Law and Legal
ifixit: “Repair is for everyone. But the reality is, the world of tech is not yet equal. 34 percent of iFixit’s employees are female, and nearly half of our leadership roles are filled by women. That’s pretty good for a tech company, but there’s always room to do better. Writer Gloria Steinem once said, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” The growing e-waste problem is a human rights issue, and repair is the best way to prevent it. We can’t conquer e-waste without making repair accessible to everyone, and these awesome women of iFixit are tackling stereotypes about repair—and the gender gap—head-on…”
“Jason Ward has been an avid birdwatcher since he was a kid growing up in the Bronx, where he spotted a peregrine falcon eating a pigeon on a ledge outside his bedroom window. In the first season of Topic’s new series, the avian advocate and father of two travels around the Northeast, from Cape May, New Jersey, to Maine, delighting audiences with his contagious curiosity about the natural world—and the creatures within it. Those creatures include those of the human variety, too, with guests such as comedian Wyatt Cenac, Dr. Drew Lanham of Clemson University, “The Birdist” Nicholas Lund, the American Museum of Natural History’s Paul Sweet, and the Feminist Bird Club. (Plus Jason’s younger brother Jeffrey, a fellow birder and formidable opponent in the brothers’ annual bird count competition.) Get your binoculars ready.”
MetLife’s 17th Annual U.S.Employee Benefit Trends Study 2019 – “Employees need an ally, and employers can play this role by creating a workplace that not only recognizes employees holistically, but supports them holistically as well. One that provides experiences that enrich, a culture that accepts, and guidance that helps employees reach their individual goals. This year’s top insights:
- When employees are supported as individuals, they are more engaged
- Finding purpose at work is multifaceted
- Technology is driving a new mandate for training
- Flexible careers are reshaping the workplace
- The gig economy can be a challenge and an opportunity for employers
While the challenges and opportunities posed by each of these insights cannot be addressed overnight, there’s one theme that runs throughout: Employers need to think about employees’ lives and needs holistically…”
FastCompany – Americans at the lower end of the economic ladder suffer from an ever-growing privacy divide, impacting more than just their personal dignity and autonomy. “This story is part of The Privacy Divide, a series that explores the fault lines and disparities–cultural, economic, philosophical–that have developed around digital privacy and its impact on society.“
Voigt, Eric, Legal Research Demystified: A Step-by-Step Approach (Table of Contents and Chapter 5 on Research Plans) (March 18, 2019). Legal Research Demystified: A Step-by-Step Approach (Carolina Academic Press, 2019), ISBN 9781531007836. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3354594 -“Legal Research Demystified guides first-year law students through eight steps to research common law issues and ten steps to research statutory issues. It breaks down the research process into “bite-size” pieces for novice researchers, minimizing the frustration associated with learning new skills. Every chapter includes charts, diagrams, and screen captures to illustrate the research steps and finding tools. Each chapter concludes with a summary of key points that reinforces important concepts from the chapter. The process of legal research, of course, is not linear. This textbook constantly reminds students of the recursive nature of legal research, and it identifies specific situations when students may deviate from the research steps.
Legal Research Demystified differs from existing research textbooks in several aspects. This textbook (1) sets forth eight methods to identify and retrieve relevant secondary sources; (2) contains a chart identifying binding cases in almost every situation (e.g., state law issue in federal court); (3) discusses in detail how to find cases by topic on Lexis Advance; (4) sets forth six methods to find cases that interpret and apply relevant statutes; (5) includes an entire chapter on confirming the validity of relevant statutes, determining effective dates, and identifying the text of all amendments; (6) has a chapter devoted to reading relevant statutes critically; (7) explains in detail the differences between using citators for cases and statutes; and (8) has three chapters on finding persuasive authorities for common law and statutory issues.
This book’s companion website, Core Knowledge, provides professors with multiple assessment tools. Students can answer true-false and multiple-choice questions on Core Knowledge to test their understanding of every chapter. Students will receive immediate feedback. Additionally, students can complete interactive research exercises on Core Knowledge. These self-grading online exercises walk students through the research steps on Westlaw and Lexis Advance, giving professors the option to “flip” the classroom.”
“Developed by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression with partners from around the world, Freedom of Expression Without Frontiers offers academic and training resources on the laws, institutions and actors that have founded a global system of freedom of expression and information.
The website is organized around nine Teaching and Training Modules. It includes a general introduction to the core concept of a global perspective, and pedagogical resources designed by professors and trainers from different parts of the world and across different disciplines. Each of the Modules includes different subject areas, which may be taught separately. Lecture materials can be sorted according to various categories, from core readings to toolkits, and including textbooks, standards, jurisprudence, and multimedia. The portal allows users to select readings, whose list can be downloaded at the end of their web visit (under Collection).
The target audience are professors, trainers and other experts eager to offer courses and approaches that privilege trans-national and global understanding of freedom of expression, transcend a particular jurisdiction, national or cultural standpoint, and help students and others develop a more nuanced and critical understanding of freedom of expression….”
NPR: “Across the U.S., 6,227 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2018, the highest number in nearly 30 years. The findings from a Governors Highway Safety Association report show that many of these deaths occurred in big cities like Houston and Miami. The signs are all over most cities — stretches of road without crosswalks and people needing to walk on roads built for rush-hour traffic. But the real increase, experts say, comes from larger trends: drivers and pedestrians distracted by their phones and a growth of larger vehicles on the road…Compounding that problem are smartphones. Both walkers and drivers use cell data 4,000 percent more than they did in 2008, which means they aren’t watching the roads. Retting said he would like to see autonomous pedestrian sensor technology added to more vehicles. The technology does exist but isn’t widespread, and it won’t be in most cars anytime soon since most vehicles on the road today are at least 10 years old…”
Poynter: “This time of year brings joy and pain to grammar lovers as The Associated Press announces changes to the AP Stylebook at the annual conference for ACES: The Society for Editing. That’s coming Friday. But first, some solace. As of Thursday, people who create a free account at apstylebook.com can search PDFs of stylebooks and guides going back to 1900. The archives include the 1933 guide for filing editors, the 1939 “Wirephoto: Miracle of Modern Newsgathering,” and the first edition of the modern stylebook from 1953…”
Presented by Field Notes: “Every March at The Morning News we present The Tournament of Books, a month-long battle royale among the year’s best novels. But it’s not really a contest. We’re not even sure it’s a “tournament.” What the ToB has been and will be, as long as we’re putting it on, is a month-long conversation about novels and reading and writing and art that takes place on weekdays in March.
Here’s how it works. Throughout the year, we gather, read, and assess the works of fiction we think would make worthy tournament competitors. In December we present our findings in the form of a “long list.” We then cull it to a final shortlist of 16 or so books. (Some years we expand the list beyond the core 16 to include an extra set of two or more books that compete in a pre-tournament play-in match.)
When the Tournament of Books begins in March, each weekday two works of fiction go head to head, with one of our judges deciding which book moves forward in the brackets, according to whatever criteria matters to them. Along the way, the judges reveal their biases and interests, any connections they have to the participating authors, and, most importantly, an elaborate explanation of how they decided between the two books…”
The New York Times – “The tablet itself made it harder for parents and children to engage in the rich back-and-forth turn-taking that was happening in print books,” a researcher said. “In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers at the University of Michigan asked 37 parents to read similar stories to their 2- to 3-year-olds in three different formats (the order was varied for the different families): a print book, a basic electronic book (no bells or whistles) on a tablet, and an enhanced electronic book with animation and/or sound effects (tap a sea gull or a dog and hear the sounds they make). The interactions were videotaped and coded, looking at the number and kinds of verbalizations by parents and by children, at the amount of collaborative reading that went on, and at the general emotional tenor of the interaction Reading print books together generated more verbalizations about the story from parents and from toddlers, more back and forth “dialogic” collaboration…“The tablet itself made it harder for parents and children to engage in the rich back-and-forth turn-taking that was happening in print books,” Dr. Munzer said….” [Note – books, books, books, please keep reading them aloud not only to children, but also to family members, friends, dogs and cats, and even to yourself – reading aloud supports healthy brain function regardless of age.]
The New York Times – There are settings to help you avoid this. Here’s how to use them. [Note – this article includes instructions for both Mac and Windows]
“Whether it’s happened to you or in front of you, many of us are familiar with the screen-share disaster: the accidental exposure of something private…while projecting your screen before a group of colleagues. The only surefire way to avoid this is to do as the lawyers recommend and keep your personal things on your personal devices and your work things on you work computer. Sonia Farber, a partner and founder of Kluk Farber Law, acknowledges that may not be feasible for everyone. “But, to the extent that you can keep some separation of church and state, you should make every effort to do that,” she said. Here’s a checklist of things to do before your next meeting….[Most important in the list is: Remember to minimize or close out of all the personal tabs before sharing your entire screen…”
- The Harvard Library Innovation Lab Embracing change in law and libraries.
- Making the Law Computable The Caselaw Access Project.
- Pausing the Internet How Perma.cc is trying to fix legal citations.
- Sketching the Future Discovering big insights in small ideas.
- Research on Research From the Journals: Empirical data from a survey of law librarians.
- Bill to Eliminate PACER Fees Introduced in Congress In the News: Highlighting key stories about the profession you may have missed.
- Leading Law Libraries Technology sparking access.
…“You’re stepping back from the present moment, and that’s what’s causing that disengagement. You’ve literally put a screen between yourself and the event that you’re trying to record. And it seems like it would take a little bit of time to recover from that attentional disengagement, to get back in the mode of ‘OK, I’m living in the present experience. I’m being present,’” [Julia Soares, researcher at the University of California]…The next time we grab our phones to Snap a scene for our Story, we should remind ourselves that digital documentation can hurt—not help—how we remember our most magical moments. And, while we can rarely choose to avoid social media altogether, we can be judicious about which moments we choose to step back from—because, sometimes, it can be worth it to just exist, live in the moment, and have the story to tell later…”
“Four separate operations responsible for bombarding consumers nationwide with billions of unwanted and illegal robocalls pitching auto warranties, debt-relief services, home security systems, fake charities, and Google search results services have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated the FTC Act and the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), including its Do Not Call (DNC) provisions. The settlements are part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to combat the scourge of illegal robocalls. Under the court orders announced today, the defendants are banned from robocalling and most telemarketing activities, including those using an automatic dialer, and will pay significant financial judgments. The defendant in one of these cases provided the software platform that resulted in more than one billion illegal robocalls.
“We have brought dozens of cases targeting illegal robocalls, and fighting unwanted calls remains one of our highest priorities,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We also have great advice on call-blocking services and how to reduce unwanted calls at www.consumer.FTC.gov.”…
Consumer Data Protection: Consumer reporting agencies are companies that collect, maintain, and sell vast amounts of sensitive data. GAO-19-469T: Published: Mar 26, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2019.
“In 2017, a breach at Equifax, one of the largest companies, compromised at least 145.5 million consumers’ data. “Consumers have little control over what information these companies have, so federal oversight is important—and it could be improved. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn’t routinely consider data security risk when prioritizing its company examinations. This testimony is based on a report in which we recommended improving federal enforcement of data safeguards and oversight of company security practices.”
Management Report: Areas for Improvement in the Federal Reserve Banks’ Information System Controls, GAO-19-304R: Published: Mar 26, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2019. “Every year we audit the federal debt. (As of Sept. 30, 2018, it was a little more than $21.5 trillion). This year our audit found new weaknesses in the security of the information systems that the Treasury Department uses to keep track of and otherwise manage the debt—including one in a Federal Reserve Bank system that Treasury relies on. This new weakness, along with some unresolved earlier ones, could lead to an increased risk of unauthorized access to Federal Reserve Bank systems.”
Data Breaches: Range of Consumer Risks Highlights Limitations of Identity Theft Services, GAO-19-230: Published: Mar 27, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 27, 2019. “Data breaches have exposed the personal data of hundreds of millions of people and put them at risk for identity theft. We looked at what you can do if you’re a victim of a data breach. Identity theft services can be convenient, but they don’t prevent fraud from happening in the first place. There are also some steps you can take on your own for free—such as freezing your credit reports. A freeze prevents the opening of new credit accounts or loans in your name. We’ve previously recommended that Congress reconsider legislation requiring federal agencies to offer high levels of identity theft insurance coverage.”
Senators demand to know why election vendors still sell voting machines with ‘known vulnerabilities’
TechCrunch: “Four senior senators have called on the largest U.S. voting machine makers to explain why they continue to sell devices with “known vulnerabilities,” ahead of upcoming critical elections. The letter, sent Wednesday, calls on election equipment makers ES&S, Dominion Voting and Hart InterCivic to explain why they continue to sell decades-old machines, which the senators say contain security flaws that could undermine the results of elections if exploited.
“The integrity of our elections is directly tied to the machines we vote on,” said the letter sent by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Gary Peters (D-MI), the most senior Democrats on the Rules, Intelligence, Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, respectively. “Despite shouldering such a massive responsibility, there has been a lack of meaningful innovation in the election vendor industry and our democracy is paying the price,” the letter adds. Their primary concern is that the three companies have more than 90 percent of the U.S. election equipment market share but their voting machines lack paper ballots or auditability, making it impossible to know if a vote was accurately counted in the event of a bug. Yet, these are the same devices tens of millions of voters will use in the upcoming 2020 presidential election…”
Sierra Club Magazine: “Birding is a sport for the intrepid—its participants rise at ungodly hours, bundle in layers, and sit silently for hours, all in hopes of seeing a winged animal that may never arrive. But for those who aren’t quite ready to trek outdoors into wintry-remnant weather, or who might be stuck in front of a computer when they wish they weren’t, there’s another, tamer option. Indeed, the miracles of modern webcam and streaming technology have afforded even the lowliest of couch potatoes ample portals into a variety of avian worlds. And the advent of spring means that flocks of migratory birds are en route north from their winter haunts—which means it’s about to be primetime for bird cams. Here are a few to watch in the coming months…”
For Local News, Americans Embrace Digital but Still Want Strong Community Connection 71% of U.S. adults think their local news media are doing well financially; 14% have directly paid a local news source – “The digital era is making its mark on local news. Nearly as many Americans today say they prefer to get their local news online as say they prefer to do so through the television set, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 34,897 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 15-Nov. 8, 2018, on the Center’s American Trends Panel and Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel. The 41% of Americans who say they prefer getting their local news via TV and the 37% who prefer it online far outpace those who prefer a printed newspaper or the radio (13% and 8%, respectively).
Even as the preference for digital delivery creeps up on that for news via TV, local television stations retain a strong hold in the local news ecosystem. They top the list of nine types of local news providers, with 38% of U.S. adults saying they often get news from a local television station. That is followed by 20% who often turn to local radio stations and 17% who rely on local daily newspapers. Next come a range of less traditional sources such as online forums or discussion groups (12%), local organizations such as school groups or churches (8%), and community newsletters or listservs (8%). While individually these less traditional sources garner far smaller audiences than the big three (local TV, daily papers and radio stations), together they add up: 28% of the public often gets news from at least one of the six less traditional providers asked about…”