Law and Legal
Facebook and Business Roundtable: Small and medium-sized businesses in the United States are being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.As part of our ongoing data collection effort with the World Bank and the OECD on the Future of Business, Facebook conducted a survey, in partnership with Small Business Roundtable, of approximately 86,000 people who owned, managed or worked for a small and medium-sized business (“SMB”), including approximately 9,000 operators of “personal” businesses, i.e. people who reported that they were “self-employed providing goods or services” or that they “produce goods sold for personal income” but did not otherwise self-identify as an “owner” or “manager” of a business.The results provide a better understanding of which businesses are still operational and which are not, where they are located, and what their most pressing needs are. Here are the key results: (1) Small businesses are closing their doors and facing an uncertain future…”
McKinsey – Six digital and mobile technologies that helped guide governments and businesses in Asia could help other countries around the world. “The COVID-19 pandemic is constantly evolving, and at the time of writing the data do not allow us to draw firm conclusions about the most effective way to fight it. Although we focus on technology in this article, we acknowledge that it is not the only solution but one of a range of measures to combat this global humanitarian challenge. We also note that the use of technology in the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic does have risks such as data breaches and a deepening of the current digital divide. Further, countries differ markedly from each other economically and socially, so solutions that seem successful in some may not in others. Businesses and policy makers need to understand these risks and differences, and be proactive in managing them to ensure that technologies deliver positive impact across the community…”
Marker Medium: “…As shelter-in-place laws start to relax across the U.S., and businesses begin to reopen—or at least to start thinking about it—everyone from retailers, restaurants, hairdressers, fashion boutiques, and building managers are desperate to overhaul their spaces with new safety protocols so they can protect employees and customers —and start making money again. The problem? No one really knows what they are doing. Federal guidelines cover the basics of hand-washing, sanitizing, and mask-wearing, but they lack specificity for different scenarios. For example, if you install a plexiglass screen, how large should it be? What’s the best way to redesign an office floor plan to limit interactions? Should employee temperatures be taken every shift? What about customer temperatures? Amid this uncertainty, a new cottage industry comprised of opportunists and pivoters has sprung up to fill the void: the social distancing consultant. From architects and designers to maintenance and marketing companies, these firms have recast themselves virtually overnight as experts in the new, high-demand art of keeping people six feet apart. Social distancing services have become a boon to the struggling architecture industry, as other projects have been put on hold…”
ars technica: “People who recover from COVID-19 but test positive for the virus again days or weeks later are not shedding viral particles and are not infectious, according to data released Tuesday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The so-called “re-positive” cases have raised fears that an infection with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, could “reactivate” in recovered patients or that recovering from the infection may fail to produce even short-lived immunity, allowing patients to immediately become re-infected if they are exposed. The new data from Korea should ease those concerns. KCDC researchers examined 285 cases that had previously recovered from COVID-19 but then tested positive again. The patients tested positive again anywhere from one to 37 days after recovering from their first infection and being discharged from isolation. The average time to a second positive was about 14 days. Of those cases, researchers checked for symptoms in 284 of them. They found that 126 (about 48 percent) did indeed have symptoms related to COVID-19. But none of them seemed to have spread the infection. KCDC investigated 790 people who had close contact with the 285 cases and found that none of them had been infected by the “re-positive” cases. Crucially, additional testing of 108 “re-positive” cases found that none of them were shedding infectious virus…”
Vox – A former State Department watchdog on what they do — and why they matter. “Late Friday night [May 16, 2020], President Donald Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. It was the fourth abrupt dismissal of an inspector general in about as many weeks, and the latest case in which Trump claimed he’d lost confidence in the IG when it very much seemed like something else was going on. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed recommending that Trump fire Linick. That’s an important detail, because it seems Linick — who, as inspector general, was in charge of oversight at the State Department — might have been zeroing in on Pompeo himself, including the secretary’s alleged use of a political appointee to run his personal errands. Linick was also reportedly probing the administration’s $8 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which sidestepped Congress. Congressional Democrats are now investigating Linick’s firing. But Linick is not the first IG to go. In April, Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, who had brought forward a credible whistleblower report about the president’s inappropriate phone call with the Ukrainian president that ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment. Trump had “lost confidence” in Atkinson, too. Earlier this month, Trump also moved to replace the acting inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, who had written a report highlighting shortages of personal protective equipment and coronavirus tests in US hospitals, which Trump called “wrong.” And Trump replaced the acting Defense Department inspector general, who’d been tasked with overseeing the $2 trillion in funds from the coronavirus stimulus package, making him ineligible to oversee pandemic spending. Trump’s purge of inspectors general is unprecedented. But his ire for these internal watchdogs is not…”
“ACUS is pleased to announce the publication of a new report, Administrative Recusal Rules: A Taxonomy and Study of Existing Recusal Standards for Agency Adjudicators. Many agencies have adopted adjudicator recusal standards to maintain the integrity of their adjudication programs. This report reviews recusal standards adopted by more than 60 agencies across the federal government. It surveys the substantive standards and procedural requirements agencies have adopted for recusal and explores how recusal standards might vary across agencies according to each agency’s institutional features. A series of tables classifies dozens of recusal policies according to the report’s taxonomy of recusal standards. ACUS adopted a recommendation in 2018 that encouraged agencies to adopt rules governing the recusal of certain agency adjudicators. This report will help agencies implement that recommendation. Louis J. Virelli, III, Professor of Law at Stetson University, authored this report. Professor Virelli previously served as a consultant to ACUS on the 2018 recommendation on recusal rules…”
Verizon 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report – “Here we are at another edition of the DBIR. This is an exciting time for us as our little bundle of data turns 13 this year. That means that the report is going through a lot of big changes right now, just as we all did at that age. While some may harbor deeply rooted concerns regarding the number 13 and its purported associations with mishap, misadventure and misfortune, we here on the team continue to do our best to shine the light of data science into the dark corners of security superstition and dispel unfounded beliefs. With that in mind, we are excited to ask you to join us for the report’s coming-of-age party. If you look closely you may notice that it has sprouted a few more industries here and there, and has started to grow a greater interest in other areas of the world. This year we analyzed a record total of 157,525 incidents. Of those, 32,002 met our quality standards and 3,950 were confirmed data breaches. The resultant findings are spread throughout this report. This year, we have added substantially more industry breakouts for a total of 16 verticals (the most to date) in which we examine the most common attacks, actors and actions for each. We are also proud to announce that, for the first time ever, we have been able to look at cybercrime from a regional viewpoint—thanks to a combination of improvements in our statistical processes and protocols, and, most of all, by data provided by new contributors—making this report arguably the most comprehensive analysis of global data breaches in existence…”
The New York City Office of Environmental Remediation released an update to its Searchable Property Environmental E-Database (SPEED 2.0) environmental mapping tool in April. SPEED is a useful due diligence tool that allows users to obtain environmental information at a city, borough, neighborhood or site level. All of SPEED’s data is regularly updated to provide an accurate snapshot for each user.
SPEED users can obtain information about properties with E-Designations, Environmental Restrictive Declarations, open and closed petroleum spills, bulk storage sites, solid waste facilities and New York State Environmental Zones. Other environmental interactive features include rezoned areas, vacant lots, floodplain and wetland boundaries.
For access to SPEED click here.
The post OER Launches Revised Searchable Property Environmental E-Database (SPEED 2.0) appeared first on Schnapf Environmental Law.
10 Million Patents – United States Patent and Trademark Office – “Patents through history. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued patent number 10 million on June 19, 2018. This milestone of human ingenuity perhaps exceeds even the Founding Fathers’ expectations when they called for a patent system in the Constitution to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.”
May 19 (UPI) – Cambridge University announced Tuesday that it will not hold face-to-face lectures during the next academic year. “The university said that since social distancing procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will likely continue into next year, most lectures will be held virtually…” [h/t Pete Weiss]
“Castlight performed an analysis of our comprehensive COVID-19 test site finder to examine states’ capacity to collect enough COVID-19 tests to safely re-open the U.S. economy.Safely re-opening the U.S. economy will require a substantial increase in COVID-19 testing. There is broad agreement the United States needs additional COVID-19 testing capacity to begin to reopen the economy and return to work safely. According to experts, at a minimum we need the ability to test roughly 1 percent of the U.S. population (3 million people) every seven days to get there. Current testing levels are just over half that pace. On the surface, most states would appear to have adequate collection capacity. 46 of the 48 contiguous states have enough testing sites to test 1 percent of their population every seven days. Each testing site can collect a range of between 32 and 480 tests per day depending on the type of testing site (retail clinic, standalone, hospital, or pop-up testing site). Only Kentucky and Colorado do not have enough sites overall to test one percent of their population every seven days. But testing sites are distributed unevenly within states, leaving wide swaths of citizens vulnerable. An analysis of county-level data shows that 38% of metro counties (those with populations at or greater than 50,000) and 68% of rural counties (with populations under 10,000) have no testing sites at all. Retail clinics could be the answer to closing this gap in test coverage. A number of retailers have announced plans or begun to open testing sites across the country. Many of these retailers have a wide geographic footprint, many operating stores in locations that currently do not have any or adequate testing sites. Each retail testing location can collect an average of 200 tests per day, potentially helping many counties reach the 1 percent threshold…”
The New York Times – The United States is facing a shortage of bikes as anxiety over public transportation and a desire to exercise has sent the demand surging: “Some bicycle shops in Brooklyn are selling twice as many bikes as usual and drawing blocklong lines of customers. A chain of shops in Phoenix is selling three times the number of bikes it typically does. A retailer in Washington, D.C., sold all its entry-level bikes by the end of April and has fielded more preorders than ever in its 50-year history. As the coronavirus pandemic shrinks life in major American cities — limiting pastimes and discouraging use of buses and subways — hundreds of thousands of Americans are flocking to one of the most basic forms of mobility: the bicycle. In March, nationwide sales of bicycles, equipment and repair services nearly doubled compared with the same period last year, according to the N.P.D. Group, a market research company. Sales of commuter and fitness bikes in the same month increased 66 percent, leisure bikes jumped 121 percent, children’s bikes went up 59 percent and electric bikes rose 85 percent. By the end of April, many stores and distributors had sold out of low-end consumer bikes. Now, the United States is facing a severe bicycle shortage as global supply chains, disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, scramble to meet the surge in demand…
The New York Times – “By Wednesday [May 20, 2020], all 50 states will have begun to reopen in at least some way, more than two months after the coronavirus thrust the country into lockdown. But there remain vast discrepancies in how states are deciding to open up, with some forging far ahead of others. Connecticut will become among the last states to take a plunge back to business on Wednesday, when its stay-at-home order lifts and stores, museums and offices are allowed to reopen. But not far away in New Jersey, the reopening has been more limited, with only curbside pickup at retail stores and allowances for certain industries. The contrast illustrates a dynamic playing out across the country, as governors grapple with how to handle a pandemic that comes with no political playbook. States in the Northeast and on the West Coast, as well as Democratic-led states in the Midwest, have moved the slowest toward reopening, with several governors taking a county-by-county approach. (In Washington, D.C., a stay-at-home order remains in effect until June.) By contrast, a number of states in the South opened earlier and more fully. Though social distancing requirements were put in place, restaurants, salons, gyms and other businesses have been open in Georgia for several weeks…”
Washington Post – “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week laid out its detailed, delayed road map for reopening schools, child-care facilities, restaurants and mass transit, weeks after covid-weary states began opening on their own terms. The CDC cautioned that some institutions should stay closed for now and said reopening should be guided by coronavirus transmission rates. For schools, the CDC recommended a raft of social distancing policies: desks at least six feet apart and facing the same direction, lunch in classrooms, staggered arrival times, cloth masks for staff and daily temperature screenings for everyone. It advised that buses leave every other row empty, bars add sneeze guards and child-care centers limit sharing of art supplies.
- The 60-page guidance document was posted on the CDC website over the weekend without fanfare after weeks of delay and an internal debate over whether the guidelines were too restrictive…”
BuzzFeedNews – “Each species that we photograph is precious, irreplaceable, and in my mind, has a basic right to exist.” “Joel Sartore, a photographer based in Lincoln, Nebraska, has worked with National Geographic for over 30 years, and has led the Photo Ark for the past 15. The mission of the Photo Ark is to document the 15,000 species that are in captivity, many of which are on the edge of extinction. Sartore recently photographed his 10,000th species, a small cat known as a güiña that is native to Chile. We spoke with Sartore about this project, and the state of conservation, in an interview that is edited and condensed for clarity…”
Fortune – “In the world of online spying, great power lies with those who can get their hands on the data flowing through the world’s Internet infrastructure. So the fact that Germany is home to one of the world’s biggest Internet exchange points—where data crosses between the networks that make up the Internet—has given a lot of power to the country’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency. The Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, gets to freely sift through all the foreign traffic passing through that exchange junction in search of nuggets that can be shared with overseas partners such as the NSA. But now that power is in jeopardy, thanks to a Tuesday ruling from Germany’s constitutional court. The case was brought about by journalists who report on human rights in conflict zones. They don’t want German spies potentially identifying their sources there and sharing that information with other countries. Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled that foreigners also benefit from privacy protections under Germany’s constitution, so the surveillance conducted on them by Germany’s spy agency needs to respect their rights…”
The Verge – To help hospitals maintain and fix crucial equipment during COVID-19 and beyond – “Teardown and repair website iFixit has just posted what its CEO Kyle Wiens says is “the most comprehensive online resource for medical repair professionals.” The new database contains dedicated sections for clinical, laboratory, and medical support equipment, in addition to numerous other categories of devices. It also provides more than 13,000 manuals from hundreds of medical device manufacturers. Wiens says the effort began with a crowdsourcing campaign to collect repair information for hospital equipment, with a focus on “ventilator documentation, anesthesia systems, and respiratory analyzers — devices widely used to support COVID-19 patients.” But the effort grew from there, spanning more than two months as iFixit added dozens more staff members to the project; began talking to more biomedical technicians, doctors, and nurses about their day-to-day needs; and started collecting and cataloging information from libraries and other sources…”
COVID Exit Strategy – “We are a group of public health and crisis experts. With former experience working at the White House, Department of Health and Human Services, and on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. We are a non-partisan group, having worked across multiple administrations. We built this site to track each state’s progress towards the critical interventions needed to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our focus is the data available on the ground and how we can surface it in meaningful ways for state and local leaders to act on. This is a collaborative effort between individuals from a few organizations. We are always looking for feedback on how we can make this resource more useful. If you have suggestions, please send them our way…Gating criteria are the data-driven conditions each region or state should satisfy before proceeding to a phased opening. For this site, we are using the gating criteria provided by the White House. In their Reopening America Again guidelines. The document does not specifically identify data sources or measures, so we had to translate what those meant. We’ve tracked each state’s progress towards its reduction in symptoms and cases, health system readiness, and increased test capacity. For each of the criteria we’ve sourced publicly available data that best represents where a state is at. Some sources are more “real-time” like case data, but others can lag a week like influenza-like illness (ILI) data. Using this data, we assign a “Red”, “Yellow”, “Green” score to each measure….” [Green is proving extraordinarily illusive]
Library Journal Opinion by Callan Bignoli: “There’s been a trend in articles coming out in major publications about how excited people are to get back to their libraries and how resilient libraries are—something EveryLibrary’s Patrick Sweeney called “happy-go-lucky library stories” at the recent #LIBREV conference. While they pay important attention to the needs libraries are still striving to meet in their communities, these narratives do nothing to expose the miserable realities that library workers are experiencing, or incite any kind of action to be taken in their defense. Let’s start with American Libraries. On May 1, amidst thousands of layoffs and furloughs of library workers happening all around the country, the magazine published a piece by American Library Association (ALA) President Wanda Brown congratulating the resilience and stick-to-it-iveness of “librarians and library workers.” There was no mention of lost jobs, uncertain budgets, unsafe working conditions, managers censoring and punishing employees for speaking up for themselves, or threats of placement in riskier positions—in other words, none of what has defined this crisis for many of our colleagues…I’m only scratching the surface of what’s going on, based on the stories people are sharing with me and on social media—mostly with fear of retaliation or anxiety about how helpless they feel—and things I’m coming across locally…”
Law360 (May 18, 2020) – “The Federal Circuit on Monday suspended in-person arguments “until further notice” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, abandoning its month-by-month approach to extending remote oral arguments. Chief Circuit Judge Sharon Prost’s new administrative order removes the expiration date from a March order limiting access to the courthouse and calling for hearings to be held over the phone. She said the move was made “in the interest of providing greater predictability” to attorneys, given complications rising from the court’s national jurisdiction. “Counsel appearing in cases before this court are currently subject to various approaches to, and timeframes for, community recovery and reopening, which may impact their ability to travel for argument,” Judge Prost wrote. The Federal Circuit had been deciding each month whether oral arguments could be held in person. Arguments were held over the phone in April for the first time ever and they were virtual again in May. The court had announced last week that June arguments would be virtual as well. Attorneys who argued during the first set of phone hearings had said the process was technically smooth, even if it couldn’t fully replicate the experience of being in a courtroom with the judges deciding their clients’ fates…”