Law and Legal

Bing – New transit options to help get you there

Real Time Updates, Trip Frequency, and Alternate Routes – “Over the last six months, the Bing Maps team has been hard at work to improve the quality of mass transit routing. Here are our three biggest improvements, which you can try out today on and

DuckDuckGo Improves its Maps Experience With Several Key Upgrades

Search Engine Journal – “DuckDuckGo is rolling out several updates to its maps search experience while maintaining the same commitment to user privacy. Earlier this year, DuckDuckGo began using Apple Maps to power its maps search results. Since then, the company says it has been working on additional upgrades that are rolling out now. Here’s what’s new in DuckDuckGo maps search…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Idioms: the American heritage

Oxford University Press Blog: “Idioms, especially if we add proverbs and familiar quotations to them, are a shoreless ocean. Especially numerous are so-called gnomic sayings (aphorisms) like make hay while the sun shines, better safe than sorry, and a friend in need is a friend indeed. Their age is usually hard or even impossible to determine. Since most of them reflect people’s universal experience, they may be very old. In contrast, such undecipherable phrases as kick the bucket, put a spoke in someone’s wheel, or cut the mustard are fairly recent. At least they presuppose the existence of buckets, spokes, wheels, and the cultivation of mustard.  (This type of reasoning is called relative chronology and sometimes yields useful results.)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

DataSpii: The catastrophic data leak via browser extensions

DataSpii: The catastrophic data leak via browser extensions Sam Jadali – Abstract – “We present DataSpii (pronounced data-spy), the catastrophic data leak that occurs when any one of eight browser extensions collects browsing activity data — including personally identifiable information (PII) and corporate information (CI) — from unwitting Chrome and Firefox users. Our investigation uncovered an online service selling the collected browsing activity data to its subscription members in near real-time. In this report, we delineate the sensitive data source types relevant to the security of individuals and businesses across the globe. We observed two extensions employing dilatory tactics — an effective maneuver for eluding detection — to collect the data. We identified the collection of sensitive data from the internal network environments of Fortune 500 companies. Several Fortune 500 companies provided an additional measure of confirmation through a process of responsible disclosure. By deploying a honeypot to monitor web traffic, we discovered near-immediate visits to URLs collected by the extensions. To address the evolving threat to data security, we propose preemptive measures such as limiting access to shareable links, and removing PII and CI from metadata…”

Categories: Law and Legal

FaceApp went viral with age-defying photos – users are encouraged to delete it asap

Washington Post :”…The app uploads people’s photos to the “cloud” of servers run by Amazon and Google, the company said, meaning deleting the app would likely make no difference on how the photos are used. In its privacy terms, the company said it can collect any of a user’s uploaded photos as well as data on the user’s visited websites and other information.

The app’s terms of service say users grant the company a “perpetual, irrevocable . . . [and] worldwide” license to use a user’s photos, name or likeness in practically any way it sees fit. If a user deletes content from the app, FaceApp can still store and use it, the terms say. FaceApp also says it can’t guarantee that users’ data or information is secure and that the company can share user information with other companies and third-party advertisers, which aren’t disclosed in the privacy terms…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Growing share of Republicans say U.S. risks losing its identity if it is too open to foreigners

Pew – A majority of Americans (62%) continue to say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation. “But the share expressing this view is 6 percentage points lower than it was in September – a result of a shift in opinion among Republicans. Democrats continue to overwhelmingly take the view that openness is an essential characteristic of the nation. Currently, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that if the United States is too open to people from around the world, “we risk losing our identity as a nation.” Fewer (37%) say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential to who we are as a nation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 10-15 among 1,502 adults.

Both last fall and in 2017, Republicans’ opinions on this question were divided. Since September, the share of Republicans who say America risks losing its identity if it is too open has increased 13 percentage points, while the share who view the nation’s openness to others as essential has declined 10 points. Over the past two years, there has been virtually no change in Democrats’ attitudes. Today, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation; 85% said this last September…”

See also – “A USA Today-Ipsos poll finds that 68 percent of Americans who were aware of Trump’s tweets about the four liberal minority lawmakers said they are offensive. But 57 percent of Republicans polled said they agreed with the president, and a third said they strongly agreed. Overall, 59 percent called the president’s tweets “un-American,” including independents by a 2-to-1 margin, and 65 percent of those surveyed said telling minority Americans to “go back where they came from” is a racist statement. Among Republicans, however, 45 percent agreed and 34 percent disagreed. Seven in 10 Republicans say that “people who call others ‘racist’ usually do so in bad faith,” compared with 17 percent of Democrats…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Overlooked No More: Florence Merriam Bailey, Who Defined Modern Bird-Watching

The New York Times – “Her pioneering approach involved quietly examining birds in their natural habitat, rather than shooting them, as people had previously done…A student at Smith College at the time, Bailey decided to start a grassroots effort, with a simple step: She took her fellow classmates outdoors. “We won’t say too much about the hats,” she wrote in Bird-Lore. “We’ll take the girls afield, and let them get acquainted with the birds. Then of inborn necessity, they will wear feathers never more.”

It was the beginning of an animal rights campaign that evolved into a lifelong crusade of ecological conservationism and promotion of what would become modern day bird-watching. Bailey eventually traveled around the country to write about the pursuit. Back then ornithology was generally practiced by examining “skins,” or dead birds preserved in universities or museums. Ornithologists typically trapped or shot birds and then decamped indoors to identify the bodies. Bailey, on the other hand, urged that birds be observed quietly in their natural habitat.

“Florence was one of the first bird-watchers to actually watch birds instead of shoot them,” Marcia Bonta, a naturalist and author of “Women in the Field: America’s Pioneering Women Naturalists” (1991), said in a phone interview. In 1889, at the age of 26, Bailey published “Birds Through an Opera-Glass,” considered the first field guide to American birds. The book, one of many travelogues and field guides she would publish, suggested that the best way to view birds was through the lenses of opera glasses, not a shotgun sight. Her approach, now commonly practiced with binoculars, helped form the basis of modern bird-watching…”

Categories: Law and Legal

China’s Goal? To Become the World’s Dominant Superpower, FBI Boss Warns

Fortune – “Amy Hess, boss of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division, warned a room of business executives about the various threats China poses to American interests on stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., on Wednesday. Her team is responsible for pursuing criminals and nation state actors who are targeting—and pilfering—American companies and citizens.

“China’s goal is, clearly, to become the world’s dominant superpower,” Hess said. “To do that they’re willing to steal information, to steal intellectual property, to steal PII [personally identifiable information], to steal military secrets, government secrets, academic secrets, and R&D.” Hess described China’s siphoning of American trade secrets as unfair and imbalanced. China “can get information that American companies and American ingenuity has taken years to develop,” she said. “They get it for free, they get it quickly, and it positions them to achieve their goal” of international supremacy….”

Categories: Law and Legal

Have We Hit Peak Podcast?

The New York Times – If past experience (cough, blogs) is any indication, a shakeout is nigh. – “…Call him cynical, but Jordan Harbinger, host of “The Jordan Harbinger Show” podcast, thinks there is a “podcast industrial complex.” Hosts aren’t starting shows “because it’s a fun, niche hobby,” he said. “They do it to make money or because it will make them an influencer.”

…It’s no wonder that the phrase “everyone has a podcast” has become a Twitter punch line. Like the blogs of yore, podcasts — with their combination of sleek high tech and cozy, retro low — are today’s de rigueur medium, seemingly adopted by every entrepreneur, freelancer, self-proclaimed marketing guru and even corporation. (Who doesn’t want branded content by Home Depot and Goldman Sachs piped into their ears on the morning commute?) There are now upward of 700,000 podcasts, according to the podcast production and hosting service Blubrry, with between 2,000 and 3,000 new shows launching each month. In August William Morrow will publish a book by Kristen Meinzer, a co-host of the popular “By the Book” podcast. Its title: “So You Want to Start a Podcast.”…”

Categories: Law and Legal

It Just Got Easier for You to Suggest New Emoji

Wired: “If you wanted to send a tweet using Mayan hieroglyphics, or call upon the Phaistos disc symbols to craft the perfect email reply, you would have the Unicode Consortium to thank. The nonprofit encodes languages for the digital age, preserving them in amber for their onscreen afterlife. They have rescued, for the internet, Meroitic cursive, Canadian syllabics, the Lydian scripts, and those most esoteric creatures, emoji. “From English and Chinese to Cherokee and Rohingya, Unicode is committed to preserving every language for the digital era,” says Mark Davis, Unicode’s president and cofounder. Thanks to the adoption of emoji, Unicode’s star has been steadily rising for the past decade. Its web design, however, has been stuck in biblical times. Or, at least, the biblical times of the web: the 1990s…”

Categories: Law and Legal

CRS – Medicare Financial Status: In Brief

EveryCRSReport – Medicare Financial Status: In Brief – June 24, 2013 – July 2, 2019 R43122. “This report provides a brief overview of the financial status of the two Medicare trust funds (Hospital Insurance and Supplementary Medical Insurance) based on the findings of the 2019 Medicare Trustees Report. It includes an overview of Medicare and its financing, summary data on the program’s 2018 operations, current estimates of the insolvency date of the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, and estimates of spending growth. These estimates include measures of Medicare spending as a portion of GDP, unfunded obligations, and alternative projections.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google’s Tool to Tame Election Influence Has Flaws

WSJ [paywall] – Mistakes have occurred in the Google Transparency Report for both Democratic and Republican presidential and congressional candidates – “Google set up a searchable database of political ads last summer, following calls for greater transparency in the wake of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Nearly a year later, the search giant’s archive of political ads is fraught with errors and delays, according to campaigns’ digital staffers and political consultants. The database, the Google Transparency Report, doesn’t always record political ads bought with Google’s ad tools and in some instances hasn’t updated for weeks at a time, they say. Several campaigns, including those of Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have run ads in recent weeks that didn’t appear in the Google archive, people familiar with the campaigns’ ad-buying said. Such mistakes have occurred for presidential and congressional candidates in both parties. A Google spokeswoman said in a statement, “We are constantly working to improve the report and appreciate feedback on how we can make it better.”…

Categories: Law and Legal

Rhinos come to the bond market, and other species may follow

The Hindu BusinessLine: “If the rhino impact bond is successful, the world could see the creation of a new market to support environmental and social programmes. The planned sale of a rhino impact bond, aimed at growing the population of the endangered black rhino, is seen by its backers as a test for the creation of a conservation debt market that could be used for everything from protecting species facing extinction to preserving wildlife areas. The sale of the $50 million bond, which will take place next year, is the first financial instrument for species conservation and it is being run by the Zoological Society of London and Conservation Capital. The company was founded in Kenya about 15 years ago seeking to create business and investment finance tools for conservation. Under the programme, the five-year bond will cover conservation efforts at five sites in South Africa and Kenya where about 700 black rhinos, or about 12 per cent of the world’s population of the animals, live…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Libraries Must Draw the Line on E-books

Publishers Weekly – Recent developments suggest a grim future for digital content in libraries, writes Sari Feldman, unless library supporters find a way to respond. “Until now, I’ve been inclined to give publishers the benefit of the doubt. As co-chair of the ALA’s Digital Content Working Group from 2011 to 2014, back when libraries were working to get basic access to e-books, I came to recognize that some of the restrictions publishers place on libraries in the digital space are business decisions that, to some degree, reflect an economic reality the library community must learn to accept. But recent changes imposed by some of the major publishers have gone too far. A year ago, Macmillan placed a four-month embargo on new-release titles from its Tor imprint—part of what the publisher characterized as a “test.” In a series of recent meetings, Macmillan representatives told librarians that the test has validated its belief that library e-book lending depresses consumer e-book sales and author payouts. Speculation is that Macmillan will soon announce new digital terms and pricing for libraries that will include some version of an embargo on new-release titles across more of Macmillan’s imprints.

Despite holding meetings with librarians (including me), as well as with representatives from the American Library Association, it does not appear that Macmillan has listened to our concerns. Embargoing new releases in libraries is unacceptable. Windowing digital content will place libraries at a true disadvantage at a time when they are already under increasing pressure to serve digital readers and audiobook listeners. Further, libraries are already limited in the digital space. We often pay three to five times the consumer price for two-year access to e-books: terms that dramatically limit the number of copies we can afford to purchase, resulting in long wait times for readers—often many months for the hottest, buzziest titles. Adding an additional embargo period will only extend these already-long wait times for digital readers…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Firefox to Warn When Saved Logins are Found in Data Breaches

Bleeping Computer – “Starting in Firefox 70, Mozilla aims to have the browser report when any of your saved logins were found in data breaches. This will be done through their partnership with the Have I Been Pwned data breach site. Mozilla is slowly integrating their independent Firefox Monitor service and the new Firefox Lockwise password manager directly into Firefox.  Mozilla is also considering premium services based around these features in the future. As part of this integration, Firefox will scan the saved login names and passwords and see if they were exposed in a data breach listed on Have I been Pwned. If one is found, Firefox will alert the user and prompt them to change their password. This new feature will only work, though, for data breaches that exposed passwords and when the password was saved prior to an associated data breach. When a saved login is detected as being part of a breach, Mozilla will add an alert icon  next to the account profile in Firefox Lockwise as shown in a mockup from Mozilla below. Clicking on the saved login will open its subpanel that displays an alert that the “Passwords were leaked or stolen” as part of a data breach…”

Categories: Law and Legal

For 35 years a scientist and his team have been taking the pulse of 10 coastal glaciers

Hakai Magazine – The diagnosis is in. “…A high mountain glacier, in its frigid, deadly enormity, doesn’t feel much like a landscape meant for humans. In the European Alps, medieval myths held that glaciers carried curses and incarcerated the frozen souls of the damned. And yet, on a grand scale, where glaciers and humans coexist, our lives are entwined in ways we rarely realize. During the last ice age, the glaciers of Alaska locked up so much water that the seas lowered enough to create a land bridge to Siberia and perhaps allowed the earliest passage of humans into North America. Glaciers have carved out many of our mountain ranges, scoured out plains and prairies, and birthed rivers and lakes. Today, in many parts of the world, mountain glaciers preside over vast empires of fresh water that reach from the highest peaks to the coast: they dictate the flow of water downslope and influence the seasonal pulse of rivers and fish and the temperature and chemistry of streams and estuaries. They supply water for drinking, irrigation, and hydropower dams. But as the world gets warmer, glaciers’ influence in many regions is waning….”

Categories: Law and Legal

Italy: New Urban Regulations for the City of Rome

The Library of Congress – Global Legal Monitor – taly: New Urban Regulations for the City of Rome – “(July 17, 2019) On June 20, 2019, the City of Rome enacted new urban police regulations concerning hygiene, decorum, safety, and law enforcement, and established new and increased penalties for violations. (New Urban Police Regulations of the City of Rome (the Regulations), Municipality of Rome website (under “Selezione La Tipologia” choose “Deliberazione Dell’Assemblea Capitolina” and under “Sintesi Oggetto” type in “polizia”; then click “Recerca” and click PDF icon for document No. 43 (in Italian) (note: Regulations page 1 begins at PDF page 31. All page number references are to the PDF page number, located at the top of the document).)

The Rome City Council has recently “updated and expanded a range of regulations, some of which have been on the statute books since 1946.” (Nick Squires, Rome New Rules for Tourists: Ban on Bare Chests, Sucking on Drinking Fountains and Eating in Public, TRAVELLER (June 11, 2019); Urban Police Regulations, Resolution of the Provisional Municipal Board, No. 4047 of November 8, 1946, Roma Capitale website.)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Listen up: why we can’t get enough of audiobooks

The Guardian – In this time-poor, podcast-friendly world, audiobooks are booming. “So what is the science behind them – and do they change our relationship with the written word? “Are audiobooks the new… books? It was recently revealed that audiobook sales rocketed by 43% in 2018, while those of print books declined (by 5%) for the first time in five years. Can people no longer be bothered to read for themselves? Is this, rather than the ebook, the harbinger of the slow death of print, about which we have been warned for so long? And if so, what does that mean for literary culture? Let us first retain some historical perspective by noting that Homer’s Iliad was essentially an audiobook before it was ever written down. Oral literary culture long precedes the book and there are many reasons for its rising popularity. Some people I spoke to use audiobooks to send them to sleep after a stressful professional day; others listen while walking, or looking after a baby, or as an alternative to TV. Parents say they are great for keeping children occupied in the car, and commuters use them on their journeys. The time-pressed listen at 1.5x or 2x normal speed, or use websites such as Blinkist, which boil down non-fiction books to their “key takeaways” in 15 minutes. One writer told me that he gets audiobooks “for research into stuff that I fear my pleasure-seeking brain would give up on if I had to read with my eyes”…”

Categories: Law and Legal

A Feisty Google Adversary Tests How Much People Care About Privacy

The New York Times – “Gabriel Weinberg is taking aim at Google from a small building 20 miles west of Philadelphia that looks like a fake castle. An optometrist has an office downstairs. Mr. Weinberg’s company, DuckDuckGo, has become one of the feistiest adversaries of Google. Started over a decade ago, DuckDuckGo offers a privacy-focused alternative to Google’s search engine. The company’s share of the search engine market is still tiny — about 1 percent compared with Google’s 85 percent, according to StatCounter. But it has tripled over the past two years and is now handling around 40 million searches a day. It has also made a profit in each of the last five years, Mr. Weinberg said. Mr. Weinberg, 40, is among the most outspoken critics of the internet giants. DuckDuckGo’s chief executive has repeatedly called for new privacy-focused legislation and has warned at hearings and in newspaper opinion pieces about the problems that big companies can cause by tracking our every move online. But the challenges faced by DuckDuckGo reflect just how difficult it is to take on the giants and build an internet business that is focused on the privacy of its users. After a decade, the private company’s modest success is an indication that, even as regulators around the world consider tougher rules for the data-tracking methods of big tech companies, selling consumers on privacy-focused services is still an uphill battle. Like other search companies, DuckDuckGo displays ads at the top of each search page. But unlike others, it does not track the online behavior of its users to personalize the ads…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Essential Guide to Legislation

PoliticoPro – “During a single Congress, hundreds of bills are enacted into federal law – but the initial legislation proposed by lawmakers in the House and Senate can number well over 10,000 bills per session of Congress. With so much proposed legislation flowing through the standard processes, tracking can quickly become difficult. This guide breaks down each step of the legislation proposal process in the House and Senate, the steps that can result in changes to legislation before it becomes law, as well as how the two houses resolve legislative differences. A key difference in the legislative process between the two chambers is that majority leadership wields more legislative power in the House than in the Senate, where individual senators have more control throughout the process, especially on the floor.”

Click here to download the full guide.

Table of Contents:

  1. How legislation is passed in the House of Representatives
  2. How legislation is passed in the Senate
  3. How the House and Senate settle legislative differences
Categories: Law and Legal


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