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US-CERT: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released an article on building a digital defense against phishing scams targeting electronically deposited paychecks. In these schemes, scammers use phishing emails to direct employees to fraudulent websites and collect their work credentials. Scammers then use victims’ credentials to replace legitimate direct deposit information with their own account details. NCCIC encourages users to review the FBI Article and NCCIC Tip on Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information. If you believe you have been a victim of these scams, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.” [h/t Pete Weiss]
Via their Twitter feed: “DuckDuckGo fun fact: it took us seven years to reach 10 million private searches in one day, then another two years to hit 20 million, and now less than a year later we’re at 30 million! Thank you all.” [We are the Internet privacy company that lets you take control of your information, without any tradeoffs. Welcome to the Duck Side!]
Federal Reserve Payments Study finds U.S. payments fraud a small but growing fraction of overall payments
Faced with daily barrage of news, college students find it hard to tell what’s real and what’s ‘fake news’
“College students turn to their peers and online versions of trusted newspapers for news at least twice as often as they do to print publications, TV, or podcasts. Those who get their news on social media turn to Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube more often than Twitter. And nine out of ten college students get their news from at least five different sources in a given week. With so many different ways to get news, students face a constant surge that makes it difficult for them to distinguish between what’s real and what’s fake, and in some cases, to trust any news at all, according to a new report from one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of youth media engagement.
“Young people have different ways of consuming news than people born even a decade before them,” said John Wihbey, a Northeastern professor and one of the researchers who conducted the study. “Our report – [How Students Engage With News] suggests that in some ways, we have created for young people an extremely difficult environment of news. We need to figure out ways to guide them so they can navigate it.”
ACLU: “Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right that underpins all our civil liberties. That’s why it is so important to advance reforms to ensure that all eligible U.S. citizens who want to cast a ballot and participate in our elections are able to do so. One of the measures that states and localities can take to promote access to the ballot box and remove hurdles that make it difficult to vote is online voter registration…”
“EFF is introducing a new Coders’ Rights project to connect the work of security research with the fundamental rights of its practitioners throughout the Americas. The project seeks to support the right of free expression that lies at the heart of researchers’ creations and use of computer code to examine computer systems, and relay their discoveries among their peers and to the wider public. To kick off the project, EFF published a whitepaper today, “Protecting Security Researchers’ Rights in the Americas” (PDF), to provide the legal and policy basis for our work, outlining human rights standards that lawmakers, judges, and most particularly the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, should use to protect the fundamental rights of security researchers. We started this project because hackers and security researchers have never been more important to the security of the Internet. By identifying and disclosing vulnerabilities, hackers are able to improve security for every user who depends on information systems for their daily life and work…”
lifehacker: “If the past few years have taught us as a nation nothing, it’s that we all should not only vote, but be informed about what we’re voting about. With all the information out there, figuring out what every item on the ballot means can be a daunting proposition. Vote Save America has created explainers on ballot initiatives on every state which can potentially make that research a tiny bit easier. To check out the ones in your area you just go to the site and enter your address. If you’re a complete newbie to politics, the site will briefly explain what each position people are running for actually does as well. For instance, here’s an explanation for the U.S. House of Representatives…
Where the site really shines is with the ballot initiatives. We have 12 of them on the ballot in California in November covering everything from housing programs to daylight savings time. For each measure, the site gives you a “deep dive” which is actually just a few paragraphs on what the measure actually is and then explains who supports it as well as who opposes it. It also spells out in super simple terms what your yes or no vote means…”
Gizmodo: “When you go into the privacy settings on your browser, there’s a little option there to turn on the “Do Not Track” function, which will send an invisible request on your behalf to all the websites you visit telling them not to track you. A reasonable person might think that enabling it will stop a porn site from keeping track of what she watches, or keep Facebook from collecting the addresses of all the places she visits on the internet, or prevent third-party trackers she’s never heard of from following her from site to site. According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, a quarter of American adults use “Do Not Track” to protect their privacy. (Our own stats at Gizmodo Media Group show that 9% of visitors have it turned on.) We’ve got bad news for those millions of privacy-minded people, though: “Do Not Track” is like spray-on sunscreen, a product that makes you feel safe while doing little to actually protect you.
“Do Not Track,” as it was first imagined a decade ago by consumer advocates, was going to be a “Do Not Call” list for the internet, helping to free people from annoying targeted ads and creepy data collection. But only a handful of sites respect the request, the most prominent of which are Pinterest and Medium. (Pinterest won’t use offsite data to target ads to a visitor who’s elected not to be tracked, while Medium won’t send their data to third parties.) The vast majority of sites, including this one, ignore it…”
Motherboard: A former Slack employee and the company’s current chief information security officer say that Slack’s paying customers aren’t that interested in end-to-end encryption.
“End-to-end encryption—where keys are stored on individual devices by users, meaning only the intended recipients can read message content—is continuing to spread across messaging platforms. But work communication service Slack has decided against the idea of having end-to-end encryption due to the priorities of its paying customers (rather than those who use a free version of the service.) Slack is not a traditional messaging program—it’s designed for businesses and workplaces that may want or need to read employee messages—but the decision still highlights why some platforms may not want to jump into end-to-end encryption. End-to-end is increasingly popular as it can protect communications against from interception and surveillance. “It wasn’t a priority for exec [executives], because it wasn’t something paying customers cared about,” a former Slack employee told Motherboard earlier this year. Motherboard granted the source anonymity to speak about internal company deliberations…”
Washington Post: “Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, the study found, and the forest’s insect-eating animals have gone missing, too. In 2014, an international team of biologists estimated that, in the past 35 years, the abundance of invertebrates such as beetles and bees had decreased by 45 percent. In places where long-term insect data are available, mainly in Europe, insect numbers are plummeting. A study last year showed a 76 percent decrease in flying insects in the past few decades in German nature preserves. The latest report, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that this startling loss of insect abundance extends to the Americas. The study’s authors implicate climate change in the loss of tropical invertebrates.
“This study in PNAS is a real wake-up call — a clarion call — that the phenomenon could be much, much bigger, and across many more ecosystems,” said David Wagner, an expert in invertebrate conservation at the University of Connecticut who was not involved with this research. He added: “This is one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read.”..
The New York Times – One out of every 10 students lived in temporary housing during the last school year. “Tonight, about one out of every 10 students in New York City will sleep in a homeless shelter or in the homes of relatives. That’s more children than at any other time since city records have been kept. In the morning, those same children will fan out across the city to go to school, some crossing multiple boroughs to get there. Last year, the number of city students in temporary housing topped 100,000 for the third consecutive year, according to state data released Monday by Advocates for Children of New York, a group that provides legal and advocacy services for needy students Those students are the most vulnerable victims of homelessness, an issue that has dogged Mayor Bill de Blasio since he took office in 2014. But as the number of homeless children continues to swell, there hasn’t been a significant increase in public or private dollars spent to support these students. Here’s a look at the issue of homelessness in the city’s schools, and what is — and isn’t — being done to reduce it..”
Archer, Deborah N., Political Lawyering for the 21st Century (April 18, 2018). Denver Law Review (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3164868 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3164868
“Legal education purports to prepare the next generation of lawyers capable of tackling the urgent and complex social justice challenges of our time. But law schools are failing in that public promise. Clinical education offers the best opportunity to overcome those failings by teaching the skills lawyers need to tackle systemic and interlocking legal and social problems. But too often even clinical education falls short: it adheres to conventional pedagogical methodologies that are overly narrow and, in the end, limit students’ abilities to manage today’s complex racial and social justice issues. This article contends that clinical education needs to embrace and reimagine political lawyering for the 21st century in order to prepare aspiring lawyers to tackle both new and chronic issues of injustice through a broad array of advocacy strategies.”
“This memorandum provides a brief summary and some preliminary analysis of the Donald J. Trump Administration’s recent proposals to restructure and reform agencies, programs, and operations in the executive branch. Specifically, the memorandum covers the 32 proposals characterized by the Trump Administration as “Government-wide.”The 32 proposals include several sub-proposals, which, when enumerated separately as they are in this memorandum, bring the total to 35. The analysis of each proposal includes, to the extent possible, a discussion of statutes that might be involved in the proposed changes, and whether some changes might be achieved through administrative action. The memorandum includes research and writing of analysts and information professionals from across the Congressional Research Service (CRS)..”
VentureBeat – “Metastatic tumors — cancerous cells which break away from their tissue of origin, travel through the body through the circulatory or lymph systems, and form new tumors in other parts of the body — are notoriously difficult to detect. A 2009 study of 102 breast cancer patients at two Boston health centers found that one in four were affected by the “process of care” failures such as inadequate physical examinations and incomplete diagnostic tests.
That’s one of the reasons that of the half a million deaths worldwide caused by breast cancer, an estimated 90 percent are the result of metastasis. But researchers at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and Google AI, a division within Google dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) research, have developed a promising solution employing cancer-detecting algorithms that autonomously evaluate lymph node biopsies…”
IFLA: “The Marrakesh Treaty entered into force in September 2016, faster than any other international copyright text in the last 40 years. It promises to remove some of the key barriers to access to information by people with print disabilities. Yet the Treaty will only be effective, where it has been incorporated into national law, when libraries and others are using it. Not all librarians feel confident in dealing with copyright law, potentially leaving users without the access they need. This guide, edited by Victoria Owen, and with the welcome support of the World Blind Union, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Electronic Information for Libraries, and the University of Toronto, offers answers to frequently asked questions. It can also be adapted by national actors to their own laws – IFLA encourages this, in order to get the largest possible number of libraries involved.”
The guide is available in the following languages:
“…In fact, electronic surveillance of employees, through technologies including not just video cameras but also monitoring software, has grown rapidly across all industries. Randolph Lewis, a professor of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Under Surveillance, Being Watched in Modern America, pointed to software that makes it possible for employers to monitor employee facial expressions and tone of voice to gauge their emotional states, such as rage or frustration. Among more conventional surveillance methods, employers can track employees’ website visits, and keep tabs on their employees’ keystrokes. Employers can also monitor employees’ personal blogs, and read their social-networking profiles. In one case in California, a sales executive at a money-transfer firm sued her employer, claiming she had been fired for disabling an app that used employer-issued cell phones to track workers via GPS, even when they were off the clock. (The suit was later settled out of court.) The proliferation of surveillance is due, at least in part, to the rising sophistication and declining cost of spy technology: Employers monitor workers because they can. Michel Anteby, a Boston University sociologist and business scholar who has watched how monitoring impacts employees at the TSA and other workplaces, has also noticed that the more employees are surveyed, the harder they try to avoid being watched, and the harder management tries to watch them. “Most TSA workers we observed do everything possible to stay under the radar, to essentially disappear,” he said. “They try to never speak up, never stick out, do nothing that might get noticed by management,” he said. “This leads to a vicious cycle, whereby management grows more suspicious and feels justified in ratcheting up the surveillance.”
Perhaps the most common argument for surveillance—one often deployed by firms that make employee-monitoring products—is that it can make workers more productive. Purveyors of monitoring software claim they can help managers reduce the number of wasted hours and ensure that employees make better use of their time…The proposition that job performance improves when employees are monitored, and thereby theoretically deprived of the opportunity to steal, is not a hopeful one…”
The New York Times: “Mary Midgley, a leading British moral philosopher who became an accessible, persistent and sometimes witty critic of the view that modern science should be the sole arbiter of reality, died on Wednesday, less than three weeks after her last book was published, in Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne. She was 99. Her death was confirmed by Ian Ground, who teaches philosophy at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, where Dr. Midgley taught for many years. Dr. Midgley wrote more than a dozen books for a general audience, beginning when she was in her late 50s and continuing well into her 90s. Her last book, “What Is Philosophy For?,” was published by Bloomsbury Academic on Sept. 20.
“Not many authors can be known to publish a book in their 100th year,” the publisher said in a statement, adding, “Its quality and remarkable insights do not fall short of the brilliant mind that penned it.” The biologist Stephen Rose, writing in The Times Literary Supplement in 1992, called Dr. Midgley “a philosopher with what many have come to admire, and some to fear, as one of the sharpest critical pens in the West.” Andrew Brown, writing in The Guardian in 1981, called her “the foremost scourge of scientific pretension in this country.”..
The Economist – After a year of #MeToo, American opinion has shifted against victims – Survey respondents have become more sceptical about sexual harassment: “… #MeToo…resonated most on social media, as millions of women shared their experiences of abuse, intimidation and discrimination. In the past 12 months, the hashtag has been tweeted 18m times according to Keyhole, a social-media analytics company. The phrase has come to encapsulate the idea of sexual misconduct and assault. In recent months American journalists have used the hashtag in their articles more frequently than they have mentioned “sexual harassment”, according to Meltwater, a media analytics company. Yet surveys suggest that this year-long storm of allegations, confessions and firings has actually made Americans more sceptical about sexual harassment. In the first week of November 2017, YouGov polled 1,500 Americans about their attitudes on the matter, on behalf of The Economist. In the final week of September 2018, it conducted a similar poll again. When it came to questions about the consequences of sexual assault and misconduct, there was a small but clear shift against victims…”
“Early this summer, at the height of the family separation crisis – where children were being forcibly separated from their parents at our nation’s border – a team of scholars pooled their skills to address the issue. The group of researchers – from a variety of humanities departments at multiple universities – spent a week of non-stop work mapping the immigration detention network that spans the United States. They named the project “Torn Apart/Separados” and published it online, to support the efforts of locating and reuniting the separated children with their parents.
The project utilizes the methods of the digital humanities, an emerging discipline that applies computational tools to fields within the humanities, like literature and history. It was led by members of Columbia University’s Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities, which had previously used methods such as rapid deployment to responded to natural disasters.
The group has since expanded the project, publishing a second volume that focuses on the $5 billion immigration industry, based largely on public data about companies that contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The visualizations highlight the astounding growth in investment of ICE infrastructure (from $475 million 2014 to $5.1 billion in 2018), as well as who benefits from these contracts, and how the money is spent.
Storybench spoke with Columbia University’s Alex Gil, who worked on both phases of the project, about the process of building “Torn Apart/Separados,” about the design and messaging choices that were made and the ways in which methods of the digital humanities can cross pollinate with those of journalism…”
“Last month, The Marshall Project published a piece about arrests for subway turnstile jumping in New York City by interactive reporter Anna Flagg and former reporting intern Ashley Nerbovig. They found that, while the number of arrests for turnstile jumping has fallen since 2014, the racial makeup of those arrested has remained steady. This year, 89 percent of people arrested for turnstile jumping in NYC have been black or Hispanic.
The piece opens with two adjacent maps, one showing the NYC precincts with the highest rates of arrests for turnstile jumping per subway card swipe and the other showing the city’s neighborhoods with largely black and Hispanic residents. Lower down in the story, a single map overlays those two data sets, highlighting how the majority of these arrests occur in the city’s neighborhoods of color. The visualization drives home the close tie between a neighborhood’s racial makeup and how strictly the subways are policed.