectivity and infallibility is misplaced and that AI models might perpetuate existing biases. It discusses the need for reasoned decisions which is likely to be an important barrier for AI-based legal decision-making. Finally, looking at existing legal theories on judicial decision-making, the paper concludes that the use of AI and its reliance on probabilistic inferences could constitute a significant paradigm shift. In the view of the author, AI will no doubt fundamentally affect the legal profession, including judicial decision-making, but its implications need to be considered carefully.”
Phys.org: “The levels of stress in dogs correlate with the stress of their owners, according to a new study from Linköping University, Sweden. The scientists believe that dogs mirror their owner’s stress level, rather than vice versa. The study has been published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports. Researchers at Linköping University have examined how stress levels in dogs are influenced by lifestyle factors and by the people that the dogs live with. Previous work has shown that individuals of the same species can mirror each others’ emotional states. There is, for example, a correlation between long-term stress in children and in their mothers. The recently published study arose from scientists speculating whether similar mirroring of stress levels over long time periods can also arise between species, such as between the domesticated dog and humans. The researchers determined stress levels over several months by measuring the concentration of a stress hormone, cortisol, in a few centimeters of hair from the dog and from its owner.
“We found that the levels of long-term cortisol in the dog and its owner were synchronized, such that owners with high cortisol levels have dogs with high cortisol levels, while owners with low cortisol levels have dogs with low levels,” says Ann-Sofie Sundman of the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM) at LiU, principal author of the study and newly promoted doctor of ethology…”
The Times of India – BHILAR (MAHARASHTRA): “A cosy sofa and wicker chairs overlooking a beautiful valley, the quiet of a village, and lush strawberry fields all around — what more could a romantic soul wish for? It’s the setting for a great novel, perhaps even a great travel story. But this isn’t fiction; this is the living room of Bhiku Bhilare of Bhilar village, Maharashtra. But it offers much more than a picture-perfect setting — it also doubles up as a library. Until recently, the village, just a few kilometres from the picturesque hill stations of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani, was known for growing the best strawberries in the country. Now, it is a unique ‘village of books’ with 25 villagers having given up a part of their homes to set up open libraries. The idea was inspired by the Welsh village of Hay-on-Wye, which is informally known as the ‘town of books’, and has scores of second-hand and antiquarian bookstores. But the Maharashtra government has made the concept their own and expanded its scope. Its Marathi language department’s experts meticulously put together a collection of over 30,000 books organised under various genres. These were then distributed among the home libraries, as well as public places like temples and schools. Each home is allotted books pertaining to one genre and identified with street signs and wall paintings…”
CRS Report via LC – Internet of Things (IoT): An Introduction, June 4, 2019 – “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated devices that are connected to a network and/or to each other, exchanging data without necessarily requiring human-to-machine interaction. In other words, IoT is a collection of electronic devices that can share information among themselves. Examples include smart factories, smart home devices, medical monitoring devices,wearable fitness trackers, smart city infrastructures, and vehicular telematics. Potential issues for Congress include regulation, digital privacy, and data security as discussed below.
“According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, two out of every three prosecutions were for the offense of unlawful shipment, transfer, receipt, or possession of a firearm by a felon. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) was the lead investigative agency for 63.5 percent of prosecutions referred. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was second with 13.2 percent, followed by referrals from state and local authorities with 8.9 percent. The Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) ranked first with the most weapons prosecutions filed (403) and a rate relative to its population size of almost seven times the national average. It was also ranked most active (relative to its population) during FY 2018 as well. The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with weapons-related offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained after successful litigation by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act.”
ProPublica – Search the full text of nearly 3 million nonprofit IRS filings, including investments and grants given to other nonprofits. “On June 6, 2019] we launched a new feature for our Nonprofit Explorer database: The ability to search the full text of nearly 3 million electronically filed nonprofit tax filings sent to the IRS since 2011. Nonprofit Explorer already lets researchers, reporters and the general public search for tax information from more than 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, as well as allowing users to search for the names of key employees and directors of organizations. Now, users of our free database can dig deep and search for text that appears anywhere in a nonprofit’s tax records, as long as those records were filed digitally — which according to the IRS covers about two-thirds of nonprofit tax filings in recent years. [h/t Pete Weiss]
How can this be useful to you? For one, this feature lets you find organizations that gave grants to other nonprofits. Any nonprofit that gives grants to another must list those grants on its tax forms — meaning that you can research a nonprofit’s funding by using our search. A search for “ProPublica,” for example, will bring up dozens of foundations that have given us grants to fund our reporting (as well as a few filings that reference Nonprofit Explorer itself)…
“The Audubon Mural Project is a collaboration between the National Audubon Society and Gitler &_____ Gallery to create murals of climate-threatened birds throughout John James Audubon’s old Harlem‐based neighborhood in New York City. The project is inspired by the legacy of the great American bird artist and pioneering ornithologist and is energized by Audubon’s groundbreaking Birds and Climate Change Report, which reveals at least half of all North American birds are threatened by a warming climate. The project commissions artists to paint murals of each of the report’s 314 species, and has been widely covered in the media, including The New York Times…
You can..take a self-guided tour using our printable map. When in New York City, be sure to check out the New-York Historical Society’s Birds of America gallery, which now features the mural project along with John James Audubon’s original watercolors. And if you’re in Chicago, be sure to check out a spin-off project in Rogers Park, featuring 13 climate-threatened birds that use habitats in the Chicago region…”
MIT Technology review – US regulators will investigate whether companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google have too much power. Here’s an introduction to the issues – Four tech juggernauts—Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook—are suddenly the target of new scrutiny by the US government. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Congress have all begun to investigate whether these companies have too much power. Breaking up will be hard to do. It’s going to be a long process and the outcome is far from certain…”
“Data analytics and artificial intelligence are transforming our lives. Be it in health care, in banking and financial services, or in times of humanitarian crises — data determine the way decisions are made. But often, the way data is collected and measured can result in biased and incomplete information, and this can significantly impact outcomes. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton at the SWIFT Institute Conference on the Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the Financial Services Industry, Alexandra Olteanu, a post-doctoral researcher at Microsoft Research, U.S. and Canada, discussed the ethical and people considerations in data collection and artificial intelligence and how we can work towards removing the biases. This interview is part of an editorial collaboration between Knowledge@Wharton and the SWIFT Institute…”
EveryCRSReport – Technological Convergence: Regulatory, Digital Privacy, and Data Security Issues. May 30, 2019: “Technological convergence, in general, refers to the trend or phenomenon where two or more independent technologies integrate and form a new outcome. One example is the smartphone. A smartphone integrated several independent technologies—such as telephone, computer, camera, music player, television (TV), and geolocating and navigation tool—into a single device. The smartphone has become its own, identifiable category of technology, establishing a $350 billion industry.
Of the three closely associated convergences—technological convergence, media convergence, and network convergence—consumers most often directly engage with technological convergence. Technological convergent devices share three key characteristics. First, converged devices can execute multiple functions to serve blended purpose. Second, converged devices can collect and use data in various formats and employ machine learning techniques to deliver enhanced user experience. Third, converged devices are connected to a network directly and/or are interconnected with other devices to offer ubiquitous access to users…”
The New York Times – Go with your instinct over the wisdom of the crowd. “…The 21st-century virtual shopping experience can feel overwhelming and chaotic, but it’s the price we pay for the convenience of shopping at home. That’s why stars are everywhere. Without them, you’re vulnerable to decision paralysis. But with them, you still can’t shake the feeling that there’s a lot of homework to do — hours of life lost, scrolling through reviews, many of which were written by people who have little to nothing in common with you. It is completely understandable why we want to trust these ratings. But with a little more knowledge, we can free ourselves from being trapped by them…”
SocArXiv Papers – Darmon, A. N. M., Bazzi, M., Howison, S. D., & Porter, M. A. (2019, January 1). Pull out all the stops: Textual analysis via punctuation sequences. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/2rzsg
“Whether enjoying the lucid prose of a favorite author or slogging through some other writer’s cumbersome, heavy-set prattle (full of parentheses, em-dashes, compound adjectives, and Oxford commas), readers will notice stylistic signatures not only in word choice and grammar, but also in punctuation itself. Indeed, visual sequences of punctuation from different authors produce marvelously different (and visually striking) sequences. Punctuation is a largely overlooked stylistic feature in “stylometry”, the quantitative analysis of written text. In this paper, we examine punctuation sequences in a corpus of literary documents and ask the following questions: Are the properties of such sequences a distinctive feature of different authors? Is it possible to distinguish literary genres based on their punctuation sequences? Do the punctuation styles of authors evolve over time? Are we on to something interesting in trying to do stylometry without words, or are we full of sound and fury (signifying nothing)?”
Jason Scott – Internet Archive Blogs – The Internet Archive Python Library: “As someone who’s uploaded hundreds of thousands of items to the Internet Archive’s stacks and who has probably done a few million transactions with the materials over the years, I just “know” about the Internet Archive python client, and if you’re someone who wants to interact with the site as a power user (or were looking for an excuse to), it’ll help you to know about it too. You might even be the kind of power user who is elbowing me out of the way saying “show me the code and show me the documentation”. Well, the documentation is here and the code is here. Have a great time…”
Artificial Lawyer – “In a startling intervention that seeks to limit the emerging litigation analytics and prediction sector, the French Government has banned the publication of statistical information about judges’ decisions – with a five year prison sentence set as the maximum punishment for anyone who breaks the new law. Owners of legal tech companies focused on litigation analytics are the most likely to suffer from this new measure. The new law, encoded in Article 33 of the Justice Reform Act, is aimed at preventing anyone – but especially legal tech companies focused on litigation prediction and analytics – from publicly revealing the pattern of judges’ behaviour in relation to court decisions.
A key passage of the new law states: ‘The identity data of magistrates and members of the judiciary cannot be reused with the purpose or effect of evaluating, analysing, comparing or predicting their actual or alleged professional practices.’ *
As far as Artificial Lawyer understands, this is the very first example of such a ban anywhere in the world. Insiders in France told Artificial Lawyer that the new law is a direct result of an earlier effort to make all case law easily accessible to the general public, which was seen at the time as improving access to justice and a big step forward for transparency in the justice sector. However, judges in France had not reckoned on NLP and machine learning companies taking the public data and using it to model how certain judges behave in relation to particular types of legal matter or argument, or how they compare to other judges…”