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Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
Updated: 2 hours 47 min ago

Voters More Focused on Control of Congress and the President Than in Past Midterms

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 22:24

“GOP leads on economy, Democrats on health care, immigration – The congressional elections are more than four months away, but voter engagement is high when compared with comparable points in previous midterm cycles. And a record share of registered voters (68%) say the issue of which party controls Congress will be a factor in their vote in November. Compared with recent midterms, more voters also say their view of the president – positive or negative – will influence their vote for Congress. A 60% majority say they consider their midterm vote as essentially a vote either for Donald Trump (26%) or against him (34%). These are among the highest shares saying their view of the president would be a factor in their vote in any midterm in more than three decades. In early voting intentions, 48% of registered voters say they would favor the Democratic candidate in their district, or lean toward the Democrat, while 43% favor the Republican or lean Republican. The new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 5-12 among 2,002 adults, including 1,608 registered voters, finds that, unlike in recent midterms, voter engagement is high among members of both parties. Overall, 51% of registered voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, the largest share expressing increased enthusiasm about voting in a congressional election in at least 20 years. A majority of voters who favor the Democratic candidate in their district (55%) say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, up sharply from 2010 and 2014. At about this point in 2006, when Democrats won majorities in both the House and Senate, somewhat fewer voters who backed the Democratic candidate (47%) said they were more enthusiastic about voting…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Supreme Court Says Fourth Amendment Applies to Cell Phone Tracking

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 22:11

EFF: “The Supreme Court handed down a landmark opinion today in Carpenter v. United States, ruling 5-4 that the Fourth Amendment protects cell phone location information. In an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court recognized that location information, collected by cell providers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, creates a “detailed chronicle of a person’s physical presence compiled every day, every moment over years.” As a result, police must now get a warrant before obtaining this data. This is a major victory. Cell phones are essential to modern life, but the way that cell phones operate—by constantly connecting to cell towers to exchange data—makes it possible for cell providers to collect information on everywhere that each phone—and by extension, each phone’s owner—has been for years in the past. As the Court noted, not only does access to this kind of information allow the government to achieve “near perfect surveillance, as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone’s user,” but, because phone companies collect it for every device, the “police need not even know in advance whether they want to follow a particular individual, or when.”

…in Carpenter, Justice Roberts rejected the government’s reliance on the Third Party Doctrine, writing that there is a “world of difference between the limited types of personal information addressed in” prior Supreme Court cases and “the exhaustive chronicle of location information casually collected by wireless carriers today.” The Court also explained that cell phone location information “is not truly ‘shared’ as one normally understands the term,” particularly because a phone “logs a cell-site record by dint of its operation, without any affirmative act on the part of the user beyond powering up.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues for June 2018

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 22:06

Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health/medical, to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways our privacy and security is diminished, often without our situational awareness.

Categories: Law and Legal

Methodology for measuring media bias using a defined taxonomy

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 20:06

Vanessa’s blog, All Generalizations are False – Home of the Media Bias Chart: Part 2 of 4: Why Measuring Political Bias is So Hard, and How We Can Do It Anyway: The Media Bias Chart Horizontal Axis

How to Define Political Bias in a Meaningful, Useful Way – In part one of this series I laid out some problems with existing ways of measuring bias and outlined a proposed new methodology for rating such bias in news sources within a defined taxonomy (the horizontal axis of the Media Bias Chart). In this post, I’ll first define what the terms “partisanship” and “political bias” in this taxonomy (“partisanship” and “political bias” are used somewhat interchangeably here, though they are distinguishable in some aspects). More specifically, I’ll define what the concepts of “liberal,” neutral/center,” and “conservative” mean within the scope of this chart, and the reasoning behind these definitions. Then, I’ll discuss what the horizontal categories on the chart represent. For clarity, let’s go one step further back and specify that what “political/partisan” bias even means. Here, I refer to the preference for policy positions that are available for individual people to have on particular topics that are subject to legislation by government. I am not referring to individual people themselves as left- or right-biased. In other words, the definitions are topic-focused, not people-focused. For example, I will define policy positions, such as “taxes should be higher/the same/lower on wealthy people” as liberal/centrist/conservative, rather than define individual people, like journalists or politicians, as themselves being liberal/centrist/conservative. Regarding the answer to the questions of what “liberal,” “centrist,” and “conservative” (hereinafter referred to as simply “liberal/conservative” or “left/right”) policy positions are, this is difficult to answer because 1) what is considered liberal or conservative is a moving target over time, 2) there isn’t necessarily a “center” on each topic, and 3) some people will always disagree on the definitions I or anyone else may come up with….”

Categories: Law and Legal

Meet Benny the dog Washington’s newest weapon in fight against illegal wildlife trafficking

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 19:58

Seattle Times – As a major port state, Washington is a thoroughfare for animal shipments both legal and illegal. Now it has an enthusiastic, four-legged weapon against smugglers.

“Illegal wildlife trafficking is the fourth largest transnational organized crime in the world, and the U.S. is a prominent consumer in the black market of wildlife trade, according to the Department of State. As a major port state, Washington annually sees approximately 5,000 wildlife shipments, both legal and illegal, according to John Goldman, who supervises U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors in the Pacific Northwest. Goldman said he has seen a surge in illegally trafficked animal products used in “higher-quality” traditional Asian medicine, including protected species of sea horses, pangolin scales, bear gallbladders and pills and plasters made with leopard… The federal wildlife inspection program relies on support from Customs and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife — and now, Benny’s well-trained nose. The two-year-old dog stands tall as he sniffs up a stack of crates, before he dashes off to the next potential treasure site. Following Wendt’s hand, Benny weaves through pallets stacked with goods in a fraction of the time that it would take officers to go through the shipments. When Benny hits on something, he pauses to give a more thorough sniff — as if to double- and triple-check — before sitting down to indicate a discovery to Wendt. Sometimes, however, Benny struggles to control his excitement. “He’s a Lab, so he wants to put his mouth on everything,” Wendt said. Wendt found Benny at a shelter in May 2017, and evaluated him as having a good foundation for a detection dog. [Thank you Department of Fish & Wildlife Detective Lauren Wendt and Benny]

Categories: Law and Legal

The Facts – DHS Data – Illegal border crossings small share of otherwise legal entries

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 19:29

Washington Post: “President Trump this weekend lamented what he characterized as an invasion of undocumented immigrants that is “very unfair to all of those people who have gone through the system legally and are waiting on line for years.” But illegal border crossings represent a relatively small share of the number of people who enter the country, legally or otherwise, in any given year, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s data. A September 2017 Office of Immigration Statistics data brief estimated that in fiscal year 2016, the latest year for which complete data is available, there were 170,000 successful illegal border crossings occurring outside of authorized ports of entry. That’s down roughly 90 percent since 2000, and it’s about one-seventh of the roughly 1.2 million immigrants who obtained lawful permanent resident status via a green card, according to the Department of Homeland Security…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 19:07

This data provides a window into how people are interacting with the government online. The data comes from a unified Google Analytics account for U.S. federal government agencies known as the Digital Analytics Program. This program helps government agencies understand how people find, access, and use government services online. The program does not track individuals, and anonymizes the IP addresses of visitors. Not every government website is represented in this data. Currently, the Digital Analytics Program collects web traffic from around 400 executive branch government domains, across about 5,700 total websites, including every cabinet department. We continue to pursue and add more sites frequently; to add your site, email the Digital Analytics Program. This open source project is in the public domain, which means that this website and its data are free for you to use without restriction. You can find the code for this website and the code behind the data collection on GitHub. We plan to expand the data made available here. If you have any suggestions, or spot any issues or bugs, please open an issue on GitHub or contact the Digital Analytics Program.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Paper – Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 19:04

The Library of Congress: “This report surveys the legal and policy landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies around the world. While not dissimilar in form to the 2014 Law Library of Congress report on the same subject, which covered forty foreign jurisdictions and the European Union, this report is significantly more comprehensive, covering 130 countries as well as some regional organizations that have issued laws or policies on the subject. This expansive growth is primarily attributable to the fact that over the past four years cryptocurrencies have become ubiquitous, prompting more national and regional authorities to grapple with their regulation. The resulting availability of a broader set of information regarding how various jurisdictions are handling the fast-growing cryptocurrency market makes it possible to identify emerging patterns, some of which are described below. The country surveys are also organized regionally to allow for region-specific comparison Regulation of Cryptocurrency Around the World, surveys the legal and policy landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies around the world. This report covers 130 countries as well as some regional organizations that have issued laws or policies on the subject. The past four years have seen cryptocurrencies become ubiquitous, prompting more national and regional authorities to grapple with their regulation. The expansive growth of cryptocurrencies makes it possible to identify emerging patterns.”

Full Report (PDF, 1.4MB)
Map: Legal Status of Cryptocurrencies (PDF, 404KB)
Map: Regulatory Framework for Cryptocurrencies (PDF, 696KB)
Map: Countries that Have or Are Issuing National or Regional Cryptocurrencies (PDF, 638KB)

Please also se Regulation of Cryptocurrency for more detailed reports on Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Gibraltar, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jersey, Mexico, and Switzerland.”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Intercept reports – The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:56

The Wiretap Rooms: “The secrets are hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.

The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it “has access to information that transits the nation,” but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Are you a Future Ready Librarian?

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:53

eSchoolNews – Mark Ray: “For 20 years, I was a teacher librarian and worked in elementary, middle, and high school libraries. In 2012, I was selected as Washington State Teacher of the Year. And for the last five years, I’ve been a district administrator, including almost two years as chief digital officer overseeing IT and educational technology operations for a district of nearly 24,000 students. To some, I represent the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse—a librarian in charge of IT. In 2013, I was asked to be part of Project Connect, a Follett School Solutions initiative exploring the role of school libraries and librarians in 21st-century schools. That pioneering work led to Future Ready Librarians, an extension of the national Future Ready Schools initiative at the Alliance for Excellent Education. In my 2016 TEDx talk, I explore both the past and future of school librarianship, challenging educators to see librarians as innovative leaders in 21st-century schools. Despite seeing glasses as half-full, I will acknowledge that not all school librarians are Future Ready. And yet Future Ready Librarians are essential leaders and educators in 21st-century schools. They offer students, teachers, and administrators an inimitable combination of skills and abilities. In Vancouver (WA) Public Schools (VPS), we enable and empower Future Ready Librarians. Speaking both as a librarian and a district leader, here are a few lessons learned along the way…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Visualizing Data Without Coding

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:44

Center for Data Innovation: “MIT Media Lab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has published a free data visualization and exploration tool called DIVE that allows users to create visualizations without knowing how to code. Users can select fields in their data they want to visualize and DIVE recommends visualizations relevant to their dataset, which users can aggregate to create visual narratives. Additionally, users can do statistical analysis, such as regressions, in DIVE to explore relationships between variables.”

Categories: Law and Legal

New on LLRX – A commentary – My Non Life

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 22:17

Via LLRXMy Non Life – Zena Applebaum, Corporate Strategy, Competitive Intelligence, Legal Industry Professional speaks directly to all the professionals who serve their respective organizations with many faceted skills and mission critical expertise, delivering transparent and accountable value to internal and external customers, all while shouldering the designation of a “non-lawyer.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Fake News, Lies, and Propaganda: The Class

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 13:29

“The slides for the University of MichiganLOEX 2018 session entitled Fake News, Lies, and a For-credit Class: Lessons Learned from Teaching a 7-Week Fake News Undergraduate Library Course are here. An open Canvas version of the course is available as well. Look for a Canvas version of the course in the Commons if you are a Canvas campus. The assignments in the Canvas Commons course take advantage of the integration of Google Drive and Canvas on our campus. See the assignment materials below if the Canvas assignments are unavailable to you. A machine-readable version of the syllabus is available. A PDF of the syllabus is also available. Finally, the materials below include the lesson plans, slides, and homework assignments for each of the 7 weeks of the course. You can find the course proposal here.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Public Release of CRS Reports: FAQ for Congressional Staff

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 13:04

Via FAS – CRS announcement, June 22, 2018: “On March 23, 2018, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 was signed into law. The law directed the Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, to establish and maintain a public website that will contain written CRS products available on In response, the Library and CRS immediately started work to ensure products required under this new law will be available at launch by Sept. 18, 2018. They also initiated planning to make additional written products available as expeditiously as possible. The Library of Congress and CRS are committed to implementing this publication directive while maintaining a consistent and high-level of service to Congress. The law does not change the mission or focus of CRS. The law does not affect the confidentiality of congressional requests or responses (such as confidential memoranda). It does not allow congressional requests or confidential responses to be made available to the public. All CRS reports will continue to be written for a congressional audience and focused on the needs of Congress. More details will be added as planning progresses. For more information, please contact the CRS Congressional Programs and Communications Office.

What will the site look like and what content will it include? The Library plans to make the collection of CRS reports publicly available on the official website for U.S. federal legislative information, ( The website will employ a simple, Google-like search and will include options for viewing all reports and bulk download. The search results page will look similar to’s search results page and feature the same search sorting, filter by category, and display mechanisms. For the initial public release, the Library will make available in PDF format all of CRS’s R-series of “active” reports that were published since the enactment date, as well as the Appropriations Status Table. The publication directive specifically mandates that the public website is to be “updated contemporaneously, automatically, and electronically, to include each new or updated CRS report released on or after” the date on which the Library makes the website available for public access. The Library and CRS will ensure that every CRS report that is published or updated once the public website is active will be so included. The Library and CRS are additionally committed to presenting the full inventory of reports appearing on on the public website as soon as is practicable (with a full migration targeted for completion by spring 2019). After the R-series reports are published, the Library will work to make other written products, such as In Focus products, available…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Trump Refuses to Release Data on Immigration Crackdown

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 12:53

Bloomberg: ICE’s disappearing records make it difficult to examine whether reality meets the president’s rhetoric.

“Five days into his presidency, Donald Trump took aim at illegal immigration with executive orders signaling a new era of heavy enforcement. Not only did he threaten to go after undocumented immigrants, many of whom he labeled violent criminals, he also vowed to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that thwart the federal government’s attempts to round up people who are in the U.S. illegally. The promised to put out weekly updates that would include information on localities that release immigration violators and the criminal records of those released. The first reports were filled with inaccuracies and in several instances called out counties for not cooperating with detainer, or detention, requests that were actually sent to other places with similar names. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency had to issue a list of corrections, and soon it simply stopped putting out the reports. For the past 18 months, ICE has also refused to release other key data about its enforcement activity that had been routinely available.

This disappearing data is at the heart of two lawsuits brought against ICE by the (TRAC), a small research group at Syracuse University. As of January 2017, ICE stopped handing over records it had provided under the Freedom of Information Act for years, including any details about how effective Trump’s crackdown has been. If ICE prevails in court, it could give other agencies a legal rationale to deny public access to the vast cache of government data now kept in electronic databases.”

See also: ICE Online Detainee Locator System – Use this page to locate a detainee who is currently in ICE custody. Online Detainee Locator System cannot search for records of persons under the age of 18.

Categories: Law and Legal

ICE Online Detainee Locator System

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 12:38

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement database – Online Detainee Locator System – Search Page

Use this page to locate a detainee who is currently in ICE custody. Online Detainee Locator System cannot search for records of persons under the age of 18.

“Fact Sheet: Zero-Tolerance Prosecution and Family Reunification Release Date: June 23, 2018 – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have a process established to ensure that family members know the location of their children and have regular communication after separation to ensure that those adults who are subject to removal are reunited with their children for the purposes of removal. The United States government knows the location of all children in its custody and is working to reunite them with their families.

As part of the apprehension, detention and prosecution process, illegal aliens, adults and children, are initially detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before the children are sent to HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and parents to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. Each entity plays a role in reunification. This process is well coordinated…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Will the European Big Deal Scholarly Packages Contagion Spread to North America?

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 12:29

The Scholarly Kitchen: “Today, in looking at the scholarly publishing sector, equity markets are focused on the European national-level consortial negotiations. If analysts are not surprised at the strong rhetoric about cancelling Big Deal packages that has emerged from the university sectors, they are troubled to see entire nations actually canceling their licenses. They have watched publishing revenue from a major country like Germany disappear all at once from one major publisher’s income statement. And they want to know whether this “contagion” will spread to North America. My view is that, while the germs are circulating, at least in the near term, publishers are unlikely to face a global pandemic…It is always risky to try to judge a negotiation from the outside, especially while it is in progress. That said, there are key elements of the European dynamics that are not in dispute. The European countries and consortia that have received attention in recent months for canceling their Big Deal agreements — including the Deal Projekt in Germany, Couperin in France, and Bibsam in Sweden — share certain key elements.

  • First, they are all looking for various kinds of open access (OA) Big Deals, flipping from a pay to read model, to an increasing or exclusively pay to publish model. Richard Poynder has some of the best coverage to date of these deals, finding several of them strategically troubling from the academic sector perspective. More on these models in a future post.
  • Second, they are national-level consortia, and some, as in the case of Germany’s Deal, claim to speak with a single voice for the entire university sector in a given country.
  • Third, they are taking a stronger negotiating posture than we have seen before, driven in part by the strong negotiating approach for which Germany is widely regarded and its ability to capture the attention of university presidents, who in turn provide a degree of political cover beyond what a library might find possible…
  • My answer is that, regardless of what may happen in Europe, the dynamics in the United States are likely to be quite a bit different. This is not to say that North America is a safe haven for commercial scholarly publishing revenues. Not at all. Broadly speaking, it seems increasingly evident to me that the value of traditional publishing activities, certainly as captured through subscriptions, has plateaued. Downward pressure on publisher revenues is the natural result…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Underpaid and exhausted: the human cost of your Kindle

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 11:40

The Guardian: “In the Chinese city of Hengyang, we find a fatigued, disposable workforce assembling gadgets for Amazon, owned by the world’s richest man…The Foxconn factory in Hengyang relies on the tried and tested formula of low wages and long hours. But here there is another element: the extensive use of agency workers who don’t have the security of a regular job…Dozens of workers are arriving, casually dressed in jeans and T-shirts. Most are young and there is a good mixture of women and men. Ahead of them lies a 60-hour week, eight regular hours for five days, plus two more of overtime each day and another 10 on Saturday. They will be expected to hit tough targets and must ask permission to use the toilets. The overtime – up to 80 hours a month – is far in excess of the 36 hours stipulated in Chinese labour laws, but companies can and do seek exemptions and workers want the overtime, to boost their basic pay. These are the people who are making the smart speakers and tablets that Amazon hopes to make a fixture in millions more homes around the world this year: the Echo and Echo Dot – which both spring to life when the user addresses them as Alexa – and the Kindles.

These employees – known as dispatch workers in China – are hired in from labour companies as an off-the-shelf workforce. They are generally slightly better-paid than permanent members of staff, but they get no sick pay or holiday pay and can be laid off without any pay at all during quiet months when production drops off. In some ways they resemble the Amazon products they are making: wanted one day and discarded the next.”

Categories: Law and Legal

This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 11:33

New York Magazine:A ten-kiloton bomb would be seven feet long and weigh about 1,000 pounds. It would be simple to transport such a device aboard a container ship, just another unseen object in a giant metal box among millions of other metal boxes on the ocean. A moderate amount of shielding would be enough to hide its radioactive signature from most detectors at shipping hubs.”

Categories: Law and Legal

NYT: ‘Firefox Is Back. It’s Time to Give It a Try.’

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 10:45

As a decade long user of Firefox I am not sure why users have been so averse to dropping Chrome – perhaps this New York Times review will help you make the switch now: “Tech Review: After testing Firefox for the last three months, I found it to be on a par with Chrome in most categories. In the end, Firefox’s thoughtful privacy features persuaded me to make the switch and make it my primary browser…The web has reached a new low. It has become an annoying, often toxic and occasionally unsafe place to hang out. More important, it has become an unfair trade: You give up your privacy online, and what you get in return are somewhat convenient services and hyper-targeted ads….That is why it may be time to try a different browser. Remember Firefox? The browser, made by the nonprofit Mozilla, emerged in the early 2000s as a faster, better designed vessel to surf the web. But it became irrelevant after Google in 2008 released Chrome, a faster, more secure and versatile browser. Mozilla recently hit the reset button on Firefox. About two years ago, six Mozilla employees were huddled around a bonfire one night in Santa Cruz, California, when they began discussing the state of web browsers. Eventually, they concluded there was a “crisis of confidence” in the web…Mozilla released a new version late last year, code-named Quantum. It is sleekly designed and fast; Mozilla said the revamped Firefox consumes less memory than the competition, meaning you can fire up lots of tabs and browsing will still feel buttery smooth. Most notably, Firefox now offers privacy tools, like a built-in feature for blocking ad trackers and a “container” that can be installed to prevent Facebook from monitoring your activities across the web. Most other browsers don’t include those features…”

While both Chrome and Firefox have tough security (including sandboxing), Cooper Quintin, a security researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, tells the Times that Google “is fundamentally an advertising company, so it’s unlikely that they will ever have a business interest in making Chrome more privacy friendly.”

Categories: Law and Legal