Law and Legal
Inc. – “If entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of an economy, consider Inc.’s ranking of 5,000 companies America’s circulatory system. Our annual report looks at these fast-growing innovators–and how they made our list. The fastest-growing companies in America are a force, notching collective revenue of more than $206.2 billion in 2017 and three-year revenue growth rates that top out at 75,661 percent. Explore the list.” [Companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2014 to 2017. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2014. They must be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent–not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies–as of December 31, 2017. (Since then, some on the list have gone public or been acquired.) [“The minimum revenue required for 2014 is $100,000; the minimum for 2017 is $2 million.”]
Hyperallergic – The stamps feature tiny reproductions of ten paintings by Kelly, one of America’s great 20th-century abstractionists. ” The US Postal Service is releasing a new collection of stamps honoring Ellsworth Kelly, one of America’s great 20th-century abstractionists, who died at age 92 in 2015. Kelly, who worked as a designer of camouflage patterns while in the Army, was known for his vibrant, hard-edged color fields. “I’m not a geometric artist,” he once insisted, despite his frequent use of crisp geometric shapes. “Geometry is moribund. I want a lilt and joy to art. My forms are geometric, but they don’t interact in a geometric sense. They’re just forms that exist everywhere, even if you don’t see them.” [These stamps are beautiful – please take a look]
cnet – The social network wants to dismiss a lawsuit stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. “Facebook on Wednesday [May 28, 2019]reportedly argued that it didn’t violate users’ privacy rights because there’s no expectation of privacy when using social media.
“There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy,” Facebook counsel Orin Snyder said during a pretrial hearing to dismiss a lawsuit [case documents are available at this link covering the period 2018-2019] stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to Law 360. The company reportedly didn’t deny that third parties accessed users’ data, but it instead told US District Judge Vince Chhabria that there’s no “reasonable expectation of privacy” on Facebook or any other social media site…”
“ePADD is free and open source software developed by Stanford University’s Special Collections & University Archives that supports the appraisal, processing, preservation, discovery, and delivery of historical email archives.
Visit the Discovery Module for Stanford University’s Special Collections & University Archives to see ePADD in action.
ePADD has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum & Library Studies (IMLS) to build out functionality that furthers the development of a National Digital Platform. Phase 2 of ePADD development commenced on November 1, 2015. Additional information can be found on the About page and in the IMLS announcement…”
For those of us who had the opportunity to work with the web in the early 1990s, an exciting time for the development of search engines, this article via ars technica is not just a throw back. It is an important reminder of how exciting and impactful this new web was, and how greatly our search choices narrowed and been circumscribed by the Tech Giants.
…2019 marks 30 years since Tim Berners-Lee worked at CERN and came up with a little idea known as the World Wide Web. As all of us do a little Web browsing this weekend, we thought resurfacing this piece outlining those early browsers might make all of us even appreciate Internet Explorer today. This story originally ran on Oct. 11, 2011, and it appears unchanged below…”
Emerj (via Joe Hodnicki) – AI in Law and Legal Practice – A Comprehensive View of 35 Current Applications. “Artificial intelligence (AI) companies continue to find ways of developing technology that will manage laborious tasks in different industries for better speed and accuracy. In the legal profession, AI has already found its way into supporting lawyers and clients alike. The growing interest in applying AI in law is said to be slowly transforming the profession and closing in on the work of paralegals, legal researchers, and litigators.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways in which AI is currently applied in the legal profession and how technology providers are trying to streamline work processes. We break down AI’s current legal applications into the following categories of applications:
- Helping lawyers perform due diligence and research
- Providing additional insights and “shortcuts” through analytics
- Automating creative processes (including some writing) in legal work
Because of the breadth of our research (and hence the length of this article), we encourage readers to feel free to skip ahead to the applications areas of greatest interest for them. We’ll conclude this article with some thoughts on AI’s promise and limitations across the legal industry…”
LA Times – “A growing number of House Democrats are eager to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump as his White House rebuffs cooperation with multiple congressional investigations into his finances, his businesses and his administration. The dozens of impeachment supporters are still vastly outnumbered by Democrats who view the tactic as politically toxic and liable to backfire in 2020. Speaker Nancy Pelosi argues there is not enough bipartisan support or overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing, even though she says Trump is engaging in a “coverup.”
Impeachment — which Trump called a “dirty, filthy, disgusting word” on Thursday [May 30, 2019] — will hang in the air next week when lawmakers return to Washington to consider whether to hold members of his administration in contempt of Congress. Here’s how the impeachment process would work…”
A Reuters visual guide – “A blockchain is a database that is shared across a network of computers. Once a record has been added to the chain it is very difficult to change. To ensure all the copies of the database are the same, the network makes constant checks. Blockchains have been used to underpin cyber-currencies like bitcoin, but many other possible uses are emerging…”
Springer Professional Open Access E-Book: 5.1 Introduction: The Rule of Law in a New Brave World – We will expand in this chapter some ways of implementing linked democracy on legal and political bases. Linked democracy is not only a theoretical approach incorporating open linked data to theories of democracy. It consists of practices and the real behaviour of people exercising their political rights on everyday bases. Thus, it also possesses a personal and cultural dimension that should be valued and protected. Law is an obvious element. Behaviour on the web should be ‘fair’ and ‘legal’. What does it mean? Different states have different jurisdictions, and despite the international trends of the global market, law has been, and still is, dependent on national states. How could we incorporate regulatory forms of empowering people on the web? How could algorithmic governance , data analytics, and semantics be used to foster the principles of linked democracy that we have just presented at the end of Chap. 4“…
RIPS Law Librarian Blog – Sarah Gostchall – “…Lexis Advance, with its relatively new (2016) predictive analytics Legislative Outlook feature, was the clear winner. Though Bloomberg Law has a number of statutory tracking features for select areas of law, such as banking, tax, IP, etc., it doesn’t have a Arizona bill tracking database with all Arizona bills. And Westlaw Edge has the same old same old – alerts and Arizona Bill Tracking database reports appear unchanged after the revamp.
Only Lexis Advance has invested in state bill tracking in recent times, adding a predictive analytics feature to its traditional state bill tracking reports. Predictive analytics are, of course, all the rage in the research world! Descriptive analytics are great for understanding and visualizing the past, but the next step is to harness the knowledge to inform the future…”
“The Project On Government Oversight has obtained new details about legal opinions from the Justice Department’s secretive Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), including 13 previously unreleased memo titles, and the dates of memos whose titles remain redacted. Obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the newly released memo titles reveal some of the subjects this influential office has considered in the last two decades, from war powers to the board of the Kennedy Center. OLC interprets the law for executive branch agencies, issuing memos the agencies often use to guide policymaking and are expected to follow. The office’s opinions have been instrumental in greenlighting numerous controversial—and, in some cases, arguably unconstitutional—policies and programs, including torture, warrantless mass surveillance, and drone strikes. Critically, many OLC opinions are never made public, or even made available to Congress. The new records reflect the latest progress in POGO’s continuing efforts to chip away at this office’s excessive secrecy.
The 13 titles POGO obtained come as part of the most up-to-date listing of official OLC legal memos dating back to 1998, although the list remains far from comprehensive. The material POGO obtained ranges from a 2001 title on the “Kennedy Center Board of Trustees” to more politically charged titles from 2001 and 2003, respectively, on “The Constitutional Separation of Powers Over Foreign Affairs and National Security,” and “The President’s Authority to Provide Military Equipment and Training to Allied Forces and Resistance Forces in Foreign Countries.”…
NeimanLab – “Participants who reported actively trying to diversify their online news streams by interacting with people and content espousing different points of view also reported lower levels of anxiety related to current events. “A new study suggests that consumers who actively take steps to diversify their news consumption — following accounts and news outlets that post a wide range of viewpoints, and interacting online with people who have different views from their own — feel less anxious about current events than people who don’t take such actions. Hunkering down in a self-created news echo chamber, however, does not seem to reduce anxiety. Democrats also report feeling more anxious about current events than Republicans, which isn’t surprising considering who’s in the White House.
The paper is “Factors motivating customization and echo chamber creation within digital news environments,” by Brooke Auxier and Jessica Vitak of the University of Maryland. Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, they surveyed 317 U.S. adults about their news consumption habits, categorizing whether they were “echo chamber builders” or “diversity seekers.” The echo chamber folks “find content providers (both people and news sources or other websites) they agree with and follow them; when they come across a person or source they disagree with, that content or user is removed.” The “diversity seekers,” meanwhile, “purposefully seek out a variety of perspectives in their content feeds. These users’ responses suggest they view social media as a way to expand their world view and engage with unlike others.”…”
The Verge – Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry – It’s a crisis that has left, by some estimations, billions on the table unpaid to musicians – “Recently, a musician signed to a major indie label told me they were owed up to $40,000 in song royalties they would never be able to collect. It wasn’t that they had missed out on payments for a single song — it was that they had missed out on payments for 70 songs, going back at least six years. The problem, they said, was metadata. In the music world, metadata most commonly refers to the song credits you see on services like Spotify or Apple Music, but it also includes all the underlying information tied to a released song or album, including titles, songwriter and producer names, the publisher(s), the record label, and more. That information needs to be synchronized across all kinds of industry databases to make sure that when you play a song, the right people are identified and paid. And often, they aren’t. Metadata sounds like one of the smallest, most boring things in music. But as it turns out, it’s one of the most important, complex, and broken, leaving many musicians unable to get paid for their work. “Every second that goes by and it’s not fixed, I’m dripping pennies,” said the musician, who asked to remain anonymous because of “the repercussions of even mentioning that this type of thing happens.”
“Every second that goes by and it’s not fixed, I’m dripping pennies” Entering the correct information about a song sounds like it should be easy enough, but metadata problems have plagued the music industry for decades. Not only are there no standards for how music metadata is collected or displayed, there’s no need to verify the accuracy of a song’s metadata before it gets released, and there’s no one place where music metadata is stored. Instead, fractions of that data is kept in hundreds of different places across the world…”
The Atlantic – University libraries around the world are seeing precipitous declines in the use of the books on their shelves. – Dan Cohen – Vice Provost for Information Collaboration at Northeastern University
“…These stark statistics present a conundrum for those who care about libraries and books. At the same time that books increasingly lie dormant, library spaces themselves remain vibrant—Snell Library at Northeastern now receives well over 2 million visits a year—as retreats for focused study and dynamic collaboration, and as sites of an ever wider array of activities and forms of knowledge creation and expression, including, but also well beyond, the printed word. It should come as no surprise that library leadership, in moments of dispassionate assessment often augmented by hearing from students who have trouble finding seats during busy periods, would seek to rezone areas occupied by stacks for more individual and group work. Yet it often does come as an unwelcome surprise to many, especially those with a powerful emotional attachment to what libraries should look like and be. What’s happening here is much more complicated than an imagined zero-sum game between the defenders of books and library futurists. The decline in the use of print books at universities relates to the kinds of books we read for scholarly pursuits rather than pure pleasure, the rise of ebooks and digital articles, and the changing environment of research. And it runs contrary to the experience of public libraries and bookstores, where print continues to thrive…”
Final Report – Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations: “Patients with acute and chronic pain in the United States face a crisis because of significant challenges in obtaining adequate care, resulting in profound physical, emotional, and societal costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 million adults in the United States have chronic daily pain, with 19.6 million adults experiencing high-impact chronic pain that interferes with daily life or work activities. The cost of pain to our nation is estimated at between $560 billion and $635 billion annually. At the same time, our nation is facing an opioid crisis that, over the past two decades, has resulted in an unprecedented wave of overdose deaths associated with prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids.
The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (Task Force) was convened by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to address acute and chronic pain in light of the ongoing opioid crisis. The Task Force mandate is to identify gaps, inconsistencies, and updates and to make recommendations for best practices for managing acute and chronic pain. The 29-member Task Force included federal agency representatives as well as non federal experts and representatives from a broad group of stakeholders. The Task Force considered relevant medical and scientific literature and information provided by government and non government experts in pain management, addiction, and mental health as well as representatives from various disciplines. The Task Force also reviewed and considered patient testimonials and public meeting comments, including approximately 6,000 comments from the public submitted during a 90-day public comment period and 3,000 comments from two public meetings.The Task Force emphasizes the importance of individualized patient-centered care in the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic pain. This report is broad and deep and will have sections that are relevant to different groups of stakeholders regarding best practices. See the table of contents and the sections and subsections of this broad report to best identify that which is most useful for the various clinical disciplines, educators, researchers, administrators, legislators, and other key stakeholders….”
Quartz: “The Australian election produced a winner no pollster predicted: Prime minister Scott Morrison’s ruling coalition remained in power, despite all expectations to the contrary. After the surprise outcomes of the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump as US president, what now feels like the most predictable outcome of any election is that the pollsters will be wrong. There are many reasons why they keep getting it wrong, including confirmation bias, when journalists and pollsters looking for data that validates their prior beliefs. It could also be the nature of some of these events is so unusual they were impossible to predict.
Forecasts rely on data from the past, and while we now have better data than ever—and better techniques and technology with which to measure them—when it comes to forecasting, in many ways, data has never been more useless. And as data become more integral to our lives and the technology we rely upon, we must take a harder look at the past before we assume it tells us anything about the future. To some extent, the weaknesses of data has always existed. Data are, by definition, information about what has happened in the past. Because populations and technology are constantly changing, they alter how we respond to incentives, policy, opportunities available to us, and even social cues. This undermines the accuracy of everything we try to forecast: elections, financial markets, even how long it will take to get to the airport…
We are in the age of big data that offers to promise of more accurate predictions. But it seems in some of the most critical aspects of our lives, data has never been more wrong…”
TechCrunch: “Google Maps is gaining some features previously exclusive to Google’s navigation app, Waze. The company confirmed it’s rolling out the ability for Google Maps users to see speed limits, speed cameras and mobile speed cameras in more than 40 countries worldwide — an expansion of its earlier launch of these features, which were previously limited to select markets. The change was noted earlier by ZDNet and, of course, Reddit.
Google confirmed with TechCrunch the full list of supported countries now seeing the speed cameras, which currently includes: Australia, Brazil, U.S., Canada, U.K., India, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe…”
BookRiot: “The news keeps reporting back on the gig economy and the ways in which working remotely is becoming an increasingly available option. With more and more jobs that are focused primarily on having a laptop and access to an electrical outlet, it is no wonder that people are seeking out the best spot they can find for a change of scenery from working on the couch. For book lovers, there is no better place to work remotely than in the local public library. Even a fellow Rioter has commented on how the trend of “co-working spaces” actually fits what public libraries have been for ages. Here are eight reasons why working from my public library fills me with a lot of bookish joy and inspiration…”
Part One: Barriers to access
Part Two: Legislative reform
Part Three: Transparency advocates
Part Four: Public interest
Follow up to While you’re sleeping, your iPhone stays busy snooping on you – via the Washington Post – “Apps tracking your activity — even while you sleep — is a pervasive practice, including on Apple’s iPhone. What can you do to limit some of it?…“