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Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002
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Google – Expanding ways to find authoritative information in Europe

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 15:05

Google Blog: “Providing useful and trusted information online is a complex and important responsibility, especially around elections. Our aim is to build helpful tools that get you to the information you’re looking for. As we get closer to the EU Parliamentary elections, alongside our broader package of support, we’re making it easier to help you access quality content online. We’re also working in partnership with fact checking organizations to support a healthy news ecosystem online, as well as helping voters get the information they need more broadly. On Google Search, we make algorithmic updates every day to ensure we surface authoritative content that’s useful to you. On YouTube, too, we’ve invested in new product features to make authoritative sources more prominent, including launching Top News and Breaking News in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and more. These features make it easier for you to find news from verified sources by highlighting videos in the Top News shelf, or showing the Breaking News shelf on the YouTube homepage for key news events…”

Categories: Law and Legal

USPS releasing ‘Sesame Street’ stamps as series turns 50 this year

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 15:03

USPS – “The Postal Service honors Sesame Street as one of the most influential and beloved children’s television shows. For the last 50 years, it has provided educational programming and entertainment for generations of children throughout the country and around the world. The stamp art features photographs of 16 Muppets from Sesame Street — Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Rosita, The Count, Oscar the Grouch, Abby Cadabby, Herry Monster, Julia, Guy Smiley, Snuffleupagus, Elmo, Telly, Grover and Zoe. Art Director Derry Noyes designed the stamps…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Textio’s New Tool Will Take the Words Right Out of Your Mouth—and Maybe Improve Them

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 22:27

Fortune: “Words matter, and they often matter in different ways to different people. That’s why, for the past five years, text analytics startup Textio has studied—and helped to augment—the way companies in search of more diverse candidates communicate with prospective hires. Now, the company is launching a new product that takes that mission one step further…Think of Textio Flow as Google Smart Compose, only much more prolific and with an eye for culture change. Instead of suggesting a few words, the tool can write whole paragraphs for you. It does this by ingesting a company’s past writings—marketing material, historical job listings and the like—and incorporating Textio’s own large datasets. The latter helps customers learn from existing (and ever-changing) correlations between words and the varying responses they trigger in different demographics. That can mean two things for corporate customers: First, they can write job listings much faster, and second, they can theoretically attract even more people with each listing…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to Get a Library of Congress Reader’s Card

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 21:11

Bookriot: “…The process is actually pretty easy and, once you have it, you can access reading rooms and materials at the Library of Congress beyond what’s available to the public online. The Library of Congress website gives a decent rundown of how to go about it, but sometimes instructions from the eyes of the customer can be helpful. So, how do you get a Library of Congress Reader’s Card? First things first—you need to get yourself to the Library of Congress. Located in Washington, D.C., the Jefferson Building is directly across from the Capitol Building, so you can feasibly make a day of it. The best way to get to the area is by Metro….”

Categories: Law and Legal

Medicare’s fiscal outlook deteriorates as 2026 funding cliff looms

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:03

Heads Up! – in a follow up to my posting on April 22, 2019 – How Old Will You Be When Social Security’s Funds Run Out? – moving on to Medicare – the news is likewise bleak via WaPo: “Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is set to run out of money by 2026, as lower tax revenue and higher payments to medical providers have helped weaken the long-term fiscal outlook of the health care program for America’s senior citizens, the Trump administration said on Monday. Medicare’s costs overall are expected to continue rising sharply over the next several decades, from about 3.7 percent of the total U.S. economy to 5.9 percent, putting a strain on the federal budget that lawmakers must act to avoid, according to a report produced by the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Here’s How TurboTax Just Tricked You Into Paying to File Your Taxes

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:47

ProPublica: “Did you know that if you make less than $66,000 a year, you can prepare and file your taxes for free? No? That’s no accident. Companies that make tax preparation software, like Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, would rather you didn’t know. Intuit and other tax software companies have spent millions lobbying to make sure that the IRS doesn’t offer its own tax preparation and filing service. In exchange, the companies have entered into an agreement with the IRS to offer a “Free File” product to most Americans — but good luck finding it…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Court Says Using Chalk On Tires For Parking Enforcement Violates Constitution

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:39

Wow – via NPR – “The next time parking enforcement officers use chalk to mark your tires, they might be acting unconstitutionally. A federal appeals court ruled Monday that “chalking” is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The case was brought by Alison Taylor, a Michigan woman whom the court describes as a “frequent recipient of parking tickets.” The city of Saginaw, Mich., like countless other cities around the country, uses chalk to mark the tires of cars to enforce time limits on parking…

Trespassing upon a privately-owned vehicle parked on a public street to place a chalk mark to begin gathering information to ultimately impose a government sanction is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment,” Taylor’s lawyer, Philip Ellison, wrote in a court filing. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit unanimously agreed. Chalking tires is a kind of trespass, Judge Bernice Donald wrote for the panel, and it requires a warrant. The decision affects the 6th Circuit, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Constraints on presidency being redefined in Trump era, report fallout shows

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:28

Washington Post – “President Trump repeatedly tried to undermine the Russia investigation, but the special counsel overseeing the probe declined to say whether he broke the law — and the attorney general declared that he had committed no crime. Trump’s campaign showed a willingness to work with a foreign power — something his personal lawyer now insists is perfectly okay. And Trump has furiously rejected congressional scrutiny of his presidency — taking the unprecedented step Monday of suing a Democratic committee chairman to block a subpoena for his financial records. The events of the past week, following the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s dramatic 448-page report, are threatening to redefine the legal and ethical standards that have long served as constraints on the American presidency. And they suggest that few, if any, of the traditional guardrails that have kept Trump’s predecessors in check remain for this president and possibly those who will follow him…”

Categories: Law and Legal

FBI Releases the Internet Crime Complaint Center 2018 Internet Crime Report

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:22

The FBI Alerts the Public to Trends in Internet Crime and Offers Prevention Tips – “The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2018 Internet Crime Report includes information from 351,936 complaints of suspected Internet crime, with reported losses in excess of $2.7 billion. The top three crime types reported by victims in 2018 were non-payment/non-delivery, extortion, and personal data breach. In addition to the 2018 statistics, the report contains information about the IC3, the FBI’s work in combating Internet crime, and the most prevalent scams. The IC3 provides the public with a reliable and convenient mechanism to report Internet crime. The IC3 categorizes and analyzes the data to identify and forecast trends to promote public awareness of emerging and ongoing cyber threats. Since its inception in 2000, the IC3 has received a total of 4,415,870 complaints. The quality of the data is a direct reflection of the information the public provides through the IC3 website…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How Recommendation Algorithms Run the World

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:18

Wired – “…What should you watch? What should you read? What’s news? What’s trending? Wherever you go online, companies have come up with very particular, imperfect ways of answering these questions. Everywhere you look, recommendation engines offer striking examples of how values and judgments become embedded in algorithms and how algorithms can be gamed by strategic actors… Another common method for generating recommendations is to extrapolate from patterns in how people consume things. People who watched this then watched that; shoppers who purchased this item also added that one to their shopping cart. Amazon uses this method a lot, and I admit, it’s often quite useful. Buy an electric toothbrush? How nice that the correct replacement head appears in your recommendations. Congratulations on your new vacuum cleaner: Here are some bags that fit your machine…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How Old Will You Be When Social Security’s Funds Run Out?

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 20:36

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFFB) – not good news for baby boomers!:  “The Social Security Trust Funds are projected to become insolvent in 2035, according to the program’s trustees. At that point, revenues coming into the program will be insufficient to cover scheduled benefits, causing all beneficiaries to suffer a 20 percent benefit cut, regardless of their age, income level, or how much they depend on the program. That cut would generally grow over time, until someone born this year would have a 25 percent cut in their lifetime benefits.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Is it a “Good” Case? Can You Rely on BCite, KeyCite, and Shepard’s to Tell You?

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 20:18

Kristina Niedringhaus, Is it a “Good” Case? Can You Rely on BCite, KeyCite, and Shepard’s to Tell You?, JOTWELL (April 22, 2019) (reviewing Paul Hellyer, Evaluating Shepard’s, KeyCite, and BCite for Case Validation Accuracy, 110 Law Libr. J. 449 (2018))

Categories: Law and Legal

The Antitrust Case Against Facebook

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:40

Srinivasan, Dina, The Antitrust Case Against Facebook (September 10, 2018). Berkeley Business Law Journal Vol. 16, Issue 1, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

“The Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”) social network, this era’s new communications service, plays an important role in the lives of 2+ billion people across the world. Though the market was highly competitive in the beginning, it has since consolidated in Facebook’s favor. Today, using Facebook means to accept a product linked to broad-scale commercial surveillance — a paradox in a democracy. This Paper argues that Facebook’s ability to extract this qualitative exchange from consumers is merely this titan’s form of monopoly rents. The history of early competition, Facebook’s market entry, and Facebook’s subsequent rise tells the story of Facebook’s monopoly power. However, the history which elucidates this firm’s dominance also presents a story of anticompetitive conduct. Facebook’s pattern of false statements and misleading conduct induced consumers to trust and choose Facebook, to the detriment of market competitors and consumers’ own welfare.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Law libraries chart a new direction for the future, new report shows

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:30

ABA Journal – “Law librarians have recognized rapid technological shifts in their profession and, as a result, plan to focus on new skills for the future, according to data released Tuesday by the American Association of Law Libraries. The inaugural AALL State of the Profession 2019 report—which captures information from academic, government, law firm and corporate law libraries—shows that 27.4% of law firms or corporations have at least one active artificial intelligence initiative. Of those, 68.4% involve the library. When asked which skills they plan to develop in the next two years, 56% of law firm and corporate law library employees said artificial intelligence or machine learning, 43.5% said data analytics and 42% said blockchain. According to the report, 92.6% of government law library employees report that artificial intelligence or machine learning has already affected their workflow by automating routine tasks and opening up more opportunities for other work. In the future, 48.6% will focus on staying current with emerging technologies, 41.1% on data visualization and 37.4% on data analytics. A similar trend is seen in academic law libraries, where 39.3% of employees plan to develop skills in data analytics. The next two highest responses were data visualization, at 36.4%, and staying current with emerging technologies, at 34.6%…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Why You Should Use a Password Manager

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 18:24

Fortune: “…Some popular products include LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, RoboForm, Keeper Security, KeePass, and Sticky Password. Most of these work similarly. You use the software to generate a secure password for specific websites. That password and your username are stored in the program’s vault or database on your computer and potentially in the cloud. When you need to open a site, your username and password are automatically applied to sign you in. Most password managers offer versions for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android so that you can use them across all your devices and all your browsers…”

Categories: Law and Legal

US Supreme Court Tells Lawyers: Write Tighter

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 17:56

The National Law Journal – “While the rule change is not ideal for practitioners, I think it’s a solution that they can live with,” one veteran appellate advocate says.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s newly announced rule changes will force advocates to make their briefs briefer, an unwelcome development for high court practitioners…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Earth Day 2019 – Protecting At-Risk Fish, Birds, and Animals

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 15:33

GAO Watchblog: “It’s Earth Day; and this year’s theme is about broadening protection for at-risk species and their habitats. What is the nation doing on this front? Today’s WatchBlog examines some national and international efforts….” [h/t Pete Weiss] [Note – since 1/17 – efforts focused on saving species and habitat via EPA and other agencies, have either ceased, been de-funded, or work slowed to a crawl]

See also the Washington Post – These climate change stories deserve magazine covers. For Earth Day, they’re all getting one. “The Washington Post Magazine illustrated covers for different aspects of climate change that The Post has written about. Here are the stories — and the covers that were created to highlight them.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Justice Department censored CNN headline, New York Post quotation, and more

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 15:01

National Security ArchiveBlack blotches mar the surface of the Mueller Report like measles cases tracked on a map of Brooklyn.  Some 176 of the 448 pages feature at least one redaction, according to the Washington Post count, and 10 pages are blacked out in full. The Justice Department redactions are on their face overdone.  The censors working for Attorney General William Barr even blacked out people’s names that appear in published news accounts or in public quotations.  For example, on Volume 2, page 128, there’s a black blotch and the code “HOM” [claiming Harm to Ongoing Matter] over a name that President Trump told the New York Post in a direct quote during a November 2018 interview, a quote the Post subsequently published.  The name is Roger Stone, the currently indicted former partner of convicted felon and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort…These unwarranted deletions are black marks on Barr’s record and on the credibility of the Justice Department. The idea that leaving in any mention of Stone would somehow do harm to the ongoing prosecution cannot be true, given the amount of information the government has already had to file in court to indict Stone, not to mention the vigorous counter arguments made by a vociferous Stone and his defense team…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Opinion – How a national library endowment could help Philadelphia

Sun, 04/21/2019 - 22:35

Via LLRXOpinion – How a national library endowment could help Philadelphia

David Rothman continues his advocacy for a national library endowment to help K-12 and public libraries in Philadelphia, and around the country. His argument in favor of such an endowment is especially resonant in light of the recent college entrance cheating and bribery scams involving the children of wealthy parents and celebrities.

Categories: Law and Legal

Legal Research: Resources for Reviewing Employment Policies on Harassment

Sun, 04/21/2019 - 22:02

Via LLRXLegal Research: Resources for Reviewing Employment Policies on Harassment

This timely guide by Genevieve Zook, reference & instructional services librarian at the U.W. Law Library, addresses the significant issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are increasingly reviewing sexual harassment policies and procedures in their organizations, and Zook’s comprehensive guide is an actionable resource with which to effectively engage and implement positive change.

Categories: Law and Legal