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The fight between Georgia and Malamud has actually been going on since 2013, when he first sent thumb drives with the annotated law to the House of Representatives. Malamud holds that the government should not charge its people for laws that constitutionally belong to them. “It goes back to Magna Carta … it’s a longstanding principle. It’s fundamental to the way our democracy works,” he told Courthouse News in 2015. “However, there’s a large part of federal and state law that isn’t readily available to the public and costs money to access.”
MIT Technology Review: “..a new digital forensics technique promises to protect President Trump, other world leaders, and celebrities against such deepfakes—for the time being, at least. The new method uses machine learning to analyze a specific individual’s style of speech and movement, what the researchers call a “softbiometric signature.” The researchers, from UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California, used an existing tool to extract the face and head movements of individuals. They also created their own deepfakes for Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Hillary Clinton using generative adversarial networks…The research, which was presented at a computer vision conference in California this week, was funded by Google and DARPA, a research wing of the Pentagon. DARPA is funding a program to devise better detection techniques…
The problem facing world leaders (and everyone else) is that it has become ridiculously simple to generate video forgeries with artificial intelligence. False news reports, bogus social-media accounts, and doctored videos have already undermined political news coverage and discourse. Politicians are especially concerned that fake media could be used to sow misinformation during the 2020 presidential election…”
New York Times – “The voice is instantly, almost violently recognizable — aloof, amused and melancholy. The metaphors are sparse and ordinary; the language plain, but every word load-bearing. Short sentences detonate into scenes of shocking cruelty. Even in middling translations, it is a style that cannot be subsumed; Natalia Ginzburg can only sound like herself. Ginzburg died in 1991, celebrated as one of the great Italian writers. Her work is making its way again into the Anglophone world, encouraged, perhaps, by the popularity of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. Ginzburg’s 1963 autobiographical novel, “Family Lexicon,” was published in an agile new translation by Jenny McPhee two years ago, and two other works of fiction, “The Dry Heart” and “Happiness, as Such,” have just been reissued, one in a new translation. The family was her great obsession; it is “where everything starts,” she once said, “where the germs grow.” The families in these newly available books are petri dishes of fizzing dysfunction…”
Vox – “Amazon has a counterfeit book problem. But it isn’t really a problem for Amazon itself, reporter David Streitfeld argued in an investigation published in the New York Times on Sunday. In fact, publishers and authors whose books are photocopied or otherwise plagiarized just come to rely on Amazon even more. Streitfeld starts by telling the story of the small, Sperryville, Virginia-based medical handbook publisher Antimicrobial Therapy. The company is best known for a book called The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy, which is extremely popular, is commonly used by doctors to prescribe various drugs, and has been ripped off by counterfeiters regularly for the past two years, the Times reports. (This particular scam is actively dangerous, since photocopied versions of the book often smudge numbers in recommended dosages.) Antimicrobial Therapy’s vice president Scott Kelly told the Times that his company found out about the problem via Amazon reviews (customers wrote things like “Several pages smudged and unable to read”), and started test-purchasing copies of the book via Amazon and third-party sellers. At least 30 of those 34 books turned out to be counterfeit, and Kelly connected the dots between these knockoffs and a “downward spike” in sales in 2018. “My estimate is that approximately 15 to 25 percent of our sales were taken away by counterfeiting,” he told the Times. “We’re talking thousands of books.”..”
Institute for Public Relations -“Sixty-three percent of Americans view disinformation—or deliberately misleading or biased information—as a “major” problem in society, on par with gun violence (63%) and terrorism (66%), according to the 2019 Institute for Public Relations Disinformation in Society Report. The 2019 IPR Disinformation in Society Report surveyed 2,200 adults with Morning Consult to determine the prevalence of disinformation, who is responsible for sharing disinformation, the level of trust in different information sources, and the parties responsible for combatting disinformation. “One surprising finding was how significant of a problem both Republicans and Democrats rated disinformation,” said Dr. Tina McCorkindale, APR, President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations. “Unfortunately, only a few organizations outside of the media literacy and news space devote resources to help fix it, including many of the perceived culprits for spreading disinformation.”
More than half (51%) of respondents said they encounter disinformation at least once a day, while 78% said they see it once a week. Four in five adults (80%) said they are confident in their ability to recognize false news and information. Additionally, nearly half of Americans (47%) said they “often” or “always” go to other sources to see if news and information are accurate. Sixty-three percent of Americans view disinformation—or deliberately misleading or biased information—as a “major” problem in society, on par with gun violence (63%) and terrorism (66%), according to the 2019 Institute for Public Relations Disinformation in Society Report…”
Download the full report: 2019 IPR Disinformation in Society – Full Report
Download the press release: Disinformation in Society – Press Release
Download the slides: 2019 IPR Disinformation in Society Report – Shareable Slides
Download social graphics: False News is a Problem, President Trump Key Findings and Disinformation Culprits
gizmodo – “Thanks to the internet and all the apps and services that run on top of it, we can now ping someone on the other side of the world instantly—but that person doesn’t necessarily want to hear from you in the middle of the night. The same goes for social media sharing, because the time when inspiration strikes may not be the best time for sharing. Enter the magic of scheduling: Scheduling emails, instant messages, texts, and social media posts. You’ve now got a choice of native tools and add-ons for this, which means you don’t need to wake up your boss in the middle of the night or distract your friends in the middle of the working day…”
New via LLRX – Elder Resources on the Internet 2019 – The current estimated U.S. population 65 and older has reached a new milestone: 53,710,125 and growing daily. To provide come context to this number, “50 million seniors is more than the population of 25 states combined…” By 2030, the estimated population of those over 65 will be 70 million. This timely guide by Marcus Zillman identifies a range of online resources on aging, assisted living, senior health care and senior legal issues, as well as information on retirement.
A Washington Post video story – This is how Google’s Chrome lets the cookies track you, imagined in real life – “Chrome has become like spyware for the company, allowing more tracker cookies than any other browser. The Post’s Geoffrey A. Fowler imagines how that might feel in real life, and gives advice for more privacy-conscious web browsing…”
Medium – The Best Machine Learning Resources – “A compendium of resources for crafting a curriculum on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer – “You open your browser to look at the Web. Do you know who is looking back at you? Over a recent week of Web surfing, I peered under the hood of Google Chrome and found it brought along a few thousand friends. Shopping, news and even government sites quietly tagged my browser to let ad and data companies ride shotgun while I clicked around the Web. This was made possible by the Web’s biggest snoop of all: Google. Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software. [emphasis added] Lately I’ve been investigating the secret life of my data, running experiments to see what technology really gets up to under the cover of privacy policies that nobody reads. It turns out, having the world’s biggest advertising company make the most popular Web browser was about as smart as letting kids run a candy shop.
It made me decide to ditch Chrome for a new version of nonprofit Mozilla’s Firefox, which has default privacy protections. Switching involved less inconvenience than you might imagine. My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality. Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private. I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service’s log-in pages. And that’s not the half of it….” [Note – one more time – Switch to Firefox and DuckDuckGo – and close out of Chrome and Gmail when you are using another browser!]…”
ABAJournal: “Parsing 6.7 million federal and state cases and 12 billion words, a new tool allows the public to explore the use of language over 360 years of caselaw. Released [June 19, 2019], “Historical Trends” was built by the Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab and is free to use. “I think it’s a good example of a research tool that we can offer that the commercial providers have never been inclined to explore,” says Adam Ziegler, director of the Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab.
The tool allows a user to explore the use of language in caselaw dating back to the colonial period. A user can track the historical utilization of a word like “privacy,” which was fairly dormant during the 19th and early 20th centuries before receiving much more attention in the 1950s and 1960s. Or, a comparison can be made to see which is more commonly referred to in litigation, such as Harvard or Yale. (Turns out, it’s Yale by a mile.) The tool can also visualize the use of a word across various states, as explained in a blog post by Kelly Fitzpatrick, a research associate at the Library Innovation Lab. For example, Nevada is currently leading the country in cases mentioning the Fifth Amendment, while Iowa has seen a recent uptick in Ninth Amendment mentions, for some reason. The tool is plugged into the repository of cases released last fall as the Caselaw Access Project. Outside of the Library of Congress, it is the most comprehensive database of its kind—totaling 200 terabytes of information…”
iFixit: “Rice can transform an economy, save a boring meal, and stop winter drafts. One thing it absolutely, positively cannot do is save a wet cell phone. In fact, submerging your phone in rice makes the problem worse, especially if it’s still powered on. Say it with us: Rice is a food, not a tool. Food rice good, phone rice bad. Okay, you’re still here, good. Let us delve into why submerging your phone rice—or kitty litter, or dessicant packets—right after it gets wet can’t do anything for your soaked phone…”
The New York Times – “The Supreme Court was transformed this term by the departure of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, its longtime swing vote, and the arrival of his more conservative successor, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. Here are some of the term’s most important cases, ones that will help chart the future of a court in transition…”
Poynter: “Peter Cunliffe-Jones is the founder of the fact-checking organization Africa Check. He delivered the keynote address at Global Fact 6, the annual meeting of the International Fact-checking Network. Below is an edited version of his remarks. “I first became interested in the harm done by misinformation because of a false rumor about vaccines that emerged, not online – in a WhatsApp group, or a hidden space on the dark web – but which started in a Nigerian mosque or mosques, spread to local newspapers, was picked up by a prominent local politician, reported as fact by national papers, and, when the false claims when unchallenged, saw him create bad policy — a vaccine ban — in his state of Kano in the north of the country. Misinformation is often described as spreading like a virus… How do we end the harm that that sort of misinformation causes? Rumors that spread in on- and off-line communities, and are turned into bad practice, or — if they make it to politicians — into bad policy? What Bill Adair says is true.
Fact-checking does keep growing. But look at our budgets, our staffing, our resources, and you have to ask, how can we tackle this sort of misinformation – effectively – when we are still so small? Can we do it alone? Most academic work on fact-checking has been focused, to date, on the question of whether presenting the public with corrective information – a fact-check – will get them to update a false view. There’s a good reason for that. It’s how most of us work. And despite all the gloomy “post truth” headlines of 2016, there is growing evidence that doing this, in the right format, and repeating it, does work, for a while at least, in helping people to update their views…”
Harvard study reveals that open-plan offices decrease rather than increase face-to-face collaboration
- Six Sigma, where employees wear different colored belts (like in karate) to show they’ve been trained in the methodology.
- Stack Ranking, where employees are encouraged to rat each other out in order to secure their own advancement and budget.
- Consensus Management, where all decisions must pass through multiple committees before being implemented.
It need hardly be said that these fads were and are (at best) a waste of time and (at worst) a set of expensive distractions. But open plan offices are worse. Much worse. Why? Because they decrease rather than increase employee collaboration. As my colleague Jessica Stillman pointed out last week, a new study from Harvard showed that when employees move from a traditional office to an open plan office, it doesn’t cause them to interact more socially or more frequently. Instead, the opposite happens. They start using email and messaging with much greater frequency than before. In other words, even if collaboration were a great idea (it’s a questionable notion), open plan offices are the worst possible way to make it happen. Previous studies of open plan offices have shown that they make people less productive, but most of those studies gave lip service to the notion that open plan offices would increase collaboration, thereby offsetting the damage.
The Harvard study, by contrast, undercuts the entire premise that justifies the fad. And that leaves companies with only one justification for moving to an open plan office: less floor space, and therefore a lower rent. But even that justification is idiotic because the financial cost of the loss in productivity will be much greater than the money saved in rent. Here’s an article where I do the math for you. Even in high-rent districts, the savings have a negative ROI…”
Morning Consult – “Alphabet Inc.’s Google is taking steps toward ending its prohibition on advertising for cannabidiol products through a trial program that allows select companies in the budding hemp sub-industry to purchase ads on its platform, according to one CBD retailer that was asked to participate. Shedrack Anderson, co-founder of the CBD-infused skincare line Chilyo LP, said Thursday that Google approached him to be part of a “trial realm” of companies that could purchase advertising on the site through its Google Ads portal. He declined to say when Google made its overture or how many other CBD retailers are in the program.
Advertising on Google is currently prohibited for companies selling products containing CBD. The tech giant lists cannabidiol under its unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements for its ad platform, so CBD brands have to rely on search engine optimization to appear higher in search engine results…”
“Technological convergence, in general, refers to the trend or phenomenon where two or more independent technologies integrate and form a new outcome. One example is the smartphone. A smartphone integrated several independent technologies—such as telephone, computer, camera, music player, television (TV), and geolocating and navigation tool—into a single device. The smartphone has become its own, identifiable category of technology, establishing a $350 billion industry. Of the three closely associated convergences—technological convergence, media convergence, and network convergence—consumers most often directly engage with technological convergence. Technological convergent devices share three key characteristics. First, converged devices can execute multiple functions to serve blended purpose. Second, converged devices can collect and use data in various formats and employ machine learning techniques to deliver enhanced user experience. Third, converged devices are connected to a network directly and/or are interconnected with other devices to offer ubiquitous access to users…”
Via LLRX – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – 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 technology is used to compromise and diminish our privacy and security, often without our situational awareness. Four highlights from this week: Artificial intelligence-enhanced journalism offers a glimpse of the future of the knowledge economy; China Summons Tech Giants to Warn Against Cooperating With Trump Ban; New RCE vulnerability impacts nearly half of the internet’s email servers; and NARA Considers Blockchain to Verify Records Amid Rise in Deepfake Videos.
WSJ.com – Google Maps is filled with false business addresses created by firms pretending to be nearby – “Out of habit, Nancy Carter, a retired federal employee, turned to Google for help one August evening. She ended the night wishing she hadn’t. Ms. Carter had pulled into her Falls Church, Va., driveway and saw the garage door was stuck. The 67-year-old searched Google and found the listing of a local repair service she had used before. She phoned in a house call. Google’s ubiquitous internet platform shapes what’s real and what isn’t for more than 2 billion monthly users. Yet Google Maps, triggered by such Google queries as the one Ms. Carter made, is overrun with millions of false business addresses and fake names, according to advertisers, search experts and current and former Google employees…
A man arrived at Ms. Carter’s home in an unmarked van and said he was a company contractor. He wasn’t. After working on the garage door, he asked for $728, almost twice the cost of previous repairs, Ms. Carter said. He demanded cash or a personal check, but she refused. “I’m at my house by myself with this guy,” she said. “He could have knocked me over dead.” The repairman had hijacked the name of a legitimate business on Google Maps and listed his own phone number. He returned to Ms. Carter’s home again and again, hounding her for payment of a repair so shoddy it had to be redone…”