Law and Legal

Paper – Advancing Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion

Advancing Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion January 2018 by Kathryn Imboden, Toronto Centre. Kathryn is a Policy Advisor at CGAP, focusing on financial inclusion work with global standard setting bodies. “Women’s inclusion in the usage of financial series is broadly recognized as a key driver of women’s participation in the economy and of household well-being, leading to more robust economic growth and social development, as well as more diversified financial systems. The case for fostering the usage of financial services by women as a public policy imperative is recognized globally, with vocal proponents and attention given to this objective on platforms such as the IMF Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda. The expansion of digital financial services specifically is seen as a major opportunity for both women and men, but this opportunity is far from fully realized…This note examines what financial authorities can do to foster women’s digital financial inclusion, in the context of their mandates to ensure a sound and enabling regulatory and supervisory framework…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Seeking to normalize and expand biking centric cities

Fast Company: “Mikael Colville-Andersen rides his bike everywhere in Copenhagen, but he would never introduce himself as a cyclist. “I’m just one of the 400,000 people riding a bike in this city because it makes our daily lives more effective,” he tells Fast Company…At the center of…Colville-Andersen’s mission: To renormalize the bicycle. A successful cycling city, he says, is not one where the dominant commuter zips by on his 18-speed road bike, decked out in spandex, but where she pedals an all-purpose bike, maybe with kids in tow in a cargo attachment and shopping bags swinging from the handlebars, while talking on the phone. (The gender designation here matters–good cycling cities see higher rates of women riding bikes.)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies

CRS report via FAS – House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies: “A principal responsibility of House committees is to conduct markups—to select legislation to consider, to debate it and vote on amendments to it (to mark up), and to report recommendations on passage to the House. This manual examines procedures and strategy related to committee markups and prov ides sample procedural scripts.”
Categories: Law and Legal

Experts explain blockchain initiatives and opportunities for research, digital rights management, peer review

In this interview, Joris van Rossum (Director of Special Projects, Digital Science) and author of Blockchain for Research, and Martijn Roelandse (Head of Publishing Innovation, Springer Nature), discuss blockchain in scholarly communications, including the recently launched Peer Review Blockchain initiative…We’ve explored the possibilities and initiatives in a report published by Digital Science. The blockchain could be applied on several levels, which is reflected in a number of initiatives announced recently. For example, a cryptocurrency for science could be developed. This ‘bitcoin for science’ could introduce a monetary reward scheme to researchers, such as for peer review. Another relevant area, specifically for publishers, is digital rights management. The potential for this was picked up by this blog at a very early stage. Blockchain also allows publishers to easily integrate micropayments, thereby creating a potentially interesting business model alongside open access and subscriptions. Moreover, blockchain as a datastore with no central owner where information can be stored pseudonymously could support the creation of a shared and authoritative database of scientific events. Here traditional activities such as publications and citations could be stored, along with currently opaque and unrecognized activities, such as peer review. A data store incorporating all scientific events would make science more transparent and reproducible, and allow for more comprehensive and reliable metrics…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Record number of women running for congress

Christian Science Monitor: “A total of 309 women have filed candidacy papers to run for the House. With many House seats up for grabs, this election may present one of the best opportunities for women to make real representational gains, experts say.

A surge of women into this year’s midterm elections had been expected since the Women’s March demonstrations nationwide just after Mr. Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. Numbers analyzed by The Associated Press show that momentum is continuing.

While just over half the nation’s population is female, 4 out of every 5 members of the US House are men. The women’s candidacies won’t necessarily change that. They still have to survive party primaries and win the general election, often against an incumbent with name recognition and a large reservoir of campaign cash…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The World’s Wilderness: Going, Going and Soon Gone?

Outside: Recent studies have arrived at the same blunt conclusion: the world’s last, big wildlands are disappearing at an alarming rate. Is there anything to be done?

““We are running out of wilderness,” James Watson, director of the science and research initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told fellow scientists last summer at the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Cartagena, Colombia. Watson, an associate professor fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia, pointed to a 2016 study in which he and colleagues described “catastrophic declines” worldwide in the extent of terrestrial areas that remain mostly free of human disturbance and retain their ecological and biological integrity.

“Our calculation is that there will be no globally significant wilderness in 50 years time,” Watson told Outside recently. “There will be patches of green, but there will be nothing big, anymore.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Comfort dogs

Christian Science Monitor: “As dogs and other animals are increasingly used in courts to comfort and calm prosecution witnesses, a few voices are calling for keeping the practice on a short leash, saying they could bias juries. The use of dogs in courts has spread quickly across the United States amid a growing number of laws and rulings in its favor – and, outside of the legal world, a significant increase in the use of emotional support animals by the public. There are now more than 155 “courthouse facility dogs” working in 35 states, compared with 41 dogs in 19 states five years ago, according to the Courthouse Dogs Foundation in Bellevue, Wash. And that’s not counting an untold number of “emotional support dogs” that have been allowed case by case in many states. Many witnesses have been child sexual assault victims. There has been a divide among judges, however, with some not allowing dogs because of potential bias against defendants. And many defense lawyers don’t like the practice.”

Categories: Law and Legal

UN – Urgent action needed to combat online violence against women and girls

UN Women – “A new report released today by the United Nations Broadband Commission reveals that almost three quarters of women online have been exposed to some form of cyber violence, and urges governments and industry to work harder and more effectively together to better protect the growing number of women and girls who are victims of online threats and harassment. The paper notes that despite the rapidly growing number of women experiencing online violence, only 26 percent of law enforcement agencies in the 86 countries surveyed are taking appropriate action. Entitled ‘Combatting Online Violence Against Women & Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call’, the paper was released earlier today at an event at United Nations Headquarters in New York by the Commission’s Working Group on Gender, which is co-Chaired by UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, and UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Working Group members, which also include representatives from the tech sector and civil society, hope the paper will mobilize the public and private sectors to establish concrete strategies aimed at stemming the rising tide of online violence against women…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Magazine Rack – the Internet Archive’s Collection of 34,000 Digitized Magazines

Open Culture: “Before we kept up with culture through the internet, we kept up with culture through magazines. That historical fact may at first strike those of us over 30 as trivial and those half a generation down as irrelevant, but now, thanks to the Internet Archive, we can all easily experience the depth and breadth of the magazine era as something more than an abstraction or an increasingly distant memory. In keeping with their apparent mission to become the predominant archive of pre-internet media, they’ve set up the Magazine Rack, a downloadable collection of over 34,000 digitized magazines and other monthly publications…”

Categories: Law and Legal

WH reviewing proposal to remove protections for threatened species

CNN: “The White House is reviewing a proposal that environmentalists fear would remove protections for hundreds of threatened species, according to a government database. The proposal’s obscure name — “Removal of Blanket Section 4(d) Rule” — refers to protections covering approximately 300 animal and plant species, such as the northern spotted owl and manatee, that are at risk of becoming endangered. The Fish and Wildlife Service has for 40 years used the blanket rule to cover the majority of threatened species, the category considered at risk of endangerment under the Endangered Species Act. A spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service told CNN that to suggest the rule would overturn the protections is inaccurate. But the spokesman, Gavin Shire, would not elaborate about how that characterization was incorrect or what the proposal calls for, and he declined to provide a copy of the document…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Research – Humans produce new brain cells throughout their lives

Findings could help hunt for treatment for degenerative conditions such as Alzheimers, and psychiatric problems: “Humans continue to produce new neurons in a part of their brain involved in learning, memory and emotion throughout adulthood, scientists have revealed, countering previous theories that production stopped after adolescence. The findings could help in developing treatments for neurological conditions such as dementia…“The exciting part is that the neurons are there throughout a lifetime,” said Dr Maura Boldrini from Columbia University in New York and first author of the new study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell. “It seems that indeed humans are different from mice – where [neuron production] goes down with age really fast – and this could mean that we need these neurons for our complex learning abilities and cognitive behavioural responses to emotions,” she said…”

Categories: Law and Legal

UK, Australia investigating Facebook amid Cambridge Analytica data scandal

ABC News: “Both the United Kingdom and Australia said Thursday that they have opened formal investigations into Facebook amid allegations that their citizens’ data was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. The Information Commissioner’s Office in the U.K. is “looking at how data was collected from a third party app on Facebook and shared with Cambridge Analytica. We are also conducting a broader investigation into how social media platforms were used in political campaigning,” according to Commissioner Elizabeth Denham…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Why RSS Still Beats Facebook and Twitter for Tracking News

Gizmodo: “You’d be forgiven for thinking RSS died off with the passing of Google Reader, but our old friend Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary) still has a role to play on the web of 2017. It’s faster, more efficient, and you won’t have to worry as much about accidentally leaking your news reading habit to all your Facebook friends. Whether you’ve never heard of it before or you’ve abandoned it for pastures new, here’s why you should be using RSS for your news instead of social media…”

See also via LLRXWhat is RSS and How to Use it Effectively – by Pete Weiss.

Categories: Law and Legal

Practical Approaches to Big Data Privacy Over Time

“The Berkman Klein Center is pleased to announce a new publication from the Privacy Tools project, authored by a multidisciplinary group of project collaborators from the Berkman Klein Center and the Program on Information Science at MIT Libraries. This article, titled “Practical approaches to big data privacy over time,” analyzes how privacy risks multiply as large quantities of personal data are collected over longer periods of time, draws attention to the relative weakness of data protections in the corporate and public sectors, and provides practical recommendations for protecting privacy when collecting and managing commercial and government data over extended periods of time. Increasingly, corporations and governments are collecting, analyzing, and sharing detailed information about individuals over long periods of time. Vast quantities of data from new sources and novel methods for large-scale data analysis are yielding deeper understandings of individuals’ characteristics, behavior, and relationships. It is now possible to measure human activity at more frequent intervals, collect and store data relating to longer periods of activity, and analyze data long after they were collected. These developments promise to advance the state of science, public policy, and innovation. At the same time, they are creating heightened privacy risks, by increasing the potential to link data to individuals and apply data to new uses that were unanticipated at the time of collection. Moreover, these risks multiply rapidly, through the combination of long-term data collection and accumulations of increasingly “broad” data measuring dozens or even thousands of attributes relating to an individual…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Infographic rating identifies worst rated countries for internet surveillance

betanews: “…Consumer security site Security Baron has created an infographic showing the best and worst, along with those named by Reporters Without Borders as, ‘enemies of the internet’. There are many results you might expect, China, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia being on the list of ‘pervasive’ sensors for example. Russia, Burma and Pakistan among others imposing ‘substantial’ censorship. What may surprise you are the ‘selective’ sensors, which include India, the US and UK. These three are also on the ‘enemies of the internet’ list…”

Categories: Law and Legal

‘Malicious actors’ collected data on 2 billion Facebook users worldwide

It is not surprising to now today from Facebook that the debacle of Cambridge Analytica harvesting data on 87 million people has escalated monumentally to the level of 2 billion users worldwide per the Washington Post: “Facebook said Wednesday that “malicious actors” took advantage of search tools on its platform, making it possible for them to discover the identities and collect information on most of its 2 billion users worldwide. The revelation came amid rising acknowledgement by Facebook about its struggles to control the data it gathers on users…But the abuse of Facebook’s search tools — now disabled — happened far more broadly and over the course of several years, with few Facebook users likely escaping the scam, company officials acknowledged. The scam started when malicious hackers harvested email addresses and phone numbers on the so-called “Dark Web,” where criminals post information stolen from data breaches over the years. Then the hackers used automated computer programs to feed the numbers and addresses into Facebook’s “search” box, allowing them to discover the full names of people affiliated with the phone numbers or addresses, along with whatever Facebook profile information they chose to make public, often including their profile photos and hometown…”

“Facebook said in a blog post Wednesday, “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped.” And per a conference call with journalists as reported by Axios, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook “made mistakes.”

On April 10 Zuckerberg will testify before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation – the topic – Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data.


Categories: Law and Legal

HHS Releases a New Resource to Help Individuals Access and Use Their Health Information

“The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released the ONC Guide to Getting and Using your Health Records, a new online resource for individuals, patients, and caregivers.  This new resource supports both the 21st Century Cures Act goal of empowering patients and improving patients’ access to their electronic health information and the recently announced MyHealthEData initiative. The new initiative, led by the White House Office of American Innovation and supported by ONC, empowers patients by giving them control of their healthcare information.  Other participants in the effort include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. “It’s important that patients and their caregivers have access to their own health information so they can make decisions about their care and treatments,” said Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “This guide will help answer some of the questions that patients may have when asking for their health information.” Individuals’ ability to access and use their health information electronically is a measure of interoperability and a cornerstone of ONC’s efforts to increase patient engagement, improve health outcomes, and advance person-centered health. In fact, a new ONC data brief – PDF shows that in 2017, half of Americans reported they were offered access to an online medical record by a provider or insurer…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Variety – Facebook Under Fire: How Privacy Crisis Could Change Big Data Forever

Variety: “…The scandal in a nutshell: Cambridge Analytica, a U.K.-based political data analytics firm, illicitly procured the data of 50 million Facebook users — without their knowledge or consent — and then enlisted that to inform voter-targeting strategies for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. It wasn’t a hack per se. But both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica claim they were duped by the researcher who originally harvested the data, who used an innocuous-seeming personality quiz in 2013 to access info on friends of people who used the app. That was possible because of Facebook’s then relatively lax privacy protocols. The controversy landed like a Category 5 hurricane, to Facebook’s evident surprise. Ultimately, it may prove to be a watershed moment in how governments — the U.S. in particular — decide internet companies should be regulated after decades of laissez-faire policies. Facebook was caught asleep at the wheel, says Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer and head of technology research at GBH Insights. “The Cambridge Analytica debacle has been the darkest chapter in Facebook’s 14-year history,” he says. “We view this as a seminal moment that’s going to change the nature of privacy, content and ad transparency…“The regulatory aftershocks could rattle companies beyond Facebook. In the big M&A deals in play in the media sector — AT&T’s bid for Time Warner, Comcast’s pending acquisition of Sky, Disney’s proposed takeover of 20th Century Fox — streaming media is front and center. And everyone wants to use big data to serve up highly targeted ads … just as Facebook does.”

See also ‘Malicious actors’ collected data on 2 billion Facebook users worldwide

Categories: Law and Legal

Generational conflicts gain spotlight at The New York Times

Vanity Fair: “Journalism Is Not About Creating Safe Spaces”: Inside the Woke Civil War at The New York Times: Catalyzed by the Trump presidency, roiled by flash points like Glenn Thrush, Bret Stephens, and Bari Weiss, a generational conflict not seen since the 60s is besetting the Times.”

“For most of its history, the Times has been an autocracy, with a church-like reverence for its values and traditions. Rebellion, as against executive editor Howell Raines in 2003, has often been to restore the old order rather than to overthrow it. But, as at many newsrooms and media offices, and in the culture at large, this is a moment of generational conflict not seen since the 1960s. “I’ve been feeling a lot lately like the newsroom is split into roughly the old-guard category, and the young and ‘woke’ category, and it’s easy to feel that the former group doesn’t take into account how much the future of the paper is predicated on the talent contained in the latter one,” a Times employee in that latter group told me a couple months ago. “I know a lot of others at the paper with similar positions to mine, especially women and people of color, who feel that senior staff isn’t receptive to their concerns.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Teaching Law: A Framework for Instructional Mastery

Miller, Nelson P., Teaching Law: A Framework for Instructional Mastery (March 20, 2018). Teaching Law: A Framework for Instructional Mastery, 2nd eds, ISBN: 978-0-9980601-8-7; 2018. Available at SSRN:

“This text for law professors has fourteen sections following a typical law school term. Section topics include Course Objectives, Syllabi, Lectures, Socratic Method, Differentiating Instruction, Integrating Instruction, Assessment, Multiple Choice Questions, Essay Questions, and Scoring and Grading. The text includes a beginning section on Pedagogy to help professors appreciate theoretical schools on education and the history of law teaching, and a concluding section on T eaching Vision.The text offers useful insights for anyone who teaches law and wants to improve at it. Reflection questions and exercises frame each section, engaging readers to implement suggestions and designs. Exhaustively researched, the text trains readers to articulate proper learning objectives, use syllabi more productively, adopt best practices when they lecture and use Socratic questioning, make learning more visual, and create better assessment instruments, among other reforms.”

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