Law and Legal
c/net: “Imagine someone creating a deepfake video of you simply by stealing your Facebook profile pic. Luckily, the bad guys don’t have their hands on that tech yet. But Samsung has figured out how to make it happen. Software for creating deepfakes — fabricated clips that make people appear to do or say things they never did — usually requires big data sets of images in order to create a realistic forgery. Now Samsung has developed a new artificial intelligence system that can generate a fake clip by feeding it a little as one photo…In [a] paper, Samsung’s AI lab dubbed its creations “realistic neural talking heads.”
…Here’s the downside: These kinds of techniques and their rapid development also create risks of misinformation, election tampering and fraud, according to Hany Farid, a Dartmouth researcher who specializes in media forensics to root out deepfakes…”
Bob Ambrogi [LawSites] Compares Costs: “LexisNexis has quietly introduced transparent, flat-rate pricing for one- and two-lawyer law firms, with plans starting at $75 a month. This is good news for solo and small firms, and reflects the increasing array of legal research options they can choose from. But exactly how do those options stack up?
The long-established legal research companies LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters face growing competition from alternative upstarts, especially in the small-firm market. Last year, seeking to expand its sales among smaller firms, Casetext introduced Casetext for Small Law, featuring a reduction in its monthly subscription price to as low as $65 for the first attorney and then $55 for others.
Meanwhile, Fastcase and Casemaker continue to offer free access to their services through affinity deals with bar associations and low subscription rates for attorneys who want to purchase access. Both companies continue to add content and features designed to make themselves more competitive with Lexis Advance and Westlaw.
Given this, I wondered how these subscription deals stack up against each other. Here is what I found…”
Cato Institute: “Washington’s latest symbolic battle is looming. America’s money celebrates its early political leaders, white males all. There’s now a campaign to provide for greater currency diversity. The group Women on 20s held a poll on what woman should be added: the victor was famed antislavery activist Harriet Tubman, who narrowly beat out First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Finishing further behind were Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights heroine, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female Cherokee chief.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time that a woman appeared on America’s money. Suffragette Susan B. Anthony graced the ill-fated dollar coin that was little used and quickly forgotten. The Native American Sacagawea later did the same and suffered a similar fate.
The Treasury Department is authorized to choose figures for America’s money. The administration has almost total discretion, since all that matters is that the person be dead. President Barack Obama indicated his interest in showcasing more women, encouraging feminist groups to rev up their political engines.
Republican legislators should take up the challenge and introduce a resolution urging the Treasury to add Tubman. There’s nothing sacred about the present currency line-up. After all, America was created by many more people than presidents and other politicians.
…Tubman would be a great choice to replace [Andrew Jackson]. She represents the best of America. She was born between 1820 and 1822 in Maryland to slave parents. She was christened Araminta Ross and her mother fought hard to hold the family together. Tubman was hired out and often beaten. She suffered permanent harm but her strong Christian faith helped sustain her. After her owner’s death in 1849, which led his widow to begin selling their slaves, she escaped through the Underground Railroad to Philadelphia…”
“Starting today, ALL PLOS journals will offer authors the option to publish their peer review history alongside their accepted manuscript! We’ve been excited to make this announcement, and make major strides towards a more open publication process, since last fall when we signed ASAPbio’s open letter committing to transparent peer review options. What will it look like?
Our philosophy going into this project has been to open up the peer review process in a way that gives authors and reviewers more choices about how they publish and claim credit for their work. As before, our peer review process defaults to single-blind, although reviewers have the option to sign their names to their reviews if they wish. What we’ve added to our process is an option at acceptance for authors to decide whether to publish the full peer review history alongside their work. This package includes the editor’s full decision letter, complete with reviewer comments and authors’ responses for each revision of the manuscript. Peer review history will have its own DOI enabling reviewers to take credit and earn citations for their contributions. If the reviewers have chosen to sign their reviews, their name will also appear on the published reviews but they can also chose to remain anonymous. All manuscripts submitted after May 22, 2019 will be eligible for this option if accepted at a PLOS Journal. Here’s a look at the variations of open our opt-in model provides…”
“In 2018, Freedom in the World recorded the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The reversal has spanned a variety of countries in every region, from long-standing democracies like the United States to consolidated authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous. Democracy is in retreat. In states that were already authoritarian, earning Not Free designations from Freedom House, governments have increasingly shed the thin façade of democratic practice that they established in previous decades, when international incentives and pressure for reform were stronger. More authoritarian powers are now banning opposition groups or jailing their leaders, dispensing with term limits, and tightening the screws on any independent media that remain. Meanwhile, many countries that democratized after the end of the Cold War have regressed in the face of rampant corruption, antiliberal populist movements, and breakdowns in the rule of law. Most troublingly, even long-standing democracies have been shaken by populist political forces that reject basic principles like the separation of powers and target minorities for discriminatory treatment…”
“The hiring pace for new judges continues to be insufficient to keep up with the Immigration Court’s workload. As a result, the court’s backlog continues to climb – up 65 percent since President Trump assumed office. A total of only 424 judges face a backlog of 892,517 cases on the courts’ active dockets as of the end of April 2019, not counting the hundreds of thousands of pending cases that have not yet been re-calendared. The three largest immigration courts were so under-resourced that hearing dates were being scheduled as far out as August 2023 in New York City, October 2022 in Los Angeles, and April 2022 in San Francisco. In the 25 courts that account for 92 percent of the immigration court’s current backlog, the typical (median) judge caseload is just under three thousand cases. Twenty percent of these judges have caseloads of four thousand or more cases. One judge in the Houston Immigration Court is currently assigned 9,048 cases!…Findings are based upon the latest court records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. To read the full report, go to: https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/558/…”
Via LLRX – Moving to a Paperless Law Firm: 3 Tips for Working With PDFs – Nicole Black documents best practices for your firm’s process of transitioning to a paperless environment that includes an infographic on how to train your staff on the ins and outs of working with PDFs.
The Verge: Before you give your device away, delete your personal data: “About to buy the latest Samsung phone or save a bit of money on a Google PIxel 3A? Whether you plan to trade in your old Android phone for a discount on your new phone, sell it on eBay, give it away to a friend, or drop it off for recycling, you’re going to want to wipe it of all your data first by resetting it to factory conditions. Luckily, that’s pretty easy to do.
Before you start, be aware that these instructions are for a Pixel 3 XL running Android 9, but the process for most current Android phones should be pretty much the same. Needless to say, first make sure that all of your data is transferred to your new phone, backed up, or both. Once your old phone has reset, there’s no going back…”
The New York Times – “A letter written by Alexander Hamilton during the Revolutionary War has resurfaced more than seven decades after the document was stolen from the Massachusetts Archives, federal authorities said. The 1780 letter, addressed to Hamilton’s good friend the Marquis de Lafayette, came to light last November when an auction house in Virginia notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation after a South Carolina family tried to consign it for auction, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Federal District Court in Massachusetts by the United States District Attorney’s Office. An auction house researcher had discovered that the letter matched a copy of the correspondence on Founders Online, a National Archives and Records Administration website. It had been listed as missing…”
CNBC – Comcast is working on an in-home device to monitor people’s health, and aims to begin pilot-testing it later this year. “A team under Sumit Nagpal, a senior vice president and general manager of health innovation at Comcast who previously worked at the consulting firm Accenture, has been working on the device for more than a year, according to two people with direct knowledge. Nagpal joined Comcast in February of this year, according to LinkedIn, to build a strategy and a team for bringing the new health hardware to market. These people asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of Comcast, and Comcast declined to comment. (Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.)
The device will monitor people’s basic health metrics using ambient sensors, with a focus on whether someone is making frequent trips to the bathroom or spending more time than usual in bed. Comcast is also building tools for detecting falls, which are common and potentially fatal for seniors, the people said…”
The New York Times – Vehicles collect a lot of unusual data. But who owns it?: “Cars produced today are essentially smartphones with wheels. For drivers, this has meant many new features: automatic braking, turn-by-turn directions, infotainment. But for all the things we’re getting out of our connected vehicles, carmakers are getting much, much more: They’re constantly collecting data from our vehicles.
Today’s cars are equipped with telematics, in the form of an always-on wireless transmitter that constantly sends vehicle performance and maintenance data to the manufacturer. Modern cars collect as much as 25 gigabytes of data per hour, the consulting firm McKinsey estimates, and it’s about much more than performance and maintenance…”
Electronic Messaging Recordkeeping Requirements, CRS In Focus, May 21, 2019
“The emergence and widespread governmental adoption of digital technologies that create information subject to the retention and preservation requirements of the Federal Records Act (FRA; 44 U.S.C. Chapters 21, 29, 31, and 33), as amended, and the Presidential Records Act (PRA; 44 U.S.C. §§2201-2209), as amended,may be of interest to Congress, officials charged with maintaining government records, and the public. Processes related to the preservation and archiving of born-digital record materials created by email (referred to in statute as electronic mail), text messages, mobile applications, and other forms of electronic messaging—whether created using official, governmental resources, or through personal devices owned by government employees—may be of interest to multiple audiences. Congressional interest arises from many perspectives, including compliance with federal record keeping laws,the consequence of more-complicated (and potentially incomplete) record keeping information, and the ability of Congress to conduct oversight of executive branch activities…”
The Guardian – Democrats ranked global heating as the third most important issue on their list, while Republican voters ranked it last in a Yale poll: “Surging concern among Americans about an overheating planet has done little to shift a political polarization that has now reached a stunning extreme: climate breakdown divides Democrats and Republicans even more than abortion does.
When voters were asked to rank topics important to them for the 2020 presidential election, conservative Republicans put global warming last out of 29 issues. Liberal Democrats placed the issue third, behind only environmental protection and healthcare.
This yawning gap in priorities between the two voting groups, highlighted in new Yale University data, is more stark than traditionally divisive topics such as abortion and gun control. Abortion ranks fifth and gun policies sit in seventh for conservative Republicans, with these issues coming in at number 13 and number seven, respectively, for progressive Democrats…”
“America’s public lands are owned by the people and managed on our behalf by federal and state governments. That means you get to use them for all sorts of fun things for little to no charge. Here’s how to do that…”
Lavoie, Brian. 2019. Maple Leaves: Discovering Canada through the Published Record. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. https://doi.org/10.25333/ek4v-ag09. “The Canadian contribution to literature, music, film, and other forms of creative expression is rich and deep. In this report, we explore the contours of this contribution, as it is manifested in the collections of libraries around the world. Using WorldCat, the world’s largest and most comprehensive aggregation of data describing global library holdings, and mapping the information with Wikidata to identify publications authored or otherwise created by Canadians and Canadian organizations, we trace the boundaries of the Canadian presence in the published record: i.e., materials published in Canada, by Canadians, or about Canada. We then take a deeper dive into these materials, highlighting some distinctive features of the Canadian presence that help create a more detailed picture of how Canada and Canadians have influenced, and continue to influence, the broad sphere of the published record.
How big is Canada’s contribution to the published record? Using a methodology developed by OCLC Research and applied in several previous studies, 10.9 million distinct publications were identified in WorldCat that fell into at least one of the three categories of materials constituting the Canadian presence in the published record.
The largest work in Canadiana in terms of number of publications is Anne of Green Gables, by Prince Edward Island–born author Lucy Maud Montgomery. This work has been published and re-published over a thousand times!
Read the full report to find out the most “popular” works, authors, and more, along with shifting patterns over time, materials published in the languages of Indigenous peoples, and more trends revealed in the rich data made possible by WorldCat.”
Business Insider – “Google Maps has become so pervasive and useful since its launch in 2005 that it’s almost impossible to remember how we got around without it. From seeing how long it takes to get from point A to point B, to scouting out restaurants and points of interest, it’s an invaluable resource for navigating neighbourhoods both familiar and new. And, of course, Google Maps has come a long way over its 14-year history. Here’s a look at some of the most useful features in Google’s wildly popular navigation app…”
Season 37: Episode 14 – “Inside the no-holds-barred war for control of the Supreme Court. From Brett Kavanaugh to Robert Bork, an investigation of how a 30-year-old grievance transformed the court and turned confirmations into bitter, partisan conflicts.”
See also Law.com [subscription req’d] – New Documentary Examines Supreme Court Confirmations From Bork to Kavanaugh. “The U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process and how it devolved into highly charged partisan battles is the focus of a new investigative documentary—’Supreme Revenge’—airing Tuesday night on PBS’s Frontline program…. As part of the Frontline Transparency Project, Frontline will publish a digital collection of extended video and text interviews with key sources, including Collins, Graham, Klobuchar, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, and former Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, Heitkamp, and Alan Simpson, R-Wyoming, who share their firsthand insights into the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, and the politicization of the Supreme Court as an institution.”
Motivated Secrecy: Politics, Relationships, and Regrets. American Psychological Association 2019, Vol. 1, No. 999, 0002333-8113/19/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/mot0000139
“Recent work has explored the dynamics of secrecy and its outcomes, but has yet to examine the motivations people have for engaging in secrecy and how such motivations shape the experience of secrecy and its implications. We present a motivational model of secrecy, and test this model in diverse contexts: (a) politics (secret votes in the 2016 United States election), (b) common secrets people keep, and (c) romantic relationships (secrets from partners) across a large sample of participants. We explored the motivations people have for keeping a secret, and the psychological implications of having a secret for one’s self and relationships. We found that mind wandering to secrets (but not concealing secrets) was associated with feelings of in authenticity and regret. Moreover, it was secrecy motivated by concern for one’s reputation rather than one’s relationships that predicted these harms of secrecy.”
FiveThirtyEight – Republicans and Democrats tend not to live side-by-side, even when they live in the same city. “We’ve heard it over and over: Democratic candidates win cities. Researchers have tracked the way Democrats have dominated in cities since the ’90s. Politicians bring up America’s deep-blue cities constantly, including in stump speeches and in every debate over the Electoral College. Even FiveThirtyEight couldn’t resist joining in: In December, Galen Druke and I showed how America’s cities and tightly packed suburbs shifted toward Democrats in the most recent midterm election. The more densely populated the place, the more Democratic the voters.
But just because Republicans aren’t winning in cities doesn’t mean that no Republicans live there. Much has been made of the country’s urban-rural political divide, but almost every Democratic city has Republican enclaves, especially when you think about cities as more than just their downtowns. It’s a sign of our polarized times that these Republicans aren’t evenly distributed across the city, of course. But it’s also a sign of how centuries of American history have shaped and continue to shape where we live — and who our neighbors are.
But before we get to the sociology, let’s dig in to the geography. What did the political landscape of the city1 closest to you look like in 2016?…”
Simon, Diana, Cross-Cultural Differences in Plagiarism: Fact or Fiction? (April 24, 2019). Cross-Cultural Differences in Plagiarism: Fact or Fiction?, 57 Duquesne Law Review 73 (2019).; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 19-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3377725 – “Are there cross-cultural differences in plagiarism? Is it helpful—let alone fair—to try to generalize attitudes toward plagiarism across cultures? Is this issue of relevance for learning institutions like law schools? And how do these issues intersect with the legal profession? My perspectives on these issues stem from 25 years of legal practice handling complex commercial disputes combined with over 20 years as a law school professor, first as an adjunct professor and now as a part of the legal writing department. The two perspectives—the practicing attorney view and the academic view—are not identical.
This article addresses whether there are cross-cultural differences in plagiarism, as well as the different attitudes that prevail in the academic and professional worlds in five stages. Parts I, II, and III address differences that exist in views of plagiarism in the West as opposed to Asia, and Part IV addresses the response to those views, arguing that they are unfair and inaccurate stereotypes. Parts V, VI, and VII address plagiarism in the “real world” of litigation—the world in which most law students will reside upon graduation. Finally, Part VIII concludes with a modest proposal for handling plagiarism in law school.” [h/t Mary Whisner]