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NYT – Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:44

We decode the symbols of hate that white supremacists, Nazis and alt-right groups display at their marches, including the violent gathering in Charlottesville, Va….a broad lexicon of far-right terminology…has become important to understanding American politics during the Trump administration. Many of these terms have their roots in movements that are racist, anti-Semitic and sexist. Here is a brief guide to the meaning of those expressions and others used by white supremacists and far-right extremists….”

Categories: Research

Privacy and Court Records: Online Access and the Loss of Practical Obscurity

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:27

Ardia, David S., Privacy and Court Records: Online Access and the Loss of Practical Obscurity (August 4, 2017). University of Illinois Law Review, Vol. 2017, No. 5, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3013704

“Court records present a conundrum for privacy advocates. Public access to the courts has long been a fundamental tenant of American democracy, helping to ensure that our system of justice functions fairly and that citizens can observe the actions of their government. Yet court records contain an astonishing amount of private and sensitive information, ranging from social security numbers to the names of sexual assault victims. Until recently, the privacy harms that attended the public disclosure of court records were generally regarded as insignificant because court files were difficult to search and access. But this “practical obscurity” is rapidly disappearing as the courts move from the paper-based world of the twentieth century to an interconnected, electronic world where physical and temporal barriers to information are eroding. These changes are prompting courts — and increasingly, legislatures — to reconsider public access to court records. Although this reexamination can be beneficial, a number of courts are abandoning the careful balancing of interests that has traditionally guided judges in access disputes and instead are excluding whole categories of information, documents, and cases from public access. This approach, while superficially appealing, is contrary to established First Amendment principles that require case-specific analysis before access can be restricted and is putting at risk the public’s ability to observe the functioning of the courts and justice system. This article pushes back against the categorical exclusion of information in court records. In doing so, it makes three core claims. First, the First Amendment provides a qualified right of public access to all court records that are material to a court’s exercise of its adjudicatory power. Second, before a court can restrict public access, it must engage in a case-specific evaluation of the privacy and public access interests at stake. Third, per se categorical restrictions on public access are not permissible. These conclusions do not leave the courts powerless to protect privacy, as some scholars assert. We must discard the notion that the protection of privacy is exclusively the job of judges and court staff. Instead, we need to shift the responsibility for protecting privacy to lawyers and litigants, who should not be permitted to include highly sensitive information in court files if it is not relevant to the case. Of course, we cannot eliminate all private and sensitive information from court records, but as long as courts continue to provide physical access to their records, the First Amendment does not preclude court administrators from managing electronic access in order to retain some of the beneficial aspects of practical obscurity. By minimizing the inclusion of unnecessary personal information in court files and by limiting the extent of electronic access to certain types of highly sensitive information, we can protect privacy while at the same time ensuring transparency and public accountability.”

Categories: Research

Gallup – 2017 Global Law and Order Report

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:02

2017 Global Law and Order Report:…” the latest findings from Gallup’s Law and Order Index, a worldwide measure that reveals how safe — or insecure — people feel in their neighborhood and how confident they are in their local police…the poll offers leaders a glimpse of how close or far countries are from achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of “promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.”

Categories: Research

Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 22:48

“The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University today released a comprehensive analysis of online media and social media coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. The report, “Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” documents how highly partisan right-wing sources helped shape mainstream press coverage and seize the public’s attention in the 18-month period leading up to the election.

“In this study, we document polarization in the media ecosystem that is distinctly asymmetric. Whereas the left half of our spectrum is filled with many media sources from center to left, the right half of the spectrum has a substantial gap between center and right. The core of attention from the center-right to the left is large mainstream media organizations of the center-left. The right-wing media sphere skews to the far right and is dominated by highly partisan news organizations,” co-author and principal investigator Yochai Benkler stated. In addition to Benkler, the report was authored by Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, Bruce Etling, Nikki Bourassa, and Ethan Zuckerman.

The fact that media coverage has become more polarized in general is not new, but the extent to which right-wing sites have become partisan is striking, the report says.  The study found that on the conservative side, more attention was paid to pro-Trump, highly partisan media outlets. On the liberal side, by contrast, the center of gravity was made up largely of long-standing media organizations. Robert Faris, the Berkman Klein Center’s research director, noted, “Consistent with concerns over echo chambers and filter bubbles, social media users on the left and the right rarely share material from outside their respective spheres, except where they find coverage that is favorable to their choice of candidate. A key difference between the right and left is that Trump supporters found substantial coverage favorable to their side in left and center-left media, particularly coverage critical of Clinton. In contrast, the messaging from right-wing media was consistently pro-Trump.” Conservative opposition to Trump was strongest in the center-right, the portion of the political spectrum that wielded the least influence in media coverage of the election.  In this recently-emerged universe, Breitbart stands at the center of a right-wing media ecosystem and is surrounded by sites like Fox News, the Daily Caller, the Gateway Pundit, the Washington Examiner, Infowars, Conservative Treehouse, and Truthfeed, according to the report’s analysis.”

Categories: Research

Heritage Foundation reports plan replacement of fed experts with AI

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 21:21

Derek B. Johnson: “The Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank, is calling for increased reliance on automation and the potential creation of a “contractor cloud” offering streamlined access to private sector labor as part of its broader strategy for reorganizing the federal government. Seeking to take advantage of a united Republican government and a president who has vowed to reform the civil service, the foundation drafted a pair of reports this year attempting to identify strategies for consolidating, merging or eliminating various federal agencies, programs and functions. Among those strategies is a proposal for the Office of Management and Budget to issue a report “examining existing government tasks performed by generously-paid government employees that could be automated…Private firms can automate on their own schedule. However, major structural changes to the civil service will require congressional approval. At an Aug. 15 Heritage panel on government reorganization, former associate director at the Office of Management and Budget Robert Shea said he does not anticipate the passage of workforce legislation anytime soon…”

Categories: Research

Ivy Stacks employee with UVa’s offsite shelving facility seriously injured in Charlottesville

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 21:12

Chronicle of Higher Education: “Tyler D.R. Magill, an employee with the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library, suffered a stroke Tuesday that may be related to injuries he sustained in a violent melee with white supremacists on the university’s Lawn Friday night, a friend of his family confirmed Wednesday. Mr. Magill was admitted around 10 a.m. Tuesday to the university’s medical center, where doctors found that his carotid artery was partially dissected, causing a clot that resulted in a stroke, Mr. Magill’s wife confirmed to The Chronicle through a family friend. Doctors at the medical center suspect that the stroke is the result of blunt force trauma to the neck, the source told The Chronicle. A spokesman for the university’s medical center said Wednesday that Mr. Magill was in fair condition at the hospital. Mr. Magill, 46, works in the university’s library as an liaison with Ivy Stacks, UVa’s offsite shelving facility. He drew attention when a video surfaced recently in which he followed Jason Kessler, an organizer of the “Unite the Right Rally,” as state police escorted Mr. Kessler away from a press conference outside Charlottesville City Hall. Mr. Magill called Mr. Kessler responsible for the death of Heather D. Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was fatally struck by a vehicle that rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters Saturday…”

Categories: Research

Animal Welfare: Information on the U.S. Horse Population

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 18:47

Animal Welfare: Information on the U.S. Horse Population, GAO-17-680R: Published: Jul 17, 2017. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 2017. “There could be as many as 9.2 million domesticated equines—including horses, burros, and mules—in the United States, and at least 200,000 free-roaming equines on federal and tribal lands.

  • Managing equine populations poses several challenges, including Affording care for them
  • Finding new homes for unwanted equines
  • Protecting equine welfare, including when they are in transit for commercial slaughter
  • Controlling population growth
  • Addressing the potential environmental effects of free-roaming equines

We collected information on equine welfare to help federal and state agencies and nongovernmental stakeholders address some of these challenges.”

Categories: Research

US Institute of Peace – Negotiating Civil Resistance

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 20:11

Negotiating Civil Resistance July 19, 2017. By Anthony Wanis-St. John and Noah Rosen. United States Institute of Peace.

“Reviewing the literature on negotiation and civil resistance, this report examines the current divide between the two and digs deeper to identify the fundamental convergences. It builds on these findings to illustrate why negotiations and negotiation concepts are essential to the success of civil resistance campaigns. Using historical examples, it then examines the dynamics of negotiation in the context of these strategic domains.

  • Nonviolent uprisings and protest movements can help channel popular discontent into positive political and social change.
  • Negotiation can enable opposition movements to more effectively press for such change.
  • Despite enormous complementarities, civil resistance activists and negotiation scholar-practitioners have tended to develop separate communities of practice and divergent theories.
  • Rights advocates often focus on ends; the conflict resolution community emphasizes processes and methods.
  • Demands of a movement can be structured to make either pragmatic, incremental gains toward justice or peace, or far-reaching, transformative changes to restructure a system.
  • Movement leaders need to recognize the three key purposes of a demand: collectivizing, dramatizing, and generating momentum.
  • Direct action campaigns should increase the social power of a movement by mobilizing key populations and establishing the moral high ground of the movement vis-à-vis the target regime.
  • Effective direct action has a clear target, whether a policy or a regime.
  • Broad-based participation that moves beyond demonstration and becomes transgressive shows the opponent that obedience and compliance cannot be taken for granted.
  • The leverage nonviolent movements have depends on the quality and strength of the negotiated agreements within the coalition and with the regime. Such negotiations are far from a mere formality: the process of unpacking an old regime and rebuilding a functional, harmonious society is usually a process, rarely a definitive end-state.
  • Rather than marking the formal end of a civil resistance campaign, negotiation is essential to successfully initiating, expanding, and sustaining it.
  • Despite clear and important cleavages and divergence between the negotiation and conflict resolution field, on the one hand, and the civil resistance field, on the other, their convergence is promising..”
Categories: Research

Gallup – 2 Reasons Why Employee Engagement Programs Fall Short

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:40

Larry Emond – Gallup: “…An employee engagement program needs to be a manager education and development initiative, not a measurement initiative — but many are really just the latter. An annual survey by itself does not help anyone. The survey should be just an audit of whether things are getting better. But the program should be all about providing managers with learning and tools to increase engagement within their teams, week in and week out — through ongoing conversations between managers and their employees….

…Companies are not nearly selective enough about whom they name as their managers, at every level. Most people become managers either because they were top individual performers or because they’ve been around the company a long time. Neither of those two things has ever shown a strong relationship to being a good manager. In fact, Gallup research has found that only 10% of human beings are naturally wired to be great managers — and some others, while not naturally gifted, are teachable. But companies choose candidates with the right talent for the job only 18% of the time….”

Categories: Research

CBO – The Effects of Terminating Payments for Cost-Sharing Reductions

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:31

“Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurers receive federal payments to cover costs incurred when offering plans with reduced deductibles, copayments, and other cost sharing to some people who purchase plans through the ACA marketplaces. If those payments for cost-sharing reductions stopped after the end of this year, participating insurers would raise premiums to cover the costs. CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that ending those payments would increase the federal deficit, on net, by $194 billion from 2017 through 2026, mostly because that change would result in increased costs for premium assistance tax credits. The number of people uninsured would be slightly higher in 2018 but slightly lower starting in 2020.”

Categories: Research

ALA condemns racism and violence in Charlottesville

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:18

“Today American Library Association President Jim Neal released the following statement regarding the weekend’s tragic violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. [The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.]

“The ALA expresses our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those lost and injured during this weekend’s protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will not forget their efforts to enlighten and safeguard their communities from bigotry while opposing racist, anti-immigrant, anti-GLBTQ, and anti-Semitic violence. We stand in solidarity with the people of Virginia as well as anyone who protests hate and fights for equity, diversity and inclusion. “The vile and racist actions and messages of the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville are in stark opposition to the ALA’s core values. No matter the venue or the circumstance, we condemn any form of intimidation or discrimination based on culture, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Our differences should be celebrated, and mutual respect and understanding should serve as the norms within our society. “The ALA supports voices of hope as such actions mirror the library community’s efforts to abolish bigotry and cultural invisibility. As we recently stated, ‘we must continue to support the creation of a more equitable, diverse and inclusive society,’ and we will do this through the work of our members and through resources such as Libraries Respond.”

See also: “U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today on the white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia: “Our Founders fought a revolution for the idea that all men are created equal. The heirs of that revolution fought a Civil War to save our nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to that revolutionary proposition. “Nothing less is at stake on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a violent attack has taken at least one American life and injured many others in a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons. “White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special. “As we mourn the tragedy that has occurred in Charlottesville, American patriots of all colors and creeds must come together to defy those who raise the flag of hatred and bigotry.”

Categories: Research

Free Law Project – We Have Every Free PACER Opinion on CourtListener.com

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:15

“At Free Law Project, we have gathered millions of court documents over the years, but it’s with distinct pride that we announce that we have now completed our biggest crawl ever. After nearly a year of work, and with support from the U.S. Department of Labor and Georgia State University, we have collected every free written order and opinion that is available in PACER. To accomplish this we used PACER’s “Written Opinion Report,” which provides many opinions for free. This collection contains approximately 3.4 million orders and opinions from approximately 1.5 million federal district and bankruptcy court cases dating back to 1960. More than four hundred thousand of these documents were scanned and required OCR, amounting to nearly two million pages of text extraction that we completed for this project. All of the documents amassed are available for search in the RECAP Archive of PACER documents and via our APIs. New opinions will be downloaded every night to keep the collection up to date.”

Categories: Research

NIST – Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:06

Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations, August 2017. Draft NIST Special Publication 800-53 Revision 5.
This publication provides a catalog of security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations to protect organizational operations and assets, individuals, other organizations, and the Nation from a diverse set of threats including hostile attacks, natural disasters, structural failures, human errors, and privacy risks. The controls are flexible and customizable and implemented as part of an organization-wide process to manage risk. The controls address diverse requirements derived from mission and business needs, laws, Executive Orders, directives, regulations, policies, standards, and guidelines. The publication describes how to develop specialized sets of controls, or overlays, tailored for specific types of missions and business functions, technologies, environments of operation, and sector-specific applications. Finally, the consolidated catalog of controls addresses security and privacy from a functionality perspective (i.e., the strength of functions and mechanisms) and an assurance perspective (i.e., the measure of confidence in the security or privacy capability). Addressing both functionality and assurance ensures that information technology products and the information systems that rely on those products are sufficiently trustworthy.”

Categories: Research

Perspectives on Harmful Speech Online

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 22:25

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University – “This collection of essays includes perspectives on and approaches to harmful speech online from a wide range of voices within the Berkman Klein Center community. Recognizing that harmful speech online is an increasingly prevalent issue within society, we intend for the collection to highlight diverse views and strands of thought and to make them available to a wide range of audiences. We issued an open call to our community for short pieces that respond to issues related to harmful speech online. Through this collection, we sought to highlight ongoing research and thinking within our extended community that would be available to readers in a way that is more accessible than traditional academic research. The 16 short essays compiled in this collection are authored by a global group of friends, colleagues, and collaborators. We hope that this diverse mix of perspectives, viewpoints, and data points provokes thought and debate, and inspires further exploration. Evidence of the complexity of the issue is that no two writers sought to cover the same topic from a similar point of view; from legal perspectives to research results to paradigm-shifting provocations, a multitude of topics, opinions, and approaches are included. Many pieces draw from research, while others are more opinion-based, indicating that discourse around this topic can be inherently opinionated and passionate as well as scholarly and academic. Some pieces are written in a style evocative of advocacy, whereas others are written with scholarly communities in mind. The range of perspectives and opinions found here—and the lack of consensus on some topics—highlight the dynamic complexity of the issues and how competing values are frequently entangled. The pieces are organized into three categories: Framing the Problem, International Perspectives, and Approaches, Interventions, and Solutions. The first and last sections include essays that build upon our understanding of their categories, and the section on International Perspectives addresses specific geopolitical contexts and ways in which the regulation of harmful speech may or may not be serving the citizens of a particular country or region..”

Categories: Research

Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 22:00

United States International Trade Commission – Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report, May 2017

“Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report focuses on U.S. exports and imports of professional services, particularly accounting and auditing, architecture and engineering, legal, and management consulting services. In 2015, the United States exported $139.7 billion in professional services and imported $91.0 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $48.7 billion for this segment of the services sector. By comparison, the total U.S. services trade surplus was $263.4 billion. U.S. professional services contributed $2.6 trillion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, or 19 percent of total U.S. private sector GDP. Professional services employed over 29 million full-time equivalent employees in 2015, representing 25.8 percent of U.S. total private sector employment. The healthcare sector supplied about half of professional services’ contribution to employment and GDP. Wages for professional services workers have grown slightly more slowly than those in many other services industries. The workers earned an average wage of $65,861 in 2015, exceeding the private sector average, but trailing wages in electronic services, financial services, and goods manufacturing.Professional services such as management consulting are being transformed by digital technology, as software is increasingly able to perform routine tasks. However, many professional services also require non-routine creative tasks, as well as social interaction, neither of which can easily be automated. Sectors like legal services and accounting and auditing services remain highly regulated, and these regulations can significantly influence patterns of international trade.”

Categories: Research

GAO reports continuing security controls for protecting confidentiality of taxpayer data

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 21:55

Information Security: Control Deficiencies Continue to Limit IRS’s Effectiveness in Protecting Sensitive Financial and Taxpayer Data, GAO-17-395: Published: Jul 26, 2017. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 2017.

“The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made progress in addressing previously reported control deficiencies; however, continuing and newly identified control deficiencies limited the effectiveness of security controls for protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IRS’s key financial and tax processing systems. During fiscal year 2016, IRS made improvements in access controls over a number of system administrator accounts and updated certain software to prevent exposure to known vulnerabilities. However, the agency did not always (1) limit or prevent unnecessary access to systems, (2) monitor system activities to reasonably assure compliance with security policies, (3) reasonably assure that software was supported by the vendor and was updated to protect against known vulnerabilities, (4) segregate incompatible duties, and (5) update system contingency plans to reflect changes to the operating environment. An underlying reason for these control deficiencies is that IRS had not effectively implemented components of its information security program. The agency had a comprehensive framework for its program, including developing and documenting security plans; however, it did not fully implement other program components. For example, IRS did not always effectively manage information security risk or update certain policies and procedures. GAO has made recommendations to IRS to correct the identified security control deficiencies (see table). However, corrective actions for a number of the deficiencies have not been completed and the associated recommendations remained open at the conclusion of the audit of IRS’s financial statements for fiscal year 2016.”

Categories: Research

Ozone treaty taking a bite out of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 19:59

NOAA – “The Montreal Protocol, the international treaty adopted to restore Earth’s protective ozone layer, has significantly reduced emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals from the United States. A new study by NOAA and CIRES scientists shows the 30-year old treaty has also significantly reduced climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. That’s because the ozone-depleting substances controlled by the treaty are also potent greenhouse gases, with heat-trapping abilities up to 10,000 times greater than carbon dioxide over 100 years. The new research, the first to quantify the impact of the Montreal Protocoloffsite link on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions with atmospheric observations, shows that reducing the use of ozone-depleting substances from 2008 to 2014 eliminated the equivalent of 170 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. That’s roughly 50 percent of the reductions achieved by the U.S. for CO2 and other greenhouse gases over the same period. The study was published today in Geophysical Research Letters“…

Categories: Research

Nuclear Threat Initiative Report on North Korea

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 19:47

Nuclear Threat Initiative is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to reduce global threats from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.”

Last Updated: July, 2017 [Except as follows with the full report here] “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has an active nuclear weapons program and tested nuclear explosive devices in 2006, 2009, 2013, and twice in 2016. The DPRK is also capable of enriching uranium and producing weapons-grade plutonium. North Korea deploys short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in 2017. North Korea is also believed to possess biological and chemical weapons programs. Pyongyang unilaterally withdrew from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in January 2003 and is not a party to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) or a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The DPRK is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and is believed to possess a large chemical weapons program. North Korea is a party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and Geneva Protocol, but is suspected of maintaining an offensive weapons program in defiance of the BTWC…”
Categories: Research

International Privacy Experts Adopt Statements on E-Learning, Intelligence Gathering

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 19:41

EPIC – “The International Working Group on Data Protection in Telecommunications has adopted new recommendations to improve privacy and security standards for e-learning platforms and government intelligence gathering. The Berlin-based Working Group includes Data Protection Authorities and experts who work together to address emerging privacy challenges. The Working Paper on “E-Learning Platforms” highlights privacy risks including excessive collection of students’ personal data. “Towards International Principles or Instruments to Govern Intelligence Gathering” recommends that DPAs participate in developing an international instrument governing intelligence activities and recommends authorities promote principles concerning “Legitimacy,” “Rule of Law,” and “Oversight.” In April 2017, EPIC hosted the 61st meeting of the IWG in Washington, D.C. at the Goethe-Institut, Germany’s cultural institute.”

Categories: Research

Library Guides for Detecting Fake News – AALL Spectrum July 2017

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 19:27

Genevieve Zook [excerpted from her article] – JULY/AUGUST 2017 | AALL SPECTRUM 23

Categories: Research

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