beSpacific - Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Subscribe to beSpacific - Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002 feed
Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
Updated: 2 hours 45 min ago

State rankings identify cost of electric bills

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 19:16

24/7 Wall St: Where You’ll Pay the Most in Electric Bills – From powering kitchen appliances to leaving a light on at night to getting on the internet, electricity is at the center of many of modern lifeâ€s most basic functions. However, the cost of electricity is not fixed nationwide and running a refrigerator could be up to three times more expensive in one state than another…”

Categories: Law and Legal

NSO Group malware used to hack iPhones stolen by company employee

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 19:08

Motherboard: NSO Group Employee Allegedly Stole Company’s Powerful Spyware for Personal Profit

“NSO Group sells some of the most potent, off-the-shelf malware for remotely breaking into smartphones. Some versions allow a law enforcement or intelligence agency to steal essentially all meaningful data from an iPhone with no interaction from the target. Others just require the victim to click one link in a carefully crafted text message, before giving up their contacts, emails, social media messages, GPS location, and much more. NSO only sells its tools to government agencies, but a newly released, explosive indictment alleges that a company employee stole NSO’s spyware product, dubbed Pegasus, and tried to sell it to non-authorized parties for $50 million worth of cryptocurrency. These capabilities “are estimated at hundreds of millions of [US] dollars,” a translated version of the indictment reads. Several Israeli outlets were the first to report on and upload the indictment. The news shows a danger often highlighted by critics of the malware industry: that hacking tools or exploits typically reserved for law enforcement or intelligence agencies may fall into other hands…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Will Google Duplex AI replace call centers?

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 19:00

Quartz – “The robots on the other side of the customer support line could soon start to sound a lot more human. Google is reportedly shopping its Duplex AI system around as a tool for call centers, according to The Information, including a large insurance company. Duplex would handle simple calls for the insurance company, and if the customer started asking complex questions the bot can’t handle a human would step in, according to the report. However, it’s unlikely that AI research will cease after mastering simple conversations, meaning call centers could one day be largely automated using this technology…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Scientific American – Judge

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 18:55

Scientific American – Judge Orders EPA to Produce Science behind Pruitt’s Warming Claims – The EPA head [who resigned on July 5, 2018] has suggested humans are not the main cause of climate change: “EPA must produce the opposing body of science Administrator Scott Pruitt has relied upon to claim that humans are not the primary drivers of global warming, a federal judge has ruled. The EPA boss has so far resisted attempts to show the science backing up his claims. His critics say such evidence doesn’t exist, even as Pruitt has called for greater science transparency at the agency. Now, a court case may compel him to produce research that attempts to contradict the mountain of peer-reviewed studies collected by the world’s top science agencies over decades that show humans are warming the planet at an unprecedented pace through the burning of fossil fuels…”

See also CNBC- EPA leader Scott Pruitt resigns after scandals engulf his agency

Categories: Law and Legal

The Things They Carried: Items Confiscated From Migrants in the Last Decade

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 18:49

The New York Times: “…For more than a decade, Mr. Kiefer worked as a janitor at the Customs and Border Protection center in Why, Ariz., before leaving in 2014. There, he collected tens of thousands of items that were confiscated and thrown in the trash by Border Patrol agents from undocumented migrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. He began photographing the items in 2007. “I couldn’t leave them,” he said. The result was “El Sueño Americano” (The American Dream), a series of 600 photographs that has been exhibited at museums and galleries and has drawn considerable media attention. In October, more than 100 of those photographs will go on view at Michigan’s Saugatuck Center for the Arts…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How Smart TVs Track More Than What’s On Tonight

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 14:42

The New York Times: How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s on Tonight: “… people’s data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge. …”Samba TV has struck deals with roughly a dozen TV brands — including Sony, Sharp, TCL and Philips — to place its software on certain sets. When people set up their TVs, a screen urges them to enable a service called Samba Interactive TV, saying it recommends shows and provides special offers “by cleverly recognizing onscreen content.” But the screen, which contains the enable button, does not detail how much information Samba TV collects to make those recommendations. Samba TV declined to provide recent statistics, but one of its executives said at the end of 2016 that more than 90 percent of people opted in…Samba TV has struck deals with roughly a dozen TV brands — including Sony, Sharp, TCL and Philips — to place its software on certain sets. When people set up their TVs, a screen urges them to enable a service called Samba Interactive TV, saying it recommends shows and provides special offers “by cleverly recognizing onscreen content.” But the screen, which contains the enable button, does not detail how much information Samba TV collects to make those recommendations…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Which are the world’s 10 most dangerous countries for women?

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 23:36

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – “India was named as the world’s most dangerous country for women in a survey of global experts released on Tuesday. The Thomson Reuters Foundation survey of about 550 experts on women’s issues ranked war-torn Afghanistan and Syria in second and third place, with Somalia and Saudi Arabia next. The survey was a repeat of a similar poll in 2011 which ranked the most dangerous countries for women as Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia. It asked which five of the 193 United Nations member states were most dangerous for women and the worst for healthcare, economic resources, traditional practices, sexual and non-sexual abuse, and human trafficking. Here is the list of the 10 countries ranked as the most dangerous for women by the survey, conducted between March 26 and May 4…

10. UNITED STATES – The only Western nation in the top 10 and joint third with Syria for the risks women face in terms of sexual violence, including rape, sexual harassment, coercion into sex and a lack of access to justice in rape cases. The survey came after the #MeToo campaign went viral last year, with thousands of women using the social media movement to share stories of sexual harassment or abuse.”

Categories: Law and Legal

8 Ideas for Better Court wayfinding

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 23:24

Open Law Lab / Margaret: “For the court user testing I am working on at the Legal Design Lab, we have been testing different ideas to make court process more navigable — getting litigants’feedback and agenda on them. Now, we will turn to a more specific branch of innovation ideas, around how to improve wayfinding in courts. This means navigation of the building, of the process, and of the language and information. I sketched out the top 8 ideas that have emerged from our previous classes and workshops. We will test these 8 ideas with a ranking game in interviews. This will help us know what litigants’ interest in these new “innovations” would be, and also solicit more ideas and refinements from them.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Climate Change Is Making Nighttime Clouds More Visible

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 19:37

Yale Environment 360: “Those wispy, iridescent, high-altitude clouds sometimes seen at dawn and dusk are becoming more visible due to climate change, according to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Rising methane emissions have increased the amount of water vapor in the middle atmosphere, the study found, which then freezes around specks of dust to form the clouds. Humans first observed night-shining, or noctilucent, clouds in 1885, following the eruption of Indonesia’s Krakatoa volcano, according to the American Geophysical Union. The clouds became an increasingly common sight during the 20th century, from being visible once every several decades to being observed several times each summer by people living in mid- to high-latitude regions. Scientists first began debating in the 1990s whether climate change was responsible for the increased visibility. “We speculate that the clouds have always been there, but the chance to see one was very, very poor in historical times,” said Franz-Josef Lübken, a scientist at the Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Germany and lead author of the new study…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Stories From Experts About the Impact of Digital Life

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 19:32

“While many technology experts and scholars have concerns about the social, political and economic fallout from the spread of digital activities, they also tend to report that their own experience of digital life has been positive…Over the years of canvassings by Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, many experts have been anxious about the way people’s online activities can undermine truth, foment distrust, jeopardize individuals’ well-being when it comes to physical and emotional health, enable trolls to weaken democracy and community, compromise human agency as algorithms become embedded in more activities, kill privacy, make institutions less secure, open up larger social divisions as digital divides widen, and wipe out untold numbers of decent-paying jobs. An early-2018 expert canvassing of technology experts, scholars and health specialists on the future of digital life and well-being contained references to some of those concerns. The experts who participated in that research project were also asked to share anecdotes about their own personal experiences with digital life. This report shares those observations…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Lawmakers support union lawsuits against executive orders

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 19:24 “A group of four current and former lawmakers are supporting federal unions’ lawsuits against the trio of executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire federal employee and restricting union activity. The lawmakers — current Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.) and former Reps. William Clay (D-Mo.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa) — filed an amicus brief in support of the unions’ case July 2. Federal unions had filed separate lawsuits that were combined by a district court judge and will be heard in a July 25 hearing…”

Categories: Law and Legal

What’s next for L.A. Times and other questions for the news business

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 18:41

NiemanLab: “How do we respond to tragedy? That question is never far from the work of journalists, and Friday’s Annapolis Capital Gazette assault only made it more intimate, with journalists becoming one with the story they’ve covered time and again. Numerous journalists responded to the murder of five of their own by restating the truths of local journalism. The humorist Dave Barry (“Sorry, I’m not feeling funny today — my heart aches for slain journalists“) captured it as well as anyone:

There are over 1,000 daily newspapers in the United States, most of them covering smaller markets, like Annapolis or West Chester. The people working for these newspapers aren’t seeking fame, and they aren’t pushing political agendas. They’re covering the communities they live in — the city councils, the police and fire departments, the courts, the school boards, the high-school sports teams, the snake that some homeowner found in a toilet. These newspaper people work hard, in relative obscurity, for (it bears repeating) lousy pay. Sometimes, because of the stories they write, they face hostility; sometimes — this happens to many reporters; it happened to me — they are threatened…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Encyclopedia of Women Philosophers

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 18:36

The Encyclopedia of Women Philosophers: A New Web Site Presents the Contributions of Women Philosophers, from Ancient to Modern

“…In the research on which Lombrozo reports, studies found that “the biggest drop in the proportion of women in the philosophy pipeline seems to be from enrollment in an introductory philosophy class to becoming a philosophy major. At Georgia State, for example, women make up about 55 percent of Introduction to Philosophy students but only around 33 percent of philosophy majors.” This may have to do with the fact that “readings on the syllabus were overwhelmingly by men (over 89 percent).” As Georgia State graduate student Morgan Thompson explained at a conference in 2013:

This problem is compounded by the fact that introductory philosophy textbooks have an even worse gender balance; women account for only 6 percent of authors in a number of introductory philosophy textbooks.

Does this disparity reflect an unalterable truth about the history of philosophy? No, and it can very well be remedied. The Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists is working to do that with a new site, the Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts by Women Philosophers. The joint project of Paderborn University’s Ruth Hagengruber and Cleveland State’s Mary Ellen Waithe, this resource aims to introduce “women philosophers who mostly have been omitted from the philosophical canon despite their historical and philosophical influence.” So far, reports Daily Nous, “there are around 100 entries… with more to be added every few months.” [as a philosophy major – this is welcome, but oh so long overdue.]

Categories: Law and Legal

The Cadwalader Cabinet, A Machine Learning Research Platform

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 18:28

Artificial Lawyer recently caught up with Steven Lofchie, a New York partner in the Financial Services Department at top US law firm, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, to hear about the firm’s custom-built legal research and knowledge management platform that leverages machine learning, known as the Cabinet. The Cadwalader Cabinet provides analysis of US financial regulation and the firm has also just announced the release of a new version of its subscription service. It’s a great example of a law firm – and a pioneering partner – taking legal innovation into their own hands and creating something of value for the firm’s lawyers and the clients. Artificial Lawyer asked Lofchie if he could please tell us some more…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Intel Committee Releases Unclassified Summary of Initial Findings on 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 18:28

News release: “Today [July 3, 2018], Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) released the Committee’s unclassified summary of its initial findings on the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russian activities in the 2016 U.S. elections. The Committee finds that the overall judgments issued in the ICA were well-supported and the tradecraft was strong. The course of the Committee’s investigation has shown that the Russian cyber operations were more extensive than the hack of the Democratic National Committee and continued well through the 2016 election.

“The Committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” said Chairman Burr. “The Committee continues its investigation and I am hopeful that this installment of the Committee’s work will soon be followed by additional summaries providing the American people with clarity around Russia’s activities regarding U.S. elections.”

“Our investigation thoroughly reviewed all aspects of the January 2017 ICA, which assessed that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to target our presidential election and to destabilize our democratic institutions,” said Vice Chairman Warner. “As numerous intelligence and national security officials in the Trump administration have since unanimously re-affirmed, the ICA findings were accurate and on point.  The Russian effort was extensive and sophisticated, and its goals were to undermine public faith in the democratic process, to hurt Secretary Clinton and to help Donald Trump.  While our investigation remains ongoing, we have to learn from 2016 and do more to protect ourselves from attacks in 2018 and beyond.”

The summary is the second unclassified installment in the Committee’s report on Russian election activities.   The Committee held a closed door hearing in May to review the ICA on “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections.” Members heard testimony from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan and former Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers, which informed the Committee’s report. You can read a copy of the unclassified summary here.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Reports show bias against women in public safety agencies; men oblivious

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 18:34

Washington Post [paywall]: “Two new reports show how hard it is for women to shoot through Uncle Sam’s glass ceiling, even when they carry guns. Studies by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Justice Department’s inspector general demonstrate that in federal public safety and law enforcement occupations, it’s still a man’s world — and men can be oblivious to the barriers they erect for women. While “the majority of men in our focus groups and interviews told us that they had not previously thought about gender equity or discrimination,” the inspector general’s report said, “many women, especially Criminal Investigators, described their experiences with discrimination and gender bias in a manner that showed how significant and personal this topic was to them.”

This comment from Inspector General Michael Horowitz shows the degree of gender discrepancies: “In 2016, women held over 57 percent of non-Criminal Investigator positions, but they only held 16 percent of Criminal Investigator positions. And during the 6-year period we examined, there were few women leading field offices, field divisions, or districts in the four law enforcement components, and even fewer in headquarters executive positions leading operational units.”

Categories: Law and Legal

The A.C.L.U. vs. Trump: 170 Legal Actions (So Far)

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 18:17

The New York Times: “A lawsuit filed on behalf of families separated at the U.S. border was just the latest defiance against the Trump administration by the civil-liberties group…

On Nov. 9, 2016, millions of voters woke desperate for something that might quell their anxiety that this was the beginning of the end of democracy in America. Overwhelmingly, the place they turned to was the A.C.L.U. Before the election, the A.C.L.U. was largely associated with either free-speech purism (the defense of Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill., in 1977) or leftist subversion of the American government (George Bush famously calling Michael Dukakis a “card-carrying member,” not so subtly equating support of the A.C.L.U. with communist sympathy, during the 1988 presidential campaign). Slightly less cartoonishly, the group has long been seen by those who are vaguely aware of its work as a collective of well-intentioned defenders of the Constitution, running their cases year after year and sending out newsletters to a membership made up largely of aging former hippies. In the 15 months that followed the election, the A.C.L.U.’s membership went from 400,000 to 1.84 million. Online donations in the years before averaged between $3 and $5 million annually. Since then, it has raised just shy of $120 million. “Until Trump,” Romero told me, “most of our support came from people who have been with us since we challenged Nixon. Now we’re kind of cool. Cool’s not a word generally associated with us.”

Categories: Law and Legal

New gov’t data continues to question safety of most US supermarket meat

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 17:56

“This week EWG crunched federal testing data from the Food and Drug Administration, and found that more than three-fourths of American supermarket meat is tainted with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or superbugs. The report was a follow up to a 2013 EWG report, but not much has changed in the past five years. EWG also released a companion tool to the superbug report to help consumers understand claims and labels on meat packaging, such as “antibiotic free.” EWG’s Meat and Dairy Label Decoder allows users to select particular meat or dairy product to see what on-package labels are the most reliable. Speaking of food packaging, rules for the genetically modified foods, or GMO, disclosure law are taking shape. Certain GMO foods, such as highly refined sugars and oils will be exempt from disclosure if the Trump administration gets its way. EWG assessed our Food Scores database and found that over 10,000 products that likely contain GMO ingredients would be exempt from the disclosure requirements with this loophole…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Share of teens with summer jobs has plunged since 2000

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 17:42

“The share of teens with summer jobs has plunged since 2000, and the type of work they do has shifted. As recently as the turn of the 21st century, roughly half of U.S. teens could expect to spend at least part of their summer vacation lifeguarding, dishing up soft-serve ice cream, selling T-shirts or otherwise working. But the share of teens working summer jobs has tumbled since 2000: Despite some recovery since the end of the Great Recession, about a third of teens (35%) had a job last summer. To understand what’s happened to the Great American Summer Job, Pew Research Center looked at the average employment rate (known as the employment-population ratio) for 16- to 19-year-olds in June, July and August. (We used non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for this analysis; teen employment rises sharply in the summer months, typically peaking in July.) From the late 1940s, which is as far back as the data go, through the 1980s, teen summer employment followed a fairly regular pattern: rising during economic good times and falling during and after recessions, but generally fluctuating between 46% (the low, in 1963) and 58% (the peak, in 1978)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Web creator Tim Berners-Lee focuses on fixing the web

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 13:54

Vanity Fair/Hive: “I Was Devastated: Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets. Berners-Lee has seen his creation debased by everything from fake news to mass surveillance. But he’s got a plan to fix it…

“…Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation…

He is now embarking on a third act—determined to fight back through both his celebrity status and, notably, his skill as a coder. In particular, Berners-Lee has, for some time, been working on a new software, Solid, to reclaim the Web from corporations and return it to its democratic roots…”

Categories: Law and Legal