Law and Legal
The 2019 Audubon Photography Awards: Winners – “Get ready to be amazed by this year’s selection of eye-popping images.”
Boing Boing: Linkedin to libraries: drop dead – “For years, libraries across America have paid to subscribe to lynda.com for online learning content; four years ago, lynda.com became a division of Linkedin, and this year, the company has informed libraries that they’re migrating all lynda.com users to Linkedin Learning, which would be fine, except Linkedin only allows you to access Linkedin Learning if you create and connect a Linkedin profile to the system. If libraries accept this change, it will mean that any patron who uses this publicly funded service will also have to have a publicly searchable Linkedin profile. Linkedin’s explanation of why this is OK is purest tech-bro PR bullshit, condescending and dismissive.
Libraries are fighting back: California State Libraries is recommending that libraries boycott the service, and the American Library Association has publicly condemned the move…”
EveryCRSReport.com: Federal Preemption: A Legal Primer July 23, 2019 R45825 – “The Constitution’s Supremacy Clause provides that federal law is “the supreme Law of the Land” notwithstanding any state law to the contrary. This language is the foundation for the doctrine of federal preemption, according to which federal law supersedes conflicting state laws. The Supreme Court has identified two general ways in which federal law can preempt state law. First, federal law can expressly preempt state law when a federal statute or regulation contains explicit preemptive language. Second, federal law can impliedly preempt state law when Congress’s preemptive intent is implicit in the relevant federal law’s structure and purpose.
This report begins with an overview of certain general preemption principles. In both express and implied preemption cases, the Supreme Court has made clear that Congress’s purpose is the “ultimate touchstone” of its statutory analysis. The Court’s analysis of Congress’s purpose has at times been informed by a canon of statutory construction known as the “presumption against preemption,” which instructs that federal law should not be read as preempting state law “unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress.” However, the Court has recently applied the presumption somewhat inconsistently, raising questions about its current scope and effect. Moreover, in 2016, the Court held that the presumption no longer applies in express preemption cases…”
Comparitech: “The US government suffered 443 data breaches since 2014, with 2018 being the worst year so far, according to a new study by Comparitech. Data breaches are often associated with the private sector—hackers break into databases owned by businesses to steal user data and other valuable information. But the government is also a frequent target of breaches, often compromising much more sensitive data. Comparitech analyzed the last four years of US government breaches. These are not only limited to database breaches, but also other electronic and even paper breaches. These can range from stolen laptops and hard drives to document mailing errors…” Here are the study’s key findings:
- Since 2014 there have been 443 data government/military breaches involving 168,962,628 records
- 2018 was the worst year for data breaches with 100 occurring which involved 81,505,426 records
- 2014 was also a high year for data breaches (90 in total) but these involved far fewer records—9,419,799
- Electronic breaches by far outweigh data breaches. However, in 2014, a third of all breaches were paper data breaches…”
American Libraries – How misinformation affects the future of policy – “…The internet has made it easy for people to be information illiterate in new ways. Anyone can create information now—regardless of quality—and get it in front of a large number of people. The ability of social media to spread information as fast as possible, and to as many people as possible, challenges literacy, as does the ability to manipulate images, sounds, and video with ease. Since the 2016 presidential election, libraries have constructed hundreds of online fake news pathfinders and tools, but the scope of the problem is larger than learning aids alone can handle. The future of information literacy stands at the intersection of literacy and behavior. Self-awareness; decision-making processes for what to access, use, trust, and share; and awareness of potential manipulations of information are central and explicit aspects of information literacy. However information professionals address the spiraling challenges of information literacy and information behavior, that work will be a key part of serving patrons and communities directly and society as a whole. Too much reliance on incorrect information can lead to very poor policy choices…”
Follow-up to my previous posting – Equifax data breach settlement: How to file a claim for $125 or free credit reporting, please see the following information [h/t Pete Weiss]:
Wired – “f you’re one of the 147 million people in the United States affected by the egregious Equifax credit bureau hack in 2017, you were probably resigned to getting some free credit monitoring out of it and moving on…”
CNBC: “Equifax will pay $671 million to settle numerous state class-action lawsuits and investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, New York Department of Financial Services and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the company said Monday. The deal, which is still subject to a six-month court approval process, will establish a consumer restitution fund of up to $425 million, which will pay for credit monitoring from all three bureaus and any “out-of-pocket losses related to the breach.” As an alternative, consumers can request a $125 cash payment if they already have been signed up for credit monitoring services that will continue for at least six months. Consumers may also be eligible for payments of up to $20,000 for time they spent remedying fraud or misuse of personal information or out-of-pocket losses.
But that will likely be an uphill battle. As CNBC previously reported and as repeated several times on a conference call Monday, the data connected with the Equifax breach has never been found for sale on the dark web. Instead, intelligence experts and security executives have told CNBC that the information was likely stolen by a foreign intelligence agency for spying purposes. This means proving your data was misused as a result of the breach would be a difficult fight…”
Quartz: “In 2018, it seemed like the days of the United States’ last major bookstore chain were numbered. A decade of falling sales, brutal layoffs, 150 store closures, six chief executives, and a $1 billion loss on its Nook e-reader had left Barnes & Noble in the throes of an identity crisis. So acute was its struggle that one New York Times critic imagined a sequel to the 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail in which Tom Hanks—the big-box bookstore owner who crushes Meg Ryan’s independent book shop—is now the David to Amazon’s Goliath. But here’s a better plot twist: What if Meg Ryan got tapped to save the big chain, and teach Hanks what people really want from their bookstore? That’s the mission that Elliot Advisors, the hedge fund that purchased B&N for $638 million in June, has handed to freshly appointed CEO James Daunt. A 55-year-old Englishman, Daunt has spent nearly three decades in the bookselling business. For most of that time, he was exclusively Team Indie, overseeing an idyllic, boutique book-buying experience as the founder of Daunt Books, which has six locations in well-heeled neighborhoods in London.
Despite his small-business bona fides, Daunt has in the past decade emerged as an unlikely savior for big-box bookstores, first overseeing the revival of Waterstones, a UK chain with close to 300 branches, and now at Barnes & Noble. His turnaround strategy is centered on a simple premise: In a world where Amazon offers unbeatable convenience and prices, big book chains will only survive if they act more like independents…”
Venture Beat: “The AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project, which was first announced by Google in 2015, is an open source framework designed to speed up mobile webpages. The company asserts that it cuts load times to under a second by balancing clickthrough probability with device and network constraints, and it claims that AMP is actively used by hundreds of thousands of web domains across billions of pages. Building on this burgeoning ecosystem, Google today debuted a new, faster way to visit pages from Google Images on the web: Swipe to Visit. Courtesy AMP, when you select an image in Search on a supported smartphone, you’ll see a preview of the website header at the bottom of the screen. Swiping up will load the corresponding page instantly.
Swipe to Visit uses AMP’s prerender capability to show previews, so webpages displayed count as pageviews. Better still, publishers who already support AMP don’t need to take additional action for their sites to appear in Swipe to Visit on Images. In the coming weeks, they’ll be able to track the resulting traffic in a dedicated module within Search Console’s performance report for Images…”
USAToday: “If you were affected by the 2017 Equifax data breach, you can now file a claim for a piece of the settlement. The credit-reporting company has agreed to pay between $575 million and $700 million to settle state and federal investigations related to a massive security incident that exposed the personal information of more than 147 million Americans two years ago. The settlement, which was announced Monday and is considered the largest ever for a data breach, has preliminary court approval. The official settlement website, www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com, has been posted and is accepting claims. To confirm you’re eligible to file a claim, enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number on the site or call the Settlement Administrator at 1-833-759-2982…”
- After providing your last name and last six digits of you social security number – bingo – [Based on the information you provided, our records indicate your personal information was impacted by this incident.] For more information, visit the FAQ page. [Just saying – the breach occurred 2 years ago and $125 in no way compensates anyone for the permanent loss of critical “personal data.”]
“Mutual Rescue Doggy Day Out encourages people to take dogs from local shelters on outings and field trips in the community. Common Doggy Day Outs can include a hike, a trip to a beach or lake, a sleepover in a home or even a nice dinner in a pet friendly restaurant. These outings help shelter dogs manage kennel stress, burn off energy and get more exposure in their communities. Doggy Day Out only requires minimal training commitments for participants. This encourages members of the public, who normally wouldn’t have time to volunteer, to engage with their local shelter and advocate for the animals. It’s a great excuse to get out and get some exercise or explore with a canine sidekick. Doggy Day Out also helps you reach a new segment of your community. Most people only interact with a shelter to surrender or adopt a pet or if they have time to volunteer. Doggy Day Out invites the community to engage with your organization and become advocates, adopters and donors.
Doggy Day Out can help:
- Relieve kennel stress in shelter dogs
- Give you more information about how your dogs behave in the real world
- Get the dogs greater visibility and exposure to potential adopters
- Spread your shelter’s message in the community…”
NPR – “The Senate intelligence committee has released its report detailing Russia’s targeting of election systems in 2016 along with recommendations for protecting American elections from foreign interference. The committee’s final report on election security [redacted] appeared Thursday as the 2020 presidential race gets underway in what promises to be a bitter and divisive election battle. It also followed former Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s stark warning to lawmakers on Wednesday that Russia’s sprawling influence operation of 2016 was not a one-and-done.
“No, it wasn’t a single attempt,” Mueller said during some six hours of testimony about his Russia investigation, before two House committees. “They’re doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign.” The leaders of the Senate intelligence committee echoed that warning in unveiling their election security report on Thursday, while also hailing the steps they said have been taken since 2016…”
BBC – The world of work is in transition. Are you ready? – “The world of work is being struck by waves of change. Some are vast and visible – leaps in machine learning and artificial intelligence or the rise of ‘do anything from anywhere’ technologies. Other ideas are just beginning to emerge – like monitoring content to ensure proper gender balance, or rethinking office design to promote air quality. Behind it all are the people whose ideas and attitudes have the potential to shape the next chapter of our lives. Here are the 101 indispensable things that you need to know about our work-life future…”
Hakai Magazine – “From the moment a fisher lands a fish to the moment that fish lands on your plate, 27 percent of it will disappear. Consider the Atlantic salmon you ate for dinner last night—say, 300 grams. Then lop off more than a quarter of it. Now consider what would happen if we piled up your discards and mine, along with all the other fish that disappear from the global food system in a given year. Imagine we piled up all those discards—all 46 million tonnes of them—in one very smelly spot. They would fill one of the world’s largest landfills, which (incidentally) is not located in China or India, but hides in plain sight just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Or let me put it another way: it would take about six years to pile up enough rotting seafood to outweigh all the adults in the world…”
KKF – U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker. Published: Jul 22, 2019. “This tracker provides a listing of global health-related legislation introduced in the 116th Congress. Currently, there are more than 30 pieces of legislation related to global health. They address topics ranging from global health security to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and reproductive health. The tracker includes the bill title, sponsor(s), current status, and topic, as well as a short description of its global health-related provisions. The tracker includes bills only; resolutions are not included. Legislation is listed in alphabetical order by short title. In certain cases, identical bills have been introduced in both chambers of Congress (often referred to as companion bills). For example, the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights Act and the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Act of 2019 were each introduced in both chambers. Such companion bills are listed separately in the tracker. The tracker will be updated as needed…”
WSJ video – Research shows that exposure to nature, even indoors, can help reduce stress. Biophilia expert Rebecca Bullene shows you how to pick the perfect plants for your office and the best ways to take care of them.
The Conversation: “Facebook’s News Feed algorithm determines what users see on its platform – from funny memes to comments from friends. The company regularly updates this algorithm, which can dramatically change what information people consume. As the 2020 election approaches, there is much public concern that what was dubbed “Russian meddling” in the 2016 presidential election could happen again. But what’s not getting enough attention is the role Facebook’s algorithm changes play, intentionally or not, in that kind of meddling. A key counterpoint to the Russian misinformation campaign was factual journalism from reputable sources – which reached many of their readers on Facebook and other social media platforms. As a social media researcher and educator, I see evidence that changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm suppressed users’ access to credible journalism in the run-up to Trump’s election…” [h/t Pete Weiss]
Vice – A new report documents two years of science being scrubbed from government websites. “The Trump administration has undermined the fight against climate change by suffocating facts and science on government websites, according to a federal watchdog group that monitors thousands of government pages for changes. A report published by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) on Monday found that language related to climate change has disappeared at an alarming pace since Trump took office in 2016. Across 5,301 pages—ranging from websites belonging to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the US Geological Survey (USGS)—the use of the terms “climate change,” “clean energy,” and “adaptation” plummeted by 26 percent between 2016 and 2018. Of the pages where “climate change” was stricken, more than half belong to the EPA…”
“Many of us have given up on the idea of carrying around a dedicated work phone. After all, why bother when you can get everything you need on your personal smartphone? Here’s one reason: Your work account might be spying on you in the background. When you add a work email address to your phone, you’ll likely be asked to install something called a Mobile Device Management (MDM) profile. Chances are, you’ll blindly accept it. (What other choice do you have?) MDM is set up by your company’s IT department to reach inside your phone in the background, allowing them to ensure your device is secure, know where it is, and remotely erase your data if the phone is stolen.
From your company’s perspective, there are obvious security reasons for installing an MDM on an employee’s phone. But for employees, it’s difficult to tell what these invisible profiles are collecting behind the scenes, as they provide people at your company with invisible control over your device. That’s why when it comes to your phone, no matter how much you trust your IT department, it’s a good idea to keep work and pleasure separate…”
Wired: “Climate change has thrown our beautifully balanced planet into chaos. As oceans and forests transform and ecosystems go into shock, perhaps a million species teeter on the edge of extinction. But there may still be hope for these organisms. Some will change their behaviors in response to soaring global temperatures; they might, say, reproduce earlier in the year, when it’s cooler. Others may even evolve to cope—perhaps by shrinking, because smaller frames lose heat more quickly.
For the moment, though, scientists have little idea how these adaptations may be playing out. A new paper in Nature Communications, coauthored by more than 60 researchers, aims to bring a measure of clarity. By sifting through 10,000 previous studies, the researchers found that the climatic chaos we’ve sowed may just be too intense. Some species seem to be adapting, yes, but they aren’t doing so fast enough. That spells, in a word, doom…”
- Details: Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a news conference if “anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will certainly fight, resolutely defending the country’s sovereign unity and territorial integrity,” according to AP. The white paper states “we will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked.”
Why it matters: Taiwan is one of several flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship. China regards the self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province. The State Department notified Congress this month that it has approved a $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan. The U.S. Navy has sent ships to the Taiwan Strait that divides the island with the Chinese mainland in recent months.
- This is the first white paper China has issued since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s sweeping 2015 military reforms, the Japan Times notes…”