Law and Legal
Lin, Tom C. W., Artificial Intelligence, Finance, and the Law (November 4, 2019). 88 Fordham Law Review 531 (2019); Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3480607
“Artificial intelligence is an existential component of modern finance. The progress and promise realized and presented by artificial intelligence in finance has been thus far remarkable. It has made finance cheaper, faster, larger, more accessible, more profitable, and more efficient in many ways. Yet for all the significant progress and promise made possible by financial artificial intelligence, it also presents serious risks and limitations.
This Article offers a study of those risks and limitations—the ways artificial intelligence and misunderstandings of it can harm and hinder law, finance, and society. It provides a broad examination of inherent and structural risks and limitations present in financial artificial intelligence, explains the implications posed by such dangers, and offers some recommendations for the road ahead. Specifically, it highlights the perils and pitfalls of artificial codes, data bias, virtual threats, and systemic risks relating to financial artificial intelligence. It also raises larger issues about the implications of financial artificial intelligence on financial cybersecurity, competition, and society in the near future. Ultimately, this Article aspires to share an insightful perspective for thinking anew about the wide-ranging effects at the intersection of artificial intelligence, finance, and the law with the hopes of creating better financial artificial intelligence—one that is less artificial, more intelligent, and ultimately more humane, and more human.”
The Daily Dot: “We’re living in the Instagram age, an era dominated by photos and images, it’s often very hard to determine if the photo you are looking at has been altered or not; image enhancement is almost considered protocol when it comes to creating online content, and photo-editing apps are too plenty to count. Along with this, the internet is home to a thriving repost culture, making it hard to pinpoint where a photo came from, and whether or not you are seeing it straight from its original source. For both instances, there’s one thing you can do to investigate a picture’s origin and authenticity, and that’s to use Google reverse image search. It’s a very quick process to do on your computer’s Web browser, but if you intend to do a Google reverse image search through your smartphone, you’ll need to have the Chrome app installed. Here’s a quick guide…”
The Humane Gardener – You can have all the native plants you want, but you won’t have nearly as many wild visitors unless you also leave the leaves – “I opened the October issue of Consumer Reports with a feeling of mild dread. Every autumn, the magazine publishes an article extolling the virtues of leaf blowers, mowers, and other tools of destruction.A piece debating the pros and cons of vacuum functionality warned that leaf blowers might damage plants. But not to worry, the writer noted in the online version of the article: You can always switch to the vacuum mode instead! “If you have a small yard and are diligent about keeping up with leaves as they fall, or if you want to surgically suck up leaves from around bushes and flower beds, the vacuum mode on your leaf blower can save you time and effort.” Time, effort, money—these are the shortsighted reasons often cited for deploying weapons against nature. I could list dozens of reasons why leaf blowers and vacuums are counterproductive to all three of those goals…In an era of compounding losses, we need to focus not on saving ourselves from inconvenience but on saving lives instead. As I watch plants go to sleep for the winter, I think of all the animals who are doing so too, especially the ones who’ve been able to make a life here because we have enough leaves to help them through every season. From the luna moth to the wood frog, many of our wild residents need the ground layers that so many of our human neighbors are intent on blowing away. Some of the species featured here were new to our habitat this year—a testament to what can happen when we adopt an ethos of minimal disturbance to the land…”
“Europe has experienced a high level of immigration in recent years, driving debate about how countries should deal with immigrants when it comes to social services, security issues, deportation policies and integration efforts. Among these recently arrived immigrants are many who live in Europe without authorization. Coupled with unauthorized immigrants who were already in Europe, their numbers reach into the millions, though together they make up a small share of Europe’s total population. A new Pew Research Center analysis based on European data sources estimates that at least 3.9 million unauthorized immigrants – and possibly as many as 4.8 million – lived in Europe in 2017. The total is up from 2014, when 3.0 million to 3.7 million unauthorized migrants lived in Europe, but is little changed from a recent peak of 4.1 million to 5.3 million in 2016. Overall, unauthorized immigrants accounted for less than 1% of Europe’s total population of more than 500 million people living in the 28 European Union member states, including the United Kingdom, and four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). And among the roughly 24 million noncitizens of EU-EFTA countries living in Europe, fewer than one-fifth were unauthorized immigrants in 2017…”
National Academies: Committee Member Testifies Before Congress on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science – “David Allison, member of the committee that wrote a 2019 National Academies report on reproducibility and replicability in science, appeared on Nov. 13, 2019 before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Nov. 13 to discuss the report’s recommendations and findings. The report recommends ways that researchers, academic institutions, journals, and funders should help strengthen rigor and transparency in order to improve the reproducibility and replicability of scientific research.”
Explore the list of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World – “Stories have the power to change us. We asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking. There was months of deliberation and reflection by the panel but what would you have chosen? Share the novel that’s shaped you on our Facebook page or using #mybooklife on Twitter.”
BuzzFeedNews: “The number of violent hate crimes reported in the United States last year was the highest in 16 years, according to the FBI — but advocacy groups warned that the actual figure is much higher than the official count reported Tuesday. The Department of Justice defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property, motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Data released Tuesday by the FBI shows that although the total number of reported hate crimes in the United States decreased from 2017 to 2018, the number of offenses against people increased by 12%. Of the 7,120 hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2018, 4,571 were crimes against persons (such as assault, rape, and murder). Most of the hate crimes — about 60% — were motivated by race, ethnicity, or ancestry bias. The other motivations included religion (19%), sexual orientation (17%), gender identity (2%), disability (2%), and gender (1%)…”
Victoria Hudgins, Ransomware Hit Case Management Provider TrialWorks. What Happens Next?, LegalTech News. “Add case management platform TrialWorks to the laundry list of companies and public sector agencies that were struck and paralyzed by a cyberattack this year. And unless lawyers backed up their client files to a separate storage network, they could be frozen out of their data by TrialWorks’ problems. Still, experts say there are ways to mitigate the damage…”
WSJ via FoxNews: “Google will soon offer checking accounts to consumers, becoming the latest Silicon Valley heavyweight to push into finance. The project, code-named Cache, is expected to launch next year with accounts run by Citigroup Inc. and a credit union at Stanford University, a tiny lender in Google’s backyard. Big tech companies see financial services as a way to get closer to users and glean valuable data. Apple Inc. introduced a credit card this summer. Amazon.com Inc. has talked to banks about offering checking accounts. Facebook Inc. is working on a digital currency it hopes will upend global payments. Their ambitions could challenge incumbent financial-services firms, which fear losing their primacy and customers. They are also likely to stoke a reaction in Washington, where regulators are already investigating whether large technology companies have too much clout…
Google’s approach seems designed to make allies, rather than enemies, in both camps. The financial institutions’ brands, not Google’s, will be front-and-center on the accounts, an executive told The Wall Street Journal. And Google will leave the financial plumbing and compliance to the banks—activities it couldn’t do without a license anyway. “Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system,” Google executive Caesar Sengupta said in an interview…Checking accounts are a commoditized product, and people don’t switch very often. But they contain a treasure trove of information, including how much money people make, where they shop and what bills they pay…”
NextGov – ..but a slow site and data migration issues made for some disgruntled users. “The new website for posting federal market research and solicitation opportunities is now live on beta.SAM.gov … if you can get the page to load. The government’s longtime go-to website for contracting opportunities, Federal Business Opportunities, also known as FedBizOpps or FBO, was shuttered over the holiday weekend as the General Services Administration shifted to the new Contract Opportunities page on SAM. However, users attempting to pull up the new page Tuesday morning were met with long load times, often resulting in the page timing out before loading. GSA officials declined to comment Tuesday on the rollout and slow load times. While patience was required Tuesday, users were able to sign in to the site using Login.gov and begin perusing. Once signed in—a process that was also made difficult by slow load times Tuesday—users can search using keywords, solicitation numbers and agencies and program offices, as in the past on FBO. The site offers additional filters, such as narrowing the search within ranges for inactive status, published date, latest updates and response due dates. Users can also search by NAICS code, place of performance and DUNS number, as well as Unique ID, the DUNS replacement to be phased in by the end of fiscal 2020…”
EFF – Government Must Have Reasonable Suspicion of Digital Contraband Before Searching People’s Electronic Devices at the U.S. Border – “In a major victory for privacy rights at the border, a federal court in Boston ruled today that suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional. The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and ACLU of Massachusetts, on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.”
- For the order: https://www.eff.org/document/alasaad-v-nielsen-summary-judgment-order
- For more on this case: https://www.eff.org/cases/alasaad-v-duke
- For more about border searches: https://www.eff.org/issues/border-searches
Brookings: “The year 1776 was an auspicious year for democracy. The idea that a people could govern themselves was radical at the time. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed are for most Americans revered documents and a cornerstone of our democracy. Over the years, this idea of democratic republicanism has become central to American identity, and yet without citizen participation, the government of, by, and for the people will not last. Ben Franklin famously said, “A republic, if you can keep it,” when asked what form of government the founders had created. He was charging “we the people” with the responsibility of protecting self-government. The mix of dysfunctional politics and lack of emphasis on civic education has, among other things, led many Americans to be highly skeptical about the very foundations of our democratic form of government. In the 1960s, amid civil rights protests and the Vietnam war, Americans were deeply divided politically, but according to the Pew Research Center, the vast majority—almost 80 percent—trusted the government to do the right thing always or most of the time. Today, less than 20 percent of the American public trusts the government. And for many young people, the idea of self-government is no longer sacrosanct. Almost one in four Americans thinks a dictator, namely a “strong leader that doesn’t have to deal with Congress or elections,” could be a good way to run our country…”
While by no means comprehensive, the “Democracy 76” list… provides specific and practical actions that we all can take to be an involved citizen. The list is broken into five actions that are essential components for engagement. It is expressly free from politics and partisanship and should be undertaken by all Americans—regardless of political perspectives or affiliation…”
AP: “Chicago public libraries have seen a 240% increase in the number of books returned since the city’s mayor eliminated overdue fines, according to a library official. Library Commissioner Andrea Telli testified at a budget hearing Wednesday, telling City Council members that abandoning the library fines policy has been instrumental in luring in both patrons and books. “Just by word of mouth and also on the library’s social media pages like Facebook, we saw a lot of patrons say, ‘Oh my God. This is so great. I’m gonna bring back my books. I’ve been hesitant to come back to the library because I owe these fines,'” Telli said. Chicago became the nation’s first major city to forgo overdue fines, which went into effect Oct. 1 and erased all outstanding fees. Mayor Lori Lightfoot framed the policy change as her latest attempt to remove barriers that deter youth and low-income patrons…
The library system also has 180 vacant positions. Next year’s budget includes an increase of 62 full-time staffers and 115 more part-time employees to accommodate Sunday hours…”
Brookings: “Thousands of local newspapers have closed in recent years. Their disappearance has left millions of Americans without a vital source of local news and deprived communities of an institution essential for exposing wrongdoing and encouraging civic engagement. Of those still surviving, many have laid off reporters, reduced coverage, and pulled back circulation. Over 65 million Americans live in counties with only one local newspaper—or none at all. The traditional business model that once supported local newspapers–relying on print subscribers and advertising to generate revenue–has become difficult to sustain as the audience for local news continues to shrink and advertising dollars disappear. Few Americans today hold print subscriptions, and newspapers have struggled to amass digital subscribers. Meanwhile, news consumers have become less inclined to follow local sources of news, instead preferring to read, listen, and watch content from outlets focused on national news coverage. And, as the digital age has facilitated the emergence of a greater number of national news sources and highly specialized outlets, the reach of local news has diminished. At the same time, newspapers have seen a longtime source of financial stability and success–advertising dollars–dry up. Between 2008 and 2018, the newspaper industry experienced a 68% drop advertising revenue…”
The Jerusalem Post: “The National Library of Israel (NLI) and Google have announced that 120,000 books from the library’s collection will be uploaded to Google Books for the first time as part of their collaboration. The books that are expected to be uploaded will, according to NLI, include all of the library’s out-of-copyright, royalty-free books which have not yet been digitized. Around 45% of the books are written, in Hebrew script, in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and other languages of the Jewish world. The rest of the works are in a variety of languages, including Latin, German, French, Arabic and Russian. The books are transported from Jerusalem’s NLI to Google’s digitation center in Germany via Rotterdam in secured, climate-controlled shipping containers. With thousands of books being shipped, scanned and shipped back each month, the process is expected to be completed within two years…”
Fortune: “In August, almost 200 leading business executives—including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty—made news headlines by offering a new definition for the purpose of a corporation that challenged long-held corporate orthodoxy. These chief executives, collectively known as the Business Roundtable, argued that the modern corporation should no longer exist only to deliver value to stockholders, as it plainly stated in 1997—rather, it should serve stakeholders including customers, employees, partners, communities, and yes, shareholders. “Each of our stakeholders is essential,” reads a rather concise statement signed by 181 of the Business Roundtable’s 193 members. “We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.” It didn’t take long for questions to emerge: Were the CEOs violating their fiduciary duty by embracing a broader mandate? And just how the hell were they going to measure their success, anyway?…”
The New York Times: “The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking. A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently.
The measure would make it more difficult to enact new clean air and water rules because many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements. And, unlike a version of the proposal that surfaced in early 2018, this one could apply retroactively to public health regulations already in place. “This means the E.P.A. can justify rolling back rules or failing to update rules based on the best information to protect public health and the environment, which means more dirty air and more premature deaths,” said Paul Billings, senior vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association…”
The Brennan Center for Justice – From early voting to streamlined registration, there are clear steps that will help shorten lines on Election Day. “We are now less than one year away from Election Day 2020, and Americans are projected to turn out at levels not reached since the early 20th century. Voter turnout has been steadily on the rise since the 2014 election. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voter turnout in 2018 increased among all major racial, ethnic, and voting age groups. The turnout rate in 2018 — 53 percent — was the highest in over four decades. Just this month, voter turnout in Kentucky outpaced turnout in the state’s 2015 gubernatorial election at a considerable rate, even surpassing forecasts made by the Kentucky secretary of state’s office days before the election. Experts may disagree about the exact level of expected turnout in 2020, but some estimates suggest as many as two-thirds of all eligible voters may cast a ballot, which would be the highest presidential turnout rate in more than one hundred years…”
- Blockchain: What Information Professionals Need to Know – Anna Irvin, Ph.D. and Janice E. Henderson, Esq. presented this comprehensive 64 page guide at the LLAGNY Education Committee Program on October 15, 2019. The guide is an multidisciplinary resource that includes: articles from law, business and finance journals, CLE programs/materials, smart contracts, Westlaw and Practical Law citations, sources on the impact of blockchain on the U.S. government and the international regulatory landscape, as well as all states with blockchain and cybersecurity laws (introduced, pending and failed).
- The How and the Why of Law Blogs – Legal technology evangelist, author and blogger Nicole L. Black recommends that a legal blog is one of the best ways to create a memorable and search-engine-friendly online presence. Simply put, blogs are a great way for lawyers to showcase legal expertise while increasing their firms’ search engine optimization—all while helping them to stay on top of changes in their areas of practice by writing about them on their firm’s blog.
- Leaping Into Your Future with the Real-Life Mr. Spock – Bill Jensen’s fascinating interview with Prof. Sohail Inayatullah, UNESCO Chair in Future Studies at UNESCO and USIM, focuses on the future of work, leadership and the significance of the Key Performance Indicator [KPI].
- How women’s life-long experiences of being judged by their appearance affect how they feel in open-plan offices – Dr. Rachel Morrison identifies and discusses research respective to open-plan workspaces. Her conclusion is that female and male employees differ in their perceptions of being observed and this fact should be acknowledged and incorporated into office design.
- New Survey on Technology Use by Law Firms: How Does Your Firm Compare? – Nicole L. Black recommends firm conduct a technology audit to review the need for software updates, to identify and replace outdated technology and applications, and to plan and implement migrating operations such as document management and time and billing systems to cloud computing.
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, October 26, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Equifax Allegedly Made It Super Easy to Hack Customer Data; New App Helps Prevent Fraud at the Gas Pump; The Wayback Machine’s Save Page Now is New and Improved; and Trading in your phone may pose a risk to your data, one expert warns.
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, October 19, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Preparing for Evolving Cybersecurity Threats Facing the U.S. Electric Grid; US, UK agencies issue joint VPN security alert; New Report: “The Market of Disinformation”; and Plan for the Future. Manage the Present. Open or access your my Social Security account today.
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, October 12, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Americans and Digital Knowledge; 10 Tips to Avoid Leaving Tracks Around the Internet; Proving You’re You: How Federal Agencies Can Improve Online Verification; and New Report: “World’s First Deepfake Audit Counts Videos and Tools on the Open Web”.
- Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, October 5, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: EU can force Facebook and social media platforms to remove content globally; How to Set Your Google Data to Self-Destruct; The whistleblowing process, explained; and ABA Tech Report 2019.
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WSJ.com [paywall]: “Google is engaged with one of the country’s largest health-care systems to collect and crunch the detailed personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states. The initiative, code-named “Project Nightingale,” appears to be the biggest in a series of efforts by Silicon Valley giants to gain access to personal health data and establish a toehold in the massive health-care industry. Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. AAPL and Microsoft Corp. are also aggressively pushing into health care, though they haven’t yet struck deals of this scope.
Google began Project Nightingale in secret last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, the second-largest health system in the U.S., with the data sharing accelerating since summer, according to internal documents. The data involved in the initiative encompasses lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth. Neither patients nor doctors have been notified. At least 150 Google employees already have access to much of the data on tens of millions of patients, according to a person familiar with the matter and the documents…