Research

South Korea Signs On To Build Full-Scale Hyperloop System

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 19:25
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has partnered with the South Korean government and local universities to build the world's first full-scale Hyperloop system. "The agreement was actually signed back in January but only revealed this week, and sees HTT team up with the South Korean government's department of technological innovation and infrastructure, along with the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building (KICT) and Hanyang University," reports New Atlas. From the report: It involves the construction of a full-scale testbed, licensing of HTT's vacuum tube, levitation, propulsion and battery technologies along with the co-development of safety standards and regulations. The agreement is a multi-year partnership intended to build a new transportation system for South Korea, one which will be known as the HyperTube Express and carry passengers between Seoul and Busan in under 20 minutes, compared to the current three-hour drive. HTT may be setting out to build the world's first Hyperloop but it is no guarantee, with fellow startups Arrivo and Hyperloop One also moving full-steam ahead with their plans. The latter in particular seems to be making solid progress, recently showing off a full-scale test track in Nevada and forming agreements with Russia, Finland and Dubai to explore the feasibility of a Hyperloop in those countries. It's too early to tell who will be first out of the gate, but the competition is certainly heating up.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Facial Recognition Is Coming To US Airports

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 18:45
Facial recognition systems will be coming to U.S. airports in the very near future. "Customs and Border Protection first started testing facial recognition systems at Dulles Airport in 2015, then expanded the tests to New York's JFK Airport last year," reports The Verge. "Now, a new project is poised to bring those same systems to every international airport in America." From the report: Called Biometric Exit, the project would use facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country. Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application. If there's no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally. The system is currently being tested on a single flight from Atlanta to Tokyo, but after being expedited by the Trump administration, it's expected to expand to more airports this summer, eventually rolling out to every international flight and border crossing in the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Larry Panetta, who took over the airport portion of the project in February, explained the advantages of facial recognition at the Border Security Expo last week. "Facial recognition is the path forward we're working on," Panetta said at the conference. "We currently have everyone's photo, so we don't need to do any sort of enrollment. We have access to the Department of State records so we have photos of U.S. Citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the U.S. and their biometrics are captured into [DHS biometric database] IDENT."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

California May Restore Broadband Privacy Rules Killed By Congress and Trump

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 17:25
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A proposed law in California would require Internet service providers to obtain customers' permission before they use, share, or sell the customers' Web browsing history. The California Broadband Internet Privacy Act, a bill introduced by Assembly member Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) on Monday, is very similar to an Obama-era privacy rule that was scheduled to take effect across the US until President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress eliminated it. If Chau's bill becomes law, ISPs in California would have to get subscribers' opt-in consent before using browsing history and other sensitive information in order to serve personalized advertisements. Consumers would have the right to revoke their consent at any time. The opt-in requirement in Chau's bill would apply to "Web browsing history, application usage history, content of communications, and origin and destination Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of all traffic." The requirement would also apply to geolocation data, IP addresses, financial and health information, information pertaining to minors, names and billing information, Social Security numbers, demographic information, and personal details such as physical addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Government responds in travel ban litigation

SCOTUS Blog - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 16:49

This morning the Trump administration responded to yesterday’s brief by the state of Hawaii, which urged the justices to stay out of the dispute over the March 6 executive order, often known as the “travel ban,” which put a hold on visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. Although Hawaii argued yesterday that a June 14 memorandum by the president instructing federal agencies to begin a review of the procedures used to vet and approve visa applications undermined the rationale for the travel ban and eliminated any need for the Supreme Court to step in, today the federal government attempted to refocus the debate. Supreme Court review of the lower-court decisions blocking the travel ban is essential, the government argued, because those decisions interfere with the president’s determination that the travel ban is necessary to protect the national security of the United States.

In yesterday’s filing, Hawaii contended that the June 14 memorandum demonstrated that the travel ban is no longer necessary. The provisions of the president’s March 6 executive order requiring the government to review its procedures for vetting visa and refugee applications – the justification for the ban – will go into effect at the end of this week, but the visa and refugee programs themselves remain on hold until the lower courts’ orders are lifted. Because the government’s review will almost certainly have been completed by the fall, when the justices would hear oral argument in the travel-ban litigation, the rationale underlying the ban will no longer exist, and therefore there is no need for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the ban’s legality.

The government counters that, to the extent there is any “disconnect” between the different provisions of the travel ban, there is an easy way to remedy it: Allow the whole executive order to go into effect, so that the freeze on visas and refugees “can operate in tandem with the parallel reviews, just as the Order envisions.” The government also maintains that other arguments against Supreme Court review are contradictory at best, because the state is arguing both that the government should have moved faster to bring the dispute to the Supreme Court and that the case still isn’t ready for the justices to step in. The important point is that the “government has moved this case through the courts with urgency and care at every stage.”

The government closes its brief by imploring the justices both to review the lower-court decisions putting the ban on hold and to allow the ban to go into effect while they conduct that review. But at the very least, the government suggests, the justices should substantially narrow the scope of the lower court’s order blocking the implementation of the ban so that it applies to only a few people – specifically, the mother-in-law of a Hawaii man who is challenging the ban and any students from the affected countries who plan to attend school in Hawaii. The justices will consider all of these requests at their private conference tomorrow and could announce their decision as early as next week.

The post Government responds in travel ban litigation appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Petitions to watch | Conference of June 22

SCOTUS Blog - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:47

In its conference of June 22, 2017, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as whether the just-compensation clause prohibits a legislature from limiting how just compensation for a taking is calculated and whether the just-compensation clause allows the jury to value the fee interest taken as if it were still encumbered by a discontinued highway easement; and whether the anti-retaliation provision for “whistleblowers” in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 extends to individuals who have not reported alleged misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission and thus fall outside the act’s definition of “whistleblower.”

Bay Point Properties, Inc. v. Mississippi Transportation Commission

16-1077

Issues: (1) Whether the just-compensation clause prohibits a legislature from limiting how just compensation for a taking is calculated; and (2) whether the just-compensation clause allows the jury to value the fee interest taken as if it were still encumbered by a discontinued highway easement.

Mathis v. Shulkin

16-677

Issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit erred by creating a presumption of competency for all U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical evaluators, (including physician assistants, nurses and other non-physician health practitioners) to provide an expert opinion on any medical issue, thereby placing the burden on disabled veteran claimants, most of whom are pro se and many of whom suffer “from very significant psychiatric and physical disabilities,” to rebut the presumption by raising a competency objection, by ascertaining evidence of the evaluator’s lack of qualifications, and then by articulating specific reasons in support of the competency challenge.

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers

16-1276

Issue: Whether the anti-retaliation provision for “whistleblowers” in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 extends to individuals who have not reported alleged misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission and thus fall outside the act’s definition of “whistleblower.”

Coutts v. Watson

16-1075

Issue: Whether a prisoner who claims that he was charged with misconduct in retaliation for activity protected by the First Amendment may prevail on his claim when he was found guilty of the misconduct in a constitutionally adequate proceeding.

Bourne Valley Court Trust v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

16-1208

Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.

Issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in holding that Nevada’s statute authorizing nonjudicial foreclosure of association liens, Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 1116.3116 et seq., was facially unconstitutional under the due process clause for not requiring direct notice to junior lienholders, when the only state action involved was the enactment of the statute regulating the private sale.

Johnson v. Alabama 16-7835

Issue: Whether a state court can enforce a rule that Brady v. Maryland does not apply to impeachment evidence when the Supreme Court has held that Brady does apply to impeachment evidence.

Pavan v. Smith  16-992

Issue: Whether a state violates the 14th Amendment by denying married same-sex couples the same right afforded to married opposite-sex couples under state law to have the name of the birth mother’s spouse entered as the second parent on their child’s birth certificate.

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission 16-111

Issue: Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel the petitioner to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the free speech or free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

Sessions v. Binderup 16-847

Issue: Whether the petitioners are entitled to relief from the longstanding federal statute prohibiting felons from possessing firearms, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), based on their as-applied Second Amendment claim that their criminal offenses and other particular circumstances do not warrant a firearms disqualification.

Binderup v. Sessions 16-983

Issue: Whether, as used in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B), the term “punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less” means “capable of being punished by a term of imprisonment of two years or less,” or “subject to a term of imprisonment of two years or less.”

Peruta v. California 16-894

Issue: Whether the Second Amendment entitles ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in some manner, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law.

The post Petitions to watch | Conference of June 22 appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Proposed DHS Budget Priorities Leave Accountability Behind

Project On Government Oversight - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:26
The proposed DHS budget emphasizes southern border control at the cost of security for the rest of the nation.
Categories: Research

If It Uses Electricity, It Will Connect To the Internet: F-Secure's CRO

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:23
New submitter evolutionary writes: According to F-Secure's Chief Research Officer "IoT is unavoidable. If it uses electricity, it will become a computer. If it uses electricity, it will be online. In future, you will only buy IoT appliances, whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not." F-Secure's new product to help mitigate data leakage, "Sense", is a IoT Firewall, combining a traditional firewall with a cloud service and uses concepts including behaviour-based blocking and device reputation to figure out whether you have insecure devices.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

The Return of Relist Watch SelectTM

SCOTUS Blog - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:59

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists … barely.

Because I am composing (some would say composting) this at 34,000 feet with minimal Internet, even less time, and only as much legroom as I can obtain by storing unused limbs in the overhead bin, this week we’ll once again be favoring our readership with the affordable luxury of Relist Watch SelectTM. For times like this … it’s Relist Watch Select™.

Before proceeding to phone it in flagrantly, let me pause just long enough to note that with the Supreme Court putting partisan-gerrymander case Gill v. Whitford, 16-1161, on its merits docket for next fall as anticipated by last week’s post (and granting Wisconsin its requested stay), October Term 2017 is shaping up nicely after two lackluster terms. (Harris v. Cooper, 16-166, meanwhile, looks like it’s being held for Gill.)

So let’s see what new grants may be in the offing for next Monday. The biggest of this week’s four new relists, at least as a doctrinal matter, is probably the one involving a legislature’s ability to limit how just compensation for a taking of private property is calculated. But for day-to-day importance, the one involving the whistleblower provisions of Dodd-Frank is nothing to sneeze at. The one involving nonjudicial foreclosure of association liens seems unlikely to cause people to run afoul of the Supreme Court’s rule against paid line-standers. As someone who does more government contracts cases than intellectual property cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, I’m always interested when the Supreme Court takes a case from the Federal Circuit that doesn’t involve IP. But the last of this week’s new relists, which involves the Federal Circuit’s rule for which party to a disability dispute has to establish whether Veterans Affairs doctors who submit opinions are competent, taxes even my ability to feign interest.

That’s all for this week. We have only one more scheduled conference (and one unscheduled-but-foreseeable conference) before October Term 2016 effectively ends. Time for the court to unburden itself of all the serial relists that it has been carrying around since as far back as February 24. I, for one, can’t wait to see what they’ve been working on.

Thanks to Bryan U. Gividen and newcomer R. Kent Piacenti for compiling the cases in this post, and the voices in my head for drafting it.

============================================================

New Relists

Mathis v. Shulkin, 16-677

Issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit erred by creating a presumption of competency for all U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical evaluators, (including physician assistants, nurses and other non-physician health practitioners) to provide an expert opinion on any medical issue, thereby placing the burden on disabled veteran claimants, most of whom are pro se and many of whom suffer “from very significant psychiatric and physical disabilities,” to rebut the presumption by raising a competency objection, by ascertaining evidence of the evaluator’s lack of qualifications, and then by articulating specific reasons in support of the competency challenge.

(Relisted after the June 15 conference)

 

Bay Point Properties, Inc. v. Mississippi Transportation Commission, 16-1077

Issues: (1) Whether the just-compensation clause prohibits a legislature from limiting how just compensation for a taking is calculated; and (2) whether the just-compensation clause allows the jury to value the fee interest taken as if it were still encumbered by a discontinued highway easement.

(Relisted after the June 15 conference)

 

Bourne Valley Court Trust v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, 16-1208

Issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in holding that Nevada’s statute authorizing nonjudicial foreclosure of association liens, Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 1116.3116 et seq., was facially unconstitutional under the due-process clause for not requiring direct notice to junior lienholders, when the only state action involved was the enactment of the statute regulating the private sale.

Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.

(Relisted after the June 15 conference)

 

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, 16-1276

Issue: Whether the anti-retaliation provision for “whistleblowers” in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 extends to individuals who have not reported alleged misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission and thus fall outside the act’s definition of “whistleblower.”

(Relisted after the June 15 conference)

 

Returning Relists

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 16-111

Issue: Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel the petitioner to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the free speech or free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

(relisted after the February 24, March 3, March 17, March 24, March 31, April 13, April 21, April 28, May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8 and June 15 conferences)

 

Peruta v. California, 16-894

Issue: Whether the Second Amendment entitles ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in some manner, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law.

(relisted after the April 28, May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8 and June 15 conferences)

  

Sessions v. Binderup, 16-847

Issue: Whether the petitioners are entitled to relief from the longstanding federal statute prohibiting felons from possessing firearms, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), based on their as-applied Second Amendment claim that their criminal offenses and other particular circumstances do not warrant a firearms disqualification.

(relisted after the April 28, May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8 and June 15 conferences)

 

Binderup v. Sessions, 16-983

Issue: Whether, as used in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B), the term “punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less” means “capable of being punished by a term of imprisonment of two years or less,” or “subject to a term of imprisonment of two years or less.”

(relisted after the May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8 and June 15 conferences)

 

Pavan v. Smith, 16-992

Issue: Whether a state violates the 14th Amendment by denying married same-sex couples the same right afforded to married opposite-sex couples under state law to have the name of the birth mother’s spouse entered as the second parent on their child’s birth certificate.

(Relisted after the May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8 and June 15 conferences)

 

Hicks v. United States, 16-7806 

Issues: (1) Whether the petitioner should have been sentenced under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010; and (2) Whether the court of appeals offered an insufficient explanation for denying the petitioner a certificate of appealability.

(relisted after the June 1, June 8 and June 15 conferences)

 

Coutts v. Watson, 16-1075

Issue: Whether a prisoner who claims that he was charged with misconduct in retaliation for activity protected by the First Amendment may prevail on his claim when he was found guilty of the misconduct in a constitutionally adequate proceeding.

(relisted after the June 8 and June 15 conferences)

 

Johnson v. Alabama, 16-7835

Issue: Whether a state court can enforce a rule that Brady v. Maryland does not apply to impeachment evidence when the Supreme Court has held that Brady does apply to impeachment evidence.

(relisted after the June 8 and June 15 conferences)

The post The Return of Relist Watch SelectTM appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Trump Promises a Federal Technology Overhaul To Save $1 Trillion

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:00
New submitter threc shares a report from MIT Technology Review: The tech world descended on Washington, D.C. yesterday to attend a tech summit at the White House. According to MIT Technology Review associate editor Jamie Condliffe: "Trump suggested he might relax his stance on immigration as a way to get tech leaders to help his cause. 'You can get the people you want,' he told the assembled CEOs. That sweetener may be a response to a very vocal backlash in the tech world against the administration's recent travel bans. Trump may hope that his business-friendly stance will offer enough allure: if tech giants scratch his back, he may later deign to scratch theirs." The report continues: "'Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government's technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens,' said Trump at the start of his meeting with the CEOs, according to the Washington Post. 'We're embracing big change, bold thinking, and outsider perspectives.' The headline announcement from the event was Trump's promise to overhaul creaking government computing infrastructure. According to Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and advisor, there's much to be done: federal agencies have over 6,000 data centers that could be consolidated, for instance, while the 10 oldest networks in use by the government are all at least 39 years old. The upgrade, said Trump, could save the country $1 trillion over the next 10 years."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Today in OpenGov: Senate healthcare secrecy is the wrong prescription for ailing democracy

Sunlight Foundation - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 08:14

Yesterday, Sunlight’s Executive Director John Wonderlich explained how unprecedented and dangerous the Senate’s secretive healthcare process has been. Many hot-button issues like ” the filibuster or the debt limit show how positions on legislative process are often dictated by party rather than principle, with the minority favoring transparency and obstruction, and the majority defending secrecy.”

This process is fundamentally different with a procedure “designed, from start to finish, to minimize transparency. Republican leadership is hiding the healthcare bill, and thus preventing health care policy journalists and analysts from informing constituents, voters, and reporters about the impact of the proposals.” This is an an outrageous violation of our norms for policymaking in a democracy: that laws should be drafted in a way that allows for public scrutiny and bipartisan consideration.

As John explained, this goes beyond the usual push and pull of partisan politics. even Senators on the team charged with writing the bill have not seen it. (Bloomberg) Meanwhile, “A trio of key conservative senators is publicly raising concerns about the GOP bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, specifically questioning the decision to draft the legislation behind closed doors.” (The Hill)

Read on for more open government news from around the United States and across the globe.

trumpland
  • Why the Trump Administration’s press access rollbacks matter. “The president’s anti-media defenders may support the administration’s approach, but it’s hard to justify the rollback in accountability. It’s not just the White House, either: the State Department and the Pentagon have all but stopped holding on-camera briefings, too…If you’re a Trump supporter and you’re OK with his secrecy, how would you feel if this were a Democratic administration?” (CNN)
  • In meeting, tech executives urged President Trump to look beyond IT modernization. The group highlighted areas including the need for more open data, procurement, immigration reform, and the need for more federal research funding. (Nextgov)
  • Trump budget would save housing subsidy that benefits his bottom line. “President Trump’s budget calls for sharply reducing funding for programs that shelter the poor and combat homelessness — with a notable exception: It leaves intact a type of federal housing subsidy that is paid directly to private landlords.” Turns out, Trump is one of those landlords. (Washington Post) This feels like a good time to remind you that we’re tracking Trump’s various conflicts of interest.
  • In most expensive race ever, Republicans retain Georgia House seat. With roughly $55 million in spending, the race to fill Tom Price’s Georgia seat was the most expensive in history by a significant margin. (New York Times)
states and cities Honolulu, Hawaii. Image Credit: Edmund Garman
  • Honolulu lobbyists have more to report. “The city doesn’t require lobbyists to provide any details about how they spend money. About 85 percent of the lobbyists who filed reports said they didn’t spend anything last year. Nearly three dozen registered lobbyists didn’t submit any reports, even though mandatory forms were due six months ago.” (Civil Beat)
  • Boston joins other cities in posting climate change data that disappeared from the EPA website. “Boston joined more than a dozen other cities to recently share climate change data from the Environmental Protection Agency that has been removed from the agency’s website. The seemingly harmless educational tool on a municipal website has political implications that did not go unnoticed by environmental advocates.” (Government Technology)
  • San Francisco’s toolkit to manage security risks in their open data. “We already have a toolkit for privacy risks but we recognized a gap for managing the risks mentioned above. Privacy risks are specific to data about individuals. Security risks are about organizational risks related to property, business processes, etc. Plus, we heard from our data stewards that security risks need to be managed. Since the Privacy Edition was successful, we decided to develop the Security Edition.” (DataSF)
around the world Participants in NDI’s Civic Tech Leadership Program with former Secretary of State Madeline K. Albright.
  • Civic Tech Leadership Program connects young leaders from Middle East and U.S. “NDI brought 16 aspiring young innovators from Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, and the United States to Washington, DC, and San Francisco, CA, in April to meet with policymakers, technologists, civic innovators and social entrepreneurs. The visit was the culmination of NDI’s Civic Tech Leadership Program — a unique bilingual program to cultivate young tech-empowered leaders in the U.S. and across the Middle East. Study mission participants had the opportunity discuss their ideas for technologies that address pressing political and social challenges.” (National Democratic Institute)
  • Two French ministers resign their posts amid scrutiny. “Richard Ferrand, who helped Macron set up his political party, said Monday he would give up his role as regional development minister. Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard handed in her resignation Tuesday morning, saying in a statement she didn’t feel she could remain part of the government while investigators are looking into whether she and other European deputies from the centrist MoDem party misused allowances to pay for party activities.” (Bloomberg)
  • Embracing open source technology enables governments to improve systems and services with the public they serve.“In open source, everybody can tap into everybody else’s ideas from around the world and learn from it, innovate on it. That creates this high speed of innovation. And today’s technology giants also understand that. That’s why Google, Facebook, Amazon Web Services are all configured on open source.” (OpenGov Asia)
save the dates Committee on House Administration
  • June 24-25: Random Hacks of Kindness, Washington, DC. “At a RHoK hackathons, the community comes seeking new technologies which are born, existing platforms are built upon, and innovative new ideas attract attention and support. The community of Coders|Hackers|Programers consider the requests and the determine which of the challenges are can be worked on and delivered in just two days. At the close of the hackathon, teams present the technologies they have developed and the community votes and prizes are awarded.” This edition is sponsored by INTERNEWS, the Help Earth Foundation, and CloudSploit. You can learn more and register to participate here.
  • June 27th: Legislative Data and Transparency Conference in Washington, DC. “The Legislative Data and Transparency Conference 2017 (#LDTC17), hosted by the Committee on House Administration, will take place on Tuesday, June 27, 2017in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium. The #LDTC17 brings individuals from Legislative Branch agencies together with data users and transparency advocates to foster a conversation about the use of legislative data – addressing how agencies use technology well and how they can use it better in the future.” Learn more here.
  • June 28th, 10am EST: How Can Demand Driven & Bottom Up Social Accountability Tools Improve Health Services? The Experience of Rural Mozambique, Webinar. “This webinar explores how Concern Universal has managed to find the intersections in incentives and goals between government and rural communities while helping overcome some crucial gaps in health service delivery. It focuses on lessons learned through application of collaborative government/citizen’s approach. More information here: http://bit.ly/2sUtR0C
  • June 29th: DATA Act Summit 2017 in Washington, DC. “The fourth annual DATA Act Summit, hosted by the Data Coalition and Booz Allen Hamilton, will bring together supporters of the open data transformation from across government and the private sector.” Learn more and get your tickets here.
  • July 5, 10am EST: ICT-mediated Citizen Engagement: Voice or Chatter? Webinar. “In this webinar, IT for Change will present the results of eight empirical case studies of citizen engagement through ICTs they undertook. This research, funded by Making All Voices Count, explored in each case how new forms of participation were shaped by IT, how IT affected power relations between government and citizens, and how the interactions between different actors continuously shape governance. More information here: http://bit.ly/2rb4TJ3
  • July 19, 5:30 PM EST. Book Discussion: When Your Job Wants You To Lie in Washington, DC. “Join us for a discussion that will help us deal with the kinds of situations we all encounter. Presented by the American Society for Public Administration, National Capital Area Chapter (ASPA NCAC). Refreshments start 5:30, and the discussion starts 6:00. Space is limited, so you must RSVP in advance.” Learn more and RSVP here.
  • September 11th and 12th: TicTec@Taipei in Taipei. “TICTeC@Taipei is the first ever conference about the influence of civic tech to be held in Asia. We’ve invited members of academia, business, politics, NGOs, education to participate, and discuss their research. We hope through this event, we can build a global network of civic tech enthusiasts.” The event is being held during #CivicTechFest 2017. Learn more, submit a session proposal, and register to attend here.

 

Tired of your boss/friend/intern/uncle forwarding you this email every morning? You can sign up here and have it delivered direct to your inbox! Please send questions, comments, tips, and concerns to todayinopengov@sunlightfoundation.com. We would love your feedback!

Categories: Research

Killing car privacy by federal mandate

Freedom to Tinker - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 07:47

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing a requirement that every car should broadcast a cleartext message specifying its exact position, speed, and heading ten times per second. In comments filed in April, during the 90-day comment period, we (specifically, Leo Reyzin, Anna Lysyanskaya, Vitaly Shmatikov, Adam Smith, together with the CDT via Joseph Lorenzo Hall and Joseph Jerome) argued that this requirement will result in a significant loss to privacy. Others have aptly argued that the proposed system also has serious security challenges and cannot prevent potentially deadly malicious broadcasts, and that it will be outdated before it is deployed. In this post I focus on privacy, though I think security problems and resulting safety risks are also important to consider.

The basic summary of the proposal, known as Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC), is as follows. From the moment a car turns on and every tenth of a second until it shuts off, it will broadcast a so-called “basic safety message” (BSM) to within a minimum distance of 300m. The message will include position (with accuracy of 1.5m), speed, heading, acceleration, yaw rate, path history for the past 300m, predicted path curvature, steering wheel angle, car length and width rounded to 20cm precision, and a few other indicators. Each message will also include a temporary vehicle id (randomly generated and changed every five minutes), to enable receivers to tell whether they are hearing from the same car or from different cars.

Under the proposal, each message will be digitally signed. Each car will be provisioned with 20 certificates (and corresponding secret keys) per week, and will cycle through these certificates during the week, using each one for five minutes at a time. Certificates will be revocable; revocation is meant to guard against incorrect (malicious or erroneous) information in the broadcast messages, though there is no concrete proposal for how to detect such incorrect information.

It is not hard to see that if such a system were to be deployed, a powerful antenna could easily listen to messages from well over the 300m design radius (we’ve seen examples of design range being extended by two or three orders of magnitude through the use of good antennas with bluetooth and wifi). Combining data from several antennas, one could easily link messages together, figuring out where each car was parked, what path it took, and where it ended up. This information will often enable one to link the car to an individual–for example, by looking at the address where the car is parked at night.

The fundamental privacy problem with the proposal is that messages can be linked together even though they have no long-term ids. The linking is simplest, of course, when the temporary id does not change, which makes it easy to track a car for five minutes. When the temporary id changes, two consecutive messages can be easily linked using the high-precision position information they contain. One also doesn’t have to observe the exact moment that the temporary id changes: it is possible to link messages by a variety of so-called “quasi-identifiers,” such as car dimensions; position in relation to other cars; the relationship between acceleration, steering wheel angle, and yaw, which will differ for different models; variability in how different models calculate path history; repeated certificates; etc. You can read more about various linking methods in our comments; and in comments by the EFF.

Thus, by using an antenna and a laptop, one could put a neighborhood under ubiquitous real-time surveillance — a boon to stalkers and burglars. Well-resourced companies, crime bosses, and government agencies could easily surveill movements of a large population in real time for pennies per car per year.

To our surprise, the NHTSA proposal did not consider the cost of lost privacy in its cost-benefit analysis; instead, it considered only “perceived” privacy loss as a cost. The adjective “perceived” in this context is a convenient way to dismiss privacy concerns as figments of imagination, despite the fact that NHTSA-commissioned analysis found that BSM-based tracking would be quite easy.

What about the safety benefits of proposed technology? Are they worth the privacy loss? As the EFF and Brad Templeton (among others) have argued, the proposed mandate will take away money from other safety technologies that are likely to have broader applications and raise fewer privacy concerns. The proposed technology is already becoming outdated, and will be even more out of date by the time it is deployed widely enough to make any difference.

But, you may object, isn’t vehicle privacy already dead? What about license plate scanners, cell-phone-based tracking, or aerial tracking from drones? Indeed, all of these technologies are a threat to vehicle privacy. None of them, however, permits tracking quite as cheaply, undetectably, and pervasively. For example, license-plate scanners require visual contact and are more conspicuous that a hidden radio antenna would be. A report commissioned by NHTSA concluded that other approaches did not seem practical for aggregate tracking.

Moreover, it is important to avoid the fallacy of relative privation: even if there are other ways of tracking cars today, we should not add one more, which will be mandated by the government for decades to come. To fix existing privacy problems, we can work on technical approaches for making cell phones harder to track or on regulatory restrictions on the use of license plate scanners. Instead of creating new privacy problems that will persist for decades, we should be working on reducing the ones that exist.

Categories: Research

Wednesday round-up

SCOTUS Blog - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 07:26

Court-watchers continue to discuss the Supreme Court’s recent announcement that it will hear a high-profile partisan-gerrymandering case from Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford. In The Economist, Steven Mazie notes that “the justices have looked the other way when oddly drawn districts clump voters based on party rather than race,” and that “[i]f the challenge to hyper-partisan line-drawing succeeds, the shape of districts to come may tighten the link between voters’ preferences and who gets elected.” Nina Totenberg reports on the case for NPR, pointing out that “Republicans have more to lose in next term’s case because they control state legislatures in many more states than the Democrats do, and they stand to maximize that advantage again after the 2020 census.” At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Walter Olson observes that “the five-member majority to stay the Wisconsin order … suggests that at this point it is the conservative side’s case to lose.” Lisa Soronen discusses the case at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ blog, noting that the “challengers propose a standard for determining the influence of partisan gerrymandering in the district-drawing process” that is based on ‘wasted votes’–votes in each district cast for a non-winning party’s candidate.” At PrawfsBlawg, Daniel Rodriguez questions whether “we [can] truly get our arms around a constitutional jurisprudence that sorts and separates good from bad politics.” Additional commentary comes from John Nichols in The Nation and Ryan Lockman at Lock Law Blog.

At The Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, Caleb Trotter weighs in on the court’s holding Monday in Matal v. Tam, in which the justices held that a ban on the registration of disparaging trademarks violates the First Amendment, arguing that “the decision reaffirms the First Amendment’s requirement of viewpoint neutrality when government attempts to regulate private speech.” In The Daily Signal, Elizabeth Slattery discusses the effect of the ruling on other cases involving offensive trademarks, such as the one brought by the Washington Redskins, noting that “[i]t would be hard to square a ruling against the Redskins [with] the Supreme Court’s full-throated defense of free speech.” Lisa Soronen looks at the case at the Council of State Governments’ Knowledge Center blog, noting that “the Supreme Court rejected the federal government’s claim that trademarks are government speech or a form of government subsidy.”

At NPR, Nina Totenberg reports on Monday’s decision in Ziglar v. Abbasi, in which the justices limited the ability to bring suit under the Constitution against federal officials for detentions in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, observing that “[j]ust how far reaching the decision is, remains unclear.” At Stanford Law School’s Legal Aggregate blog, Shirin Sinnar argues that “[s]tepping back from the line of Bivens decisions that makes Abbasi seem normal, it’s striking how far we’ve departed from two very basic premises: first, that where there’s a constitutional right at stake, there ought to be a way to vindicate it, and second, that the very point of including guarantees of individual rights in the Constitution was to guard against legislative temptations to overlook them.” At Balkinization, Deborah Lind maintains that Abbasi “should not be, as some colleagues have suggested, … fodder for the broader debate … about whether and when the President’s reasoning is entitled to judicial deference in matters of national security.”

At Vox, Dara Lind discusses the challenges to the Trump administration’s temporary ban on entry into the U.S. by nationals of six Muslim-majority countries now pending before the court, maintaining that “[h]ow the Supreme Court feels about the ban itself isn’t yet clear, or even relevant,” and that the “question is how it feels about its own role in the fight over the ban — and whether that leads the justices to try to get the case over with, or to proceed with deliberate caution.” At Take Care, Leah Litman highlights an amicus brief opposing the government’s motion to freeze the injunctions preventing implementation of the entry ban; “the brief argues that the entry ban violates the Establishment Clause’s prohibition on animus toward particular religions.”

Briefly:

  • At The George Washington Law Review’s On the Docket blog, Alan Morrison looks at Monday’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, in which the justices reversed a state court finding of specific personal jurisdiction over out-of-state plaintiffs in a multistate lawsuit, calling it the last in a series of recent rulings “that, taken together, have seriously limited the ability of plaintiffs to obtain personal jurisdiction over defendants in their preferred forum.”[Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in this case.]
  • At the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog, Deborah LaFetra bemoans the court’s decision not to review a case that gives “a green light” to plaintiff “to pursue her ‘representative’ action against [a former employer] despite her written agreement to arbitrate any disputes that arose during the course of her employment,” arguing that “only the Supreme Court can remedy this hostility to arbitration that leads lower courts to treat contracts with arbitration provisions as poor relations.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at] scotusblog.com.

The post Wednesday round-up appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Petition of the day

SCOTUS Blog - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:30

The petition of the day is:

Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling 16-1215

Issue: Whether (and, if so, when) a statement concerning a specific asset can be a “statement respecting the debtor’s … financial condition” within Section 523(a)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code.

The post Petition of the day appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Unisys Security Index™ U.S.

beSpacific - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:26

“The Unisys Security Index measures concerns of consumers on issues related to national, personal, financial and internet security around the world. In the U.S., the greatest increase in concern since 2014 was in the area of internet security: 51%. Learn more about concerns in the other areas.”

Categories: Research

Securities and Commodities Exchange Litigation Up 37 Percent

beSpacific - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:16

“The latest available data from the federal courts show that during May 2017 the government reported 128 new securities and commodities exchange civil filings. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, monthly filings when compared with those of the same period in the previous year were up by more than a third (36.7%). Suits in this category involve alleged violations of the Securities and Exchange Act (15 USC 78), securities fraud under 15 USC 77 and 12 USC 22, violations of commodities exchange regulations and other breaches of fiduciary duties. Relative to population size, Delaware had the highest volume of these lawsuits during FY 2017 with a rate 20 times the national average. The Southern District of New York (Manhattan) had the largest number of filings. This was followed by the Northern District of California (San Francisco), the Central District of California (Los Angeles), New Jersey, and Delaware. These five districts accounted for half of all lawsuits this year. For further details on national trends, and lawsuits filed in each federal district, see:  http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/civil/473/ Each month, TRAC offers a report focused on one area of civil litigation in the U.S. district courts. In addition, subscribers to the TRACFed data service can generate custom reports by district, office, nature of suit or federal jurisdiction with data updated through May 2017. To start, go to  http://trac.syr.edu/interpreter?tab=civil

Categories: Research

Librarian highlights open access document discovery services

beSpacific - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:15

Getting serious about open access discovery — Is open access getting too big to ignore? – “…Still for whatever reason, suddenly services built around helping users find free full text began to emerge all at the same time..”

Categories: Research

Hawaii to Supreme Court: No need to review travel ban

SCOTUS Blog - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:02

Calling the March 6 executive order signed by President Donald Trump, which put a temporary hold on visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries, “grossly unlawful,” the state of Hawaii today urged the Supreme Court to sit out the litigation over the legality of the order, popularly known as the “travel ban.” Instead, the state told the justices, they should allow two lower-court orders putting the order on hold to remain in place. After all, the state suggested, even the federal government – which is defending the order in court — “has revealed by word and deed that even it believes” that the travel ban is no longer necessary.

The Trump administration has asked the justices to reinstate the travel ban, which two separate federal appeals courts had blocked, and review the dispute over the ban on the merits. The government’s original request for the Supreme Court to weigh in came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had blocked the government from implementing the ban, but before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had ruled in Hawaii’s challenge to the ban. The justices ordered the latest round of briefing – of which today’s filing was a part – after the 9th Circuit ruled for Hawaii on June 12.

The brief that Hawaii filed today reiterated many of the points that the state made in its earlier briefing. The state complained, for example, that the federal government had doubled “down on a breathtaking vision of unreviewable” power for the executive branch. But, the state maintained, federal immigration laws do not give president “an absolute right to control immigration.” Recounting the history of early U.S. colonists, the state stressed that the Founding Fathers “were thus familiar both with the violent threat posed by religious zealots and with the threat to our liberties posed by governments acting in the name of the United States. Our Constitution,” the state emphasized, “is designed to guard against them both.”

But the main focus of the state’s brief (as well as a short brief filed by the challengers in the 4th Circuit case) was an effort to convince the justices that, putting everything else aside, there is no need for the justices to get involved in the travel ban dispute now. The state explained that, in the wake of the 9th Circuit’s ruling, the president had instructed agencies within the federal government to begin their review – required by the March 6 order – of the procedures that they use to vet visa applications. The government, the state contended, had argued that the ban on new visas for travelers from the six Muslim-majority countries was necessary to give the government time to conduct this review. The government will now be able to start that process soon.

But, the state continued, the provisions in the March 6 order barring new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries won’t go into effect until three days after the freeze is lifted. And the federal government has told the Court that it does not need to hear the case until October, almost nine months after the ban was originally imposed. By that point, the state suggested, the government’s justification for the ban – the need to vet visa procedures – will no longer exist, eliminating any need for the court to weigh in. “Even when faced with important issues,” the state observed, “this Court does not review cases that no longer have any practical urgency.”

Hawaii also told the justices that, if they disagree and decide to review the 4th Circuit’s ruling freezing the travel ban, they should also take on the 9th Circuit’s case. The federal government will file its response to today’s filing by noon tomorrow – presumably in time for it to consider the government’s requests at the justices’ private conference on Thursday.

The post Hawaii to Supreme Court: No need to review travel ban appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

2017 Online Trust Audit Released

beSpacific - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 21:59

2017 Online Trust Audit Released – What Did We Learn? Jeff Wilbur, June 20, 2017  – “Today we released the 9th annual Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll. This year’s Audit is our most comprehensive ever, assessing more than 1000 consumer-facing sites for their adoption of best practices in consumer/brand protection, site security and responsible privacy practices. Each year we raise the bar, using criteria that reflect the latest regulatory environment, attack vectors and commonly accepted practices providing users with notice and control regarding their data. Our goal is to provide practical advice to organizations to help them move beyond compliance to stewardship, thus protecting their customers and their brand while improving trust in the Internet itself. We also recognize excellence in adherence to these practices by naming organizations to the Honor Roll, and this year to the “Top of Class” (top 50 scoring sites). The results of the 2017 Audit were a mix of the expected and unexpected. Some pleasant surprises:

  • Despite raising the bar in the criteria and scoring, a record 52% of sites assessed made the Honor Roll, led by the Consumer services sector with 76% Honor Roll achievement.
  • The News/Media sector dramatically improved their Privacy scores (rising an average of 20%), and thus cut their Privacy failure rate to only 19%, less than one quarter of last year’s 58%. This helped lead them to an Honor Roll achievement of 48%, their highest ever, and a meteoric rise from 4% three years ago.
  • Adoption of some fundamental technology practices all doubled since last year – as a response to both security and privacy concerns, use of full-time encryption on sites (also known as “https everywhere”) passed the tipping point, reaching 52%. Use of IPv6 grew to 14%, setting the stage for future growth and IoT, and use of DNSSEC grew to 12% thanks to banks and continued heavy use by government sites.
  • Use of DKIM (an email authentication standard) at the top-level (corporate) domain grew substantially, from 44% to 56%. This is the second straight year of 12% absolute growth.
  • We assessed “cross device tracking” disclosure for the first time this year (where a site correlates your use of multiple devices to access their site), and found that 44% are disclosing this practice, most commonly for consumer services, retailers and news sites. Such disclosure is good news, though it needs to be backed up by restricted data sharing and use by third parties to truly benefit consumers.

However, there were also some unexpected, unpleasant results:

  • 65% of the Top 100 banks had a failure in one or more categories, dropping banks’ Honor Roll achievement in half – from 54% last year to 27% this year. This is less about doing worse, and more about not keeping pace. Many of them use a standardized privacy policy that’s “compliant”, but doesn’t cover the OTA practices aimed at stewardship. This caused a Privacy failure rate of 34% vs. 5% last year. Consumer Protection also dragged down banks’ achievement since more emphasis was placed on use of certain email authentication practices. Since many banks were on the edge of the failure bar in previous years, failure to keep pace caused failing scores.
  • To a lesser extent Federal government sites also dropped this year, with 60% of sites having one or more failures and only 39% reaching Honor Roll status. This can be almost entirely attributed to lack of thorough email authentication for these sites, leaving many of them open to be spoofed.
  • Through the inclusion of additional data providers and better telemetry, many of the criteria got a deeper look this year, resulting in significant negative shifts in results from previous years. Breach incidents more than doubled to nearly 12%, with some sectors (banks and consumer sites) at 24%. Sites with cross-site scripting (XSS) nearly doubled to 50%. Close examination of SPF and DMARC records revealed that 7-8% of them were actually invalid, likely giving site owners a false sense of security.

So what can we glean from all this? Security and privacy are not resolved with a one-time action. It takes vigilance to keep pace with implementation of new technologies, protect from new attacks, and address new privacy issues (think GDPR). That’s why we included a handy checklist of best practices and resources in the Appendix of this year’s report as well as sample privacy language to address many of the evolving criteria…”

Categories: Research

Sweden Passes Bill To Become Carbon Neutral By 2045

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 21:40
Sweden is the first country to significantly upgrade its carbon ambitions since the Paris accord in 2015. The country has passed a new bill committing to cut its net carbon emissions to zero by 2045. New Scientist reports: The law was drawn up by a cross-party committee and passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament by 254 votes to 41. The legislation establishes an independent Climate Policy Council and requires an action plan to be updated every four years. Sweden had previously committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. It already gets 83 per cent of its electricity from nuclear energy and hydropower, having met its 2020 target of 50 per cent renewable energy eight years ahead of schedule. To achieve carbon-neutral status, the country will focus on reducing emissions from transport by increasing the use of biofuels and electric vehicles. It plans to cut domestic emissions by at least 85 per cent, and offset remaining emissions by planting trees or investing in projects abroad.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Mozilla Launches Privacy-Minded 'Firefox Focus' Browser For Android

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 20:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched a new browser for Android. In addition to Firefox, the company now also offers Firefox Focus, a browser dedicated to user privacy that by default blocks many web trackers, including analytics, social, and advertising. You can download the new app now from Google Play. Because Google isn't as strict as Apple, Android users can set Firefox Focus as their default browser. There are many use cases for wanting to browse the web without being tracked, but Mozilla offers a common example: reading articles via apps "like Facebook." On iOS, Firefox Focus is basically just a web view with tracking protection. On Android, Firefox Focus is the same, with a few additional features (which are still "under consideration" for iOS): Ad tracker counter -- Lists the number of ads that are blocked per site while using the app. Disable tracker blocker -- For sites that are not loading correctly, you can disable the tracker blocker to fix the issues. Notification reminder -- When Firefox Focus is running in the background, a notification will remind you so you can easily tap to erase your browsing history.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

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