International Comparisons of Litigation Costs: Europe, the United States and Canada by David L. McKnight and Paul J. Hinton, May 2013
Via LLRX - Negotiating Justice: The New Constitutional Spectrum of Plea Bargaining - Ken Strutin focuses on the impact of the Supreme Court's decisions in Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, and the upcoming appeal in Burt v. Titlow in regard to placing plea bargaining front and center on the national stage. As a result, they have divided practitioners and scholars into two camps: (1) those who consider the rulings to be a new statement in the law of plea bargaining and right to effective assistance of counsel; and (2) those who believe they are only a restatement of established principles. These cases have generated interest in the centrality and regulation of plea bargaining, the ethics and effectiveness of defense counsel as negotiator, the oversight of prosecutors regarding charging decisions, sentence recommendations and pre-trial discovery, and the scope of federal habeas corpus review and remedies. Ken's article is a comprehensive annotated guide to high court opinions, scholarship and commentary regarding the themes addressed by the Supreme Court in Lafler and Frye as well as their implications for the administration of criminal justice.
US Courts: "The 6th edition of the Benchbook for U.S. District Court Judges, a publication of the Federal Judicial Center, is now available online. The book, last updated in 2007, is a concise and practical guide to situations federal judges are likely to encounter on the bench. The Benchbook covers procedures that are required by statute, rule or case law, with detailed guidance from experienced trial judges. And although new judges may benefit the most from the Benchbook, even experienced judges may find useful reminders about how to deal with routine matters, suggestions for handling more complex issues, and helpful starting points in new situations. The 6th Edition includes a primer on a prosecutor's duty to disclose favorable information to defendants under Brady v. Maryland. There's a new section on civil pretrial case management focusing on the judge's role as an active case manager, and a completely revised section on sentencing, which contains an extensive colloquy for the sentencing hearing. There also are subsections on handling disruptive or dangerous defendants, and expanded jury instructions on the use of social media. Due to budgetary constraints, this edition of the Benchbook is published in electronic format only."
New York Times: "The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news. The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of calls. In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters. In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies."
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: "Very timely Justice Department data show that during the first six months of FY 2013, the rate of federal criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses is up 9.8 percent over the previous year, with 50,468 such prosecutions reported as of the end of March. If this pace continues, more individuals will have faced criminal immigration charges this year than at any other time in United States history. Regionally, the Southern District of Texas (Houston) now leads the nation with 17,022 immigration prosecutions so far this year. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) is in second place with 13,379 prosecutions. Arizona, the district with the most immigration prosecutions in FY 2012, has slipped to third place with 11,476. Arizona is also recording the largest decline -- 22 percent -- of any district in the nation. For more details, including top ten district rankings and lead charges, go to the report."
Did my wife's cosmetics give her breast cancer? Inside a regulatory disaster zone by John Wasik - Washington Monthly, May 6, 2013.
ABCNews: "The Department of Justice complied with the letter of the law and responded to a Freedom of Information Act request from the ACLU seeking insight into the Obama Administration’s policy on intercepting text messages from cell phones. But -- it didn’t release any actual information. Or even any words or letters. As one Reddit comment put it, “[the document is] so transparent it’s completely invisible.” Instead, the Justice Department released 15 pages that were entirely redacted, shaded over in heavy black from top to bottom. All that was visible is the subject of the memo: “Guidance for the Minimization of Text Messages over Dual-Function Cellular Telephones” It is all part of a larger legal battle between civil rights activists and the federal law enforcement about electronic communications. The ACLU has argued that current government surveillance practices on electronic communications violate citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights, which are meant to protect Americans from unlawful searches and seizures. With the FOIA request they were trying to determine if the FBI had properly complied with a 2010 appeals court decision that concerned when email providers must turn over messages to law enforcement and whether the guidelines apply to text messages."
EPIC: "Today the Senate voted to confirm David Medine as the Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), an agency established to review executive branch actions and to protect privacy and civil liberties after 9/11. EPIC urged the creation of an independent privacy agency after 9/11. At the first meeting of the agency in 2012, EPIC set out several priorities for PCLOB, including (1) suspension of the fusion center program, (2) limitations on CCTV surveillance, (3) removal of airport body scanners, (4) establishing privacy regulation for drones, (5) updating data disclosure standards, and (6) ensuring Privacy Act adherence. For more information, see EPIC: The 9/11 Commission Report and EPIC: The Sui Generis Privacy Agency."
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: "Immigration Judges are issuing removal orders at a slower pace than last year, according to the latest (April 2013) data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Only 49,462 such orders have been issued during the first seven months of fiscal year 2013. At this rate, by the end of this fiscal year removal orders will have fallen by 18 percent from last year and by 35 percent from two years ago. More than one out of every five removal orders were issued by Immigration Courts in Texas. Courts in the states of California and Georgia accounted for the second and third largest number of removal orders, respectively. For national highlights and the ten states with the greatest volume of such orders, see this link."
Hollee Schwartz Temple: "When people say everything's online," says Jerry Dupont of the Law Library Microform Consortium, "they're woefully uninformed." Dupont, founder of the LLMC, a nonprofit law library cooperative, estimates that of the 2 million unique volumes contained in America’s law libraries, only about 15 percent are available in digital form. That figure includes access via proprietary, commercial services like Westlaw and LexisNexis. Across the country, law libraries are trying to adapt to the digital revolution and preserve historic and precedential documents. But budget cuts have hit hard at academic law libraries, which historically have hosted some of the most robust legal collections. And the pressures are creating concerns that the public will lose access to essential legal documents."
Adam Liptak: "While the current court’s decisions, over all, are only slightly more conservative than those from the courts led by Chief Justices Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist, according to political scientists who study the court, its business rulings are another matter. They have been, a new study finds, far friendlier to business than those of any court since at least World War II. In the eight years since Chief Justice Roberts joined the court, it has allowed corporations to spend freely in elections in the Citizens United case, has shielded them from class actions and human rights suits, and has made arbitration the favored way to resolve many disputes. Business groups say the Roberts court’s decisions have helped combat frivolous lawsuits, while plaintiffs’ lawyers say the rulings have destroyed legitimate claims for harm from faulty products, discriminatory practices and fraud. Whether the Roberts court is unusually friendly to business has been the subject of repeated discussion, much of it based on anecdotes and studies based on small slices of empirical evidence. The new study, by contrast, takes a careful and comprehensive look at some 2,000 decisions from 1946 to 2011."
The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society, April 30, 2013
How lawyers are mining the information mother lode for pricing, practice tips and predictions, by Joe Dysart. ABA Journal, May 1, 2013.
Renee Newman Knake, Democratizing the Delivery of Legal Services, 73 Ohio St. L.J. 1 (2012).
Lucchi, Nicola, Internet Content Governance & Human Rights (May 1, 2013). Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law Vol. 16, No. 3 (2013). Available at SSRN
Terrorism, Miranda, and Related Matters. Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law. April 24, 2013
The Dangers of Surveillance, Neil M. Richards, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law. March 25, 2013, Harvard Law Review, 2013 [Via SSRN]
"The PLUS Registry is an online resource developed and operated cooperatively by a global Coalition of all communities engaged in creating, using, distributing and preserving images. Search the Registry to find rights and descriptive information (“metadata”) for any image, and to find current contact information for related creators, rights holders and institutions. Register for a free listing to allow anyone in the world to easily find and contact you. Register your images and image licenses to allow authorized users to find rights and descriptive metadata using a PLUS ID or image recognition.
News release: "U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and David Vitter (R-LA) announced a new plan that would prevent any one financial institution from becoming so large and over leveraged that it could put our economy on the brink of collapse or trigger the need for a federal bailout...Despite receiving assistance from taxpayers in 2008, today, the nation’s four largest banks—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo—are nearly $2 trillion larger today than they were before the crisis. Their growth has been aided by an implicit guarantee—funded by taxpayers and awarded by virtue of their size—as the market knows that these institutions have been deemed “too big to fail.” This allows the nation’s largest megabanks to borrow at a lower rate than regional banks, community banks, and credit unions. This funding advantage, which has been confirmed by three independent studies in the last year, is estimated to be as high as $83 billion per year.Despite receiving assistance from taxpayers in 2008, today, the nation’s four largest banks—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo—are nearly $2 trillion larger today than they were before the crisis. Their growth has been aided by an implicit guarantee—funded by taxpayers and awarded by virtue of their size—as the market knows that these institutions have been deemed “too big to fail.” This allows the nation’s largest megabanks to borrow at a lower rate than regional banks, community banks, and credit unions. This funding advantage, which has been confirmed by three independent studies in the last year, is estimated to be as high as $83 billion per year. Together, Brown and Vitter have successfully pressed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study of the economic benefits that the “too-big-to-fail” megabanks receive as a result of actual or perceived taxpayer funded support."
Via LLRX.com - Copyrights, Fundamental Rights, and the Constitution - The recent Supreme Court decision, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, addresses fair use and the “first sale” doctrine, upon whose protection libraries, used-book dealers, technology companies, consumer-goods retailers, and museums have long relied. Professor Annmarie Bridy's commentary focuses on the position that intellectual property rights in general and copyrights in particular are important, and when their scope is circumscribed to ensure the existence of a robust public domain, they benefit society. However important IP rights are, though – and reasonable people disagree pretty vigorously about that – they are not fundamental in the Constitutional sense.
"The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is all about saving lives and protecting people from harm—by not letting guns and explosives fall into the wrong hands. It also ensures the timely transfer of firearms to eligible gun buyers. Mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 and launched by the FBI on November 30, 1998, NICS is used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives. Before ringing up the sale, cashiers call in a check to the FBI or to other designated agencies to ensure that each customer does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise ineligible to make a purchase. More than 100 million such checks have been made in the last decade, leading to more than 700,000 denials.
Are All Caselaw Citators Created Equal? A comparison of Google Scholar, Fastcase, Casemaker, LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg, by Carole A. Levitt and Mark Rosch.
TRAC: "The latest available data from the federal courts show that during March 2013 the government reported 592 new lawsuits filed under the category of Real Property - Foreclosures, according to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). This increase of 17.9 percent over the previous month reverses a sharp decline seen since the historic highs reached last summer. To read the full report, including a list of those districts in which lawsuits of this kind were filed with the greatest rates relative to population, click here."
Survey of Federal Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Laws, Jon O. Shimabukuro, Legislative Attorney; L. Paige Whitaker, Legislative Attorney; Emily E. Roberts, Law Librarian. April 22, 2013
"During February 2013, there were 16 new federal criminal prosecutions for terrorism and national internal security offenses, according to the latest available data from the Justice Department. So far during fiscal year 2013 (which began October 2012), a total of 83 such cases have been filed. These criminal prosecutions have been brought in a surprisingly large number of federal districts from all regions of the country. And at this point, domestic terrorism cases outnumber international terrorism by a factor of two-to-one. For more details, including district rankings, see the report here."
EPIC: "New documents obtained by EPIC in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit reveal that the Department of Defense advised private industry on how to best circumvent federal wiretap law. The documents concern a collaboration between the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and private companies to allow government monitoring of private Internet networks. Though the program initially only applied to defense contractors, an Executive Order issued by the Obama administration earlier this year expanded it to include other "critical infrastructure" industries. The documents obtained by EPIC also cited NSPD 54 as one source of authority for the program. NSPD 54 is a presidential directive issued under President Bush that EPIC is pursuing in separate FOIA litigation. For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Defense Contractor Monitoring), and EPIC: EPIC v. NSA - Cybersecurity Authority."
"Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) provides truly global insights into the nature of data breaches that can help organizations of all sizes to better understand the threat and take the necessary steps to protect themselves. The breadth and depth of data represented in this year’s DBIR is unprecedented. It combines the efforts of 19 global organizations: law enforcement agencies, national incident-reporting entities, research institutions, and a number of private security firms — all working to study and combat data breaches. Over the years the number of contributors has grown. Since we started publishing the DBIR in 2008, our partners have contributed data information on more than 2,500 confirmed data breaches — totaling more than a billion compromised records."
U.S.-EU Cooperation Against Terrorism, Kristin Archick, Specialist in European Affairs. April 22, 2013
"Dozens of journalists sifted through millions of leaked records and thousands of names to produce ICIJ’s investigation into offshore secrecy. "A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over. The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways. They include American doctors and dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as families and associates of long-time despots, Wall Street swindlers, Eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian corporate executives, international arms dealers and a sham-director-fronted company that the European Union has labeled as a cog in Iran’s nuclear-development program. The leaked files provide facts and figures — cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies and individuals — that illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread aggressively around the globe, allowing the wealthy and the well-connected to dodge taxes and fueling corruption and economic woes in rich and poor nations alike. The records detail the offshore holdings of people and companies in more than 170 countries and territories."
(FindLaw's Courtside) - "A criminal complaint against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, has been filed in federal court. The White House announced that in charging Tsarnaev with using a “weapon of mass destruction” would not be tried before a military tribunal as an “enemy combatant.”
Cybersecurity: Selected Legal Issues, April 17, 2013.
"On May 12, 2009, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are unconstitutional and invalid. On November 30, 2012, the Supreme Court agreed to hear argument on the patentability of human genes [via SCOTUSblog]. The Court will hear these arguments on April 15, 2013. On behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, women patients, cancer survivors, breast cancer and women's health groups, and scientific associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals, we have argued that human genes cannot be patented because they are classic products of nature. The suit charges that the gene patents violate the First Amendment and stifle diagnostic testing and research that could lead to cures and that they limit women's options regarding their medical care. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has granted thousands of patents on human genes – in fact, about 20 percent of our genes are patented. A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone from studying, testing or even looking at a gene. As a result, scientific research and genetic testing has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents...The lawsuit was filed on behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, women patients, cancer survivors, breast cancer and women's health groups, and scientific associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals. The lawsuit charges that patents on human genes violate the First Amendment and patent law because genes are "products of nature" and therefore can't be patented."
Gideon’s Army Produced and directed by Georgetown Law graduate Dawn Porter: "A 2013 Sundance award winning documentary, Gideon's Army follows the personal stories of three young public defenders in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. As of this spring, it has been 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court ruling Gideon v. Wainwright that established the right to counsel. This film is a window into the reality of the work of public defenders. It asks the question, can these courageous lawyers and their colleagues revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defense and make “justice for all” a reality? The event is free and open to the public. Georgetown University Law Center - McDonough Hall, Hart Auditorium, Map & Directions. Stay for a discussion of the film and the ideas it presents, led by:* Jo-Ann Wallace, President and CEO, National Legal Aid & Defender Association * Abbe Smith - Director, Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic; Co-Director, E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship Program; Professor of Law. Screening co-sponsored by: National Equal Justice Library; The Friends of the Georgetown Law Library, Georgetown Law Innocence Project; Georgetown Criminal Law Association, The Georgetown chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild, Outlaw, and Law Docs." [Hannah Miller]
"Welcome to issue 1 of the Review of Think Tank publications on EU affairs, compiled by the Central Library of the General Secretariat of the Council. The review provides abstracts and links to papers published in the previous month by think tanks in Brussels and elsewhere. It will be issued monthly and will be available on paper at the Central Library and online on our Intranet and Internet. It can be disseminated freely - the usual disclaimers apply. Think tank publications in the first section deal with EU institutions and politics, with a focus on the crisis and its impact on European societies, and with perspectives from Brussels, Barcelona, Kiel, London, Davos, Prague and Rome. The UK relationship with the EU also attracted a lot of attention from the think tank community in January. Some see a connection between the UK-EU relationship and the role of Ireland, which recently took over the 6-month Presidency of the EU Council." [Via Helene LeBlanc and kudos to the Central Library!]
"The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget demonstrates that we can make critical investments to strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow the economy while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way. The President believes we must invest in the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising and thriving middle class. He is focused on addressing three fundamental questions: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do the jobs of the 21st Century? How do we make sure hard work leads to a decent living? The Budget presents the President’s plan to address each of these questions. To make America once again a magnet for jobs, the Budget invests in high-tech manufacturing and innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure, while cutting red tape to help businesses grow. To give workers the skills they need to compete in the global economy, it invests in education from pre-school to job training. To ensure hard work is rewarded, it raises the minimum wage to $9 an hour so a hard day’s work pays more."
Via Emily Feltren, AALL: "The Digital Access to Legal Information Committee (DALIC) has created a new website to host information about the status of online legal materials in every state with respect to authentication, official status, preservation, permanent public access, copyright, and universal citation. The new website brings together information from AALL’s National Inventory of Legal Materials and updates AALL’s Preliminary Analysis of AALL’s State Legal Inventories, 2007 State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources, and 2009-2010 State Summary Updates. State pages will be updated as information changes. DALIC members will monitor the site and periodically check in with AALL’s state working groups to ensure the accuracy of the information."
The Recess Appointment Power After Noel Canning v. NLRB: Constitutional Implications. Todd Garvey, Legislative Attorney, David H. Carpenter, Legislative Attorney - March 27, 2013
Carlo Marzocchi - Head of Sector, Library & Information Service: "The Council of the European Union is the European Union institution where the Member States' ministers responsible for specific areas (e.g. finance, health, education) meet to discuss issues of common concern within their countries. The European Council consists of the Heads of State, or Government, of the Member States, together with the President of the Council and the President of the Commission. The European Council provides the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and defines its general political directions and priorities. It does not exercise legislative functions. The administrative support to both institutions is ensured by the General Secretariat of the Council or GSC. The Central Library identifies and makes available to GSC staff a variety of information resources relevant to GSC core activities, in all 23 working languages of the European Union. Besides paper-based collections available in the reading room or through loans, the Central Library, together with the GSC's Legal Library and Language Library, selects and delivers a variety of online resources that can be accessed by all GSC staff, generally from within GSC premises. The Central Library holds over 100,000 monographs and EU publications. Newspapers and periodicals from EU Member States are available in the reading room. The Official Journal of the European Communities is available on paper, on microfiche (until 1997), on CD-ROM (from 1998 on) and via internet." [via Helene LeBlanc]
News release: "The Internal Revenue Service...issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud. The Dirty Dozen listing, compiled by the IRS each year, lists a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns. "This tax season, the IRS has stepped up its efforts to protect taxpayers from a wide range of schemes, including moving aggressively to combat identity theft and refund fraud," said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. "The Dirty Dozen list shows that scams come in many forms during filing season. Don't let a scam artist steal from you or talk you into doing something you will regret later." Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them."
EPIC: "Data protection agencies in six European countries have announced enforcement actions against Google. The agencies acted after Google ignored recommendations to comply with European data protection law. "It is now up to each national data protection authority to carry out further investigations according to the provisions of its national law transposing European legislation," the French data protection authority said. The enforcement action follows from Google's March 2012 decision to combine user data across 60 Internet services to create detailed profiles on Internet users. Last year, EPIC sued the Federal Trade Commission to force the FTC to enforce the terms of a settlement with Google that would have prohibited Google's changes in business practices. Google's revised privacy policies also prompted objections from state attorneys general, members of Congress, and IT managers in the government and private sectors. For more information, see EPIC: Google Buzz and EPIC: Enforcement of Google Consent Order."
News release: "The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced approval of a final rule that establishes the requirements for determining when a company is "predominantly engaged in financial activities." The requirements will be used by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) when it considers the potential designation of a nonbank financial company for consolidated supervision by the Federal Reserve. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a nonbank financial company can be designated by the FSOC for supervision by the Federal Reserve only if it is "predominantly engaged in financial activities." A company is considered to be predominantly engaged in financial activities if 85 percent or more of the company's revenues or assets are related to activities that are defined as financial in nature under the Bank Holding Company Act. Additionally, the FSOC may issue recommendations for primary financial regulatory agencies to apply new or heightened standards to a financial activity or practice conducted by companies that are predominantly engaged in financial activities."
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission has warned the operators of six websites that share information about consumers’ rental histories with landlords that they may be subject to the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The letters inform the recipients that if they meet certain criteria, namely collecting information on tenants and their rental history and providing that information to landlords so they can make judgments about renting to those tenants, they are considered credit reporting agencies and are subject to certain legal requirements."
James R. Jacobs - Government Information Librarian - Stanford University: "...[we have created] a petition on the White House's "We the People" petition site. If you believe in free permanent public access to authentic government information, we hope you'll sign the petition. And if every one of the @2500 govdoc-l subscribers signs, posts to their Facebook accounts and sends to 10 friends who sign, we'll reach our goal of 100,000 signatures by April 11, 2013! If we get enough signatures, the White House will respond and the FDLP community will move forward by leaps and bounds." See the Petition and the Context.
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Require free online permanent public access to ALL federal government information and publications.
1. Assure that GPO has the funds to continue to maintain and develop the Federal Digital System (FDsys).
2. Raise ALL Congressional, Executive & Judicial branch information, publications & data to the level of federally funded scientific information & publish ALL government information as "Open Access."
3. Mandate the free permanent public access to other Federal information currently maintained in fee-based databases - including the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL), & USA Trade Online.
4. Establish an interagency, govt-wide strategy to manage the entire lifecycle of digital government information w/ FDLP Libraries - publication, access, usability, bulk download, long-term preservation, standards & metadata.
"The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued a report that makes clear that companies can use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to announce key information in compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure (Regulation FD) so long as investors have been alerted about which social media will be used to disseminate such information. The SEC’s report of investigation confirms that Regulation FD applies to social media and other emerging means of communication used by public companies the same way it applies to company websites. The SEC issued guidance in 2008 clarifying that websites can serve as an effective means for disseminating information to investors if they’ve been made aware that’s where to look for it. Today’s report clarifies that company communications made through social media channels could constitute selective disclosures and, therefore, require careful Regulation FD analysis."
FindLaw - Adam Ramiriz: "A federal judge has declared a unique website enabling the online sale of pre-owned digital music files unlawful. "The first sale defense is limited to material items, like records, that the copyright owner put into the stream of commerce," ruled U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan. This is bad news for ReDigi, which launched in October, 2011 with a bold idea: If the "first sale" doctrine in copyright law permits the re-selling of acquired copyrighted material, let's create an online market for "used" digital music. Judge Sullivan's ruling has, for now, dampened the idea of reselling of digital goods. If it holds up, the ruling could mean digital sales venues would have to get the permission of right holders. Stay tuned for updates on this evolving area of the law."
Toward an International Law of the Internet, Molly Land, New York Law School, November 19, 2012, Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 54, 2013 (Forthcoming) via SSRN.
"A federal judge in Washington, DC today issued an Opinion denying the FBI's motion to delay the release of records sought under the Freedom of Information Act. The decision follows from a lawsuit filed by EPIC against the FBI for records about the agency's use of cell-site simulator technology, commonly referred to as "StingRay." These devices track cell phones and collect a vast amount of data from telephone customers. The Court found that the FBI was not facing the "exceptional circumstances" necessary to justify its proposed two-year delay. The Court ordered the agency to produce all records, except those subject to classification review, by August 1, 2013. For more information, see EPIC v. FBI - StingRay."
The Dangers of Surveillance, Neil M. Richards. Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law, March 25, 2013. Harvard Law Review, 2013. Via SSRN
Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel for Google: "On the global stage, Europe is convincing many countries around the world to implement privacy laws that follow the European model. The facts speak for themselves: in the last year alone, a dozen countries in Latin America and Asia have adopted euro-style privacy laws. Not a single country, anywhere, has followed the US-model. Indeed, what is the US model? People in the privacy profession know that the US has a dense "patchwork" model of privacy laws: every individual US State has numerous privacy laws, the Federal government has numerous sectoral laws, and numerous other "non-privacy" laws, like consumer protection laws, are regularly invoked in privacy matters. Regulators in many corners of government, ranging from State attorneys general, to the Federal Trade Commission, and armies of class action lawyers inspect every privacy issue for possible actions..."
"United States v. Windsor challenges a key section of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (Pub.L. 104–199, 110 Stat. 2419, enacted September 21, 1996, 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C)"
"The latest available data from the federal courts show that during February 2013 the government reported 950 new lawsuits filed under the category of Employment Civil Rights, according to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). This number is down 7.9 percent from the previous month and is 13.2 percent lower than the same period one year ago. Such lawsuits are mainly filed for employment-related civil rights discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, disability, age and religion. Read the full report, including a list of those districts in which lawsuits of this kind were filed with the greatest rates relative to population."
Proposed new EU General Data Protection Regulation: Article-by-article analysis paper, V1.0
12 February 2013. UK Information Commission Office (ICO).
CRS - Cloud Computing: Constitutional and Statutory Privacy Protections, Richard M. Thompson II, Legislative Attorney. March 22, 2013
Simpson, Derek A. and Petherbridge, Lee, An Empirical Study of the Use of Legal Scholarship in Supreme Court Trademark Jurisprudence (March 23, 2013). Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 35. Available at SSRN
Huber, Christian and Scheytt, Tobias, The Dispositif of Risk Management: Reconstructing Risk Management after the Financial Crisis (March 23, 2013). Management Accounting Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN
Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything is a Crime, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, University of Tennessee College of Law. January 20, 2013, via SSRN
CRS - Publishing Scientific Papers with Potential Security Risks: Issues for Congress, Frank Gottron. March 18, 2013
CRS - Supporting Criminal Justice System Reform in Mexico: The U.S. Role, Clare Ribando Seelke, Specialist in Latin American Affairs. March 18, 2013
"The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, written at the invitation of the Centre by an independent ‘International Group of Experts’, is the result of a three-year effort to examine how extant international law norms apply to this ‘new’ form of warfare. The Tallinn Manual pays particular attention to the jus ad bellum, the international law governing the resort to force by States as an instrument of their national policy, and the jus in bello, the international law regulating the conduct of armed conflict (also labelled the law of war, the law of armed conflict, or international humanitarian law). Related bodies of international law, such as the law of State responsibility and the law of the sea, are dealt within the context of these topics. The Tallinn Manual is not an official document, but instead an expression of opinions of a group of independent experts acting solely in their personal capacity. It does not represent the views of the Centre, our Sponsoring Nations, or NATO. It is also not meant to reflect NATO doctrine. Nor does it reflect the position of any organization or State represented by observers."
"A federal district court judge in San Francisco has ruled that National Security Letter (NSL) provisions in federal law violate the Constitution. The decision came in a lawsuit challenging a NSL on behalf of an unnamed telecommunications company represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). In the ruling publicly released [March 15, 2013], Judge Susan Illston ordered that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stop issuing NSLs and cease enforcing the gag provision in this or any other case. The landmark ruling is stayed for 90 days to allow the government to appeal."
The Implausibility of Secrecy, by Mark Fenster. University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law. February 18, 2013
"In celebration of Sunshine Week, a number of organizations released Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reviews. These reviews, conducted by National Security Archives, the Center for Effective Government, Cause of Action, Associated Press, and OpenTheGovernment.org, indicate how agencies measure up when it comes to providing the public with information. Although the studies indicate that agencies on the whole increased their responses to FOIA requests in 2012, disparities remain between agencies on things like response time, compliance with the 2007 Open Government Act and 2009 Guidance from the White House, cost of responding, fee waivers, and backlog reductions. A majority of responses to FOIA requests in 2012 were only partial responses, and use of exemptions to withhold or redact information increased. The following snapshots contain some of the highlights of each review."
Follow up to previous postings on Aaron Swartz, news that Aaron is to be honored with freedom of information award by the American Library Association - "A champion of open access rights to documents on the Internet, the 26-year-old activist under prosecution committed suicide earlier this year."
Much Ado about Mosaics: How Original Principles Apply to Evolving Technology in United States v. Jones, by Priscilla J. Smith. Yale University - Information Society Project. March 14, 2013. North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 14, 2013. Yale Law School, Public Law Working Paper
JPMorgan Chase Whale Trades: A Case History of Derivatives Risks and Abuses. Majority and Minority Staff Report, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, March 15, 2013.
"The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau or CFPB) proposes to amend the regulation defining larger participants of certain consumer financial product and service markets by adding a new section to define larger participants of a market for student loan servicing. The Bureau proposes this rule pursuant to its authority, under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, to supervise certain nonbank covered persons for compliance with Federal consumer financial law and for other purposes. The Bureau has the authority to supervise nonbank covered persons of all sizes in the residential mortgage, private education lending, and payday lending markets. In addition, the Bureau has the authority to supervise nonbank “larger participant[s]” of markets for other consumer financial products or services, as the Bureau defines by rule. The proposal (Proposed Rule) would identify a market for student loan servicing and define “larger participants” of this market that would be subject to the Bureau’s supervisory authority."
"The number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts has risen along with the average time these pending cases have been waiting. As of the end of February 2013, the backlog has reached a new all-time high of 325,296. According to the very latest data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), that total rose by 1,571 just during February. The court backlog is now 9.3 percent higher than it was at the end of FY 2011 when ICE Director John Morton announced a review of cases designed to reduce both the backlog and wait times. Instead, the backlog has increased, and the average time cases have been waiting to be heard has jumped to 553 days, compared with 489 days at the end of FY 2011 when the review began. To see the latest backlog data, now updated through February 2013, go to this Link."
The Leaky Leviathan: Why the Government Condemns and Condones Unlawful Disclosures of Information, David Pozen, Columbia Law School. March 2013, Harvard Law Review, Forthcoming
"Attorneys general for 38 states and the District of Columbia today reached a "$7 Million Settlement" with Google over consumer protection and privacy claims. The company engaged in the unauthorized collection of data from wireless networks, including private WiFi networks of residential Internet users. A detailed Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, setting out the terms of the settlement, is now available. In 2010, EPIC urged the Federal Communication Commission to investigate the Google Street View program after it became clear that Google had intercepted the private communications of millions of users of wi-fi networks in the United States. EPIC subsequently pursued FOIA requests regarding the FCC and the Department of Justice investigations. Federal wiretap claims concerning Street View are still pending in federal court. For more information, see EPIC: Investigations of Google Street View and EPIC: Joffe v. Google."
U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends, Ruth Ellen Wasem, Specialist in Immigration Policy, March 7, 2013
John Palfrey: "Publishers, ebook vendors, and libraries are engaged in a “tug of war” over the lending of electronic books, according to Library Journal’s recent ebook survey. This clash inhibits most libraries from fulfilling their important institutional missions to provide access to knowledge and preserve our cultural heritage. In the best case, this tug of war will be a temporary struggle. The best outcome is not a winner who holds all the rope and another lying on the ground with rope-burned hands. If there must be a winner of any kind, it ought to be the reading public."
Wintemute, Garen J. Broadening Denial Criteria for the Purchase and Possession of Firearms. In: Webster W, Vernick J (eds). Reducing Gun Violence in America. The Johns Hopkins University Press; 2013. pp77-93.
"RASFF notifications shown in the RASFF portal are so-called "original notifications", representing a new case reported on a health risk detected in one or more consignments of a food or feed. On these cases, control authorities transmit follow-up notifications on measures taken and outcome of investigations. These follow-up notifications do not appear in the RASFF portal database."
Via The Innocence Project Blog: "A new report funded by the National Institute of Justice titled, Measuring the Effect of Defense Counsel on Homicide Case Outcomes, examines the difference that a lawyer makes to the outcome of serious criminal cases in Philadelphia. Since April 1993, every fifth murder case in Philadelphia is sequentially assigned at the preliminary arraignment to the city’s Defender Association and the other four cases are assigned to appointed counsel. The study showed that compared to private appointed counsel, public defenders make an enormous difference in the outcome of cases by reducing the murder conviction rate by 19%, the probability that their clients receive a life sentence by 62% and overall expected time served in prison by 24%."
Pretrial Detention and Misconduct in Federal District Courts, 1995-2010. Thomas H. Cohen, Ph.D. February 21, 2013. NCJ 239673
"Law School Transparency is a nonprofit legal education policy organization dedicated to improving consumer information and to reforming the traditional law school mode...The Transparency Index reflects Law School Transparency’s review of law school websites, through which we analyze the employment information that law schools use to market their programs. We measure not only whether law schools meet voluntary transparency standards, but also whether they meet the requirements from ABA Standard 509."
Follow up to related postings on TSA body scanners, via EPIC: "A federal judge has granted EPIC victories in two Freedom of Information Act cases involving the controversial airport body scanners. Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, DC held that the Department of Homeland Security must turn over two safety reports detailing radiation output by the scanners and a set of power point slides containing details on automated target recognition software. The agency previously claimed it was not required to release the documents to EPIC. EPIC has pursued several related Freedom of Information Act cases as a challenge to the deployment of the devices. In 2011, the DC Circuit of Appeals ruled in EPIC v. DHS that the agency must receive public comments on the decision to deploy body scanners for primary screening. For more information see: EPIC: Whole Body Imaging Technology and EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanner Program)"
Via SSRN: Human Rights Considerations in International Investment Arbitration, Eric De Brabandere, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, March 8, 2013
From Dirty to Green: Increasing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Environmental Justice Communities, Deborah Behles, Golden Gate University School of Law, 2013. Villanova Law Review, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2013. Available at SSRN
Gun Control Proposals in the 113th Congress: Universal Background Checks, Gun Trafficking, and Military Style Firearms, William J. Krouse. Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy, March 1, 2013
Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States. Eric W. Fleegler, MD, MPH; Lois K. Lee, MD, MPH; Michael C. Monuteaux, ScD; David Hemenway, PhD; Rebekah Mannix, MD, MPH
R. David Edelman: "Thank you for sharing your views on cell phone unlocking with us through your petition on our We the People platform. Last week the White House brought together experts from across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy, and we're pleased to offer our response. The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs."
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: "During January 2013, there were 493 new federal criminal prosecutions in the weapons category, according to the latest available data from the Justice Department. This represents a drop of 4 percent from the previous month and a decrease of about 12 percent from what it was a year ago. For more details, including district rankings, see the report here. With only four months of data in FY 2013, it is too soon to tell whether this downturn is temporary or represents a change from the upward trend seen for FY 2012. For more information on trends in weapons prosecutions since 1986, see TRAC's previous report here."
"EPIC has obtained a court order and an opinion in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, requiring the agency to turn over more documents about the monitoring of social media and Internet media organizations. EPIC had previously obtained several hundred pages of documents, revealing that the agency monitors the internet for reports that “reflect adversely” on the agency or the federal government. EPIC also obtained a list of very broad search terms used by the agency to monitor social media. As a result of EPIC’s findings, Congress held a hearing on "DHS Monitoring of Social Networking and Media: Enhancing Intelligence Gathering and Ensuring Privacy." For more information see: EPIC: EPIC v. Department of Homeland Security: Media Monitoring."
"EPIC Appellate Advocacy Counsel Alan Butler testified before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee on H.B. 887, a location privacy bill that will establish a search warrant requirement for the collection of private location information. Mr. Butler discussed the current state of location tracking and privacy under the state and federal constitutions. The Maryland bill will require a warrant for location tracking and an annual report on electronic surveillance reports, similar to the federal wiretap reports. EPIC recently submitted amicus briefs in State v. Earls and In re US regarding location privacy. For more information, see EPIC: Locational Privacy and EPIC: State v. Earls."
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, Alison Siskin, Specialist in Immigration Policy - Liana Sun Wyler, Analyst in International Crime and Narcotics - February 19, 2013
Insourcing Functions Performed by Federal Contractors: Legal Issues, Kate M. Manuel, Legislative Attorney - Jack Maskell, Legislative Attorney. February 22, 2013
Frederic Filloux, guardian.co.uk: "Its official blog merely mentions "6 billion visits per month" sent to news sites and Google News claims to connect "1 billion unique users a week to news content" [see The press, Google, its algorithm, their scale]...But how exactly does Google News work? What kind of media does its algorithm favour most? Last week, the search giant updated its patent filing with a new document detailing the 13 metrics it uses to retrieve and rank articles and sources for its news service. (Computerworld unearthed the filing, it's here)."
Findlaw: "The Second Amendment and gun control remain controversial issues in the U.S. A federal district court judge tossed out Gray Peterson’s 2011 lawsuit filed against Denver and Colorado’s Department of Public Safety. Peterson had claimed that being denied a concealed-weapons permit because he was not a Colorado resident violated his Second Amendment right to bear firearms. The 10th Circuit on Friday ruled that carrying concealed firearms is not protected by the Second Amendment or the Privileges and Immunities Clause, nor is the right of people to keep and bear arms infringed upon by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons. The Court held: “Given that the concealed carrying of firearms has not been recognized as a right, and the fact that concealed carry was prohibited for resident and non-resident alike for much of our history, we cannot declare this activity sufficiently basic to the livelihood of the Nation.”
Via LLRX.com - Another NY court on discovery of social media evidence - Attorney Nicole Black brings context to the impact of the proliferation of social media accounts among the majority of adults in the United States. The information from these accounts has become a prime source for lawyers to mine for evidence to support their clients' cases.
Via LLRX.com - LegalTech 2013: Old habits die hard, but die they do - Attorney Nicole Black's article on the LegalTech 2013 conference, sponsored every year by American Lawyer Media, updates all of us who could not attend on the latest legal technologies and innovations.
Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets, February 2013: "The Administration will utilize trade policy tools to increase international enforcement against trade secret theft to minimize unfair competition against U.S. companies. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will make additional efforts to promote adequate and effective protection and enforcement of trade secrets. These Administration efforts will include:
High Risk List: "Every two years at the start of a new Congress, GAO calls attention to agencies and program areas that are high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation. This site presents GAO's current High Risk List [comprising 30 areas], explains what has changed since the last update, and provides background information and related multimedia.
Gilligan, Jonathan M. and Vandenbergh, Michael P., Accounting for Political Feasibility in Climate Instrument Choice (February 18, 2013). Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 13-7; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 13-4. Available at SSRN
"The latest available data from the federal courts show that during January 2013 the government reported 530 new patent civil filings, according to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). This number is up 46 percent over the same period one year ago, and is nearly two and a half times the level reported in January 2010 (up 147 percent). Such lawsuits are primarily brought to enforce provisions of the patent laws under Title 35 of the U.S. Code, along with other statutes related to intellectual property protection. Read the full report, including a list of those districts in which lawsuits of this kind were filed with the greatest rates relative to population, here."
Amini, Ava, Birnbaum, David W., Black, Bernard S. and Hyman, David A., Public Reporting of Hospital Infection Rates: Ranking the States on Report and Website Content, Credibility, and Usability (February 18, 2013). Proceedings of 2013 Conference on Information Technology and Communications in Health, Forthcoming; Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 12-21
The Case of Aaron Swartz: Justice in the Cyber Age
February 20, 2013 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Fordham Law School, New York City
UN General Assembly - Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, 5 February 2013
Security Engineering by Ross Anderson — The Book: "All chapters from the second edition now available free online."
Secrecy News, February 14, 2012: "Legal restrictions on the use of unmanned aircraft systems in domestic operations are numerous," the manual states. The question arises particularly in the context of Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), refering to military assistance to government agencies in disaster response and other domestic emergencies. "Use of DOD intelligence capabilities for DSCA missions--such as incident awareness and assessment, damage assessment, and search and rescue--requires prior Secretary of Defense approval, together with approval of both the mission and use of the exact DOD intelligence community capabilities. Certain missions require not only approval of the Secretary of Defense, but also coordination, certification, and possibly, prior approval by the Attorney General of the United States...[...from 2003 to 2010, small, unmanned aircraft systems flew approximately 250,000 hours]"
"The Working Group for Distance Learning in Legal Education is pleased to have the opportunity to present this Blue Paper - Distance Learning in Legal Education: A Summary of Delivery Models, Regulatory Issues, and Recommended Practices - A Summary of Delivery Models,
Regulatory Issues, and Recommended Practices. This Blue Paper is intended to provide law schools and interested parties a summation of distance learning opportunities, tools, and considerations. Unlike other sectors in higher education, law schools have little experience with distance learning or online education. Recent technological advances, as well as economic exigencies, have lead several law schools to contemplate launching one or more online programs. To date, a handful of schools have distance learning LLM programs and a few offer non-JD masters programs. As the American Bar Association considers loosening distance learning restrictions, and traditional law schools consider diversifying beyond their JD program, distance learning becomes one intriguing option. This Blue Paper attempts to guide those schools beginning to explore distance learning opportunities. We recognize three fundamental questions, and attempt to provide a discussion—if not answers—to each." [April M. Barton]
Via LLRX.com - When judges, jurors and the Internet collide: In the past, attorney Nicole L. Black has described misguided attempts by judges to excessively penalize jurors for using social media or the Internet during the pendency of trials. In fact, over the last year, judges have gone so far as to fine or jail jurors who have used social media during trial, and legislators have proposed laws that would criminalize such conduct. This despite the fact that jurors have been violating judges' orders not to research or discuss pending cases since the dawn of jury trials.
TRAC: "The number of federal prosecutions for weapons violations in FY 2012 was almost exactly the same as it was a decade earlier. But within the FY 2002 - FY 2012 period there were several dramatic enforcement shifts, both up and down, as documented in a new report released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The report also makes available recent prosecution numbers under each of 75 individual federal weapons statutes. These and many other insights about the federal enforcement of the gun laws have emerged from an analysis of hundreds of thousands of government records as President Obama, the National Rifle Association, Congress and the American people debate whether and how to change the federal role in gun enforcement. The dispute intensified in December after the killing of 20 children and six adults in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut."
EPIC - "In the fifth interim release of documents in EPIC v. FBI, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the agency has turned over nearly 300 pages about the surveillance technique directed toward users of mobile phones. The documents obtained by EPIC reveal that agents have been using "cell site simulator" technologies, also known as "StingRay," "Triggerfish," or "Digital Analyzers" to monitor cell phones since 1995. Internal FBI e-mails, also obtained by EPIC, reveal that agents went through extensive training on these devices in 2007. In addition, a presentation from the agency's Wireless Intercept and Tracking Team argues that cell site simulators qualify for a low legal standard as a "pen register device," an interpretation that was recently rejected by a federal court in Texas. For more information, see EPIC v. FBI (StingRay)."
Ethan Bronner: "Faced with profound and seemingly irreversible shifts, the legal profession is contemplating radical changes to its educational system, including cutting the curriculum, requiring far more on-the-ground training and licensing technicians who are not full lawyers."
Open Wireless vs. Licensed Spectrum: Evidence from Market Adoption - 26(1) Harvard Journal of Law and Technology (Fall 2012) by Yochai Benkler.
Evaluating the “Past Performance” of Federal Contractors: Legal Requirements and Issues. Kate M. Manuel, Legislative Attorney, February 4, 2013
TRAC: "Federal criminal prosecutions totaled 13,764 for the month of October, according to the most recent data released by the Department of Justice. This was an increase of 4.5 percent from the previous month. Most prosecutions were referred by DHS, which accounted for 59 percent. Other agencies with substantial numbers of referrals were the FBI (9 percent), DEA (8 percent), ATF (7 percent) and DoD (3 percent). Among program categories, the largest number of prosecutions was seen in immigration, which accounted for 52 percent of the filings. Drug and drug trafficking related crimes contributed 11.8 percent of the total, and weapons offenses made up 4.5 percent."
"The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is pleased to announce the publication of Open Wireless vs. Licensed Spectrum: Evidence from Market Adoption, authored by Yochai Benkler, and published in the latest issue of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology [download here]. The paper reviews evidence from eight wireless markets: mobile broadband; wireless healthcare; smart grid communications; inventory management; access control; mobile payments; fleet management; and secondary markets in spectrum. Benkler finds that markets are adopting unlicensed wireless strategies in mission-critical applications, in many cases more so than they are building on licensed strategies. If the 1990s saw what was called "the Negroponte Switch" of video from air to wire, and telephony from wire to air, the present and near future are seeing an even more fundamental switch. Where a decade ago most of our wireless capacity was delivered over exclusive control approaches-both command and control and auctioned exclusivity--complemented by special-purpose shared spectrum use, today we are moving to a wireless infrastructure whose core relies on shared, open wireless approaches, complemented by exclusive control approaches for special, latency-intolerant, high-speed mobile applications. The scope of the latter will contract further if regulation catches up to technological reality, and opens up more bands to open wireless innovation, with greater operational flexibility and an emphasis on interoperability."
DOJ news release: "Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services alleging that S&P engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in structured financial products known as Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) and Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs). The lawsuit alleges that investors, many of them federally insured financial institutions, lost billions of dollars on CDOs for which S&P issued inflated ratings that misrepresented the securities’ true credit risks. The complaint also alleges that S&P falsely represented that its ratings were objective, independent, and uninfluenced by S&P’s relationships with investment banks when, in actuality, S&P’s desire for increased revenue and market share led it to favor the interests of these banks over investors...Today’s action was filed in the Central District of California, home to the now defunct Western Federal Corporate Credit Union (WesCorp), which was the largest corporate credit union in the country. Following the 2008 financial crisis, WesCorp collapsed after suffering massive losses on RMBS and CDOs rated by S&P...The complaint, which names McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. and its subsidiary, Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (collectively S&P) as defendants, seeks civil penalties under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) based on three forms of alleged fraud by S&P: (1) mail fraud affecting federally insured financial institutions in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341; (2) wire fraud affecting federally insured financial institutions in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343; and (3) financial institution fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. FIRREA authorizes the Attorney General to seek civil penalties up to the amount of the losses suffered as a result of the alleged violations. To date, the government has identified more than $5 billion in losses suffered by federally insured financial institutions in connection with the failure of CDOs rated by S&P from March to October 2007."
Open Society Foundation: "Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency embarked on a highly classified program of secret detention and extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects. The program was designed to place detainee interrogations beyond the reach of law. Suspected terrorists were seized and secretly flown across national borders to be interrogated by foreign governments that used torture, or by the CIA itself in clandestine “black sites” using torture techniques. Globalizing Torture is the most comprehensive account yet assembled of the human rights abuses associated with CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations. It details for the first time what was done to the 136 known victims, and lists the 54 foreign governments that participated in these operations. It shows that responsibility for the abuses lies not only with the United States but with dozens of foreign governments that were complicit. More than 10 years after the 2001 attacks, Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition makes it unequivocally clear that the time has come for the United States and its partners to definitively repudiate these illegal practices and secure accountability for the associated human rights abuses."
Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues. Alissa M. Dolan, Legislative Attorney - Richard M. Thompson II, Legislative Attorney, January 30, 2013
Is the SEC a Learning Regulator? Lessons from Proxy Access, Aviv Pichhadze, Critical Research Laboratory in Law & Society, February 3, 2013. Regulation & Governance (Forthcoming)
"A pilot project giving the public free, text-searchable, online-access to court opinions now is available to all federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts. The Judicial Conference, the policy-making body of the Federal court system, approved national implementation of the project with the Government Printing Office, Federal Digital System (FDsys), which provides free access to publications from all three branches of federal government via the Internet. The pilot project pulls opinions nightly from courts’ Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) systems and sends them to the GPO, where they are processed and posted on the FDsys website. The functionality to transfer opinions to FDsys is included in the latest release of CM/ECF which is now available to all courts. Twenty-nine courts participated in the original pilot, and now, all courts may opt to participate in the program. Access to judicial opinions through FDsys allows the Judiciary to make its work more easily available to the public. Collections are divided into appellate, district or bankruptcy court opinions and are text-searchable across opinions and across courts. FDsys also permits embedded animation and audio. Presently, more than 600,000 opinions dating back to 2004 are available. Opinions from the pilot are already one of the most heavily used collections on FDsys, with millions of retrievals each month."
Ungoverned Spaces, Transnational Crime, and the Prohibition on Extraterritorial Enforcement Jurisdiction in International Law, Dan E. Stigall, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs, February 3, 2013. Notre Dame Journal of International & Comparative Law, 2013, Forthcoming
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jennifer Howard: "Fair use and electronic course reserves are back in court. A keenly watched copyright case that pitted three academic publishers against Georgia State University has entered the appeals phase, with a flurry of filings and motions this week and more expected soon. One surprise motion came from the U.S. Department of Justice, which requested more time to consider filing an amicus brief either in support of the publishers or in support of neither party...he case in question is Cambridge U. Press et al. v. Mark P. Becker et al. In 2008, Cambridge, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publishers sued Georgia State, asserting it had committed widespread copyright violations when it allowed some of their content to be used, unlicensed, in e-reserves. The Association of American Publishers and the Copyright Clearance Center, which specializes in licensing content to universities, bankrolled the legal action."
Sapra, Haresh, Subramanian, Ajay and Subramanian, Krishnamurthy, Corporate Governance and Innovation: Theory and Evidence (February 1, 2013). Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis (JFQA), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN
On January 2, 2013 "the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched the Cooperative Patent Classification scheme (CPC), a global classification system for patent documents. The system is the result of partnership between the EPO and the USPTO in their joint effort to develop a common, internationally compatible classification system for technical documents, in particular patent publications, which will be used by both offices in the patent granting process. The CPC is an ambitious harmonisation product that incorporates the best classification practices of both offices."
Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview - L. Paige Whitaker, Legislative Attorney, January 31, 2013
CRS - The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options. Nathan James, Analyst in Crime Policy. January 22, 2013
Google Official Blog: "..January 28, is Data Privacy Day, when the world recognizes the importance of preserving your online privacy and security. If it’s like most other days, Google—like many companies that provide online services to users—will receive dozens of letters, faxes and emails from government agencies and courts around the world requesting access to our users’ private account information. Typically this happens in connection with government investigations. It’s important for law enforcement agencies to pursue illegal activity and keep the public safe. We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways. But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information...Today, for example, we’ve added a new section to our Transparency Report that answers many questions you might have. And last week we released data showing that government requests continue to rise, along with additional details on the U.S. legal processes—such as subpoenas, court orders and warrants—that governments use to compel us to provide this information."
Tracey Samuelson, Marketplace for Monday, January 28, 2013: "If consumers want to “unlock” their cell phones in order to take their phone from one cellular network to another, they now need to ask the permission of their carrier. Starting January 26, unlocking phones without the provider’s OK is against the law. But perhaps the most surprising part of these changes is that they came from the Library of Congress, a government department better known for its archives than its regulatory abilities. But in addition to cataloging gems from the country’s past -- everything from old musical performances to little-remembered presidential speeches -- the Library of Congress also oversees copyrights."
"On March 31, 1981, John W. Hinckley, Jr., shot President Ronald Reagan and several others in a failed assassination attempt. The FBI conducted an extensive investigation, named REAGAT. This FOIA release consists of an extensive “Prosecutive Report” submitted by the FBI to the Department of Justice in May 1981 as Justice lawyers considered how to prosecute Hinckley for the attacks."
News release: "This morning, Google released their semi-annual transparency report, and once again, it revealed a troubling trend: Internet surveillance around the world continues to rise, with the United States leading the way in demands for user data. Google received over 21,000 requests for data on over 33,000 users in the last six months from governments around the world, a 70% increase since Google started releasing numbers in 2010. The United States accounted for almost 40% the total requests (8,438) and the number of users (14,791). The total numbers in the US for 2012 amounted to a 33% increase from 2011. And while Google only complied with two-thirds of the total requests globally, they complied with 88% of the requests in the United States."
News release: "The Library of Congress today is adding the Congressional Record, published by the Government Printing Office (GPO), and cost-estimate reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to its Congress.gov beta website, a public site for accessing free, fact-based legislative information. The additions will supplement bills, bill summaries, Member profiles and legislative history information already available on the site. Launched in September 2012, Congress.gov features platform mobility, comprehensive information retrieval and user-friendly presentation. Congress.gov eventually will replace the public THOMAS system and the congressional Legislative Information System (LIS)...All bills from 2001 through the present that have a CBO Cost Estimate will now include a "CBO Cost Estimate" link to the right of the Overview section on the legislative detail page. This will open a pop-up that displays a list of associated CBO Cost Estimates, with a link to the CBO page displaying that report."
Pino, Giorgio, Positivism, Legal Validity, and the Separation of Law and Morals (december 2012). Ratio Juris, 2013. Available at SSRN
Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement: Legal Issues - Kate M. Manuel, Legislative Attorney; Todd Garvey, Legislative Attorney. January 17, 2013
The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework, Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney, January 10, 2013
Follow-On Biologics: The Law and Intellectual Property Issues, Wendy H. Schacht, Specialist in Science and Technology Policy; John R. Thomas, Visiting Scholar, December 6, 2012
Van der Heijden, Jeroen, Looking Forward and Sideways: Trajectories of New Governance Theory (January 21, 2013). General Subserie Research Paper No. 2013-01. Available at SSRN
EFF: "In Associated Press v. Meltwater, AP claims its copyrights are infringed when Meltwater, an electronic news clipping service, includes excerpts of AP stories in search results for its clients seeking reports of news coverage based on particular keywords. In its argument, AP asks the court to accept an extraordinarily narrow view of fair use – the doctrine that allows for the use of copyrighted material for purposes of commentary, criticism, or other transformative uses – by claiming that Meltwater's use of copyrighted excerpts cannot be "transformative" fair use unless they are also "expressive." In an amicus brief filed [January 18, 2013], EFF argues that AP's theory would restrict the use and development of services that allow users to find, organize, and share public information."
Follow up to previous postings on airport use of full body scanners, news from EPIC: "the US Transportation Security Administration will end the contract for backscatter x-ray devices. As a consequence, all devices that produce a detailed naked image of air travelers will be removed from US airports. Beginning in 2005, EPIC and then a coalition of privacy advocates, scientists, legal experts and lawmakers urged the TSA not to deploy the devices. The groups petitioned DHS Secretary Napolitano to suspend the program pending a thorough review. The agency went forward and EPIC sued. In EPIC v. DHS, the DC Circuit held that the devices could be used as long as passengers were able to opt-out. The federal appeals court also ordered the agency to "promptly" begin a public rulemaking. That process will likely begin in March 2013. For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. DHS and EPIC: Body Scanners."
Via New York Times: "At a White House event at noon (January 16, 2013), Mr. Obama announced plans to introduce legislation by next week that includes a ban on new assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines, expanded background checks for gun purchases and tougher gun trafficking laws to crack down on the spread of weapons across the country. Without waiting for Congress, the president also acted on his own authority, signing nearly two-dozen executive actions designed to increase the enforcement of existing gun laws and improve the flow of information among federal agencies in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who shouldn’t have them."
Can Lawyers Stay in the Driver's Seat? - Daniel G. Currell, Corporate Executive Board; M. Todd Henderson, University of Chicago - Law School. University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics Olin Research Paper No. 629. January 16, 2013
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse - "The odds of an asylum claim being denied reached an historic low in FY 2012, with only 44.5 percent being turned down. Ten years ago, almost two out of three (62.6%) individuals seeking asylum lost their cases in similar actions. Asylum applicants also made up more than a quarter (29.4%) of all cases closed under the prosecutorial discretion (PD) initiative during FY 2012. When those who won their cases are combined with PD closures as well as other administrative closures, a record high 63.7 percent of asylum applicants were allowed to remain in the U.S. in cases concluded in FY 2012. Accompanying this report are 272 separate reports covering each Immigration Judge."
"[January 10, 2013], we’re issuing one of our most important rules to date, the Ability-to-Repay rule. It’s designed to assure the reliability of mortgages – making sure that lenders offer mortgages that consumers can actually afford to pay back. This is a simple, obvious principle that needs to be cemented in the housing market. In the run-up to the financial crisis, we had a housing market that was reckless about lending money. Lenders thought they could make money on a loan even if the consumer could not pay back that loan, either by banking on rising housing prices or by off-loading the mortgage into the secondary market. This encouraged broad indifference to the ability of many consumers to repay loans, which dramatically increased mortgage delinquencies and rates of foreclosures."
Via LLRX.com: Conclusions from the National Inventory of Legal Materials - Hays Butler and Emily Feltren document the process and successful implementation of dynamic, extensive project conducted over the past three years by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) working with law librarian volunteers around the country to build the first-ever National Inventory of Legal Materials, an inventory of print and electronic legal materials at all levels of government. More than 350 volunteers have added nearly 8,000 legal titles to the inventory so far."
Via LLRX: FOIA Facts - What I’ve Learned - Scott A. Hodes' New Year's commentary is both an overview and a roadmap to the FOIA process. Scott's experience has taught him that requesters do not realize that their biggest obstacle to having their requests processed in a timely manner is not usually FOIA offices. The biggest obstacles tend to be the program offices that have equity in the records sought and the agency executives who see FOIA offices as an expense they don’t want to fund.
Internet Archives Blog: "Today we updated the Wayback Machine with much more data and some code improvements. Now we cover from late 1996 to December 9, 2012 so you can surf the web as it was up until a month ago. Also, we have gone from having 150,000,000,000 URLs to having 240,000,000,000 URLs, a total of about 5 petabytes of data. (Want a humorous description of a petabyte? start at 28:55) This database is queried over 1,000 times a second by over 500,000 people a day helping make archive.org the 250th most popular website."
Privacy on the Go - Recommendations for the Mobile Ecosystem, Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, California Department of Justice. January 2013
Tax Provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), Jim Nunns and Jeff Rohaly. January 9, 2013
"With the tax side of the fiscal cliff narrowly averted, CCH has issued a new Tax Briefing: American Taxpayer Relief Act, covering provisions of the new legislation. The American Taxpayer Relief Act allows the Bush-era tax rates to sunset after 2012 for individuals with incomes over $400,000 and families with incomes over $450,000; permanently “patches” the alternative minimum tax (AMT); revives many now-expired tax extenders, including the research tax credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit; and provides for a maximum estate tax of 40 percent with a $5 million exclusion. The Act also delays the mandatory across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration."
News release: "To promote transparency in merger enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission released an updated staff report on the agency’s major investigations of horizontal mergers. The update adds four more years of data to the agency’s previous report, which was issued in 2008. Horizontal mergers involve two firms that are competitors or have overlapping lines of business. The new data provide information on the levels of market concentration involved in the FTC’s investigation of 264 mergers, covering 1,372 markets over a 16-year period. The data tabulations use two statistics from the agency’s Horizontal Merger Guidelines to measure market concentration: 1) the post-merger Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), and 2) the change in the HHI, which reflects changes in market concentration before and after a particular merger. They also track the number of “significant competitors” in the markets in these cases. Data on HHIs are available for 1,359 markets and data on significant competitors are presented for 1,143 markets. The HHI reflects the overall composition of the market and the distribution of market shares of the competing firms."
Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery, By Doris Meissner, Donald M. Kerwin, Muzaffar Chishti, and Claire Bergeron. Migration Policy Institute, January 2013.
Powell, Tia, Hanfling, Dan and Gostin, Lawrence O., Emergency Preparedness and Public Health: The Lessons of Hurricane Sandy (November 16, 2012). JAMA Online, 2012; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-189. Available at SSRN
Via LLRX.com - 2012: The year of the mobile lawyer? - Attorney Nicole Black discusses the rise in the number of lawyers using mobile devices, the growing number of apps developed specifically for lawyers, and how these apps increasingly support lawyers at every stage of the litigation process.
Via LLRX.com - Legal ethics and retention of electronic data: Lawyers are increasingly shifting their day to day operations to applications and operations that leverage the convenience and affordability offered by the concept of a paperless office. Attorney Nicole Black talks about how doing so can raise an assortment of ethical issues, since the confidentiality of client information must always be maintained, regardless of the format in which it is stored or distributed.
Wareluk, Ewa Justyna, The Analysis of Insider Trading on Credit Derivatives Market by Means of the Event Study Methodology (January 6, 2013). Available at SSRN
News release: "Transocean Deepwater Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and to pay a total of $1.4 billion in civil and criminal fines and penalties, for its conduct in relation to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Department of Justice announced today. The criminal information and a proposed partial civil consent decree to resolve the U.S. government’s civil penalty claims against Transocean Deepwater Inc. and related entities were filed today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana." Related Material:
News release: "Google Inc. has agreed to change some of its business practices to resolve Federal Trade Commission concerns that those practices could stifle competition in the markets for popular devices such as smart phones, tablets and gaming consoles, as well as the market for online search advertising. Under a settlement reached with the FTC, Google will meet its prior commitments to allow competitors access – on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms – to patents on critical standardized technologies needed to make popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles. In a separate letter of commitment to the Commission, Google has agreed to give online advertisers more flexibility to simultaneously manage ad campaigns on Google’s AdWords platform and on rival ad platforms; and to refrain from misappropriating online content from so-called “vertical” websites that focus on specific categories such as shopping or travel for use in its own vertical offerings."
U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Current Conflicts, Barbara Salazar Torreon, Information Research Specialist, December 28, 2012
Worst Off – Single-Parent Families in the United States, A Cross-National Comparison of Single Parenthood in the U.S. and Sixteen Other High-Income Countries by Timothy Casey and Laurie Maldonado. December 2012 - "is an exhaustive, critical analysis of data and information drawn from a broad range of sources including government agencies, social scientists, and academic researchers worldwide. The scope of the report, with its impressive compilation of data and statistics, is a significant addition to the literature on social policies and an incisive analysis of the current circumstances and needs of single parents in the U.S. – the overwhelming majority of whom are single mothers." [via Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund]
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has issued his 2012 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary, focusing on efforts by the federal courts to contain costs.
The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework. Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney. December 17, 2012
News release: "According to statistics released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 6,222 criminal incidents involving 7,254 offenses were reported in 2011 as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability. The statistics, published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program in Hate Crime Statistics, 2011, provide data about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of the bias-motivated incidents reported by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. Due to the unique nature of hate crime, however, the UCR program does not estimate offenses for the jurisdictions of agencies that do not submit reports."
"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established new rules for the volume of television commercials that started on December 13, 2012. The new regulation, known as the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, requires commercials to have the same average volume as the programs they accompany. The CALM Act requires TV stations, cable operators or other multichannel video program distributors to apply specific FCC practices to commercials they transmit. If you hear a commercial louder than the TV show it accompanies, you can file a complaint with the FCC by providing detailed information about the commercial. Learn more about the CALM Act."
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission issued a report to Congress explaining steps the agency has taken in connection with new rules on debit card transactions that were put in place last year by the Federal Reserve Board as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The FTC shares authority to investigate and enforce the new Dodd-Frank requirements with other financial regulators. The Commission’s enforcement work generally focuses on the conduct of payment card networks and certain other non-bank entities. Regulations related to payment card network exclusivity and routing became fully effective in April 2012."
Royal Canadian Mounted Police: "There are almost 1.9 million firearms licence holders in Canada. While the vast majority of firearm owners are responsible and comply with the law, over 22,000 firearms licences have been refused or revoked by the CFP for public safety reasons. Most revocations are due to court orders following a conviction.
Violent Crime Against Youth, 1994-2010. Janet L. Lauritsen, Ph.D., Nicole White, Ph.D., University of Missouri. December 20, 2012. "Serious violent crime against youth dropped 77 percent from 1994 TO 2010."
Worst Off – Single-Parent Families in the United States, A Cross-National Comparison of Single Parenthood in the U.S. and Sixteen Other High-Income Countries, by Timothy Casey, Laurie Maldonado. The Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund, December 2012.
Interim guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media, Issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions on December 19, 2012
"The latest available data from the Immigration Courts show a continued decline in requests for deportation orders made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. According to case-by-case records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), there were 14,296 new ICE filings for deportation orders during November 2012, down 5.7 percent from the previous month, and down over 25 percent from the monthly average for FY 2012. Moreover, the proportion of individuals ordered to leave the country has fallen precipitously since TRAC's systematic tracking began in 1998. During the first two months of FY 2013 only 56.3 percent of Immigration Court closures resulted in a removal or voluntary departure order. By contrast, 74.3 percent of all court closures resulted in deportation orders in FY 1998, and just two years ago (FY 2011) the rate was 70.2 percent. TRAC's monthly bulletin on the latest Immigration Court numbers offers very timely statistics compiled from case-by-case Immigration Court records we receive shortly after the end of each month. For more details, with numbers current as of November 30, 2012, see the latest bulletin."
The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework, Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney. December 17, 2012
"A new study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) has found that there were more court complaints asking federal judges to force the government to abide by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) during the first term of the Obama Administration than there were in the last term of President Bush. While the administration-to-administration increase -- documented in court records for the entire FY 2005 to FY 2012 period -- was relatively small at 6 percent, a comparison of the FOIA filings in the last two years of Mr. Bush's second term and the last two years of Mr. Obama's first term showed a far more pronounced jump of 28 percent -- from 562 to 720. For more detailed information about the growing number of FOIA suits in the last two years, including which federal departments had the worst and best records, view the latest report from the FOIA Project."
New release: "The Federal Trade Commission adopted final amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule that strengthen kids' privacy protections and give parents greater control over the personal information that websites and online services may collect from children under 13. The FTC initiated a review in 2010 to ensure that the COPPA Rule keeps up with evolving technology and changes in the way children use and access the Internet, including the increased use of mobile devices and social networking. The updates to the COPPA Rule reflect careful consideration of the entire record of the rulemaking, which included a public roundtable and several rounds of public comments sought by the agency."
Mark Follman, Gavin Aronsen, and Deanna Pan: "On December 14, a mass shooter killed 27 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Among the fatalities were 20 children, six adults, and the shooter, who also killed his mother at her home. More details here. This guide and map have been updated with data from the Newtown massacre. It's perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened. The horrific mass murder at a movie theater in Colorado on July 20, another at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, another at a manufacturer in Minneapolis on September 27—and now the unthinkable nightmare at a Connecticut elementary school on December 14—are the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three decades. Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. We've mapped them below, including details on the shooters' identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed." See also
Lyonette Louis-Jacques: "The Chicago Association of Law Libraries (CALL) Government Relations Committee recently published the following free guide to researching Illinois law - Finding Illinois Law: A Librarian's Guide for Non-Lawyers (December 2012)."
Intelligence Identities Protection Act, Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney/ December 13, 2012
CRS - Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings. December 11, 2012
POLITICO: "Federal regulators may end a two-year antitrust probe of Google’s search business by letting the company make voluntary changes, such as limiting use of restaurant and travel reviews from other websites and letting search ad campaigns be easily ported to rival search services, two sources with knowledge of the case told POLITICO. The FTC is also preparing to enter into a settlement with Google on a related case over how the company uses its acquired stockpile of patents against competitors, as POLITICO reported last week. Under the patent agreement, Google will curtail using key patents it picked up when it purchased Motorola Mobility to block competitors infringing those patents from getting their products to the market, although there are exceptions, sources said."
FindLaw - "Data stored on personal cell phones is not protected by the Stored Communications Act (SCA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled. As mobile technology changes rapidly, legal questions remain about the extent of digital privacy protection. The Fifth Circuit determined that the act does not protect information stored on personal devices such as cell phones, laptops and personal computers. The lawsuit was brought by a former police dispatcher who was dismissed after photos and text messages on her cell phone revealed that she was violating police department rules. The plaintiff's cell phone was removed from her locker and searched without her permission. The SCA only protects "facilit[ies] through which an electronic communication service is provided" and not the device that is used to access those communication services, the court explained."
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse - "For the recently ended fiscal year 2012, there were 310 new criminal prosecutions for money laundering offenses, according to the latest available data from the Justice Department. This number is down by 4 percent from last year, and down 40 percent from a peak reached in fiscal year 2005, the first year of the second administration of President George W. Bush. Of the 310 money laundering prosecutions in FY 2012, Justice Department records showed that more than two out of three (222 of the total, or 72 percent) were non-drug-related and only 88 (or 28 percent) were drug-related. Drug-related money laundering prosecutions are down 12 percent from last year and down 60 percent from seven years ago; other money laundering prosecutions are unchanged from last year and down 24 percent from seven years ago. For more details, including a timeline back to 1995, a breakdown by investigative agency, and the top ranked judicial districts for both categories of money laundering offense, read the report."
News release and Federal Register Notice: "In August 2006, NHTSA established a regulation that sets forth requirements for data elements, data capture and format, data retrieval, and data crash survivability for event data recorders (EDRs) installed in light vehicles. The requirements apply to light vehicles that are manufactured on or after September 1, 2012, and are equipped with EDRs. However, the regulation does not mandate the installation of EDRs in those vehicles. This notice of proposed rulemaking would establish a new safety standard mandating the installation of EDRs in most light vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2014. The EDRs in those vehicles would be required by the new standard to meet the data elements, data capture and format, data retrieval, and data crash survivability requirements of the existing regulation. This proposal would not modify any of the requirements or specifications in the regulation for EDRs voluntarily installed between September 1, 2012 and September 1, 2014."
CRS - Right to Work Laws: Legislative Background and Empirical Research, Benjamin Collins, Analyst in Labor Policy. December 6, 2012
The following reports are via FAS:
Drunk Driving Laws, December 2012. Governors Highway Safety Association
CRS - Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, Alison Siskin, Specialist in Immigration Policy; Liana Sun Wyler, Analyst in International Crime and Narcotics. December 7, 2012
News release: "Breaking new ground in providing access to the most comprehensive technological information, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO) today launched the Chinese-English component of the EPO's free automatic translation service Patent Translate. As a result, the collections of the two largest languages in patents are now united as full-text documents on the same website through the EPO's global patent database, Espacenet, and linguistically accessible for innovators from both regions using a single tool, Patent Translate. Under the new arrangement with SIPO, Espacenet has grown by 4 million Chinese language documents, adding to the 75 million documents already available."
"The Federal Trade Commission submitted written testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the use of consumer reports in employment. The Fair Credit Reporting Act promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). The FTC testimony describes some of the legal rights and obligations prescribed by the FCRA when consumer reports are used for employment purposes, including the following:
News release: "In 1996, while debating the intricacies of a bill that would massively overhaul the telecommunications laws of the United States, two astute Congressmen introduced an amendment that would allow the Internet to flourish. The amendment - which would become Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230) - stated that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." In other words, online intermediaries that host or republish speech - blogs, review sites, social networks, and more - are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do. CDA 230 is crucial to the free flow of expression online. While the rest of the Communications Decency Act, an attempt by the government to regulate indecent content online, was found unconstitutional by the courts, Section 230 survived. As Judge Wilkinson put it in the seminal CDA 230 case, Zeran v. America Online, "Section 230 was enacted, in part, to maintain the robust nature of Internet communication, and accordingly, to keep government interference in the medium to a minimum." Websites could edit, filter, and screen content if they wanted without being held liable for the content itself...To better inform everyone on the Internet of the importance of this law, we have created an extensive guide to CDA 230.."
Via the European e-Justice Portal - "The European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) has been developed to facilitate the correct and unequivocal citation of judgments from European and national courts related to EU law. A set of uniform metadata will help to improve search facilities for case law. Before ECLI, it was difficult and time-consuming to find relevant case law. Take, for example, a case where a ruling of the Supreme Court of Member State A was known to be of interest for a specific legal debate. The case was registered in various national and cross-border case law databases, but in each database the ruling had a different identifier. All these identifiers – if known at all – had to be cited to enable readers of the citation to find the case in the database of their preference. Different citation rules and styles complicated the search. Moreover, users had to go to all the databases to find out whether this Supreme Court case was available – summarized, translated or annotated. With the ECLI system one search via one search interface using just one identifier will suffice to find all occurrences of the ruling in all participating national and cross-border databases. Easy access to judicial decisions of other Member States is of growing importance in reinforcing the role of the national judge in applying and upholding EU law. Searching for, and citation of judgments from other Member States is seriously hampered by differences in national case law identification systems, citation rules and technical fields describing the characteristics of a judgment. To overcome these differences and to facilitate easy access to - and citation of - national, foreign and European case law, the Council of the European Union invited Member States and EU institutions to introduce the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) and a minimum set of uniform metadata for case law."
"On May 1, 2009, Professor Luke Nichter of Texas A&M University-Central Texas petitioned Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the District Court for the District of Columbia to release records sealed in the case of U.S. v. Liddy, the Watergate break-in case. The sealed proceedings include evidentiary discussions held outside the jury's hearing, pretrial discussions between defendants' lawyers and the Court, and post-trial sentencing information. On November 2, 2012, the District Court for the District of Columbia ordered most of these records to be unsealed, given the passage of time, completion of the criminal proceedings, and non-invasive nature of the content. Consistent with the recommendation of the Department of Justice, the court ordered that the following categories of records remain sealed, pending further review by the court: Personal documents regarding living individuals; Documents regarding the content of illegally obtained wiretaps; and Grand Jury information. Accordingly, the court directed the National Archives to release the uncontested records within 30 days from the date of the Order. The National Archives is therefore releasing the previously sealed records from U.S. v. Liddy, with the three categories of contested materials removed and marked "Court Sealed." If/when the Court later unseals additional materials, the National Archives will make them available. NARA is releasing 36 folders of documents totaling approximately 950 pages."
Introduction to Basic Legal Citation, Peter W. Martin
TRAC has now created a new Judge Info Center which features links to four special reports on the working of the federal courts. Also available is a detailed description of the data on which these reports are based, a video tutorial, and information on gaining access to interactive reports about any district court judge who has sentenced at least 50 individuals since FY 2007."
"According to a new report by the Transactional Access Records Clearinghouse (TRAC)...tables identifying the 25 courthouses that had the widest sentencing differences among the judges that served in them, and the 28 courthouses that had the narrowest. The five at the top of the list were: Baltimore, Columbia (South Carolina), Philadelphia, Macon (Middle District of Georgia) and Norfolk (Eastern District of Virginia)."
"USCIRF’s [United States Commission on International Religious Freedom] 2012 report, The Religion-State Relationship & the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Comparative Textual Analysis of the Constitutions of Majority Muslim Countries and Other OIC Members, analyzes how constitutions of countries belonging to the OIC treat issues of human rights and religious freedom. This study, which updates a study USCIRF undertook in 2005, focuses on 56 countries. The study finds that these countries, stretching from Europe to Africa through the Middle East and into Asia, encompass a variety of constitutional arrangements addressing the role of Islam and the scope of religious freedom and other related human rights. A constitution’s text is important as both a statement of fundamental law and national aspirations, and a tool for those seeking to enforce its promises."
"Companies around the world are threatened by a growing tide of regulation, according to a new report by KPMG which charts the views of 320 in-house General Counsel, but finds those using their legal skills to help make commercial decisions are the ones that will best thrive in the new environment. The report, Beyond the Law KPMG’s global study of how General Counsel are turning risk to advantage, conducted by global research agency Meridien West, interviewed General Counsel from 32 countries who gave their views on a wide range of issues, from relationships with the Board to the risk and regulatory challenges ahead and managing future disputes. Although only 38 percent sit of respondents sit on the main Board of their organizations, 70 percent agreed that giving commercial advice to the board is now just as important as giving legal advice. Kathryn Britten, Global Head of KPMG’s Legal Services Sector, said: “Companies are facing a cloud of regulation that is adding a layer of complexity to almost every commercial decision that they need to take and risks casting a further shadow at a time of low economic growth in mature economies. General Counsel are increasingly being required to act as the barometer for their organizations, gauging the pressure and helping to scan the horizon for future threats. It is clear that involving general counsel in commercial decision making is now the norm for those companies that are successfully navigating today’s risk landscape."
"The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation. The publication aims to assist in developing quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure progress in the implementation of international human rights norms and principles. The Guide describes the conceptual and methodological framework for human rights indicators recommended by international and national human rights mechanisms and used by a growing number of governmental and non-governmental actors. It provides concrete examples of indicators identified for a number of human rights—all originating from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—and other practical tools and illustrations, to support the realization of human rights at all levels. The Guide will be of interest to human rights advocates as well as policymakers, development practitioners, statisticians and others who are working to make human rights a reality for all."
Shane Shifflett and Jennifer Gollan: "The federal government has collected millions from the online Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, or PACER – nearly five times what it cost to run the system. Between fiscal years 2006 and 2010, the government collected an average of $77 million a year from PACER fees, according to the most recent federal figures available."
"At America’s Expense compiles extensive data detailing epidemic of aging prisoners in the United States. It provides a comprehensive 50-state and federal analysis of the unnecessary incarceration of aging prisoners and provides a fiscal analysis showing the actual amount states would save, on average, by releasing aging prisoners: over $66,000 per year per released prisoner. The report also includes new data showing that the elderly population is growing because of harsh sentencing laws and not because of new crimes, as well as data highlighting the low public safety risks posed by elderly prisoners. At America’s Expense supplies detailed and practical legislative solutions that states and the federal government can implement to address the dramatic and costly growth in the number of elderly prisoners without putting communities at risk."
"Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2013 Corporate Equality Index is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees. This year, the CEI saw the largest growth in the survey’s history -- with 54 new businesses opting in -- proving that Corporate America is committed to LGBT equality. In addition, a record number of businesses, spanning nearly every industry and major geographic area of the U.S., ranked as top scorers on this year's CEI. The CEI report, released each fall, provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. Businesses rated 100 percent are recognized in our "Best Places to Work" list, and are invited to apply for the HRC Award for Workplace Equality Innovation. All consumer-oriented businesses are included in our "Buying for Equality" guide."
News release: "Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection Director David Vladeck issued the following statement regarding a federal judge’s approval of the FTC proposed order and $22.5 million civil penalty settling charges that Google misrepresented privacy assurances to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser in violation of a previous FTC settlement Order: “The court’s approval of the Commission’s record setting $22.5 million fine against Google is a clear victory for consumers and privacy. As this case and many others demonstrate, the Commission will continue to ensure that its orders are obeyed, and that consumers’ privacy is protected.”
News release: "After reviewing hundreds of mortgage advertisements, the Federal Trade Commission staff has sent letters to 20 companies, warning them that their ads may be deceptive. The FTC sent its warning letters to real estate agents, home builders, and lead generators, urging them to review their advertisements for compliance with the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule and the FTC Act. The FTC sent the letters in coordination with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which issued warning letters to approximately a dozen other companies. The CFPB sent its warning letters to mortgage brokers and lenders. Both agencies have opened nonpublic law enforcement investigations of other advertisers that may have violated federal law."
List of State Anti-Price Gouging Laws by Michael Giberson
Writing an escalation contract using the Consumer Price Index, by Malik Crawford and Kenneth J. Stewart, Consumer Price Index program
Rachel M. Zahorsky, ABA Journal: "More and more billing partners are knocking research costs off invoices before they’re even submitted to clients, legal consultant Rob Mattern of Mattern & Associates recently told me...This trend is apparent at firms that negotiate deals with research providers but historically haven’t passed along discounts they received to their clients, sometimes as a means to collect on other, nonbillable items, Mattern added. Mattern's firm’s 2012 Cost Recovery survey reported an influx of firms with clients who either balked at or outright refused to pay for legal research. While some firms have adopted policies to charge clients only the hard costs billed to them, others are adding legal research charges to the cost of doing business. In fact, 43 percent of law firm respondents said they absorb more of their legal research costs today than in 2010, according to a recent Bloomberg Law survey of 97 law firms, ranging from 50 to more than 400 attorneys. And transactional matters are less likely to recover legal research costs than litigation."
CRS - Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions. Eric A. Fischer, Senior Specialist in Science and Technology, November 9, 2012
Jeff John Roberts: "Google asked an appeals court to throw out a ruling that let the Authors Guild sue on behalf of all writers whose books were scanned without permission. Google argues most authors support the scanning and that the case should be decided on a book-by-book basis."
News release: "BP Exploration and Production Inc. (BP) has agreed to plead guilty to felony manslaughter, environmental crimes and obstruction of Congress and pay a record $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties for its conduct leading to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and caused the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today. The 14-count information, filed today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, charges BP with 11 counts of felony manslaughter, one count of felony obstruction of Congress, and violations of the Clean Water and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts. BP has signed a guilty plea agreement with the government, also filed today, admitting to its criminal conduct. As part of its guilty plea, BP has agreed, subject to the Court’s approval, to pay $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties – the largest criminal resolution in United States history."
Privacy: An Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Charles Doyle - Senior Specialist in American Public Law - October 9, 2012
The Global Employer™ - The Social Media Issue, Paul Brown, Carlos A. Felce, Guenther H. Heckelmann, Cynthia L. Jackson. Baker & McKenzie
EPIC: In U.S. v. Bormes, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the government could not be sued for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act under an 1887 law that waived governmental immunity for certain claims "premised on other sources of law." The case arose after an attorney paid a federal-court filing fee with his credit card and noticed that the receipt included personal information in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. He then sued the government under the Little Tucker Act, which waives sovereign immunity "for claims premised on other sources of law." Justice Scalia, writing for a unanimous Court, held that the attorney could not sue the government under the Little Tucker Act because the Fair Credit Reporting Act has its own detailed damages provision, and "[w]here...a statute contains its own self-executing remedial scheme, we look only to that statute to determine whether Congress intended to subject the United States to dam¬ages liability." The Court sent the case back to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether the government may be sued under the Fair Credit Reporting Act itself. For more information, see EPIC: Fair Credit Reporting Act."
"The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction — legal sanctions and restrictions imposed upon people because of their criminal record — are hard to find and harder to understand. Now it will be easier to do both. Congress directed the National Institute of Justice to collect and study collateral consequences in all U.S. jurisdictions, and NIJ selected the ABA Criminal Justice Section to perform the necessary research and analysis. The results are now being made available through this interactive tool."
Via LLRX.com - Arson and the Science of Fire: Ken Strutin's expert commentary focuses on the duality of fire as both a science and a set of actions and behaviors initiated by individuals and groups. Strutin documents how these factors relate to the complexities of criminal prosecutions in this arena, and how assumptions about the former have led to misjudgments about the latter. Further, he examines how progress in the understanding of how fires begin and spread has called into question the integrity of arson convictions. His guide is a collection of selected research publications, web resources and case studies as well as scholarly legal articles and scientific reports on arson investigation and fire science.
"A European Commission consultation document has highlighted the fact that transnational company agreements (TCAs) began to be concluded in significant numbers from 2000. By the start of 2012, about 144 companies had concluded at least one European Framework Agreement (EFA) or International Framework Agreement (IFA), covering a total of 10 million employees. In 2008, the Commission published a staff working document on the role of TCAs, suggesting the creation of a voluntary European framework developing clear rules for such issues as negotiation procedures and legal certainty. A group of experts came together to examine this issue further. The group had met six times by 2011, and produced a report that was published at the beginning of 2012. In addition, a conference on restructuring was organised in Lyon in 2008 under the French Council Presidency, and two studies were produced. The first study clarified to what extent TCAs were governed by rules of private international law and how such rules would apply to these agreements. The second study focused on the legal implications of these agreements. The Commission also set up in 2011 a database on transnational company agreements. In its communication Towards a job-rich recovery, published in April 2012, the Commission said it intended to ‘develop further action to disseminate good practice and promote debate with respect to TCAs’, stressing its view that their role needed to be better recognised and supported."
Via LLRX - Litigation, trial and pre-trail iPad apps for lawyers: One of the most popular and rapidly growing categories of apps for lawyers are those developed for litigation, during trials and during the pretrial discovery phase. In this article, attorney, legal blogger and legal tech expert Nicole Black recommends more than a dozen affordable, flexible and innovative iPad apps to assist attorneys in their work to develop, streamline, simplify and track critical litigation processes.
"How do the “digital footprints” of Internet and cellphone users affect privacy, and what impact does this have on freedom of expression? These questions lie at the heart of a new study released by UNESCO this week...This publication seeks to identify the relationship between freedom of expression and Internet privacy, assessing where they support or compete with each other in different circumstances. The book maps out the issues in the current regulatory landscape of Internet privacy from the viewpoint of freedom of expression. It provides an overview of legal protection, self-regulatory guidelines, normative challenges, and case studies relating to the topic.
News release: "Financial disclosure laws requiring public officials to file a statement of their assets, liabilities and interests can make corruption easier to detect. However, a new World Bank database finds that although 78 percent of countries covered by the database have financial disclosure systems, only 36 percent systematically check public servants’ disclosures for irregularities and inconsistencies. To support countries in their fight against corruption, the World Bank is launching the Financial Disclosure Law Library to help policymakers and practitioners establish strong financial disclosure systems. The Library compiles over 1,000 laws and regulations on financial disclosure and restrictions on public officials’ activities from 176 countries."
Mary Agnes Carey and Jenny Gold: "Now that President Barack Obama has won a second term, the Affordable Care Act is back on a fast track. Some analysts argue that there could be modifications to reduce federal spending as part of a broader deficit deal; for now, this is just speculation. What is clear is that the law will have sweeping ramifications for consumers, state officials, employers and health care providers, including hospitals and doctors. While some of the key features don't kick in until 2014, the law has already altered the health care industry and established a number of consumer benefits. Here's a primer on parts of the law already up and running, what's to come and ways that provisions could still be altered."
De Zwart, Melissa , Lindsay, David F., Henderson, Michael and Phillips, Michael, Randoms vs Weirdos: Teen Use of Social Networking Sites and Perceptions of Legal Risk (2011). (2011) 36(3) Alternative Law Journal 153.; Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 44. Available at SSRN
"According to the latest statistics from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, October 2012 ended the 16-month streak of above-average monthly temperatures for the contiguous Unites States, with an average temperature of 53.9° Fahrenheit, 0.3° Fahrenheit below the long-term average. The maps show where October 2012 (top) and year-to-date (bottom) temperatures were different from the 1981–2010 average across the contiguous United States. Shades of red indicate temperatures up to 5° Fahrenheit warmer than average, and shades of blue indicate temperatures up to 5° Fahrenheit cooler than average - the darker the color, the larger the difference from average temperature."
News release: "Bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts for fiscal year 2012, the 12-month period ending September 30, 2012, totaled 1,261,140, down 14 percent from the 1,467,221 bankruptcy cases filed in FY 2011, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Additional statistics released today include business and non-business bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2012; a comparison of September 2011 and 2012 filings, 4th quarter filings; monthly filings for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2012, and per capita filings."
CRS - Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis. James K. Jackson, Specialist in International Trade and Finance, October 26, 2012
CRS - The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Title VII, Derivatives,November 6, 2012
"According to the Justice Committee, the European Union Data Protection proposals "need to go back to the drawing board".
Experiential Learning: Context and Connections for Legal Research – A Case Study, Cindy Guyer, USC Gould School of Law. November 1, 2012. Via SSRN.
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: "The latest available data from the federal courts show that during September 2012 the government reported 723 new consumer credit civil filings, according to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). This number is down 8.8 percent over the previous month, when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 793. This year marks a drop in the volume of consumer credit suits after a period of steady increase since the start of the financial crisis. Consumer credit suits, which had averaged 268 per month during FY 2007, tripled to 819 during FY 2011. But for FY 2012, these filings are down 5.6 percent from the level seen in FY 2011. The full report, including a list of those districts in which lawsuits of this kind were filed with the greatest rates relative to population."
Arrest in the United States, 1990-2010, Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D - October 31, 2012. NCJ 239423
"Presents annual estimates of arrests in the United States covering the period between 1990 and 2010. Based on data collected by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, this report expands the FBI's set of published arrest estimates to include offense-specific arrest estimates grouped by age, sex, and race. These breakdowns of arrests and arrest trends provide a detailed description of the flow of individuals into the criminal justice system over a long period. The national estimates represent arrests by state and local law enforcement agencies, and control for variations in sample coverage from year to year. Highlights include the following:
Via SSRN: Field Notes from the Super-Storm Sandy Catastrophe, Elizabeth Burleson, Pace Law School, November 4, 2012
CRS - Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future, Robert Meltz, Legislative Attorney, October 25, 2012
Pronouncing Dictionary of the Supreme Court of the United States: "Although the United States is famously a nation of immigrants, Americans often struggle with the pronunciation of foreign words and names. Mispronunciation of even common foreign words is ubiquitous (Eye-rack and Eye-ran spring to mind). Foreign names in legal matters present a particular challenge for legal professionals. The purpose of the Pronouncing Dictionary of United States Supreme Court cases, compiled by YLS students Usha Chilukuri, Megan Corrarino, Brigid Davis, Kate Hadley, Daniel Jang, Sally Pei, and Yale University Linguistics Department students Diallo Spears and Jason Zentz, working with Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer in Law Eugene Fidell, is to help conscientious lawyers, judges, teachers, students, and journalists correctly pronounce often-perplexing case names. Drawing on textbooks, recordings, accounts by litigants or counsel, pronunciation guides, journalism, and surveys, we identified those Supreme Court cases that are most susceptible of mispronunciation and determined the proper pronunciation. To be sure, several factors—including the passage of time, idiosyncratic pronunciation, and Anglicization—make this an inexact process. Where possible, we have ascertained and followed the litigant’s preferred pronunciation. Failing this information, we employed two methods. Where possible, we discerned the etymology of the name, consulted a native speaker of the pertinent language, and Anglicized the pronunciation during the process of transcribing the name. Otherwise, we surveyed five individuals with the surname in question and, where at least four used the same pronunciation, that pronunciation was controlling. The Dictionary is, inevitably, incomplete, but we hope it will be a useful tool for those seeking accuracy and authenticity. Special thanks go to Jason Eiseman of the Lillian Goldman Law Library for technical assistance and advice."
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC): "The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Justice Department has just released a report criticizing the statistics of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Lost in the news coverage of the OIG's report are several important points:
U.S. Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Philip A.Wallach. October 26, 2012. Governance Studies at Brookings.
Follow up to related postings on ATF's Operation Fast and Furious program, see Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation Part 2 of 3 - October 29, 2012
"FDA is advising medical professionals not to use products from a New England company being investigated in connection with a multistate meningitis outbreak."
Christina Ortiz: "After watching the U.S. Presidential debates, it's clear the country could really use a non-combative way to discuss issues and disseminate information. Sites like Procon.org do this for national issues, ranging from legalizing marijuana to illegal immigration, but sometimes the most heated political discussions happen on the local scene. Instead of relying on fact-checking websites, the University of Washington started the Living Voters Guide, a site dedicated educating voters on issues and referendums in Washington state."
Planning in the Digital Age, Gerry W. Beyer - Texas Tech University School of Law, October 22, 2012
for TRAC - Jeff Lamicela: "On October 22, 2012 the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) filed suit in D.C. District Court under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) challenging a ruling by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that its master repository of investigations and operations information is off-limits to the public...The material sought by TRAC is stored in the ICE-operated Enforcement Integrated Database (EID), which records and maintains information related to the investigations and operations of ICE as well as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and that agency's Office of Field Operations. Despite this, ICE has stated that its office "does not have the means to extract the data or any other aspect of [TRAC's] request. For more on this matter, link to the complaint document and legal exhibits
Via LLRX.com - Reference apps for the mobile lawyer - For mobile lawyers, tech savvy attorney Nicole Black recommends a range of topical, go-to reference apps that will save you time and effort while providing reliable, high quality information. Most of the apps are free or very low cost, and include Wolfram Alpha Lawyer’s Professional Assistant, iThesaurus, Recalls app, and the Wikipanion app.
Via LLRX.com - Internet research tips and tricks for lawyers - This is attorney Nicole Black's review of The Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet, 12th edition, a book that helps lawyers learn how to use the Internet to conduct effective and free investigative and legal research.
"The Operational Law Handbook is a “how to” guide for Judge Advocates practicing operational law. It provides references and describes tactics and techniques for the practice of operational law. The Operational Law Handbook is not a substitute for official references. Like operational law itself, the Handbook is a focused collection of diverse legal and practical information. The handbook is not intended to provide “the school solution” to a particular problem, but to help Judge Advocates recognize, analyze, and resolve problems they will encounter in the operational context. Similarly, the Handbook is not intended to represent official U.S. policy regarding the binding application of varied sources of law, though it may reference source documents which themselves do so. The Handbook was designed and written for Judge Advocates practicing operational law. The size and contents of the Handbook are controlled by this focus. Frequently, the authors were forced to strike a balance between the temptation to include more information and the need to retain the Handbook in its current size and configuration. Simply put, the Handbook is made for the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen of the military Judge Advocate General’s Corps, who serve alongside their clients in the operational context. Accordingly, the Operational Law Handbook is compatible with current joint and combined doctrine."
Statutes of Limitation in Federal Criminal Cases: An Overview. Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law, October 1, 2012
"Many studies during the past few decades have sought to determine whether the death penalty has any deterrent effect on homicide rates. Researchers have reached widely varying, even contradictory, conclusions. Some studies have concluded that the threat of capital punishment deters murders, saving large numbers of lives; other studies have concluded that executions actually increase homicides; still others, that executions have no effect on murder rates. Commentary among researchers, advocates, and policymakers on the scientific validity of the findings has sometimes been acrimonious. Against this backdrop, the National Research Council report Deterrence and the Death Penalty assesses whether the available evidence provides a scientific basis for answering questions of if and how the death penalty affects homicide rates. This new report from the Committee on Law and Justice concludes that research to date on the effect of capital punishment on homicide rates is not useful in determining whether the death penalty increases, decreases, or has no effect on these rates. The key question is whether capital punishment is less or more effective as a deterrent than alternative punishments, such as a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Yet none of the research that has been done accounted for the possible effect of noncapital punishments on homicide rates. The report recommends new avenues of research that may provide broader insight into any deterrent effects from both capital and noncapital punishments."
TRAC Immigration: "The latest available data from the Immigration Courts show that during September 2012 the government reported 17,276 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) filings seeking deportation orders. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is little changed compared to filings in the previous month. These latest figures show that the slide in ICE filings that have been taking place since 2009 continued during 2012. For example, when the latest month's ICE court filings are compared with average monthly files in prior years, the recent activity was down 12.9 percent from levels in FY 2011, and has fallen 16 percent from monthly filings during FY 2010."
EPIC: "The Federal Bureau of Investigation has exempted the FBI Data Warehouse System, from important Privacy Act safeguards. The database ingests troves of personally identifiable information including race, birthdate, biometric information, social security numbers, and financial information from various government agencies. The database contains information on a surprisingly broad category of individuals, including "subjects, suspects, victims, witnesses, complainants, informants, sources, bystanders, law enforcement personnel, intelligence personnel, other responders, administrative personnel, consultants, relatives, and associates who may be relevant to the investigation or intelligence operation; individuals who are identified in open source information or commercial databases, or who are associated, related, or have a nexus to the FBI’s missions; individuals whose information is collected and maintained for information system user auditing and security purposes." The Federal Bureau of Investigation has exempted these records from the notification, access, and amendment provisions of the Privacy Act. Earlier this year, EPIC opposed the Automated Targeting System, another massive government database that the Department of Homeland Security exempted from Privacy Act provisions. For more information, see EPIC: The Privacy Act of 1974 and EPIC: Automated Targeting System."
Alone Without a Home: A State-by-State Review of Laws Affecting Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, September 2012, National Law Center
International Finance Corporation: "The Doing Business law library is the largest free online collection of business laws and regulations. We link to official government sources wherever possible. Translations are not official unless indicated otherwise. We update the collection regularly but are unable to guarantee that laws are the most recent version."
"The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), have released an upgraded Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) Web site. As of today, the old e-CFR site has been shutdown and will redirect users to the new site, eCFR.gov. The new site operates on an upgraded hardware and software platform, and provides an interface that emulates other Federal Register publications on FDsys. Automatic redirects from the old e-CFR website to eCFR.gov will be in place through the end of 2012. Please reset any bookmarks to the new eCFR.gov URL."
Mac Sithigh, Daithi, App Law within: Rights and Regulation in the Smartphone Age (September 2012). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2012/22. Available at SSRN.
News release: "The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the Department of Commerce (DOC), have partnered to develop an online system aimed at expanding public access to information requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIAonline, formerly known as the FOIA Module, is available as of today (October 1). It offers the public one place to submit FOIA requests, track their progress, communicate with the processing agency, search other requests, access previously released responsive documents and file appeals with participating agencies. For agencies, FOIAonline provides a secure website to receive and store requests, assign and process requests, post responses, generate metrics, manage records electronically, create management reports and electronically generate the annual report required from each agency by FOIA. EPA began looking at the feasibility of a FOIA portal in 2010 with the idea of leveraging Regulations.gov, the Federal rulemaking portal that allows people to comment on Federal regulations and other agency regulatory actions. EPA administers Regulations.gov, which launched in 2002 and now has 38 partner agencies that govern and financially support the program. By leveraging the infrastructure of Regulations.gov, FOIAonline avoided many start-up costs, resulting in a total of $1.3 million to launch and an estimated cost avoidance of $200 million over the next five years if broadly adopted."
Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Public Assistance: Policy Overview and Trends, by Ruth Ellen Wasem, Specialist in Immigration Policy. September 27, 2012
"This report – Green Carbon, Black Trade – by UNEP and INTERPOL focuses on illegal logging and its impacts on the lives and livelihoods of often some of the poorest people in the world set aside the environmental damage. It underlines how criminals are combining old fashioned methods such as bribes with high tech methods such as computer hacking of government web sites to obtain transportation and other permits. The report spotlights the increasingly sophisticated tactics being deployed to launder illegal logs through a web of palm oil plantations, road networks and saw mills."
News release: "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today announced an enforcement action with orders requiring three American Express subsidiaries to refund an estimated $85 million to approximately 250,000 customers for illegal card practices. This action is the result of a multi-part federal investigation which found that at every stage of the consumer experience, from marketing to enrollment to payment to debt collection, American Express violated consumer protection laws...The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) together with the Utah Department of Financial Institutions discovered the illegal activities during a routine examination of an American Express subsidiary, the American Express Centurion Bank. The FDIC transferred portions of the investigation to the CFPB when the Bureau opened its doors last year and together the agencies pursued the matter. The CFPB later concluded that many of the same violations that occurred at American Express Centurion Bank also took place at American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. and American Express Bank, FSB."
Rich McCue: "In addition to the technology questions we’ve been asking UVic Law students over the past ten years, we decided for the first year to ask more detailed questions about student use of tablets and e-readers for academic use, along with questions about their usage of “cloud” services for file storage and collaboration. This survey was completed by 126 incoming and transferring law students, which is a strong 90% plus response rate." Some of the survey results summarized as follows:
A history of the U.S. Alien Tort Statute, by Rebecca Hamilton - Reuters: "The 33-word Alien Tort Statute, at the center of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, was enacted by the First Congress in 1789. It reads: "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States." It lay essentially dormant for decades. Then, in 1978, a U.S. lawyer named Peter Weiss used the statute to bring a case against former Paraguayan police inspector Americo Pena-Irala over the torture and killing of Joelito Filartiga. In a ruling two years later, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said U.S. courts had jurisdiction and Pena-Irala was ordered to pay $10.4 million in damages to Filartiga's family."
Pharmaceutical Industry Criminal and Civil Penalties: An Update. September 27, 2012. Sammy Almashat, M.D., M.P.H, Sidney Wolfe, M.D. Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.
Naomi Gilens: "Justice Department documents released today by the ACLU reveal that federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring Americans’ electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability. The documents, handed over by the government only after months of litigation, are the attorney general’s 2010 and 2011 reports on the use of “pen register” and “trap and trace” surveillance powers. The reports show a dramatic increase in the use of these surveillance tools, which are used to gather information about telephone, email, and other Internet communications. The revelations underscore the importance of regulating and overseeing the government’s surveillance power. (Our original Freedom of Information Act request and our legal complaint are online.)"
US: CFIUS Review - Robert Schlossberg and Christine Laciak, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP
News release: "Seven rent-to-own companies and a software design firm have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they spied on consumers using computers that consumers rented from them, capturing screenshots of confidential and personal information, logging their computer keystrokes, and in some cases taking webcam pictures of people in their homes, all without notice to, or consent from, the consumers. The software design firm collected the data that enabled rent-to-own stores to track the location of rented computers without consumers’ knowledge according to the FTC complaint. The settlements bar the companies from any further illegal spying, from activating location-tracking software without the consent of computer renters and notice to computer users, and from deceptively collecting and disclosing information about consumers."
Freedom on the Net 2012: "This report is the third in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe and covers developments in 47 countries that occurred between January 2011 and May 2012. Over 50 researchers, nearly all based in the countries they analyzed, contributed to the project by researching laws and practices relevant to the internet, testing the accessibility of select websites, and interviewing a wide range of sources."
"Through the National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction, each jurisdiction’s collateral consequences will be made accessible to the public through a website that can be searched and sorted by categories and keywords. The website will make it possible for criminal and civil lawyers to determine which collateral consequences are triggered by particular categories of offenses, for affected individuals to understand the limits on their rights and opportunities, and for lawmakers and policy advocates to understand the full measure of a jurisdiction’s sanctions and disqualifications. It will also be possible through the website to perform inter-jurisdictional comparisons and national analyses."
A Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters. (REDACTED), Office of the Inspector General, Oversight and Review Division, September 2012
"Congress.gov makes federal United States legislative information freely available to the public. Launched Sept. 19, 2012, this version of the site is an initial beta release of Congress.gov, created as a successor to THOMAS.gov, the current public site for legislative information. The Congress.gov beta site contains legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present, member of Congress profiles from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present, and selected member profiles from the 80th through the 92nd Congresses (1947 to 1972). Over the next two years, Congress.gov will be adding information and features, eventually incorporating all of the information currently available on THOMAS.gov. (To compare the scope of legislative information available on THOMAS.gov and the scope of legislative information on the beta site, see Coverage Dates for Legislative Information.)"
"The Bureau of Justice Statistics, through its Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center (FJSRC), compiles comprehensive information describing suspects and defendants processed in the federal criminal justice system. The Federal Criminal Case Processing Statistics (FCCPS) tool is an interface that can be used to analyze federal case processing data. Users can generate various statistics in the areas of federal law enforcement, prosecution/courts and incarcerations, and based on title and section of the U.S. Criminal Code. Data are available for the years 1998-2010. Please select an analytical area of interest from the provided menu. defendants; and mean prison or probation sentence or fine. Users can select multiple years and multiple offenses."
Via LLRX.com: Bluebook Technologies - The Bluebook is the standard citation guide for legal materials. There are now three format choices for the Bluebook: paper, online subscription (since 2008), and as of August 10, 2012 - iPad app. Law Librarian, author, research instructor and blogger Mary Whisner's guide discusses and illustrates the features and pricing of each.
Whistleblower Protections Under Federal Law: An Overview. Jon O. Shimabukuro, Legislative Attorney and L. Paige Whitaker, Legislative Attorney, September 13, 2012
News release: "Judge Denise Cote approved the Justice Department's controversial settlement with three major publishers -- Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster -- in a 45-page decision filed [September 6, 2012]. The settlement requires the publishers to allow e-book retailers to sell their books at any price, even below cost, so long as the retailer does not lose money over a publisher's entire e-book list over a 12-month period. The Justice Department had sued five publishers (the others are Penguin and Macmillan) and Apple this spring alleging that they had colluded to introduce "agency pricing" for e-books in 2010 with the launch of the iPad. The Authors Guild opposed approval of the settlement, believing that the DOJ could address the alleged collusion without requiring three publishers to allow Amazon to resume predatory pricing. Amazon's predatory pricing -- selling bestselling frontlist e-book titles at a loss -- had helped the online retailer gain a 90% share of the e-book market by January 2010."
News release: "From NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence: The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, written at the invitation of the Centre by an independent ‘International Group of Experts’, is the result of a three-year effort to examine how extant international law norms apply to this ‘new’ form of warfare. The Tallinn Manual pays particular attention to the jus ad bellum, the international law governing the resort to force by States as an instrument of their national policy, and the jus in bello, the international law regulating the conduct of armed conflict (also labelled the law of war, the law of armed conflict, or international humanitarian law). Related bodies of international law, such as the law of State responsibility and the law of the sea, are dealt within the context of these topics."
Delimatsis, Panagiotis, A Global Law Perspective of the WTO (July 27, 2012). Tilburg Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN
Pensions and Retirement State Legislation Database - "Current legislation on pensions and retirement is available in a searchable database. You can search 2012 pensions and retirement bills by topic, primary author, state, bill number, status or keyword. The database is updated every two weeks." [Via Pew and the National Conference of State Legislatures]
News release: "Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling FTC charges that Myspace misrepresented its protection of users’ personal information. The settlement bars Myspace from future misrepresentations about its privacy practices, requires the company to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy assessments for the next 20 years."
The National Labor Relations Act: Background and Selected Topics, Jon O. Shimabukuro, Legislative Attorney, September 7, 2012
CRS - Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses. Richard M. Thompson II, Legislative Attorney, September 6, 2012
Sliter, John R., 'Techno-Risk - the Perils of Learning and Sharing Everything' from a Criminal Information Sharing Perspective (September 9, 2012). 30th Symposium on Economic Crime in Cambridge, England on September 5th, 2012. Available at SSRN.
CRS - NFIB v. Sebelius: Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate. Erika K. Lunder, Legislative Attorney. Jennifer Staman, Legislative Attorney, September 3, 2012
"[On September 4, 2012, CDT] joined the ACLU, EFF and EPIC in calling on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear U.S. v. Skinner, the GPS cell phone location tracking case. A panel of the 6th Circuit ruled that tracking a cell phone's location by repeatedly "pinging" the phone over a three-day period did not require a warrant. The amicus brief we filed yesterday asked the full Sixth Circuit to consider this issue in light of the concurring opinions filed by five justices in the U.S. v. Jones U.S. Supreme Court case which came down earlier this year. We also pointed out that the panel's legal conclusion was based on a material misunderstanding: that cell phones normally "give off" GPS location information. Instead, mobile providers have to take a special step - sending a signal to the phone to direct it to produce the GPS data. Unless they take that step, there is no location data at the provider for the government to seize. As a result, the court should not have analyzed the case under the third party records doctrine, which says a person has no Fourth Amendment interest in information shared with a third party."
Bainbridge, Stephen M., An Overview of Insider Trading Law and Policy: An Introduction to the Insider Trading Research Handbook (September 4, 2012). Research Handbook on Insider Trading, Stephen Bainbridge, ed., Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2013; UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper No. 12-15. Available at SSRN
via LLRX.com - Mass Incarceration and the "Degree of Civilization": Ken Strutin - law librarian, criminal defense attorney, and well-known writer and speaker, documents the preeminence of the United States as the world leader in incarceration. He states that incarceration is when a person loses their freedom pending trial or by serving a sentence - and mass incarceration is when millions of people are imprisoned and kept there based on a generation of tough on crime policies. The number of persons behind bars, which is higher in the United States than anywhere in the world, creates a ripple effect throughout the criminal justice system and society at large. This fact has inspired intense study of this punishment by many academic disciplines, public interest institutions and government agencies. His article focuses on selected recent and notable publications from these sources along with a list of current awareness sites.
Via Jeff Lamicela: "The latest available data from the federal courts show that during July 2012 the government reported 296 new copyright civil filings, according to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). This is the fourth straight month where filings have reached close to 300 or more per month -- higher than they have been since July 2008. Federal copyright lawsuits are 41.3 higher in July 2012 than they were for the same period one year ago, and have generally been rising over the last two years. Read the full report, including a list of those districts in which lawsuits of this kind were filed with the greatest rates relative to population."
News release: "The European Commission has published a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the application of EU antitrust rules in the motor vehicle sector. The FAQs provide stakeholders with guidance on how the Commission applies these rules, in particular in the markets for repair and maintenance services and spare parts. “The FAQs are a practical guide that should be of particular help for SMEs and consumers”, said Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy. “They aim at clarifying important issues regarding the competition rules in the car sector, which affect carmakers, dealers, spare parts suppliers, independent repairers and ultimately consumers”. In May 2010, the Commission adopted a new Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation and accompanying Guidelines, concerning the application of EU antitrust rules to categories of agreements between vehicle manufacturers and their authorised dealers, repairers and spare parts distributors (see IP/10/619 and MEMO/10/217). Following requests from stakeholders and national competition authorities for further practical guidance on the application of the new rules, the Commission has now published a set of frequently asked questions."
Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff. Jerry W. Mansfield, Information Research Specialist, August 31, 2012
An Information Approach to Trademarks, Deven R. Desai. Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 100, No. 6, (2012) via SSRN
"On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the case challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA's individual mandate, which requires most people to maintain a minimum level of health insurance coverage beginning in 2014. A majority of the Court also found the ACA's Medicaid expansion unconstitutionally coercive of states, while a different majority of the Court held that this issue was fully remedied by limiting the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary's enforcement authority. The ruling left the ACA's Medicaid expansion intact in the law, but the practical effect of the Court's decision makes the Medicaid expansion optional for states. This policy brief provides background on the Medicaid program and the legal challenge to the Medicaid expansion under health reform, and summarizes the controlling and dissenting opinions of the Court regarding the Medicaid expansion."
Proposed Model Jury Instructions - The Use of Electronic Technology to Conduct Research on or Communicate about a Case. Prepared by the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, June 2012
News release: "DISH Network, one of the nation's largest providers of satellite television service, faces a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleging that it illegally called millions of consumers who had previously asked telemarketers from the company or its affiliates not to call them again. The calls allegedly violated provisions of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule that state that even if a consumer is not on the National Do Not Call Registry, a telemarketer may not call him or her again if the consumer specifically asks to be placed on the company's own entity-specific do-not-call list...According to the FTC's complaint, DISH Network violated the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule while calling consumers nationwide in an attempt to sell its satellite television programming. DISH Network makes these telemarketing calls both directly to consumers and via a network of authorized dealers who make calls on its behalf. Specifically, the FTC alleges that DISH has made millions of outbound telephone calls since about September 1, 2007 to consumers who had already told them that they did not want to receive any more telemarketing calls from the company."
"OpenCorporates aims to do a straightforward (though big) thing: have a URL for every company in the world...We've grown from 3 territories and a few million companies to over 30 territories and 30 million companies, and are working with the open data community to add more each week."
Two-Thirds of Americans Can't Name Any U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Says New FindLaw.com Survey: "Despite all the recent controversy surrounding U.S. Supreme Court decisions on health care, immigration and other issues, nearly two-thirds of Americans can't name even a single member of the Supreme Court. That's according to a new national survey by FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information Web site. The survey found that only 34 percent of Americans can name any member of the nation's highest court. Chief Justice John Roberts is the most well known of the justices, but could be named by only one in five Americans. Only one percent of Americans can correctly name all nine sitting Justices."
Citizen Media Law Project: "This page hosts our Guide to Reporting at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and related resources. Future updates regarding the 2012 conventions will appear on this page. More than ten thousand journalists are expected to attend the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in Tampa and Charlotte in the late summer of 2012. A complicated array of laws will be enforced at these events by federal officers, state and local law enforcement, and private security. This Guide is intended to provide detailed information about how the law will apply to those trying to gather news at the events surrounding the conventions.
News release: "he Securities and Exchange Commission today adopted a rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to require companies to publicly disclose their use of conflict minerals that originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or an adjoining country. The regulatory reform law directed the Commission to issue rules requiring certain companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals that include tantalum, tin, gold, or tungsten if those minerals are “necessary to the functionality or production of a product” manufactured by those companies. Companies are required to provide this disclosure on a new form to be filed with the SEC called Form SD."
CRS report - JP Morgan Trading Losses: Implications for the Volcker Rule and Other Regulation, August 16, 2012
Combining the Mobile Workforce and Telecommuter Tax Acts, Edward A. Zelinsky. Yeshiva University - Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 371 State Tax Notes, Vol. 65, No. 319, August 2012 [via SSRN]
News release: "The Department of Justice announced today that it will require Verizon and four of the nation’s largest cable companies—Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications—to make changes to a series of agreements concerning both the sale of bundled wireless and wireline services, and the formation of a technology research joint venture. The department said that, if left unaltered, the agreements would have harmed competition by diminishing the companies’ incentive to compete, resulting in higher prices and lower quality for consumers. The announcement came after a closely coordinated investigation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with additional assistance provided by the New York State Attorney General’s Office."
Gun Control Legislation, William J. Krouse, Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy. August 3, 2012
Gray, David C. and Citron, Danielle Keats, A Technology-Centered Approach to Quantitative Privacy (August 14, 2012). Available at SSRN
"The First Amendment Center has supported an annual national survey of American attitudes about the First Amendment since 1997. The State of the First Amendment: 2012 is the 16th survey in this series. This year’s annual survey repeats some of the questions that have been administered since 1997 and includes new questions on the role of religion in the presidential election, attitudes about government’s control of the Internet, and opinions about the use of copyrighted material on the Internet. This report summarizes the findings from the 2012 survey, and where appropriate, depicts how attitudes have changed over time. The first section of this report presents the survey methodology used to conduct the State of the First Amendment research. The second section highlights the key findings from the 2012 project. The final section presents the complete survey results including question wording and trend data."
News release: "Google Inc. has agreed to pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misrepresented to users of Apple Inc.’s Safari Internet browser that it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads to those users, violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC. The settlement is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to consumers, and is the largest penalty the agency has ever obtained for a violation of a Commission order. In addition to the civil penalty, the order also requires Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would not place on consumers’ computers."
Lexis Advance Launches New Features That Expand Content and Enhance Search by Sabrina I. Pacifici
Opportunities Suspended: The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion from School, by Daniel J. Losen and Jonathan Gillespie. August 2012. The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at The Civil Rights Project at UCLA
Publishers Week news in following Google Book Scanning project postings: "After a round of key filings, two Authors Guild cases challenging Google’s ambitious library book-scanning program are on schedule for early fall trial dates. Final reply briefs were filed July 27 for the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, with that case now fully briefed and all but set for a November trial in Judge Harold Baer’s courtroom. And in the Authors Guild v. Google case, motions for summary judgment were also filed July 27, with a final round of reply briefs due September 17 and oral arguments set for October 9 before Judge Denny Chin. With the summary judgment motions now in, the question before the courts this time around is refreshingly simple compared to the complex 300-plus–page settlement agreement between the authors, publishers, and Google that was rejected by Judge Denny Chin in March of 2011: digitizing millions of books for preservation and indexing is either authorized by Congress under the Copyright Act’s fair use provision, or it’s not. The Authors Guild holds that the unprecedented mass digitization programs exceed Congress’s stated intentions, while lawyers for Google and the HathiTrust (a coalition of research libraries) argue that the public benefits and transformative nature of the scanning projects easily qualify them as fair use."
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission is publishing a Federal Register Notice seeking public comments on additional proposed modifications to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule. In updating the Rule to keep current with technology advances, in September 2011, the FTC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed changes to the Commission's COPPA Rule. The Commission received 350 comments. In response to those comments and informed by its experience in enforcing and administrating the Rule, the FTC now proposes to modify certain definitions to clarify the scope of the Rule and strengthen its protections for the online collection, use, or disclosure of children's personal information."
Via LLRX - The Decline of DVD-by-Mail, or Further Thoughts on the Digital Death of Copyright’s First Sale Doctrine - Prof. Annemarie Bridy comments on a dynamic new area of online copyright and licensing as she focuses on how Netflix is transitioning from an operating model that is clearly covered by an exception to copyright law to one that (very probably) requires permission for every content delivery.
TRAC: "The latest available data from the Justice Department show that, during the first eight months of FY 2012, the number of prosecutions for weapons and other offenses referred by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has staged a turnaround. While these prosecutions have fallen steadily after reaching a peak in FY 2005, the latest government figures show an upward trend, with 6,258 new matters filed so far during FY 2012. If this pace continues, FY 2012 will see 9,387 ATF prosecutions, an increase of 5.9 percent over FY 2011."
How Fair Use Can Help Solve the Orphan Works Problem, Jennifer M. Urban - University of California, Berkeley - School of Law, June 18, 2012. Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 27, 2012. UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2089526
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced? by Robert Esworthy - Specialist in Environmental Policy. July 7, 2012
CRS - "Amazon" Laws and Taxation of Internet Sales: Constitutional Analysis, Erika K. Lunder - Legislative Attorney; John R. Luckey - Legislative Attorney, July 26, 2012
"This IMF paper proposes a draft Integrated Surveillance Decision (ISD) for adoption. As part of broader efforts to strengthen Fund surveillance, the Fund is modernizing its legal framework to better support operations. In April 2012, the Fund’s Executive Board discussed Modernizing the Legal Framework for Surveillance—Building Blocks Toward an Integrated Surveillance Decision. That paper highlighted key weaknesses in the current legal framework for surveillance and provided proposals for addressing them. Most Directors agreed that introducing a new surveillance decision covering both bilateral and multilateral surveillance would help address these weaknesses. In particular, they agreed with the general proposed approach to fill the gaps in bilateral surveillance through multilateral surveillance."
TRAC: "The latest available data from the federal courts show that in June of this year there were 860 new SSID Title XVI lawsuits filed, most under US Code Title 45 Section 405 which allows for judicial review when Social Security supplemental security income (SSI) benefits are denied. The number of filings for each of the last four months (March through June 2012) is higher than for any other month in the past five years. Overall, the data show these filings are up 19.4 percent from a year ago and up 62.6 percent from levels reported in June 2007. During the first nine months of fiscal year 2012, a total of 6,847 SSID Title XVI lawsuits were filed. In the Central District of California (Los Angeles), 457 such suits have been filed so far this fiscal year, more than in any other district. Relative to its population, the Western District of Arkansas (Fort Smith) led the nation in terms of the rate at which such suits were filed, with over seven times the average for the country for fiscal year 2012."
Via USA.gov: "Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – landmark legislation that advanced the civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the nation. However, the ADA is only one of many laws that ensure equal access for everyone. Other examples include the Assistive Technology Act, Fair Housing Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). More than 54 million people in the United States live with a disability of some kind, be it sensory, physical, intellectual, developmental, emotional or mental. Our friends at Disability.gov, the federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide, offer hundreds of resources on protecting your civil rights. Learn about your rights on the job, different types of discrimination, how to file a complaint and what the federal government is doing to enforce the ADA and other laws. The site also covers topics such as applying for benefits, getting health care, finding a job, and paying for housing."
Via Graham Greenleaf: "AustLII will today launch the Australasian Colonial Legal History Library. This is the first version of the Library, containing over 220,000 searchable documents from before 1900, from the seven Australasian colonies (including New Zealand). It is being developed in conjunction with NZLII. Development of further databases is underway and will expand the Library's contents considerably over the next year. A paper that AustLII presented at the Australian Historical Association Conference to explain the Library, 'Digitising and Searching Australasian Colonial Legal History', is now available for download at SSRN."
Via FAS, 2011 DOJ Report released this week: State Secrets Privilege Report - "The Government has invoked the state secrets privilege sparingly and appropriately. At the time of the Task Force review, the privilege had been invoked in a very small number of cases out of the thousands of cases the Department was litigating...In each pending case evaluated by the Task Force, the Government had provided reviewing courts with lengthy, well documented classified submissions setting forth the information that the litigation threatened to expose, the national security interests at stake, and other relevant information. These factual submissions uniformly provided the court with an ample basis for understanding why the evidence in question could not be made public and why the claims and defenses at issue could not be litigated without a disclosure that reasonably could be expected to cause significant harm to national security."
Individual Mandate and Related Information Requirements under ACA, Janemarie Mulvey, Specialist in Health Care Financing - Hinda Chaikind, Section Research Manager, July 2, 2012
"As of June 28, 2012 a total of 5,684 cases were closed under a special Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program announced last August. The stated goal of the program is to reduce the backlog of pending cases by identifying those that could be dismissed or put on hold through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion (PD). The number of cases closed under this program -- up from 4,585 as of the end of May -- still amounted to only 1.9 percent of the 298,173 cases pending before the Immigration Courts as of the end of last September. The largest number of PD closures for any country was 3,060 for Mexico, representing 2.9 percent of the backlog for this country. South Korea had the highest PD closure rate of 3.9 percent, followed by Cameroon with 3.6 percent. At the other extreme, China saw only 63 of 26,579 cases closed due to PD, just 0.2 percent of the backlog for this country. India was next lowest, with a PD closure rate of 0.8 percent. TRAC's latest report is here."
Information Week: "Law enforcement agencies across the nation are using social media to aid their investigations, according to a survey by LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The survey, of more than 1,200 law enforcement professionals with federal, state, and local agencies, found that 83% of the respondents are using social media, particularly Facebook and YouTube, to further their investigations. And of those not doing so, 74% intend to start using social media as a tool within the next year, which would raise the usage rate to about 95%. More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents believe that social media helps solve crimes more quickly. The most common uses of social media among those who do it include identifying persons of interest (85%) and their associates (75%), identifying criminal activity (76%) and its location (66%), and gathering photos or statements as corroborating evidence (61%)."
"The number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts keeps rising, along with the average time these pending cases have been waiting. At the end of June 2012 the backlog reached a new all-time high of 314,147. According to the very latest data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), that total is up 5.6 percent this year, 20 percent higher than it was at the end of FY 2010. Average wait times jumped to 526 days, compared with 489 days at the end of fiscal year 2011 and 447 days at the end of fiscal year 2010. Despite ICE Director John Morton's announced policy of focusing on deporting serious criminals, the proportion of the Immigration Court's pending caseload made up of "criminal" cases has not increased, but instead has been steadily falling. Merely 7.9 percent of pending Immigration Court cases involved individuals charged with criminal activities, actions adverse to national security, or aiding terrorism as the basis for ICE seeking removal action."
State of the Financial Services Industry - July 17, 2012. Focus on fortress balance sheets; too big to fail; the cumulative weight of new rules; and economic benefits of big banks
News release: "The Financial Stability Oversight Council (the Council) today voted unanimously to designate eight financial market utilities (FMUs) as systemically important under Title VIII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act). This action, the first designations made by the Council, represents another key step towards creating a safer, more resilient financial system. The authority to designate FMUs—often referred to as the “plumbing of the financial system” for their role in clearing and settling transactions between financial institutions—is an important component of Wall Street Reform and is one of a number of tools now available to constrain risk and help protect against future financial crises."
U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History. Majority and Minority Staff Report, Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations, Hearings, Unites States Senate, July 17, 2012
"A new draft law on information technology crimes would restrict free speech in violation of international law and poses a severe threat to journalists, whistleblowers, and peaceful activists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The pending law includes vague provisions that would allow Iraqi authorities to harshly punish expression they decide constitutes a threat to governmental, social, or religious interests. The Council of Representatives, the parliament, should not approve the law without revising it to remove the rights restrictions. The 16-page report, Iraq’s Information Crimes Law: Badly Written Provisions and Draconian Punishments Violate Due Process and Free Speech, is a legal analysis of the draft law."
"The Bureau of Justice Statistics, through its Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center (FJSRC), compiles comprehensive information describing suspects and defendants processed in the federal criminal justice system. The Federal Criminal Case Processing Statistics (FCCPS) tool is an interface that can be used to analyze federal case processing data. Users can generate various statistics in the areas of federal law enforcement, prosecution/courts and incarcerations, and based on title and section of the U.S. Criminal Code. Data are available for the years 1998-2010."
Enhancing consumer confidence by clarifying consumer law: consultation on the supply of goods, services and digital content, July 13, 2012, UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story by Michael A. Carrier via SSRN
WSJ: "Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and some large banks agreed to pay scores of retailers—from giant Publix Supermarkets Inc. to an interior-design store in Minnesota—more than $6 billion to settle a long-running lawsuit, in a pact that also permits merchants to charge more to customers who pay with credit cards. The settlement is a victory for retailers, which will get more control over how people pay, and removes a legal threat for the major card companies. It could potentially raise prices for some goods and services for consumers who prefer using cards to cash and checks."
Consumer Credit Civil Filings for May 2012: "The latest available data from the federal courts show that in May of this year there were 890 new consumer credit lawsuits filed, most under the Fair Debt Enforcement Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act. According to the case-by-case civil enforcement information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this count was 12.4 percent higher than the previous month when 792 cases of this kind were filed. The volume of such litigation is averaging 194 percent higher than what it was five years ago in May 2007."
Health Care: Constitutional Rights and Legislative Powers. Kathleen S. Swendiman, Legislative Attorney, July 9, 2012
CRS - The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress, Thomas H. Neale, Specialist in American National Government, July 9, 2012
"Trends in U.S. Corrections is a visual tool that provides a compilation of key developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades. Among the issues featured in this collection are:
"Federal criminal prosecutions totaled 14,950 for the month of April, according to the most recent data released by the Department of Justice. This was an increase of just under four percent from the previous month. Among the program categories, the largest number of prosecutions was seen in immigration, accounting for 59 percent of the filings. Drug related crimes accounted for 13 percent of the total, and weapons offenses made up just over four percent."
Devlin, Richard and Downie, Jocelyn, '...And the Learners Shall Inherit the Earth': Continuing Professional Development, Life Long Learning and Legal Ethics Education (2010). (2010) Canadian Legal Education Annual Review 9. Available at SSRN
"Implementing the Hargreaves review: In May 2011 Professor Ian Hargreaves published his Independent review of IP & growth. The 10 recommendations were broadly accepted in the Government's response document issued on 3 August 2011. We will be using this page to provide updates, data, consultation information and progress reports on the work we’re doing and where we are making progress.
Progress to date July 2012 Government Policy Statement: Consultation on modernising copyright. 2 July 2012, the Government published a policy statement on modernising copyright licensing document in light of the recent consultation. The Government also published updated impact assessments on each of the three proposals in the policy statement. The Government intends to legislate as soon as possible to:
Supreme Court 2011-2012 Term Highlights, Prepared by Lilian M. Loh. Edited by Charlotte Schneider.
Chronicle of Higher Education, Peter Schmidt: "The New Jersey State Supreme Court has held that the state's open-records law does not require a Rutgers University legal clinic to relinquish client files, handing a major victory to higher-education associations, which warned that an inability to maintain attorney-client privilege would badly damage the nation's public law schools. Overturning a state appeals-court decision against the public law clinic, the State Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the state's open-records act does not cover documents related to such clinics' efforts to represent clients."
CRS - ACA: A Brief Overview of the Law, Implementation, and Legal Challenges, July 3, 2012
"For the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, the United States is proposing a new provision, consistent with the internationally-recognized “3-step test," that will obligate Parties to seek to achieve an appropriate balance in their copyright systems in providing copyright exceptions and limitations for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. These principles are critical aspects of the U.S. copyright system, and appear in both our law and jurisprudence. The balance sought by the U.S. TPP proposal recognizes and promotes respect for the important interests of individuals, businesses, and institutions who rely on appropriate exceptions and limitations in the TPP region. The United States is proposing this at the current round of TPP talks in San Diego. The proposal has benefited from the input of a wide range of stakeholders, and we look forward to discussing it further and sharing more information as the TPP negotiations progress."
"According to the 2011 Wiretap Report, released by the Administrative Office of the US Courts, federal and state applications for wiretap orders dropped 14 percent in 2011, compared to the number reported in 2010. The reduction in wiretaps resulted primarily from a drop in applications for intercepts in narcotics offenses. In 2011, a total of 2,732 intercept applications were authorized by federal and state courts, with 792 applications by federal authorities and 1,940 by the states. In 2011, 98 percent, or 2,674, of all authorized wiretaps were designated as portable devices. The Wiretap Report does not include interceptions pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. For more information see: EPIC: Wiretapping and Administrative Office of the US Courts: Wiretap Reports."
News release: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it will not revise greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting thresholds under the Clean Air Act. Today’s final rule is part of EPA’s common-sense, phased-in approach to GHG permitting under the Clean Air Act, announced in 2010 and recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The final rule maintains a focus on the nation’s largest emitters that account for nearly 70 percent of the total GHG pollution from stationary sources, while shielding smaller emitters from permitting requirements. EPA is also finalizing a provision that allows companies to set plant-wide emissions limits for GHGs, streamlining the permitting process, increasing flexibilities and reducing permitting burdens on state and local authorities and large industrial emitters."
News release: "Global health care giant GlaxoSmithKline LLC (GSK) agreed to plead guilty and to pay $3 billion to resolve its criminal and civil liability arising from the company’s unlawful promotion of certain prescription drugs, its failure to report certain safety data, and its civil liability for alleged false price reporting practices, the Justice Department announced today. The resolution is the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history and the largest payment ever by a drug company. GSK agreed to plead guilty to a three-count criminal information, including two counts of introducing misbranded drugs, Paxil and Wellbutrin, into interstate commerce and one count of failing to report safety data about the drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Under the terms of the plea agreement, GSK will pay a total of $1 billion, including a criminal fine of $956,814,400 and forfeiture in the amount of $43,185,600. The criminal plea agreement also includes certain non-monetary compliance commitments and certifications by GSK’s U.S. president and board of directors. GSK’s guilty plea and sentence is not final until accepted by the U.S. District Court. GSK will also pay $2 billion to resolve its civil liabilities with the federal government under the False Claims Act, as well as the states. The civil settlement resolves claims relating to Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia, as well as additional drugs, and also resolves pricing fraud allegations."
Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges, Second Edition. Barbara J. Rothstein, Ronald J. Hedges, and Elizabeth C. Wiggins. Federal Judicial Center, 2012
Follow up to The Health Care Law - Government Resources, Commentary and Analysis, see A Visual Guide to NFIB v. Sebelius: Competing Commerce Clause Opinion Lines 1789-2012, Colin P. Starger, University of Baltimore School of Law, June 30, 2012 - Download via SSRN.
"A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." - by Katherine Eban
"Find information about bankruptcy laws, including answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. These videos will give you basic information about the process, the relief it offers, and how to find the legal help you may need."
"The Affordable Care Act puts in place strong consumer protections, provides new coverage options and gives you the tools you need to make informed choices about your health. In this section, learn about how the law affects you.
"EPIC has asked the Federal Trade Commission to review Facebook's decision to change the default email address of Facebook users. The company recently removed email addresses, selected by users, with a @facebook.com address assigned by Facebook. EPIC asked the FTC to review this practice as it finalizes the terms of a settlement with Facebook. "Facebook's willingness to disregard user choice...raise[s] important questions about the company's ability to comply with the terms of the proposed Consent Order," EPIC wrote. EPIC also said that the change is a deceptive business practice because Facebook did not tell users that their preferred email address could be removed by the company. And EPIC noted that the change would result in user email being sent to Facebook's servers that would otherwise have gone to the user's email service. The FTC's settlement with Facebook follows from complaints filed by EPIC and other consumer and privacy organizations in 2009 and 2010. The settlement would bar Facebook from changing privacy settings without the affirmative consent of users or misrepresenting the privacy or security of users' personal information. For more information, see EPIC: Facebook Privacy, and EPIC: FTC Facebook Settlement."
'We All Have Too Much Invested to Stop': Enforcing Chevron in Canada, Nicholas Pengelley, June 24, 2012
Larsen, Alli Orr, Confronting Supreme Court Fact Finding (February 23, 2012). Virginia Law Review, Forthcoming; William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-206.
Via Daniel Schuman, The Sunlight Foundation: "SCOUT is a new free alert service that allows you search and create email or text alerts on legislation shaping issues you care about in Congress and across all fifty states. Scout also makes it easy to search federal regulations and what is actually said by lawmakers in the Congressional Record.
Unauthorized Alien Students: Issues and “DREAM Act” Legislation, Andorra Bruno, Specialist in Immigration Policy, June 19, 2012
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legislative Affairs, Applications Made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court During Calendar Year 2011, submitted pursuant to sections 107 and 502 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as amended, 50 U.S.C. Sec. 1801 et seq., and section 118 of USA PATRIOT Improvement Act and Reauthorization Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-177 (2006)
The Role of Antitrust in Protecting Competition, Innovation, and Consumers as the Digital Revolution Matures: The Case against the Universal-EMI Merger and E-Book Price Fixing - Mark Cooper, Director of Research, Consumer Federation of America Fellow, Donald McGannon Communications Research Center, Fordham University - Jodie Griffin, Staff Attorney, Public Knowledge, June 2012
Via LLRX.com - Clemency Clinics: A Blueprint for Justice - Ken Strutin's article presents a significant collection of expertly selected resources on clemency and other established post-conviction projects. It also includes general resources that can be used in the process of starting up a clemency clinic or a project in a law school, bar association, law firm, university, college or any entity interested in undertaking a role in arena of work. Ken documents how innocence projects and law clinics are good models for clemency projects because they pursue claims frequently raised in pardons. He also identifies how schools of journalism, paralegal and legal assistant programs, and private law firms, defense providers, individual attorneys and not-for-profits spearheaded by those directly affected, have embraced a mission to address injustice in their particular ways.
News release: "Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization...DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders...Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis: Came to the U.S. under the age of 16; Have continuously resided in the U.S. for a least 5 years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the U.S. on the date of this memorandum; Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.; Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; Are not above the age of 30."
Sag, Matthew, Predicting Fair Use (February 25, 2012). Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 73:1 47-91 (2012); TRPC 2011; Loyola University Chicago School of Law Research Paper No. 2012-005. Available at SSRN
"In recent years, online tracking companies have begun to monitor our clicks, searches and reading habits as we move around the Internet. If you are concerned about pervasive online web tracking by behavioral advertisers, then you may want to enable Do Not Track on your web browser. Do Not Track is unique in that it combines both technology (a signal transmitted from a user) as well as a policy framework for how companies that receive the signal should respond. As more and more websites respect the Do Not Track signal from your browser, it becomes a more effective tool for protecting your privacy. EFF is working with privacy advocates and industry representatives through the W3C Tracking Protection Working Group to define standards for how websites that receive the Do Not Track signal ought to response in order to best respect consumer's choices. The following tutorial walks you through the enabling Do Not Track in the four most popular browsers: Safari, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, and Chrome."
University of California, San Francisco - "The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (LTDL) contains more than 13 million documents (70+ million pages) created by major tobacco companies related to their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and scientific research activities."
Ars Technica: "In a newly approved patent, an economics professor hopes to bring to the academic publishing world what seems to be forthcoming in the video game industry—new restrictions that would seemingly eliminate a secondary market for digital goods and prevent legal borrowing. Last week, the 2006 patent for a “Web-based system and method to capture and distribute royalties for access to copyrighted academic texts by preventing unauthorized access to discussion boards associated with copyrighted academic works” was approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent was granted to Joseph Henry Vogel, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras."
Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc., Case3:10-cv-03561-WHA Document1202 Filed 05/31/12: "In 2007, Google Inc., announced its Android software platform for mobile devices. In 2010, Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems, Inc., and thus acquired Sun’s interest in the popular programming language known as Java, a language used in Android. Sun was renamed Oracle America, Inc. Shortly thereafter, Oracle America (hereinafter simply “Oracle”) sued defendant Google and accused its Android platform as infringing Oracle’s Java-related copyrights and patents. Both Java and Android are complex platforms. Both include “virtual machines,” development and testing kits, and application programming interfaces, also known as APIs. Oracle’s copyright claim involves 37 packages in the Java API. Copyrightability of the elements replicated is the only issue addressed by this order...This order does not hold that Java API packages are free for all to use without license. It does not hold that the structure, sequence and organization of all computer programs may be stolen. Rather, it holds on the specific facts of this case, the particular elements replicated by Google were free for all to use under the Copyright Act. Therefore, Oracle’s claim based on Google’s copying of the 37 API packages, including their structure, sequence and organization is DISMISSED. To the extent stated herein, Google’s Rule 50 motions regarding copyrightability are GRANTED (Dkt. Nos. 984, 1007). Google’s motion for a new trial on copyright infringement is DENIED AS MOOT (Dkt. No. 1105)."
"The latest available data from the Justice Department show a marked decline in criminal immigration prosecutions processed in federal district courts. As of March 2012, prosecutions resulting from referrals by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were down 12 percent compared with last year's figures, while criminal prosecutions resulting from investigations by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) fell 6 percent."
"Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are the principal means for establishing ownership rights to inventions and ideas, and provide a legal foundation by which intangible ideas and creations generate tangible benefits to businesses and employees. Intellectual property (IP) protection affects commerce throughout the economy by: providing incentives to invent and create; protecting innovators from unauthorized copying; facilitating vertical specialization in technology markets; creating a platform for financial investments in innovation; supporting startup liquidity and growth through mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs; making licensing-based technology business models possible; and, enabling a more efficient market for technology transfer and trading in technology and ideas.
"The Immigration Litigation Bulletin is an internal publication covering immigration litigation matters. The publication keeps litigating attorneys within the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security informed about immigration litigation matters and increases information sharing between the field offices and the Department of Justice headquarters. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Immigration Litigation or of the Department of Justice."
NYT: Just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing and three-quarters say the justices’ decisions are sometimes influenced by their personal or political views, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News. Those findings are a fresh indication that the court’s standing with the public has slipped significantly in the past quarter-century, according to surveys conducted by several polling organizations. Approval was as high as 66 percent in the late 1980s, and by 2000 approached 50 percent. The decline in the court’s standing may stem in part from Americans’ growing distrust in recent years of major institutions in general and the government in particular. But it also could reflect a sense that the court is more political, after the ideologically divided 5-to-4 decisions in Bush v. Gore, which determined the 2000 presidential election, and Citizens United, the 2010 decision allowing unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions."
News release: "According to Selected Findings from the Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2011 released today by NALP, the overall employment rate for new law school graduates is, at 85.6%, the lowest it has been since 1994, when the rate stood at 84.7%. In addition to an overall employment rate that fell two percentage points from that for the previous class, and that has dropped each year since 2008, the Class of 2011 employment figures reveal a job market with many underlying structural weaknesses. The employment profile for this class also marks a continued interruption of employment patterns for new law school graduates that had, prior to 2010, been undisturbed for decades. The NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey for the Class of 2011 measures the employment rate of graduates as of February 15, 2012, or nine months after a typical May graduation. Analyses of these data reveal an employment rate that has fallen more than six percentage points since reaching a 23-year high of 91.9% in 2007 and marks the lowest employment rate since the aftermath of the last significant recession to affect the U.S. legal economy. The Class of 1994 was the last class with an employment rate lower than that for the Class of 2011, and since 1985 there have only been three classes with an overall employment rate below 85.6%. All of those occurred in the aftermath of the 1990-1991 recession: 83.5% for 1992, 83.4% for 1993, and 84.7% for 1994. (For information on trends in graduate employment going back to 1985, see here.)
Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress, Liana Sun Wyler, Analyst in International Crime and Narcotics. April 20, 2012
News release: "NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon today issued a third report on social media cases brought to the agency, this time focusing exclusively on policies governing the use of social media by employees. The Operations Management Memo details seven cases involving such policies. In six cases, the General Counsel’s office found some provisions of the employer’s social media policy to be lawful. In the seventh case, the entire policy was found to be lawful. Provisions are found to be unlawful when they interfere with the rights of employees under the National Labor Relations Act, such as the right to discuss wages and working conditions with co-workers. “I hope that this report, with its specific examples of various employer policies and rules, will provide additional guidance in this area,” Mr. Solomon said in releasing the memo. Two previous memos on social media cases, which involved discharges based on Facebook posts, issued in January 2012 and in August 2011."
States Take Sizeable Steps in 2012 to End Overincarceration
By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice: "As states begin to realize that they can reduce their prison populations safely, the pace of reform has begun to pick up a bit this year. State legislative sessions are coming to a close, which makes it a good time to review the actions lawmakers have taken to reduce their unsustainable prison populations in 2012. Here are the some of the legislative reform highlights..."
Follow up to previous postings on Yucca Mountain, this decision on June 1, 2012 from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, No. 11-1066, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners v. United States Department of Energy, Consolidated with 11-1068 On Petitions for Review of Final Actions of the Department of Energy:
Follow up to previous postings on the Google Book Search project litigation, this posting via The Public Index Blog, Class Certification Granted, by James Grimmelmann [Thursday, May 31, 2012] "Today, Judge Chin issued an opinion granting class certification. The Authors Guild lawsuit will proceed as a class action on behalf of:
"[May 31, 2012] the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center released a report and filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on the pressing issue of noncitizens’ access to counsel. Reports from across the country indicate that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration agencies—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—often interfere with noncitizens’ access to counsel in benefits interviews, interrogations, and other types of administrative proceedings outside of immigration court. Depending on the context, immigration officers completely bar attorney participation, impose unwarranted restrictions on access to legal counsel, or strongly discourage noncitizens from seeking legal representation at their own expense. A joint report by the Legal Action Center and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights, Behind Closed Doors: An Overview of DHS Restrictions on Access to Counsel, describes restrictions on access to legal representation before DHS, provides a legal landscape, and offers recommendations designed to combat these harmful practices. It also addresses recent changes to USCIS’s guidance that are intended to expand access to legal representation."
"Trends in U.S. Corrections is a visual tool that provides a compilation of key developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades."
"The Federal Reserve System is preparing an inventory of historical materials (PDF) to enhance transparency through improved web access to records of the Federal Reserve's past. The initiative is motivated by the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Federal Reserve Act in December 2013 and the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Federal Reserve Banks in November 2014. The inventory will serve as a resource for researchers, academics, and others interested in studying the history of the nation's central bank. The initial inventory captures the Federal Reserve's first efforts to create a single point of access to historical records, documents, and other materials such as photographs and audio and video recordings related to the Federal Reserve System and its leaders. This inventory identifies materials that are currently available from a variety of sources, including the websites of the Reserve Banks and the Board of Governors, the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research, websites housed at universities, and other private collections. It also includes information about material that is not yet available online that will be considered for digitization and posting."
Via Jeff Lamicela: "The latest month-by-month data from the federal courts shows that in April of this year there were 183 new lawsuits filed claiming employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the timely case-by-case case civil enforcement information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this count was 21.2% higher than the previous month when 151 cases of this kind were filed, and continues a long term rising trend: the volume of current ADA litigation is averaging 90 percent higher than five years ago.
Via FAS - this report by the Director, Information Security Oversight Office, National Archives, John P. Fitzpatrick "Dear Mr. President: I am pleased to submit the Information Security Oversight Office’s (ISOO) Report for Fiscal Year 2011, as required by Executive Order 13526, “Classified National Security Information” (the Order). This report provides statistics and analysis concerning key components of the system of classification and declassification, as well as coverage of ISOO’s reviews of Departments’ and Agencies’ programs. It also contains information with respect to industrial security in the private sector as required by Executive Order 12829, as amended, “National Industrial Security Program."
(FindLaw's Courtside) - "Dewey & LeBoeuf has filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York. The firm's Chief Restructuring Officer, Jonathan Mitchell, said in a statement accompanying the petition that the firm will wind down its business and liquidate its assets. The petition lists the top 20 debts owed by the firm, but also estimates that the firm has over 5,000 creditors."
Fact Sheet: "On May 24, 2012, the Secretary submitted the 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Human Rights Reports) to the United States Congress. The Human Rights Reports provide the facts underlying U.S. efforts to promote respect for human rights worldwide. They inform U.S. government policy making and serve as a reference for other governments, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, scholars, interested citizens, and journalists. The Human Rights Reports assess each country’s situation against universal human rights standards, during each calendar year, and each report stands on its own. Countries are not compared to each other or placed in any order other than alphabetically by region. This year, the Department modernized both the format of the reports and the online user interface."
Via World Health Organization (WHO): "Tobacco industry interference is the theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, which takes place on 31 May 2012. The campaign will focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry's brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine global tobacco control efforts."
Via FindLaw: "Apple has responded to the United States' antitrust complaint arising out of supposed collusion between Apple and book publishers to fix the price of e-books appearing on Apple's iBooks store. The tech company calls the complaint "fundamentally flawed," arguing that Apple's entry into the marketplace actually broke Amazon's de facto monopoly on e-books."
A Global Reality: Governmental Access to Data in the Cloud - A comparative analysis of ten international jurisdictions Governmental access to data stored in the Cloud – including cross-border access – exists in every jurisdiction, by Winston Maxwell, Paris, France Christopher Wolf, Washington, DC; May 23, 2012. A Hogan Lovells White Paper.
"The C-SPAN Archives records, indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming for historical, educational, research, and archival uses. Every C-SPAN program aired since 1987, almost totaling over 191,000 hours, is contained in the C-SPAN Archives and immediately accessible through the database and electronic archival systems developed and maintained by the C-SPAN Archives. The Archives records all three C-SPAN networks seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Programs are extensively indexed making the database of C-SPAN programming an unparalleled chronological resource. Programs are indexed by subject, speaker names, titles, affiliations, sponsors, committees, categories, formats, policy groups, keywords, and location. The congressional sessions and committee hearings are indexed by person with full-text. The video collection can be searched through the online Video Library."
Ohm, Paul, Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization (August 13, 2009). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 57, p. 1701, 2010; U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 9-12. Available at SSRN
Not Coming to America: Why the US is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent - May 22, 2012, "is a first-ever comparative study of the immigration reforms other countries employ to boost their economies and lure the high and low-skilled workers needed for continued economic growth. The report by the Partnership for a New American Economy and Partnership for New York City identifies risks facing the US economy if it does not reform its immigration laws and explores the recruitment strategies Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Singapore and the United Kingdom use to attract the workers needed to grow their economies. The report also tells the stories of individuals recruited to other countries by immigration reforms that made it easy for them to contribute to their new country’s economy and concludes by recommending six immigration reforms the US can adopt to resume its position as the magnet for the world’s most talented and necessary workers."
Government Auditing Standards, December 2011 Revision (GAO-12-331G)
Electronic version - (241 pages, PDF): "The December 2011 Revision is the final version of the 2011 Government Auditing Standards. It supersedes the 2011 Internet Version. The December 2011 Revision contains limited changes made since the Internet Version was posted. These include: (1) clarification of references to the AICPA Codification of Statements on Auditing Standards; (2) a revision of the list of safeguard examples in paragraph 3.17; and (3) a clarification of and limited change in documentation requirements for procedures related to communication of certain internal control deficiencies, fraud, abuse, and noncompliance in paragraphs 4.26, 5.23, 5.25, 5.49, 5.59, 7.19, and 7.22. Effective dates: The effective date for financial audits and attestation engagements is for periods ending on or after December 15, 2012. The effective date for performance audits is for audits beginning on or after December 15, 2011. Early implementation is not permitted."
via LLRX - FOIA Facts: Things Requesters Should Know: FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes shares his professional experience working with FOIA Analysts, and their perspective on how they make the FOIA process smoother in regard to their relationships with requesters. This however is a double edged coin – FOIA requesters can also take specific steps and make efforts to assist with the satisfactory and timely completion of a request when communicating with government FOIA personnel.
Legislative History Research: A Basic Guide, Julia Taylor - Section Head - ALD Section and Information Research Specialist, June 15, 2011
Follow up to previous postings on fracking, news that Vermont became the first state to ban the practice - Gov. Peter Shumlin: "This bill, [H. 464 - An act relating to hydraulic fracturing wells for natural gas and oil production], will ensure we do not inject chemicals into groundwater in a desperate pursuit for energy. It is a big moment. I hope other states will follow us. The science on fracking is uncertain at best. Let the other states be the guinea pigs. Let the Green Mountain State preserve its clean water, its lakes, its rivers and its quality of life."
News release: "The curated Twitter content in Factiva covers 31 industries, including energy, financial services and technology, with a focus on the most influential tweeters from around the globe. The real time content is available via Factiva Snapshot, a business search tool with news dashboards that help businesses to efficiently gather intelligence and identify trends, opportunities and risks. Factiva leverages a combination of technology and editorial staff to curate content from Twitter’s “firehose.” The selected Twitter streams complement the wide range of content in Factiva, including more than 35,000 leading media sources, of which 8,000 are top business blogs. Many of these leading sources are not available on the Web."
News release: "Following a public comment period, the FTC has accepted as final an order with CVS Caremark settling charges that it misrepresented the prices of certain Medicare Part D prescription drugs, including drugs used to treat breast cancer symptoms and epilepsy, at CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. The settlement bars deceptive claims related to Medicare Part D drug prices and requires CVS Caremark to pay $5 million to reimburse affected Medicare Part D consumers for the price discrepancy. The FTC will mail redress checks to eligible consumers when records have been fully processed. Consumers do not need to take any additional action in order to receive their check."
News release: "The Securities and Exchange Commission today suspended trading in the securities of 379 dormant companies before they could be hijacked by fraudsters and used to harm investors through reverse mergers or pump-and-dump schemes. The trading suspension marks the most companies ever suspended in a single day by the agency as it ramps up its crackdown against fraud involving microcap shell companies that are dormant and delinquent in their public disclosures. Microcap companies typically have limited assets and low-priced stock that trades in low volumes. An initiative tabbed Operation Shell-Expel by the SEC's Microcap Fraud Working Group utilized various agency resources including the enhanced intelligence technology of the Enforcement Division's Office of Market Intelligence to scrutinize microcap stocks in the markets nationwide and identify clearly dormant shell companies in 32 states and six foreign countries that were ripe for potential fraud."
Situated Justice: A Contextual Analysis of Fairness and Inequality in Employment Discrimination Litigation - Ellen Berrey, Steve G. Hoffman Laura Beth Nielsen.
Law & Society Review, Volume 46, Issue 1, Article first published online: April 12, 2012
Via the ACLU, Letter from Senator Al Franken Chairman, Subcommittee on Privacy,
Technology and the Law to Attorney General Holder on May 10, 2012, which reads in part: "I was very concerned to read recent reports suggesting that state and local law enforcement agencies may be working around the protections of United States v. Jones by requesting the location records of individuals directly from their wireless carriers instead of tracking the individuals through stand-alone GPS devices installed on their vehicles. I was further concerned to learn that in many cases, these agencies appear to be obtaining precise records of individuals' past and current movements from carriers without first obtaining a warrant for this information. I think that these actions may violate the spirit if not the letter of the Jones decision. I am writing to ask you about the Department of Justice's own practices in requesting location information from wireless carriers. I am eager to learn about how frequently the Department requests location information and what legal standard the Department believes it must meet to obtain it. I would also like to know how the Department may have changed these practices since the Jones decision."
Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues - Alison M. Smith, Legislative Attorney, May 9, 2012
"The latest available data from the Justice Department show that in February 2012 the federal government filed charges against fifteen individuals in investigations involving domestic terrorism, an uptick from the previous month when only four such prosecutions were filed. The charges were filed in eleven cases, spanning eleven different federal judicial districts. To view recent trends in domestic terrorism enforcement, see this link."
Google - First Amendment Protection for Search Engine Results, April 20, 2012. Eugene Volokh and Donald M. Falk [This White Paper was commissioned by Google, but the views within it should not necessarily be ascribed to Google.]
CRS: Insourcing Functions Performed by Federal Contractors: An Overview of the Legal Issues - Kate M. Manuel, Legislative Attorney; Jack Maskell, Legislative Attorney, May 7, 2012
Racial Profiling: Legal and Constitutional Issues, Jody Feder - Legislative Attorney, April 16, 2012
News release: "Social networking service Myspace has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misrepresented its protection of users' personal information. The settlement, part of the FTC's ongoing efforts make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to consumers, bars Myspace from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy assessments for the next 20 years. The Myspace social network has millions of users who create and customize online profiles containing substantial personalized content. Myspace assigns a persistent unique identifier, called a "Friend ID," to each profile created on Myspace. A user's profile publicly discloses his or her age, gender, profile picture (if the user chooses to include one), display name, and, by default, the user's full name. User profiles also may contain additional information such as pictures, hobbies, interests, and lists of users' friends."
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission is seeking a civil contempt ruling against the nation's largest third-party billing company, alleging that it placed more than $70 million in bogus "cramming" charges on consumers' phone bills in violation of a previous court order. The FTC is asking a federal court to make the company pay more than $52.6 million, the total amount that the company billed consumers and failed to refund. The FTC alleged that Billing Services Group (BSG) placed charges on nearly 1.2 million telephone lines on behalf of a serial phone crammer. The charges were supposedly for "enhanced services," such as voicemail and streaming video, that consumers never authorized or even knew about. "BSG made it possible for con artists to steal people's hard-earned money by placing charges on phone bills for services they never ordered or used," said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Under previous federal court orders, BSG cannot profit from the fraud of others and then deny responsibility for the harm they made possible."
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission has joined the Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in filing a memorandum brief in support of the constitutionality of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the 1970 law that is designed to protect the privacy of credit report information and ensure that the information supplied by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) is as accurate as possible. In the filing, the CRAs urge a federal district court to uphold an important provision of the FCRA, which has protected consumers' privacy for more than 40 years. The brief was filed in the case of Shamara T. King vs. General Information Services, Inc. (GIS). It specifically addresses a provision of the FCRA that balances the Act's dual purposes – to protect consumers from privacy invasions caused by the disclosure of sensitive information by CRAs and to ensure a sufficient flow of information to allow the CRAs to fulfill their vital role. The provision in question bars CRAs, in most cases, from disclosing individuals' arrest records or other adverse information that is more than seven years old."
TRAC: "Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to cite criminal activity as grounds for deportation less often than it used to, according to the latest Immigration Court data on new deportation proceedings. During the most recent quarter (January - March 2012), ICE sought to deport a total of 5,450 individuals on criminal grounds. While this number is preliminary and is likely to increase once late reports are in, it represents a drastic decrease compared with 10,732 individuals against whom ICE sought deportation orders just two years ago. This suggests that the announced plan to increase the deportation of serious criminals through Immigration Court proceedings has not been successful."
Database on transnational company agreements: "The database contains all transnational company agreements and texts identified and catalogued by the European Commission. It also contains sheets with details on every company and agreement. You can only download texts and agreements for which we obtained an authorization to publish by at least one signatory. There are two possible ways to search the database: a simple search form and an advanced search form, accessible by clicking on the “advanced search” link.
Via Debbie Rabina, Ph.D, Associate Professor: "Three tutorials for United Nations sources are available on You Tube. They were made by students taking International Information Sources at Pratt Institute, School of Information and Library Science."
"The latest month-by-month data from the federal courts shows that in March of this year the government reported that it had sued 279 individuals in order to seek recovery of defaulted student loans. According to the timely case-by-case case civil enforcement information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this count was 25.7% higher than the previous month when 222 cases of this kind were filed. Relative to its population, the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) led the nation with prosecution rates ten times the average for the country. The Central District of California (Los Angeles) led the nation in the number of suits filed, accounting for 140 out of the 279 suits in March."
Secrecy News, Steven Aftergood: "In 2011, the US Government submitted 1,745 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to a new annual report to Congress. Of these, 1,676 included requests for authority for perform electronic surveillance, the report said. That compares to 1,579 such applications in 2010 (including 1,511 for electronic surveillance). As is usually the case, the FIS Court did not deny any electronic surveillance applications in whole or in part last year, though it made modifications to 30 of them. The new report says that the government filed 205 applications for business records (including “tangible things”) for foreign intelligence purposes last year, compared to 96 in the previous year."
United States v. Jones: GPS Monitoring, Property, and Privacy, Richard M. Thompson II, Legislative Attorney, April 30, 2012
House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. News International and Phone-hacking. Eleventh Report of Session 2010-12, Volume I: Report, together with formal minutes - Volume II: Oral and written evidence
Briefing Paper on Embedding Creative Commons Licences into Digital Resources - Naomi Korn, Strategic Content Alliance IPR Consultant, March 2011
Via LLRX.com - A Technical Examination of SOPA and PIPA - The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are the subject of this Infographic, by Spencer Belkofer, Lumin Consulting. See also his related Infographic on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
Via LLRX.com - Opening Government: On the Limits of FOIA and the Metaphor of Transparency - Professor Annmarie Bridy discusses the use of “transparency” as a metaphor for openness in government, the use of FOIA as a mechanism for ensuring such openness, and the ways in which proponents of greater public involvement in policy-making may disserve the cause by focusing too single-mindedly on access to information and the right to know, both of which are operationalized through FOIA.
News release: "The U.S. jail inmate population declined for a third consecutive year, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced. From June 2010 to June 2011, the jail inmate population declined 1.8 percent, dropping to 735,601 from 748,728. Local jails, unlike prisons, are confinement facilities mainly operated by a local law enforcement agency. Jails typically hold inmates while they await court action or serve a sentence of one year or less. In midyear 2011, the jail incarceration rate dropped to the lowest level since 2002. Jails confined 236 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents in June 2011, down from 238 inmates per 100,000 in June 2003. The decline in confined population in the largest jails—those with an average daily population of more than 1,000 inmates—accounted for more than half (53 percent) of the total decline of 13,127 inmates that occurred during 2011. An overall decline was also observed in the jail jurisdictions with an average daily population of fewer than 1,000 inmates. Jails were operating at 84 percent of their rated capacity at midyear 2011, the lowest percentage since 1984. The total rated capacity for all jails nationwide reached 877,302 beds at midyear 2011, up from 866,782 beds at midyear 2010, about a 1 percent increase in the number of beds."
LA Times: "Google has released the full report of the Federal Communications Commission’s investigation into the data it collected and stored from millions of unknowing households across the nation while operating specially equipped cars for its Street View service. The search giant released the report, which had had heavily redacted passages, after wrangling with the FCC over which details could be publicly revealed. The report now blacks out only the names of individuals. It reveals new details and raises new questions about how Google captured personal information over a two-year period. Google has said that it was mapping wireless networks but that collecting personal data was "inadvertent."
Via LLRX.com - Veterans in the Criminal Justice System: Defending Conditions of the Mind - Ken Strutin's guide includes key recent and notable cases, surveys, studies, guides, web resources and directories for legal research specific to veterans' deployed to war who subsequently developed mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).
States of punishment - Mapping the death penalty in America: "From 2000 to 2011 there were, on average, five death-row exonerations a year in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre. North Carolina alone saw three exonerations in six months in 2008. The following year the state legislature passed the Racial Justice Act, which gives death-row inmates the chance to commute their sentences to life without parole if a judge rules the sentences were tainted by racial bias. (More than half of North Carolina's death-row inmates are black.) The first ruling will be issued on April 20, a decision that could set a precedent for other challenges based on race. Indeed the ripples could be felt across the country, especially in Pennsylvania and Missouri, where similar legislation is pending. Other states are reconsidering capital punishment altogether. In November voters in California, which has more people on death row than any other state, will vote on whether to repeal the death penalty. And Connecticut, where a repeal bill was recently passed, is set to become the 17th state to abolish capital punishment."
News release: "The International Competition Network (ICN) launched initiatives on the investigative process in competition cases, international enforcement cooperation, and working with the courts, the Federal Trade Commission announced today. The ICN also adopted new materials on unilateral conduct investigations, raising anti-cartel awareness, and explaining the benefits of competition, and presented four new teaching modules of a “virtual university” of competition law and practice...ICN documents are available here."
"The latest available data from the Justice Department show that in January 2012 the federal government prosecuted 546 individuals in white collar crime cases, down 13 percent from the previous month and down over 40 percent since August 2011, when there were 930 such prosecutions reported. A significant portion of this drop can be attributed to the decreased usage of 18 USC 1028A - Aggravated Identity Theft, which in August was the lead charge in 154 white collar prosecutions. In January this statute was cited as the lead charge only 25 times."
"A prosecutorial discretion initiative by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has resulted in the closure of a total of 2,609 Immigration Court cases, according to the latest data obtained and analyzed by TRAC, current through the end of March. This is less than one percent of the 298,173 cases pending before the Immigration Courts at the end of last September. A new report by TRAC presents detailed results from the Baltimore and Denver pilots of this program, and also includes figures from other courts around the nation.,,TRAC's findings are based on case-by-case data, obtained from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These data included special codes that identified closures under ICE's prosecutorial discretion initiative."
Human Trafficking: The Government’s Strategy - HM Government, April 2012
Human Rights and Technology Sales: How Corporations Can Avoid Assisting Repressive Regimes, By Cindy Cohn, Trevor Timm, & Jillian C. York - April 2012
Twitter blog: "One of the great things about Twitter is working with so many talented folks who dream up and build incredible products day in and day out. Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of these inventions. However, we also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future; we sometimes worry that they may be used to impede the innovation of others. For that reason, we are publishing a draft of the Innovator’s Patent Agreement, which we informally call the “IPA”. The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended."
EPIC: "The Federal Communications Commission announced that it will fine Google $25,000 for obstructing an investigation concerning Google Street View and federal wiretap law. The Commission found that Google impeded by "delaying its search for and production of responsive emails and other communications, by failing to identify employees, and by withholding verification of the completeness and accuracy of its submissions." In May 2010, EPIC wrote to the FCC and urged the agency to undertake an investigation after it became clear that Google had intercepted the private communications of millions of users of wi-fi networks in the United States. Shortly afterward, the head of the FCC Bureau of Consumer and Governmental Affairs wrote that Google's behavior "clearly infringes on consumer privacy." Many countries around the world have found Google guilty of violating national privacy laws. Surprisingly, the FCC said that Google had not violated the federal wiretap act, even though a federal court recently held otherwise. For more information, see EPIC: Investigations of Google Street View and EPIC: Ben Joffe v. Google."
Via LLRX.com - SOPA’s Evil Twin Sister – CISPA: Well known graphic artists Jake O'Neil and Spencer Belkofer created this infographic out of a sense of urgency to visualize the salient information with as many communities as possible. This bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, has not garnered the media coverage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but its high impact implications target key legal issues involving privacy and intellectual property.
Small Business Size Standards: A Historical Analysis of Contemporary Issues, Robert Jay Dilger, Senior Specialist in American National Government, April 10, 2012
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents - Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney, April 11, 2012
Protecting Classified Information and the Rights of Criminal Defendants: The Classified Information Procedures Act, Edward C. Liu, Legislative Attorney; Todd Garvey, Legislative Attorney - April 2, 2012
News release: "In recent years, we have seen the rapid growth – and the many benefits – of electronic books. E-books are transforming our daily lives, and improving how information and content is shared. For the growing number of Americans who want to take advantage of this new technology, the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that e-books are as affordable as possible. As part of this commitment, the Department has reached a settlement with three of the nation’s largest book publishers – and will continue to litigate against Apple, and two additional leading publishers – for conspiring to increase the prices that consumers pay for e-books. Earlier today, we filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, against Apple and five different book publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster. In response to our allegations, three of these publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster – agreed to a proposed settlement. If approved by the court, this settlement would resolve the Department’s antitrust concerns with these companies, and would require them to grant retailers – such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble – the freedom to reduce the prices of their e-book titles. The settlement also requires the companies to terminate their anticompetitive most-favored-nation agreements with Apple and other e-books retailers."
Baltimore Sun: "Moving to the forefront of social media privacy law nationwide, the Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation prohibiting employers in the state from asking current and prospective employees for their user names and passwords to websites such as Facebook and Twitter. If Gov. Martin O'Malley signs the bill — his office said it was one of hundreds of bills it has yet to review — the bill would make Maryland the first state in the nation to set such a restriction into law. Other states are considering similar legislation, including Illinois and California. The bill, drafted in response to a state agency's scouring the personal Facebook posts of prison guard applicants, also could be a bellwether for federal action. Two U.S. senators — Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, both Democrats — have asked the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate the issue."
"A very high portion of the seafood we eat comes from abroad, mainly from China and Southeast Asia, and most of the active ingredients in medicines we take originate in other countries. Many low and middle income countries have lower labor costs and fewer and less stringent environmental regulations than the United States, making them attractive places to produce food and chemical ingredients for export. Safe Foods and Medical Products Through Stronger Regulatory Systems Abroad explains that the diversity and scale of imports makes it impractical for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) border inspections to be sufficient to ensure product purity and safety, and incidents such as American deaths due to adulterated heparin imported from China propelled the problem into public awareness. The Institute of Medicine Committee on Strengthening Core Elements of Regulatory Systems in Developing Countries took up the vital task of helping the FDA to cope with the reality that so much of the food, drugs, biologics, and medical products consumed in the United States originate in countries with less-robust regulatory systems. Ensuring Safe Foods and Medical Products Through Stronger Regulatory Systems Abroad describes the ways the United States can help strengthen regulatory systems in low and middle income countries and promote cross-border partnerships - including government, industry, and academia - to foster regulatory science and build a core of regulatory professionals. This report also emphasizes an array of practical approaches to ensure sound regulatory practices in today's interconnected world."
The Law Library of Congress, Translation of National Legislation into English, March 2012 - Global Legal Research Center
News release: "As part of the Federal Trade Commission's systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the agency is announcing its updated 10-year review schedule. In 2011, the FTC accelerated its regulatory review program, so that by the end of this year more than one-third of its 65 rules and industry guides will have been reviewed or will be under review. The FTC is currently reviewing 22 rules and guides, and will initiate three more reviews this year, to ensure that its rules and guides are up-to-date, effective, and not overly burdensome."
Via Stephane Cottin, Membre du conseil d'administration at ADIJ Association pour le developpement de l'informatique juridique - France - news on the availability of new databases that provide multiple language access to the French official legal portal Legifrance.gouv.fr - Translations of French legal texts
"Disclosure by public officials of their income, assets and interests should be mandated if the fight against corruption is to succeed, according to a study released today by the Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.The first global study of financial disclosure laws and practices, Public Office, Private Interests: Accountability through Income and Asset Disclosure calls for renewed commitment to income and asset disclosure to deter the use of public office for private gain and to help manage actual and apparent conflicts of interest in the public sector. The study also finds that asset disclosure systems are more effective when there is a credible threat that violations will be detected and punished."
Identification and Quantification of the Proceeds of Bribery, A joint OECD-StAR analysis, Revised edition, February 2012
News release: "In response to charges by the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge has ordered the defendants behind a deceptive robocall scheme to pay a total of $30 million in civil penalties and give up more than $1.1 million in ill-gotten gains for violations of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The court order includes a $20 million judgment against Paul Navestad, which is the largest civil penalty against a defendant in an FTC case, and a $10 million judgment against Christine Maspakorn. The $30 million in total fines is, by far, the largest penalty ever imposed for unlawful calls to consumers on the Do-Not-Call Registry."
How to Use iOS 5 Devices in Litigation, by Brian Malcom
Turning to Fairness: Insurance Discrimination Against Women Today and the Affordable Care Act, The National Women’s Law Center, March 2012.
Constitutional Authority Statements in Congress, Hanah M. Volokh, Emory University School of Law - Florida Law Review, Forthcoming
"DrivingFuelEconomy.com is a project of the Association of Global Automakers, a Washington D.C.-based trade association that represents international motor vehicle manufacturers, original equipment suppliers and other automotive-related groups. Our global perspective and collaborative spirit drives our approach to all issues we confront and also enables us to work with industry leaders, legislators, regulators and other stakeholders to create the kind of public policy that encourages technological innovation, economic growth and environmental responsibility. We are committed to supporting maximum feasible increases in fuel economy and reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles and light duty trucks. Through DrivingFuelEconomy.com, we highlight our members’ efforts to meet increased fuel economy/GHG emissions standards through advanced technology vehicles. We also aim to paint a realistic picture of consumer acceptance of these newly developed technologies. DrivingFuelEconomy.com offers an explanation of the rules that create fuel economy/GHG emissions standards in the U.S."
Ryan J. Reilly: "An independent report [500 pages] released Thursday concluded that Justice Department prosecutors engaged in “systematic concealment” of information that would have benefited the defense of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and that they allowed false testimony to be introduced. The over 500-page report does not recommend prosecuting any of the lawyers for criminal contempt even though they failed to fulfill their constitutional duties."
"As of today, March 16, 2012, the transition from GPO Access to GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys) is complete. FDsys now is GPO's only Web site for online official and authentic Government information from all three branches of the Federal Government. After ushering GPO into the online world 16 years ago, GPO Access has been archived and taken off line. As part of the transition process, no new content has been added to GPO Access since November 2011."
"As part of the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) nationwide effort to review the foreclosure practices of the five largest Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage servicers (Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, CitiMortgage, JP Morgan Chase, and Ally Financial, Incorporated) we reviewed [Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, CitiMortgage, JP Morgan Chase, and Ally Financial, Incorporated's] foreclosure and claims processes. In addition to this memorandum, OIG issued separate memorandums for each of the other four reviews. OIG performed these reviews due to reported allegations made in the fall of 2010 that national mortgage servicers were engaged in widespread questionable foreclosure practices involving the use of foreclosure “mills” and a practice known as “robosigning” of sworn documents in thousands of foreclosures throughout the United States."
News release: "The Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and 49 state attorneys general announced today the filing of their landmark $25 billion agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. The federal government and state attorneys general filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia proposed consent judgments with Bank of America Corporation, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc., to resolve violations of state and federal law. The unprecedented joint agreement is the largest federal-state civil settlement ever obtained and is the result of extensive investigations by federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, HUD and the HUD Office of the Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and state attorneys general and state banking regulators across the country."
News release: "One hundred organizations in 35 states today formally petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate toxic lead in hunting ammunition to protect public health and prevent the widespread poisoning of eagles, California condors and other wildlife. Up to 20 million birds die each year from lead poisoning after consuming spent lead shot and bullet fragments left in the wild from hunting."
Via TRAC: "The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2011 there was a sharp increase in the prosecution of civil rights crimes by the federal government. Two thirds of the 39 cases filed in that month involved crimes related to slavery or involuntary servitude."
LLRX.com - FOIA Facts: FOIA as Golf - Recent reports of both the Department of Justice and others about the administrations FOIA overall program have led FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes to imagine FOIA as golf. President Obama is currently on the fairway of the ninth hole. Voters will let him know in November if he gets to play the back nine.
Virginia Coalition for Open Government: "We are a nonprofit alliance formed to promote expanded access to government records, meetings and other proceedings at the state and local level. Our efforts are focused solely on local/state information access. While we do some lobbying (within limits imposed by IRS rules), our primary work is educational. The Coalition was formed in 1996, after a year-long organizing effort. Our 23-member board of directors represents the state's access activists and friends of open government, including Virginia's librarians, genealogists, broadcasters, newspapers and the public at large. Start-up funding was provided by the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Association of Broadcasters, Media General, the Landmark Communications Foundation, America Online, all of the major in-state newspapers, public radio and television stations, a number of commercial stations and other friends of open government. Supporters also include Dominion, Appalachian Power, SunTrust, LexisNexis, Christian & Barton, Conservation Voters League, Woods Rogers, Gentry Locke."
via LLRX.com - New Economy Resources - Marcus P. Zillman's guide is focused on current web sites, blogs and database sources targeted to researchers whose goal is the discovery and effective use of specific, reliable resources to track the New Economy. These sources assume added importance with the expansion in U.S. government transparency, the rise in prominence of "big data" and the public release by agencies, NGOs, public interest groups and media, of diverse databases of analytics, reports, statistical releases, and customized charts.
"Ethics.Data.gov brings together datasets from across the government to help citizens easily access this information, empowering Americans to hold government accountable.
Statement on Money Laundering controls in Overseas Jurisdictions: "This notice constitutes advice issued by HM Treasury about risks posed by unsatisfactory money laundering controls in a number of jurisdictions. The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require firms to put in place policies, procedures or systems in order to prevent money laundering or terrorist financing. Regulated businesses are also required to apply enhanced customer due diligence and enhanced ongoing monitoring on a risk-sensitive basis in certain defined situations and in “any other situation which by its nature can present a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing”.
Via Jeff Lamicela - "An analysis of all criminal cases completed in the federal courts during the last five years has discovered extensive and hard-to-explain variations in the sentencing practices of district court judges working in many different districts. This key finding is based upon the first ever review of the sentences imposed by 885 judges in more than 370,000 cases decided during the period from FY 2007 to FY 2011. These data were compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. Because the report examines differences in sentencing practices within individual districts where judges presumably receive the same general mix of cases, this finding raises questions about the extent to which sentences in some districts are influenced by the particular judge who sentenced the defendant rather than just the facts of that case. Accompanying the report are the names of each federal district court judge covered in this report, along with the number of defendants each sentenced during this period. While each judge sentenced on average 420 defendants, the judge-by-judge listing reveals that some judges -- particularly those in districts along the southwest border -- handled many more, up to 6,331 cases. See here."
UN Human Rights Council Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya, Advance Unedited Version, March 2, 2012: "The Commission further concluded that the thuwar (anti-Qadhafi forces) committed serious violations, including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law, the latter continuing at the time of the present report. The Commission found these violations to include unlawful killing, arbitrary arrest, torture, enforced disappearance, indiscriminate attacks, and pillage. It found in particular that the thuwar are targeting the Tawergha and other communities."
Follow up to previous postings on the Deepwater Horizon Spill, this
news release: "BP has reached a settlement with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC), subject to final written agreement, to resolve the substantial majority of legitimate economic loss and medical claims stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill. The PSC acts on behalf of individual and business plaintiffs in the Multi-District Litigation proceedings pending in New Orleans (MDL 2179). BP estimates that the cost of the proposed settlement, expected to be paid from the $20 billion Trust, would be approximately $7.8 billion. This includes a BP commitment of $2.3 billion to help resolve economic loss claims related to the Gulf seafood industry."
News release: "The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued two revised publications addressing veterans with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)...The revised guides reflect changes to the law stemming from the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which make it easier for veterans with a wide range of impairments – including those that are often not well understood -- such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to get needed reasonable accommodations that will enable them to work successfully. [Prior to the ADA Amendments Act, the ADA’s definition of the term “disability” had been construed narrowly, significantly limiting the law’s protections.]
A License is Not a 'Contract Not to Sue': Disentangling Property and Contract in the Law of Copyright Licenses - Christopher M. Newman, George Mason University School of Law, February 24, 2012, George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-23
By Robert Barnes, February 21: "Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told a group of Democratic senators that the Supreme Court is not going to formally adopt a judicial code of conduct that governs the actions of other federal judges. Roberts told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) in a one-paragraph letter that he had already explained in his year-end report on the judiciary why the Code of Conduct for United States Judges was not applicable to the Supreme Court."
"ABA is leveraging our unmatched resources and staff experts to help bankers navigate the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act and the biggest re-write of financial regulations in decades. Search ABA's DFA Resources. From news and policy analysis to compliance how-to's and staff training, ABA offers everything your bank will need to understand and comply with scores of new rules.
News release: "As part of the Federal Trade Commission's ongoing efforts to crack down on illegal, prerecorded "robocalls," the FTC is taking legal action to stop two operations that allegedly enabled telemarketers to place hundreds of millions of illegal prerecorded calls to consumers around the country, including many who had registered their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. The FTC's complaints, here and here, in both cases allege that the defendants offered "self-service" voice broadcasting – a service that makes it easy for marketers who have no telecommunications expertise to deliver tens of millions of robocalls for pennies a call. The defendants arranged for marketers to deliver prerecorded sales pitches by uploading a recorded message and list of telephone numbers through web sites owned by the defendants that would then dial each uploaded phone number and play the designated prerecorded message."
"Women, Business and the Law presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees, in part drawing on laws contained in the Gender Law Library. Both resources can inform research and policy discussions on how to improve women's economic opportunities and outcomes."
"Today the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues posted on its website hundreds of supporting documents related to its investigation into the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) studies conducted in Guatemala in the 1940s. The documents include a spreadsheet that Commission staff painstakingly created to document the research subjects in Guatemala. In addition, the Commission has posted a Spanish translation of its report, "Ethically Impossible" STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948. As the world is now aware, the PHS research involved intentionally exposing and infecting vulnerable populations to sexually transmitted diseases without the subjects’ consent. The revelation of the research led to an apology from President Obama to the President of Guatemala. It also resulted in a request from President Obama to the Commission for a thorough fact finding investigation into the U.S. PHS studies...The Commission completed its historical investigation and sent its final report to the White House last September. The full report posted now includes hyperlinks to the supporting historical documents cited in the endnotes."
Via WSJ Law Blog: "Two lawyers are taking on legal database providers Westlaw and LexisNexis with what appears to be a novel interpretation of copyright law. Edward L. White, a Oklahoma City, Okla., lawyer, and Kenneth Elan, claim WestLaw and LexisNexis have engaged in “unabashed wholesale copying of thousands of copyright-protected works created by, and owned by, the attorneys and law firms who authored them” — namely publicly filed briefs, motions and other legal documents."
Via WSJ, this commentary by FTC Commission Robert K. McDowell: "On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year's end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish "international control over the Internet" through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices. If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet's flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time...Russia, China and their allies within the 193 member states of the ITU want to renegotiate the 1988 treaty to expand its reach into previously unregulated areas. Reading even a partial list of proposals that could be codified into international law next December at a conference in Dubai is chilling..."
Law Review Circulation 2011: More Change, More Same. Ross E. Davies
George Mason University School of Law; The Green Bag; Journal of Law, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 179-188, 2012; Journal of Legal Metrics, Vol. 1, 2012; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-15
Via LLRX.com: Animal Rights in the Human Legal System - The struggle for human rights has gone on for ages, but the story of animal rights has only begun to be told. Ken Strutin's guide is a compilation of new and notable legal resources on animal rights and welfare. Its jurisprudence takes into account the various roles that society has assigned to animals, e.g., companion, servant or object, as well the implications of their participation or use in different sectors of modern life. Some of the key legal areas of confluence include: (1) animal rescue; (2) protective legislation; (3) law enforcement and forensics; (4) elder care and end of life issues; (5) abuse registries; (6) environmental hazards; (7) witness assistants; and (8) development of advanced degrees and specialization in animal law.
Business Use of Intellectual Property Protection Documented in NSF Survey by John E. Jankowski1, February 2012
Jeff Lamicela: "The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during November 2011 the government reported 968 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 20.6% over the previous month. The comparisons of the number of defendants charged are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. When monthly 2011 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-10.5 percent). Prosecutions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 8.4 percent from levels reported in 2006."
Follow up to previous postings on the Deepwater Horizon Spill, this news release: "MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC has agreed to settle its liability in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in a settlement with the United States valued at $90 million, announced the Department of Justice, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today. Approximately $45 million of the $90 million settlement is going directly to the Gulf in the form of penalties or expedited environmental projects. According to the terms of the settlement, MOEX will pay $70 million in civil penalties to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act resulting from the spill and agreed to spend $20 million to facilitate land acquisition projects in several Gulf states that will preserve and protect in perpetuity habitat and resources important to water quality and other environmental features of the Gulf of Mexico region. At the time of the spill, MOEX was a minority investor in the lease for the Macondo well. It no longer owns any share of the lease."
News release: "The Financial Action Task Force, the global standard-setter in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, has revised the International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation after more than two years of efforts by member countries. The Recommendations are used by more than 180 governments to combat these crimes. The revisions, made with inputs from governments, the private sector, and civil society, provide authorities with a stronger framework to act against criminals and address new threats to the international financial system. The cost of money laundering and underlying serious crime is very large, estimated between 2 and 5% of global GDP. The revision will enable national authorities to take more effective action against money laundering and terrorist financing at all levels - from the identification of bank customers opening an account through to investigation, prosecution and forfeiture of assets. At the global level, the FATF will also monitor and take action to promote implementation of the standards."
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission today issued a staff report showing the results of a survey of mobile apps for children. The survey shows that neither the app stores nor the app developers provide the information parents need to determine what data is being collected from their children, how it is being shared, or who will have access to it. According to the FTC report, Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures Are Disappointing, in 2008, smartphone users could choose from about 600 available apps. Today there are more than 500,000 apps in the Apple App Store and 380,000 in the Android Market. "Consumers have downloaded these apps more than 28 billion times, and young children and teens are increasingly embracing smartphone technology for entertainment and educational purposes. The report says the survey focused on the largest stores, the Apple App Store and the Android Market, and evaluated the types of apps offered to children, the disclosures provided to users, interactive features such as connectivity with social media, and the ratings and parental controls offered for such apps."
Follow up to postings on driving distractions and texting, this news: "U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the first-ever federally proposed guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices. The proposed voluntary guidelines would apply to communications, entertainment, information gathering and navigation devices or functions that are not required to safely operate the vehicle. Issued by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the guidelines would establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require visual or manual operation by drivers. The announcement of the guidelines comes just days after President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request, which includes $330 million over six years for distracted driving programs that increase awareness of the issue and encourage stakeholders to take action."
News release: "Bankruptcy filings in the federal courts fell 11.5 percent in calendar year 2011, according to data released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The number of bankruptcies filed in the twelve-month period ending December 31, 2011, totaled 1,410,653, down from 1,593,081 bankruptcies filed in CY 2010. An historic high in the number of bankruptcy filings was seen in CY 2005, when over 2 million bankruptcies were filed. Although filings dropped in CY2006, the first full 12-month period after the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) took effect, they have grown steadily every year since. CY 2011 is the first calendar year to show a decrease in total filings since 2006. Statistics released today include business and non-business filings for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2011; a comparison of December 2010 and 2011 filings; 4th quarter filings; monthly filings for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2011 ; and filings per capita."
Prosecutors in State Courts, 2007 - Statistical Tables, Duren Banks, Steven W. Perry, December 28, 2011. NCJ 234211
EPIC: "The Google privacy compliance report, made public today, raises new questions about the company's failure to comply with an FTC Consent Order. The Order required Google to answer detailed questions about how it protects the personal information of Google users. But Google chose not to answer many of the questions. Most significantly, the company did not explain to the Commission the impact on user privacy of the proposed changes that will take place on March 1. EPIC has filed a lawsuit to force the Federal Trade Commission to require Google to comply with the Consent Order to protect the privacy interests of Google users. For more information, see EPIC v. FTC (Google Consent Order)."
Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at the Mortgage Servicers Settlement Press Conference - Washington, D.C. ~ Thursday, February 9, 2012
"EPIC today filed a Complaint and a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction in Federal District Court in Washington, DC. EPIC is seeking to compel the Federal Trade Commission to act prior to March 1, when Google plans to make changes in its terms of service that will make it possible for the company to combine user data without user consent. EPIC alleges that this change in business practice is in clear violation of the consent order that Google entered into on October 13, 2011. The consent order arises from a complaint that EPIC brought to the Commission in February, 2010 concerning Google Buzz and a similar attempt by Google to combine user data without user consent. For more information, see EPIC - In re Google Buzz, FTC - FTC Charges Deceptive Privacy Practices in Google's Rollout of Its Buzz Social Network."
"The Department of Justice announces a new resource — the National Girls Institute website — to better meet the needs of at-risk and delinquent girls, their families and the agencies and organizations that serve them. The institute is supported by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) through a grant from the Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)...OJJDP established the National Girls Institute in 2010 to develop and provide a range of training, technical assistance and other resources to local, tribal and private organizations serving girls and young women in, or at risk of entering, the juvenile justice system. Through this website, professionals can submit requests for training and technical assistance, as well as find current information about best practices, gender-responsive tools, research and related events."
"TRAC's web-based tools monitoring ICE's exercise of prosecutorial discretion in the Immigration Courts have been updated with court data tracking outcomes through December 2011. Very current data show that deportation orders fell, while individuals allowed to stay in the U.S. rose during October - December 2011. The share of ICE-initiated Immigration Court deportation proceedings resulting in deportation orders -- 64.8 percent -- reached the lowest level in the past 20 years. Results are believed to reflect in part ICE's ongoing review of the court's backlog. TRAC's findings are based on case-by-case data obtained from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). For the accompanying data tools which allow tracking by outcome, Immigration Court, hearing location, charge and nationality, go here."
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents, Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney, February 1, 2012.
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission warned marketers of six mobile applications that provide background screening apps that they may be violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FTC warned the apps marketers that, if they have reason to believe the background reports they provide are being used for employment screening, housing, credit, or other similar purposes, they must comply with the Act. According to the FTC, some of the apps include criminal record histories, which bear on an individual's character and general reputation and are precisely the type of information that is typically used in employment and tenant screening."
First Amendment Architecture, Marvin Ammori, Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 2012, No. 1, 2012.
A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Review of the 2010 Health Care Reform Law, January 12, 2012
CRS - Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry, Marc R. Rosenblum, Specialist in Immigration Policy, January 6, 2012
Wired Campus by Josh Fischman: "Elsevier, the global publishing company, is responsible for The Lancet, Cell, and about 2,000 other important journals; the iconic reference work Gray’s Anatomy, along with 20,000 other books—and one fed-up, award-winning mathematician. Timothy Gowers of the University of Cambridge, who won the Fields Medal for his research, has organized a boycott of Elsevier because, he says, its pricing and policies restrict access to work that should be much more easily available. He asked for a boycott in a blog post on January 21, and as of Monday evening, on the boycott’s Web site The Cost of Knowledge, nearly 1,900 scientists have signed up, pledging not to publish, referee, or do editorial work for any Elsevier journal. The company has sinned in three areas, according to the boycotters: It charges too much for its journals; it bundles subscriptions to lesser journals together with valuable ones, forcing libraries to spend money to buy things they don’t want in order to get a few things they do want; and, most recently, it has supported a proposed federal law (called the Research Works Act) that would prevent agencies like the National Institutes of Health from making all articles written by its grant recipients freely available."
Implementation of the Consumer Credit Directive: "The study examines the state and the main difficulties of the implementation of Directive 2008/48/EC on credit agreements for consumers using the examples of fourteen Member States of the
European Union. The analysis focuses on fully harmonised aspects of the Directive as well as on the provisions for which the Member States were given a wide margin of appreciation in achieving the objective of the Directive and options provided by the Directive. Furthermore, new regulations and regulations requiring interpretation are dealt with. Finally, the study analyses the regulation of credit agreements which fall outside the scope of the Directive."
Jurors’ Use of Social Media During Trials and Deliberations - A Report to the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, Meghan Dunn, Federal Judicial Center November 22, 2011
"The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announces the release of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries 2012, a clear and easy-to-use statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use developed by and for librarians who support academic inquiry and higher education. The Code was developed in partnership with the Center for Social Media and the Washington College of Law at American University. Winston Tabb, Johns Hopkins University Dean of University Libraries and Museums and President of ARL, said, “This document is a testament to the collective wisdom of academic and research librarians, who have asserted careful and considered approaches to some very difficult situations that we all face every day.”
International Trade: Rules of Origin. Vivian C. Jones, Specialist in International Trade and Finance; Michael F. Martin, Analyst in Asian Trade and Finance, January 5, 2012
TRAC: "The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2011 the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to enforce immigration and customs laws accounted for 59% of all federal criminal prosecutions. The government reported 8,038 new prosecutions for these DHS matters as compared with a total of 13,628 from all sources. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 9.3 percent over the previous month. These comparisons of the number of defendants charged are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys."
Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline: Legal Issues, January 23, 2012
News release: "The majority of law firms in the United States and Canada expect to increase their reliance on electronic forms of lawyer development in the next 24 months, although associates in those firms say they prefer mentoring and on-the-job training to hone their skills. Details regarding this important disconnect, along with other key findings about the landscape of professional development inside law firms, are available in a first-of-its-kind research report published by the NALP Foundation in partnership with West LegalEdcenter, a Thomson Reuters business. The report, “Leading Law Firm Professional Development: A Comprehensive Study of Professional Development Staffing, Resources and Program Delivery Modes,” examines the perspectives of more than 200 law firm administrators responsible for professional development functions and nearly 1,500 associates from firms ranging in size from less than 10 lawyers to more than 1,000 lawyers. The data for this study was collected in late 2010 and early 2011 from online questionnaires."
Presidential Signing Statements: Constitutional and Institutional Implications - Todd Garvey, Legislative Attorney. January 4, 2012
Serious Economic Crime - A boardroom guide to prevention and compliance, January 2012 [312 pages, UK government]
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have signed an agreement to coordinate efforts to protect consumers and avoid duplication of federal law enforcement and regulatory efforts. “The FTC has always been committed to protecting consumers and legitimate companies from bad actors in the financial marketplace,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “Now we have another cop on the beat, and this agreement ensures that businesses will not be double-teamed by the two agencies.” “Entering this agreement with the FTC is important to making sure markets for consumer financial products are getting efficient and effective federal government oversight,” said Richard Cordray, Director of the CFPB. “We are both motivated by the same thing: To do right by consumers. We look forward to this partnership.” The two agencies signed a memorandum of understanding. It is available here."
"Today the Supreme Court unanimously held in U.S. v. Jones that the warrantless use of a GPS tracking device by the police violated the Fourth Amendment. The Court said that a warrant is required "[w]here, as here, the government obtains information by physically intruding on a constitutionally protected area," like a car. Concurring opinions by Justices Sotomayor and Alito urged the court to focus on the reasonableness of the suspect's expectation of privacy because physical intrusion is unnecessary to surveillance in the digital age. EPIC, joined by 30 legal and technical experts,filed a "friend of the court" brief. EPIC warned that, "it is critical that police access to GPS tracking be subject to a warrant requirement." For more information, see EPIC: US v. Jones, and EPIC: Location Privacy"
Lawless, Robert M. and Cohen, Dov, Less Forgiven? Race and the Bankruptcy System (January 21, 2011). BROKE: HOW DEBT BANKRUPTS THE MIDDLE CLASS, Katherine Porter, ed., 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1745138
"The 2012 Taxonomy contains updates for accounting standards and other improvements since the 2011 Taxonomy as used by issuers filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued proposed improvements to the taxonomy in the fall of 2011, allowing users of the taxonomy to provide feedback on the updates and the opportunity to become familiar with and to incorporate new element names for their filings. We encourage users to read the release notes and other provided guidance and supporting documents, which contain the details of these changes."
Sunlight Foundation: "Making good on part of the House of Representative's commitment to increase congressional transparency, today the House Clerk's office launched http://docs.house.gov/, a one stop website where the public can access all House bills, amendments, resolutions for floor consideration, and conference reports in XML, as well as information on floor proceedings and more. Information will ultimately be published online in real time and archived for perpetuity. The Clerk is hosting the site, and the information will primarily come from the leadership, the Committee on House Administration, the Rules Committee, and the Clerk's office. The project has been driven by House Republican leaders as part of an push for transparency. Important milestones include the adoption of the new House Rules in January 2011 that gave the Committee on House Administration the power to establish standards for publishing documents online, an April 2011 letter from the Speaker and Majority Leader to the Clerk calling for better public access to House information, a Committee on House Administration hearing in June 2011 on modernizing information delivery in the House, a December 2011 public meeting on public access to congressional information, and finally the late December adoption of online publication standards."
Forensic Bibliometrics: Information Quality Assurance in Scientific Literature: Everyone is familiar with the "corrections" columns in newspapers and the errata pages in the backs of books. But those corrigenda are a far cry from identifying the problems created when authors deliberately offer for publication fraudulent results. Research misconduct and the publication of fraudulent results in scholarly publications and news media has become a growing concern in many disciplines. Ken Strutin has researched, annotated and compiled core documents that address the causes of misconduct, spotting faked data, and repairing the damage to the information stream.
The Iraq War, the Next War, and the Future of the Fat Man, by Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Yale Law School. January 16, 2012 - 64 Stan. L. Rev. Online 46 - Essays
"As the result of EPIC v. DHS, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC has obtained nearly thee hundred pages of documents detailing a Department of Homeland Security's surveillance program. The documents include contracts and statements of work with General Dynamics for 24/7 media and social network monitoring and periodic reports to DHS. The documents reveal that the agency is tracking media stories that "reflect adversely" on DHS or the U.S. government. One tracking report -- "Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish MI" -- summarizes dissent on blogs and social networking cites, quoting commenters. EPIC sent a request for these documents in April 2004 and filed suit against the agency in December. For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. Department of Homeland Security: Media Monitoring."
EPIC: "Bloomberg News has reported that the Federal Trade Commission has expanded its antitrust investigation of Google to include Google's social networking service, Google+. The report comes after Google announced that it would include personal data gathered from Google+ in the results of users' searches, a move that led EPIC to urge the FTC to investigate the company. EPIC said that "Google's business practices raise concerns related to both competition and the implementation of the Commission’s consent order," referring to a settlement that the FTC reached with Google that establishes new privacy safeguards for users of all Google products and services and subjects the company to regular privacy audits. Google first confirmed the FTC’s antitrust investigation in June 2011. Recently, the Senate held a hearing on Google's use of its dominance in the search market to suppress competition, and EPIC urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google's use of Youtube search rankings to give preferential treatment to its own video content over non-Google content. For more information, see EPIC: Google/DoubleClick and EPIC: Federal Trade Commission."
EPIC: In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, EPIC has called for an investigation of recent changes by Google to Google Search, the dominant search algorithm on the Internet. EPIC cited Google's decision to include personal data, such as photos, posts, and contact details, gathered from Google+ in Google Search results. “Google’s business practices raise concerns related to both competition and the implementation of the Commission’s consent order,” EPIC said, referring to a settlement that the FTC reached with Google that establishes new privacy safeguards for users of Google products and services and subjects the company to regular privacy audits. Recently, the Senate held a hearing on Google’s use of its dominance in the search market to suppress competition, and EPIC urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google’s acquisition of Youtube, which allowed Google to give preferential treatment to Google's own video content. For more information, see EPIC: Google/DoubleClick and EPIC: Federal Trade."
Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries Over the Decade Ending 2009, Dev Kar and Sarah Freitas1, December 2011
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2012: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation's Campuses, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
"The Fraud of the Day is a forum dedicated to educating government about how fraud is perpetrated and the solutions to stop it. When you visit the “Fraud of the Day,” you’ll find Larry Brnson's commentary; links to other news, events, and resources pertaining to government fraud; and video commentary from tax fraud expert, Andy Bucholz, and social services fraud expert, Ron Rigores."
Maldives: Detailed Assessment Report on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, January 2012 - IMF Country Report No. 12/1
News release: "A payment processor and two of its principals are now banned from using a new payment method to process electronic payments under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which resolves charges that they debited consumers' bank accounts without their consent. The settlement furthers the FTC's ongoing efforts to protect financially-strapped consumers during the economic downturn by scrutinizing not only merchants, but all parties who participate in defrauding consumers."
Competitive Intelligence - A Selective Resource Guide - Completely Updated - December 2011: Sabrina I. Pacifici's comprehensive, current awareness guide focuses on leveraging a wide but selected range of reliable, focused, predominantly free websites and resources to effectively track, monitor, analyze, background and review current and historical data, news, reports, and profiles on companies, markets, countries, people, and issues, from a global perspective. Sabrina's guide is a "best of" web resource that encompasses search engines, databases, alerts, publisher specific services and tools, along with links to content targeted sources produced by leading media organizations, governments, academia, NGOs and independent researchers.
"The Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL) Public Access to Legal Information (PALI) Committee has just posted the updated edition of Locating the Law: A Handbook for Non-law Librarians. We've corrected links, added a few more sources, and moved the "Common Abbreviations in the Law" from the end of Chapter 2 to Appendix B. You can view individual chapters or the entire publication in one large PDF (274 pages)." [June Kim, Senior Reference Librarian, UCLA Law Library]
Guidance on Live, Text-Based Communications from Court: "This Practice Guidance (the Guidance) applies to court proceedings which are open to the public and to those parts of the proceedings which are not subject to reporting restrictions. It is issued (as Guidance and not a Practice Direction) following a consultation relating to the use of live, text-based communications. Those consulted included the Judiciary, the Secretary of State for Justice, the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Press Complaints Commission, and the Society of Editors in addition to interested members of the public via the Judiciary website.
2) The Guidance clarifies the use which may be made of live text-based communications, such as mobile email, social media (including Twitter) and internet enabled laptops in and from courts throughout England and Wales. For the purposes of this Guidance these means of communication are referred to, compendiously, as live, text-based communications."
Chief Justice's Year-End Reports on the Federal Judiciary, 2011: "Some observers have recently questioned whether the Judicial Conference’s Code of Conduct for United States Judges should apply to the Supreme Court. I would like to use my annual report this year to address
that issue, as well as some other related issues that have recently drawn public attention. The space constraints of the annual report prevent me from setting out a detailed dissertation on judicial ethics. And my judicial responsibilities preclude me from commenting on any ongoing debates about particular issues or the constitutionality of any enacted legislation or pending proposals. But I can provide some clarification on how the Justices address ethical issues and dispel some common misconceptions."
Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, 2011 Annual Report to Congress, Report Period CY 2010, December 2011 - Issued December 2011
"This application allows public access to court electronic records for Federal District Courts across the United States. Users MUST be registered, have a valid PACER account, to use this application. New users may register here PACER. This application is 'CASE SEARCH' only, therefore documents CANNOT be filed using this applciation, users can only view documents and information that is currently filed. It is important to note that a PACER account is separate from any filing account. A PACER account is required for document access in all federal courts."
Children and Justice During and in the Aftermath of Armed Conflict, September 2011. Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress, Paul K. Kerr, Analyst in Nonproliferation, December 15, 2011
"Model Laws for a Safer America is designed for use by activists and elected officials nationwide seeking to close dangerous loopholes in our federal regulatory system. This unique publication provides sample language for state and local laws to: 1) require background checks on all gun purchasers; 2) license firearm owners; 3) register all firearms; 4) regulate firearms dealers and ammunition sellers; 5) require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms; 6) impose a waiting period before the sale of a firearm; and 7) limit firearm purchases to one per person every 90 days. The publication also includes a discussion of common opposition arguments and legal issues. Model Laws for a Safer America is the latest publication from Legal Community Against Violence. Other LCAV [Legal Community Against Violence] publications include:
Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 - Annual Rates for 2009 and 2010. Alexia Cooper and Erica L. Smith, BJS Statisticians
News release, December 21, 2011: "The Department of Justice today filed its largest residential fair lending settlement in history to resolve allegations that Countrywide Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries engaged in a widespread pattern or practice of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in their mortgage lending from 2004 through 2008. The settlement provides $335 million in compensation for victims of Countrywide’s discrimination during a period when Countrywide originated millions of residential mortgage loans as one of the nation’s largest single-family mortgage lenders. The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in conjunction with the department’s complaint which alleges that Countrywide discriminated by charging more than 200,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher fees and interest rates than non-Hispanic white borrowers in both its retail and wholesale lending. The complaint alleges that these borrowers were charged higher fees and interest rates because of their race or national origin, and not because of the borrowers’ creditworthiness or other objective criteria related to borrower risk."
What Can We Learn from Law School? Legal Education Reflects Issues Found in All of Higher Education, Julie Margetta Morgan, Center for American Progress, December 2011
News release: "As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2011 and discussing where we are in the fight for a free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. The government has been using its secrecy system in absurd ways for decades, but 2011 was particularly egregious. Here are a few examples...
CRS — Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles: The Confluence of Privacy, Technology, and Law. Richard M. Thompson, Law Clerk. December 1, 2011
News release: "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and OpenTheGovernment.org released a joint report, Measuring Transparency Under the FOIA: The Real Story Behind the Numbers, analyzing the government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) data for 2010 and how it compares to the previous administration’s data...The results paint a very mixed picture on the FOIA front, with agencies generally processing more requests more quickly, but also increasing their reliance on the FOIA’s nine exemptions to withhold more information from the public. Our analysis revealed an even more alarming truth: the government’s FOIA data is flawed, making it impossible to assess key areas of progress and casting doubt on its overall reliability. As a result, what started as a statistical report on agencies’ handling of FOIA requests ended as an expose of the problems with the data and tools the government has developed to measure its progress in implementing the FOIA."
Kaiser - Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 13 Years Later - A Report on the States’ Allocation of the Tobacco Settlement Dollars
News release: "The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported today in Prisoners in 2010 that the number of offenders under adult correctional supervision in the U.S. declined 1.3 percent in 2010, the second consecutive year of decline since BJS began reporting on this population in 1980. At yearend 2010, about 7.1 million people, or 1 in 33 adults, were under the supervision of adult correctional authorities in the U.S. In addition, the total U.S. prison population fell to 1.6 million at yearend 2010, a decline of 0.6 percent during the year, the first decline in the total prison population in nearly four decades. This decline was due to a decrease of 10,881 in the number of state prisoners, which fell to just under 1.4 million persons and was the largest yearly decrease since 1977. The federal prison population grew by 0.8 percent (1,653 prisoners) to reach 209,771, the smallest percentage increase since 1980. Most offenders under correctional supervision (about 7 in 10 persons or nearly 4.9 million people) were supervised in the community on probation or parole at yearend 2010. About 3 in 10 (or nearly 2.3 million people) were incarcerated in state or federal prisons or local jails. The decline in the total correctional population during 2010 was mainly due to a decrease in the number of probationers during the year (down 69,500 persons) and a decrease in the number of inmates incarcerated in local jails (down 18,700 persons)."
Jeff Lamicela: "The latest available data from the Justice Department show that federal health care fraud prosecutions reached an historic high last year. During the twelve months of fiscal year 2011, the government reported 1,235 new health care fraud prosecutions - the largest number reported since separate tracking of this offense began twenty years ago. This number is up 68.9% over the past fiscal year when the number of criminal prosecutions totaled 731...The Southern District of Florida (Miami) led the nation in activity, accounting for nearly one out of every nine health care fraud prosecutions, followed by the Southern District of Texas (Houston). Together, these two districts accounted for over one out of every five health care fraud prosecutions."
The Dodd-Frank Act and Housing Finance, Levitin, Adam J., Pavlov, Andrey D. and Wachter, Susan M., (November 17, 2011). Yale Journal on Regulation, Forthcoming; U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 11-35.
News release: "Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual enforcement and compliance results. EPA’s enforcement and compliance program enforces environmental laws that protect our nation’s air, land and water by taking action to cut illegal pollution and protect people’s health and communities. In fiscal year Fiscal Year 2011, EPA enforcement actions led to more than 1.8 billion pounds in pollution reduced, an estimated $19 billion in required pollution controls and approximately $168 million in civil penalties."
News release: "The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today issued a second set of regulatory violations arising from operations conducted in connection with the Macondo well. The violations were issued as Incidents of Non-Compliance (INC). A total of five INCs were issued by faxed letter to BP; four of the INCs were violations of one regulation in different sections of the well...The following is a listing of the federal regulations and INCs issued today to BP: One violation of 30 CFR 250.427 – BP failed to conduct an accurate pressure integrity test at the 13-5/8” liner shoe. Four violations of 30 CFR 250.427(b) – BP failed to suspend drilling operations at the Macondo well when the safe drilling margin identified in the approved application for permit to drill was not maintained...More information regarding the initial INCs issued to BP, Transocean and Halliburton can be found here."
CRS - Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective On Secrecy and Transparency - Walter J. Oleszek, Senior Specialist in American National Government, November 30, 2011
"Amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence took effect December 1, 2011. Congress took no action after the changes were approved by Supreme Court more than seven months earlier. That means new amendments to these rules are now in effect:
News release: "The social networking service Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The proposed settlement requires Facebook to take several steps to make sure it lives up to its promises in the future, including giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining consumers' express consent before their information is shared beyond the privacy settings they have established. The FTC's eight-count complaint against Facebook is part of the agency's ongoing effort to make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to American consumers. It charges that the claims that Facebook made were unfair and deceptive, and violated federal law."
What’s So Hard About Regulating Supreme Court Justices’ Ethics? - A Lot, Russell Wheeler, Visiting Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
"On March 21, 2011, AT&T Inc. ("AT&T") and Deutsche Telekom AG ("Deutsche Telekom") announced an agreement under which AT&T will acquire T-Mobile USA, Inc. ("T-Mobile USA") from Deutsche Telekom. On April 21, 2011, the parties filed applications seeking the Commission's consent to the transfer of control of the licenses and authorizations held by T-Mobile USA and its wholly-owned and controlled subsidiaries from Deutsche Telekom to AT&T (the "Applications"). Now that the Applications have been filed, this proceeding is governed by permit-but-disclose ex parte procedures that are applicable to non-restricted proceedings under section 1.1206 of the Commission's rules."
Behind Closed Doors at the White House: How Politics Trumps Protection of Public Health, Worker Safety, and the Environment, by Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) Member Scholar Rena Steinzor, CPR Intern Michael Patoka, and CPR Policy Analyst James Goodwin
NYT DealBook: "Jed S. Rakoff, a judge for the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Manhattan, has rejected the proposed $285 million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup related to the sale of mortgage securities. Here is the judge’s 15-page opinion, which concluded that the pact was “neither reasonable, nor fair, nor adequate, nor in the public interest.” Judge Rakoff has in the past expressed concern with the S.E.C.’s custom of not forcing a defendant to “neither admit nor deny the allegations” when settling a case. In his ruling Monday, the judge said he couldn’t approve a settlement that was based on “mere allegations.”
2011 Peer-to-Peer Violence and Bullying: Examining the Federal Response, September 2011, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
News release [Note; scroll down to locate links to the documents obtained via FOIA]: "President Ronald Reagan was briefed in advance about every weapons shipment in the Iran arms-for-hostages deals in 1985-86, and Vice President George H. W. Bush chaired a committee that recommended the mining of the harbors of Nicaragua in 1983, according to previously secret Independent Counsel assessments of "criminal liability" on the part of the two former leaders posted today by the National Security Archive. Twenty-Five years after the advent of the "Iran-Contra affair," the two comprehensive "Memoranda on Criminal Liability of Former President Reagan and of President Bush" provide a roadmap of historical, though not legal, culpability of the nation's two top elected officials during the scandal from the perspective of a senior attorney in the Office of Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh. The documents were obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the National Security Archive for the files compiled during Walsh's six-year investigation from 1987-1993."
Commission Staff Working Paper - Anti-money laundering supervision of and reporting by payment institutions in various cross-border situations, October 7, 2011
Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, presented in Manama, Bahrain, on 23 November 2011 [501 pages, PDF].."The Commission‘s mandate...is to report on the events in question on the basis of international human rights norms..occurring in Bahrain in February/March 2011, and any subsequent consequences arising out of the aforementioned events, and to make such recommendations as it may deem appropriate."
News release: "FindLaw.com is introducing FindLaw Legal Pulse, a new content area that offers continuously updated legal headlines from around the world, along with news, photo feeds and analysis from such sources as Reuters, the Associated Press, New York Times and Washington Post. The content covers a broad range of law-related topics -- everything from Supreme Court decisions to legislative updates, everyday legal issues and even sports and celebrity news. FindLaw Legal Pulse offers tangible user benefits -- the news is up-to-date, comes from a rich variety of sources, and is tailored to audiences with legal interests."
The growing impact of full disk encryption on digital forensics - Eoghan Caseya, Geoff Fellowsb, Matthew Geigerc, Gerasimos Stellatosd
News release: "The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finished fiscal year 2011 with a ten percent decrease in its pending charge inventory—the first such reduction since 2002, achieved the highest ever monetary amounts through administrative enforcement, and received a record number of charges of discrimination, the agency reported in its annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) filed today. The EEOC received a record 99,947 charges of discrimination in fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30, the highest number of charges in the agency’s 46-year history. EEOC staff also delivered historic relief through administrative enforcement—more than $364.6 million in monetary benefits for victims of workplace discrimination. This is also the highest level obtained in the Commission’s history. The fiscal year ended with 78,136 pending charges—a decrease of 8,202 charges, or ten percent. In previous years, the pending inventory had increased as staffing declined 30 percent between fiscal years 2000 and 2008."
A Year Later, Little Progress on Digitizing Legislative Documents, Daniel Schuman: "A year ago today, Congress' Joint Committee on Printing directed that three sets of vital legislative and legal documents be published online "as quickly as possible." We've reviewed how well that order was implemented, and the results are not encouraging. Of the three documents, there's only apparent progress on one. The vital documents are the Constitution Annotated, the Congressional Record, and the Statutes at Large. The Government Printing Office is responsible for publishing them, and shares that responsibility to a certain extent with the Library of Congress and its subsidiary agencies, the Congressional Research Service and the Law Library of Congress. These agencies are custodians of America's heritage, and have an important obligation to make it available to every citizen. Here's how they've performed..."
"Federal criminal prosecutions for financial institution fraud have continued their downward slide despite the financial troubles reported in this sector. TRAC's analysis of timely Justice Department data show that during the first eleven months of FY 2011 the government reported 1,251 new prosecutions were filed. If this activity continues at the same pace, the annual total of prosecutions will be 1,365 for this fiscal year, down 28.6 percent from their numbers of just five years ago and less than half the level prevalent a decade ago."
ABA Directory for Disability Rights: "This first of its kind directory helps lawyers find information regarding disability rights and disability law from state and local associations across the U.S."
Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, 2011: "This updated edition of the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance reflects current statutory provisions, recognizes the technological and legal changes that have taken place since the previous Guidelines were promulgated, and incorporates best practices that will benefit victims and enhance investigations and prosecutions."
"Northwest Government Information Network Handouts: Fall 2011, updated November 3, 2011. Fall 2011 featured Linda Clark, Seattle Regional Office, U.S. Census Bureau as our main speaker. She came to provide us with some training on how to use the newly revamped American Factfinder 2. Below are the handouts she used for her presentation.
Atlantic Wire - Adam Clark Estes: "When a federal judge ruled that Twitter must reveal the private data of three WikiLeaks associates on Thursday, privacy advocates died a little inside. The two organizations that had defended the three users, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundations (EFF), immediately filed mournful blog posts that respectively raised doubts about the United States government's secretive handling of the case and highlighted grave message the ruling sends about the future of privacy on the internet. But Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Valentine-DeVries sums up the implications of the case best with a leading question: "Should the government be able to collect information related to your Internet use without a warrant?" We now know that the federal court's answer is, "Yes."
"The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has publicly released the transcripts of President Richard Nixon's Watergate grand jury testimony. In collaboration with the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), the collection has been released on FDsys. This collection has been made public as a result of the July 29, 2011 order by Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Royce C. Lamberth that the June 1975 transcript of Nixon's testimony and the "Associated Materials" to that testimony be released to the public following the review of these documents for any information that must be redacted as required by law. It is rare for any grand jury testimony to be made public." These documents are available on three websites as follows:
"The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is pleased to share a new paper published in First Monday, Why parents help their children lie to Facebook about age: Unintended consequences of the ‘Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,’ authored by Berkman community members danah boyd, Eszter Hargittai, Jason Schultz, and John Palfrey.
Follow up to previous postings on sentencing guidelines, see the following
'Thinking' in a Deweyan Perspective: The Law School Exam as a Case Study for Thinking in Lawyering, Donald J. Kochan, Chapman University School of Law, November 4, 2011, Nevada Law Journal, Forthcoming
Follow up to previous postings on sentencing guidelines, the 2011 Guidelines Manual (effective November 1, 2011) is available in HTML and Adobe PDF formats (large file and broken into chapters), which can be viewed, downloaded or printed via the website. Individual Chapters 1-8 and Guidelines in HTML or PDF Format
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: "Despite the Social Security Administration's longstanding goal of reducing the number of pending disability cases, very recent SSA data show that these matters continue to head in the opposite direction, reaching 771,318 by the end of September. The increase -- up 9.3% from what it was a year ago -- marked the fifth straight quarter that the number of these cases has increased. These disturbing trends regarding SSA's faltering efforts, noted by TRAC in two previous reports, thus appear to be continuing. In testimony to Congress on July 11, Commissioner Michael J. Astrue reemphasized that "[e]liminating our hearings backlog and preventing its recurrence remains our number one priority." Since these new cases are only beginning to reach the decision stage, it is too early to determine their ultimate impact on decision times. But nationally, average processing times rose for the first time for cases disposed of during September. In addition, almost half (46 percent) of all hearing offices saw their average hearing times increase as compared with the previous month, and nearly one in four have had rising processing times for at least a year. More details on pending SSA disability cases and processing times nationally and for each region and hearing office can be found in the TRAC report and accompanying free user app are here."
Report of Investigation, United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Inspector General. Case No. OIG-511. Allegations of Enforcement Staff Misconduct in Insider Trading Investigation, August 22, 2011 [Redacted]
Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Quarterly Report to Congress October 27, 2011
via LLRX.com - The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine: An important copyright case won't be argued in the Supreme Court, which on October 3, 2011 declined to review Vernor v. Autodesk, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving the applicability of copyright's first sale doctrine to transactions involving software and other digital information goods. Law professor Annmarie Bridy discusses the wide reaching impact of the first sale doctrine, without which there would be no free market for used books, CDs, or DVDs, because the copyright owner's right of distribution would reach beyond the first sale, all the way down the stream of commerce.
"In 2011, the New York Law School Law Review launched its Law Review Diversity research project examining gender and minority diversity among law review membership and leadership at ABA law schools nationwide. This research builds upon the 2010 survey conducted by Ms. JD, an organization dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession. In its 2010-2011 Law Review Diversity Report NYLS found, based on self-reported data collected from law reviews in two samples, that law reviews at schools having a high percentage of female full-time faculty and at law schools having a high percentage of minority full-time faculty on average had significantly greater gender diversity among their 2010-2011 student membership and leadership, as well as a higher rate of female EICs, than law reviews at schools ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News & World Report, which were surveyed by Ms. JD in 2010. Ms. JD reported in 2010 that the representation of women in editor-in-chief positions at law reviews at schools ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News was “disproportionately low” as compared to those law reviews’ female membership. In each of the three measures used in Ms. JD’s 2010 survey (i.e., rates of female law review membership and leadership, and gender of the EIC), law reviews in the two NYLS samples significantly outperformed those in the Top 50 sample."
LLRX.com - FOIA Facts: DOJ FOIA Regulations - Scott A. Hodes addresses the proposed new Department of Justice ("DOJ") FOIA regulations which call for DOJ components to "respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist." This response should not differ in wording from any other response given by the component" when applying an exclusion to the FOIA. The purpose of this article is to clear up some of the confusion around FOIA exclusions and these proposed regulations. He is giving no opinion on whether or not the proposed regulations should be adopted.
Judicial Ethics and Social Networking Sites: "Michael Crowell
UNC School of Government, September 2011 (Revised)
Privacy and Security in the Implementation of Health Information Technology (Electronic Health Records): U.S. and EU Compared, B.U. J. SCI. & TECH. L., Vol. 17, Winter 2011.
Law Periodical Publishing Practices and Trends - Law librarian, criminal defense attorney and prolific author Ken Strutin brings into focus how electronic access to scholarly information is impacting library collection policies as well as professional publication formats, and as a result, how a new legal research environment is developing. Ken's article provides a selected collection of resources about the law review publishing process, emerging trends in the information cycle, and practical guides for developing an article and getting it to press.
News release: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) today for answers about "secret interpretations" of the USA PATRIOT Act, signed into law ten years ago today. Several senators have warned that the DOJ is using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to support what government attorneys call a "sensitive collection program" that may be targeting large numbers of Americans. Section 215 allows for secret court orders to obtain "tangible things" when the FBI certifies they are relevant to a government investigation. The list of possible "tangible things" the government can obtain is seemingly limitless, and could include everything from driver's license records to Internet browsing patterns. Section 215 also limits the court's discretion to deny the order and prevents the recipient of an order from disclosing its existence."
Google Transparency Report - Government Requests: "Like other technology and communications companies, Google regularly receives requests from government agencies and courts around the world to remove content from our services and hand over user data. Our Government Requests tool discloses the number of requests we receive from each government in six-month reporting periods with certain limitations. Governments ask companies to remove content for many different reasons. For example, some content removals are requested due to allegations of defamation, while others are due to allegations that the content violates local laws prohibiting hate speech or pornography. Laws surrounding these issues vary by country, and the requests reflect the legal context of a given jurisdiction. We hope this tool will be helpful in discussions about the appropriate scope and authority of government requests. These observations on content removal requests highlight some trends that we've seen in the data during each reporting period, and are by no means exhaustive."
Jeff Lamicela/TRAC: "During the first ten months of FY 2011, federal prosecutions credited to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have fallen almost 7 percent from the previous fiscal year. This continues a downward slide that began six years ago, according to TRAC's analysis of timely Justice Department data. So far this fiscal year, the number of ATF-led investigations that resulted in prosecution have totaled 7,282. If the same pace continues for the remaining two months, criminal filings should reach 8,738. This is 18 percent fewer than the peak in FY 2005 of 10,715 ATF prosecutions during the Bush Administration.For the complete report go here. In addition to the ATF, TRAC continues to offer free reports on the enforcement activities of selected government agencies such as DHS, the FBI and the IRS. In addition, TRAC's reports cover program categories such as immigration, drugs, weapons, white collar crime, terrorism and civil rights. For the latest information on prosecutions and convictions through the first ten months of fiscal year 2011, go here.
News release: "Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has accepted as final a settlement with Google, and authorized the staff to provide responses to the commenters of record. The settlement resolves charges that Google used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promises to consumers when it launched its social network, Google Buzz, in 2010. The agency alleged that the practices violate the FTC Act. The settlement bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years. The Commission vote approving the final settlement was 4-0.
The Puppet Masters -How the Corrupt Use Legal Structures to Hide Stolen Assets and What to Do About It. Emile van der Does de Willebois, Emily M. Halter, Robert A. Harrison, Ji Won Park. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank
The Costs of Reproduction: History and the Legal Construction of Sex Equality, Deborah Dinner, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Vol. 46, 2011
Jeff Lamicela: "TRAC has launched a bundle of new report series, with accompanying data tools and regular updates, which allow the public to monitor Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) exercise of prosecutorial discretion in the Immigration Courts, as spelled out in Director John Morton's June 17, 2011 memorandum. TRAC's new tools allow tracking by charge, nationality, and location (state, court or specific hearing location). The most recent data, current through July 2011, show that there has not as yet been any meaningful upturn in cases where the person charged has been allowed to remain in this country. Indeed, during the three most recent quarters, the proportion of individuals allowed to remain in the country is now below 30 per cent, down from levels in 2010. However, Immigration Courts varied widely in the proportion of cases in which deportation orders were granted -- from a low of 28.8 percent in the New York City Immigration Court, up to 98.8 percent in the Lumpkin, Georgia Immigration Court. Among nationalities, cases resulting in deportation orders ranged from highs of 86.8 percent for individuals from Mexico and 84.4 percent for those from Honduras, down to 13.1 for individuals from Eritrea and 20.7 percent for those from Ethiopia.
News release: "By exploiting loopholes in the law, the chemical industry for decades has systematically subverted Environmental Protection Agency efforts to protect public health, a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found. As a result, the industry has made enormous profits while delaying restrictions on unsafe chemicals, largely by ginning up scientific uncertainties, according to the NRDC study, released today. "These industry tactics have prolonged the exposure of millions of people to toxic chemicals such as TCE, formaldehyde and styrene, which can cause serious harm," said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist with NRDC's Health Program. Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a solvent used for metal degreasing; formaldehyde is a cancer-causing agent used to manufacture plywood, particle boards and glues; and styrene is a toxic substance found in plastics, latex paint, synthetic rubbers and polyesters....The NRDC report, The Delay Game: How the Chemical Industry Ducks Regulation of the Most Toxic Substances, is a case-study of how the chemical industry has stymied government action that would protect the public from exposure to TCE, formaldehyde and styrene. The study highlights the need to update the 35-year old Toxic Substances Control Act, so that the EPA can test, assess and regulate chemicals in a timely manner in order to protect public health. Because the law has never been updated, the public has been exposed to thousands of chemicals in consumer products that have never been tested for safety by EPA."
Peggy Twohig and Steve Antonakes: "...the CFPB released the CFPB Supervision and Examination Manual, the guide for our examiners to use in overseeing companies that provide consumer financial products and services. Federal government regulators usually have manuals for their examiners. Our manual provides our examiners with direction on how to determine if providers of consumer financial products and services are complying with consumer protection laws – and how to determine if the providers have adequate policies and procedures in place to comply with those laws. For example, it incorporates examination procedures long used by other federal regulators to check for compliance with laws like the Truth in Lending Act. The manual also helps ensure that we are applying the law consistently across everyone that we supervise."
"Protesters of all political persuasions are increasingly documenting their protests -- and encounters with the police -- using electronic devices like cameras and cell phones. The following tips apply to protesters in the United States who are concerned about protecting their electronic devices when questioned, detained, or arrested by police. These are general guidelines; individuals with specific concerns should talk to an attorney."
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, and the European Commission today issued an updated set of “best practices” that they use to coordinate their merger reviews. The agencies also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the United States-European Union bilateral antitrust agreement...The agencies reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation and coordination in order to benefit consumers and business."
Kuttner, Ran, Conflict-Specialists-As-Leaders: Revisiting the Role of the Conflict Specialist from a Leadership Perspective (September 9, 2011). Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 2011.
News release: "The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday requested public comment on a proposed regulation implementing the so-called "Volcker Rule" requirements of section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 619 generally contains two prohibitions. First, it prohibits insured depository institutions, bank holding companies, and their subsidiaries or affiliates (banking entities) from engaging in short-term proprietary trading of any security, derivative, and certain other financial instruments for a banking entity's own account, subject to certain exemptions. Second, it prohibits owning, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with, a hedge fund or private equity fund, subject to certain exemptions. The act also prohibits banking entities from engaging in an exempted transaction or activity if it would involve or result in a material conflict of interest between the banking entity and its clients, customers, or counterparties, or that would result in a material exposure to high-risk assets or trading strategies, in each case as defined by the rule. The act similarly prohibits banking entities from engaging in an exempted transaction or activity if it would pose a threat to the safety and soundness of the banking entity or to the financial stability of the United States. The proposal, which was developed jointly with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, clarifies the scope of the act's prohibitions and, consistent with statutory authority, provides certain exemptions to these prohibitions. It is anticipated these agencies will issue a comparable proposal today or in the near future."
The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls, Bessen, James E., Meurer, Michael J. and Ford, Jennifer Laurissa, (September 19, 2011). Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 11-45.
Treatment of Conflict Related Detainees in Afghan Custody - United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan [UNAMA], UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. October 2011 Kabul, Afghanistan
Citizen Media Law Project - A Citizen's Guide to Reporting on #OccupyWallStreet: "We at the Citizen Media Law Project have taken great interest in the ongoing "Occupy Wall Street" protest in New York. Much of what we know about the protest has come from independent reporters and citizen journalists covering the story from the ground. Knowing this, we are alarmed to hear reports of police arresting reporters during the protest. This, of course, could greatly discourage press coverage of this story. In order to encourage citizen reporting from the ground in New York, and to dispel the uncertainties as to the rights of those covering the protest, we have created this special question-and-answer guide regarding covering the protest in New York as a special addendum to our CMLP Legal Guide. For more general information, you can also refer to our guide's section on New York law. Note: This guide specifically addresses the law as it pertains to New York City and the protests currently occurring in Zuccotti Park. The information provided below will not apply with respect to the other #occupy protests throughout the country. While we tried our best to present the law as it generally applies in New York, specific facts and circumstances often alter outcomes in specific cases. Also, this post provides the law as it exists in October of 2011. We do not intend to update this post as the law changes, so if you find yourself returning to this at a later time please note that the law may have changed."
The Song of the Sirens: Google Book's Project and Copyright in a Digital Age, Clarice Castro and Ruy De Queiroz, September 1, 2011
Reducing Overclassification Through Accountability Publications, by Elizabeth Goitein and David M. Shapiro, October 5,2011
Governors Highway Safety Administration, Cell Phone Laws and Texting, October 2011 - "This chart outlines all state cell phone and text messaging laws. Some local jurisdictions may have additional regulations. Enforcement type is shown in parenthesis.
News release: "As part of the Federal Trade Commission’s systematic review of all of the agency’s rules and guides, the FTC is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule. The Rule, issued in 1975, requires that marketers who solicit buyers to order merchandise through mail or telephone must have a reasonable basis to expect that they can ship ordered merchandise within the time frame they advertise, or, if no time frame is specified, within 30 days. The Rule also requires that, when a seller cannot ship within the promised time, the seller must obtain the buyer’s consent to a delay in shipping or refund payment for the unshipped merchandise. In 2007, the FTC sought public comment on how the Rule could be amended to address changes in technology and commercial practices. Based on a review of comments received, the FTC has concluded that the Rule continues to benefit consumers and will be retained."
FHFA’s Oversight of Fannie Mae’s Default-Related Legal Services. Audit Report AUD-2011-004, Dated: September 30, 2011
News release: "In a massive coordinated information-seeking campaign, 35 ACLU affiliates are filing over 381 requests in 32 states across the country with local law enforcement agencies large and small that seek to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. The requests seek information from local law enforcement agencies, including:
Roberts, Anna, (Re)Forming the Jury: Detection and Disinfection of Implicit Juror Bias (September 29, 2011). Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 44, 2012.
"The Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Third Edition assists judges in managing cases involving complex scientific and technical evidence by describing the basic tenets of key scientific fields from which legal evidence is typically derived and by providing examples of cases in which that evidence has been used. First published in 1994 by the Federal Judicial Center, the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence has been relied upon in the legal and academic communities and is often cited by various courts and others. Judges faced with disputes over the admissibility of scientific and technical evidence refer to the manual to help them better understand and evaluate the relevance, reliability and usefulness of the evidence being proffered. The manual is not intended to tell judges what is good science and what is not. Instead, it serves to help judges identify issues on which experts are likely to differ and to guide the inquiry of the court in seeking an informed resolution of the conflict. The core of the manual consists of a series of chapters (reference guides) on various scientific topics, each authored by an expert in that field. The topics have been chosen by an oversight committee because of their complexity and frequency in litigation. Each chapter is intended to provide a general overview of the topic in lay terms, identifying issues that will be useful to judges and others in the legal profession. They are written for a non-technical audience and are not intended as exhaustive presentations of the topic. Rather, the chapters seek to provide judges with the basic information in an area of science, to allow them to have an informed conversation with the experts and attorneys."
News release: "Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, together with 19 Members of Congress, today sent a letter to the Judicial Conference, requesting that the Conference follow the law and refer the matter of Justice Clarence Thomas's non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice. Throughout his entire tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas has checked a box titled "none" on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003-2007 alone."
News release: "The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today issued its draft regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing which are based on the proposed requirements contained in the agency's revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement released earlier this month, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today...The draft regulations create a legal framework for implementing the proposed mitigation measures in the revised dSGEIS. The public comment period on the draft regulations begins today and runs concurrently with the public comment period on the dSGEIS, which ends Dec. 12. DEC also released the proposed State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit (GP) for Stormwater Discharges associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing."
News release: An operator who allegedly sent millions of illegal spam text messages to consumers is banned from sending any unsolicited text messages, under a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission entered by a federal court. According to the FTC complaint filed in February 2011, the marketer sent a “mind-boggling” number of unsolicited commercial text messages pitching mortgage modification services to consumers, and misrepresented that he was affiliated with a government agency. The FTC alleged that many consumers had to pay fees to their mobile carriers to receive the unsolicited text messages. The FTC also alleged that the marketer advertised his text message blasting services by sending consumers illegal spam. The agency charged him with violating the FTC Act and the CAN-SPAM Act."
News release: "What do you think about when choosing a cell phone provider? Their prices? Their coverage area? Whether they have spiffy, high-tech phones? Whether their phones work overseas or in the subway? What about how long they retain information about you and under what circumstances they turn it over to law enforcement? All of the nation's major mobile carriers are retaining their customers' location data for at least a year, according to a chart the Department of Justice (DOJ) developed in 2010 — and that the ACLU of North Carolina received in response to our public records request about local law enforcement's use of cell phone location information. And location info's not all they hang onto. We gave a copy of this document to Wired.com, which has written about it here."
News release: "Last week, the FCC published its final Open Internet rules in the Federal Register, which means they will formally go into effect later this fall. The publication caps off a two-year process at the Commission to get the rules in place. While the rules won’t change much in terms of day-to-day use of the Internet, it is good news for consumers and innovators that they will at long last be enforceable. The rules essentially preserve the status quo online. They prevent cable, DSL, and fiber carriers from favoring or disfavoring certain sites or applications over others and prevent mobile carriers from blocking websites or competing voice and video applications – leaving consumers to decide which services they might prefer. The only significant change will be that now, if carriers engage in discriminatory routing or network management practices, those whose traffic is affected will have a place to go to demand recourse. The rules themselves reflect a light-touch and flexible approach to preserving the competitive environment that currently exists on the Internet. The rules do not, as some critics declare, amount to “regulating the Internet,” and there is ample evidence that in the absence of rules carriers might discriminate (as a few have done already) against some lawful traffic."
The FLARE Index to Treaties Extended - The FLARE Index to Treaties (FIT), launched in March 2009 on the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies web server has been extended to cover about a third more treaties and conventions. In the past two years the Index has established itself as a valuable finding tool for the international lawyer. It is a fully searchable database now indexing and listing over 2,000 of the most significant multilateral treaties concluded from 1353 onwards and a number of significant bilateral treaties signed between 1353 and 1815. This article, by Steven Whittle and Peter Clinch describes the background to the extension and technical aspects of the updated implementation employed to deliver new content and finding features.
Women, Business and the Law 2102 - Removing barriers to economic inclusion.
CRS - Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information, Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney. September 8, 2011
News release: "The American Bar Association Commission on Ethics 20/20, in its release of initial proposals for comment, is recommending amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and other association policies to take into account the proliferation of new technologies, including cross-border practice issues, lawyer mobility and differences in lawyer rules across jurisdictions."
Evaluating the Use of Public Surveillance Cameras for Crime Control and Prevention - A Summary. Nancy G. La Vigne, Samantha S. Lowry, Joshua Markman, Allison Dwyer. September 19, 2011
News release: "Symantec Corp. announced the findings of its 2011 Information Retention and eDiscovery Survey which examined how enterprises manage their ever-growing volumes of electronically stored information and prepare for the eventuality of an eDiscovery request. The survey of legal and IT personnel at 2,000 enterprises worldwide found email is not the primary source of records companies must produce, and more importantly, respondents who employ best practices for records and information management are significantly less at risk of court sanctions or fines."
The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem in Small Claims Court: Robo-Signing and Lack of Proof in Debt Buyer Cases, Peter A. Holland, University of Maryland School of Law
House Committee on the Judiciary: Background on H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act: "On June 23 the House overwhelmingly approved HR 1249, the America Invents Act, by a vote of 304-117. H.R. 1249 updates our patent system to encourage innovation, job creation, and economic growth. The last major patent reform was nearly 60 years ago. Since then, U.S. innovators have developed cell phones and launched the Internet. And yet the laws protecting the technologies of today are stuck in the past. The current system is bogged down by frivolous lawsuits and uncertainty regarding patent ownership. America’s innovators spend years and millions of dollars defending their claims to patent ownership. Meanwhile, our competitors are busy developing new products that expand their businesses and grow their economies. This year, for the first time, China is expected to become the world’s number one patent publisher, surpassing the U.S. and Japan in the total and basic number of patents. Our outdated patent system has become a barrier to innovation. We cannot expect America’s innovators and job creators to keep pace with the global marketplace with the patent system of the past. We need a system that ensures patent certainty, approves good patents quickly and weeds out bad patents effectively."
Via Baker & McKenzie’s North American Compensation and Employment Law
Practice Group - 2011 edition of the U.S. Employment Law for Global Employers. "Companies operating in the United States today face an increasingly complex and ever-evolving maze of federal, state, and local labor and employment laws. This can be particularly daunting for companies new to the United States who are trying to familiarize themselves with these laws. As such, the goal of this guide is to provide an overview of U.S. labor and employment laws to global employers operating in the United States."
News release: "The official end today of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law reflects the American values that military members uphold, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today [in a briefing]. “Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at the foundation of the values that America's all about -- equality, equal opportunity and dignity for all Americans,” he told reporters during a Pentagon news briefing. Panetta reaffirmed his dedication to all who are serving and ensuring everyone who wishes to serve has the opportunity to do so regardless of sexual preference. “As secretary of defense, I am committed to removing all of the barriers that would prevent Americans from serving their country and from rising to the highest level of responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant,” he said. “These are men and women who put their lives on the line in the defense of this country, and that's what should matter the most.” Panetta credited several groups for helping prepare the Defense Department for the implementation of the repeal. “I want to thank the repeal implementation team and the service secretaries, along with the service chiefs, for all of their efforts to ensure that DOD is ready to make this change, consistent with standards of military readiness, with military effectiveness, with unit cohesion, and with the recruiting and retention of the armed forces,” he said."
CRS - Illegal Internet Streaming of Copyrighted Content: Legislation in the 112th Congress, Brian T. Yeh, Legislative Attorney, August 29, 2011
Future of the First Amendment 2011 Survey of High School Students and Teachers, Commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation - September 2011
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, which gives parents control over what personal information websites may collect from children under 13. The FTC proposes these amendments to ensure that the Rule continues to protect children’s privacy, as mandated by Congress, as online technologies evolve. The Commission proposes modifications to the Rule in five areas: definitions, including the definitions of “personal information” and “collection,” parental notice, parental consent mechanisms, confidentiality and security of children’s personal information, and the role of self-regulatory “safe harbor” programs."
Press release: "On September 12, 2011 the Authors' Guild and a number of other entities filed suit against HathiTrust and a number of its university partners. The issues in the suit are the orphan works project as well as the digitization effort that we have been engaged in for almost two decades. Digitization is a reflection of library prudence, rather than the reckless activity as characterized by the Authors' Guild complaint and accompanying statement. From its inception, the primary motive driving our digitization effort has been, and remains, preservation. Preserving the scholarly and cultural record is at the core of the Library's mission. Digitization offers a means of preserving the intellectual content of books whose lives as objects are subject to the vagaries of storage conditions and their own composition; for example, the vast majority of the volumes in our collection are printed on acid paper. Many of these volumes are protected by copyright, but if we wait until they enter the public domain they will be too brittle to circulate or digitize, and of no use to anyone. The Orphan Works Project is an example of library prudence in other ways. Digitized collections offer other obvious benefits. They can be more readily shared with our community, who increasingly expect their research materials to be available in digital form, and they can also provide a trove of data, both humanistic and scientific, that will help scholars and researchers discover and create new knowledge. And in many cases, they can also be made available to anyone in the world with a connection to the Internet. The way in which the HathiTrust partners share this particular collection is guided by a deep and abiding respect for intellectual property and US copyright law, particularly Sections 107 and 108, which help define how libraries may lawfully share their collections. While the law does not specifically address orphan works, we are certain that our scholarly purpose, along with our careful methodology in determining whether these works have a market or an extant copyright holder who can be contacted, make this sharing legal. Sharing, by the way, which is limited to online reading by our faculty and students in the United States, and one-page-at-a-time downloads; not, as the Guild complaint states, worldwide availability and full PDF downloads."
Life in Limbo - An Examination of Parole Release for Prisoners Serving Life Sentences with the Possibility of Parole in California, Robert Weisberg, Debbie A. Mukamal and Jordan D. Segall. September 2011. Stanford Criminal Justice Center
News release: "The Conference also authorized an increase in the Judiciary's electronic public access fee in response to increasing costs for maintaining and enhancing the electronic public access system. The increase in the electronic public access (EPA) fee, from $.08 to $.10 per page, is needed to continue to support and improve the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, and to develop and implement the next generation of the Judiciary's Case Management/Electronic Case Filing system. The EPA fee has not been increased since 2005. As mandated by Congress, the EPA program is funded entirely through user fees set by the Conference. Implementation of the two-cent per page increase will take a minimum of six months."
"The Tracking Protection Working Group is chartered to improve user privacy and user control by defining mechanisms for expressing user preferences around Web tracking and for blocking or allowing Web tracking elements. The group seeks to standardize the technology and meaning of Do Not Track, and of Tracking Selection Lists." See in Input Documents as follows
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse - Rising Immigration Backlog At All-time High Yet Criminal, National Security, and Terrorism Cases Fall
News release: "The Federal Trade Commission issued a final report, Authorized Generic Drugs: Short-Term Effects and Long-Term Impact, that concludes when pharmaceutical companies introduce an authorized generic version of their brand-name drug, it can reduce both retail and wholesale drug prices. The report also found that authorized generics have a substantial effect on the revenues of competing generic firms. Over the longer term, by lowering expected profits for generic competitors, the introduction of an authorized generic could affect a generic drug company’s decision to challenge patents on branded drug products with low sales. However, the report concludes that in spite of this, patent challenges by generic competitors remain robust. Finally, the report finds that some brand companies may have used agreements not to launch an authorized generic as a way to compensate would-be generic competitors for delaying entry into the market. The FTC has for years opposed pay-for-delay patent litigation settlements, in which a brand-name drug manufacturer compensates its generic competitor to delay entering the market and offering consumers a lower-cost alternative. With this report, the agency has found that promises by a branded firm not to market competing authorized generics are frequently present in pharmaceutical patent settlements."
Blog of the Legal Times: "Responding to a lawsuit filed by five of the nation's largest cigarette manufacturers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration filed Friday to block any delay to new regulations requiring graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. The tobacco companies are suing the agency in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claiming that the new labels cross the line from factual warnings to unconstitutionally compelled speech. The companies want a preliminary injunction postponing the date the new rules go into effect. In its opposition brief, the FDA is pushing back against the companies’ claim that they would suffer “economic harm” by spending several million dollars to produce the new labels in the meantime. The new regulations are set to go into effect in September 2012."
News release: "LexisNexis® Risk Solutions today unveiled the HPCC Systems Alliance Program, which is a collaboration of partners to stimulate innovation and accelerate market adoption of the newly open sourced HPCC Systems, an enterprise-proven, open source solution to help large organizations process “Big Data”. Built on a high performing computer cluster technology, HPCC Systems is an alternative to Hadoop. Interest in processing and managing Big Data is growing rapidly among enterprise and service provider customers. LexisNexis collaboration with innovative leaders will help customers navigate options for addressing large data sets, reduce overall infrastructure costs, and improve business agility and data insight. Products and solutions from these partners will help deliver fully integrated, turnkey solutions."
The Library of Congress - THOMAS: "This site was begun in September 2001 as a way of keeping the public readily apprised of legislation related to the terrorist attack on the United States that month. The selection, made by hand, is necessarily subjective, as the September 11th attack had a ripple effect on legislation in the second session of the 107th Congress, making boundaries difficult to draw. The site will not be updated after the conclusion of the 107th. Not included here are appropriations and authorization bills, which may include provisions relevant to our response to terrorism, but included are some bills related to bio-terrorism and not September 11th."
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Immigration Enforcement Since 9/11: A Reality Check - "An examination of millions of case-by-case records show that the overall number of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deportation proceedings in the Immigration Courts in the decade after 9/11 were up by almost one half (45%) -- from 1.6 million in the ten years before the attack to 2.3 million in the ten years since. But the data also show that DHS requests for removal orders on terrorism and national security charges -- always a very small part of the total -- have declined from what they were before the attacks. Likewise, in the decade after 9/11 the number of deportation proceedings on those charged with criminal activity has also fallen."
worldAtWork: Tracking Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Updated September 8, 2011: "On Wednesday, July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Act calls for sweeping reforms, not just for the financial services industry, but for all publicly-traded companies. With many of the provisions in this bill subject to forthcoming regulations and guidance, this page is dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information about regulations and guidance that have been issued that will affect the implementation of this bill."
News release: "Following a comprehensive investigation, the Justice Department today announced its findings that the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) has engaged in a pattern and practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law. The investigation, launched in July 2008, was conducted in accordance with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. The Justice Department found reasonable cause to believe that a pattern and practice of unconstitutional conduct and/or violations of federal law occurred in several areas, including: Use of excessive force; Use of unreasonable force and other misconduct designed to suppress the exercise of protected First Unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests."
"The Circuit Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Department of Justice must release information regarding government surveillance of cell phone location data. The American Civil Liberties Union had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for information regarding current and past cases where the Department of Justice had accessed cell phone location data without a warrant. The agency sought to keep this information secret, claiming that releasing cell phone tracking data could implicate privacy of investigation subjects. The court, however, disagreed, stating, "The disclosure sought by the plaintiffs would inform this ongoing public policy discussion by shedding light on the scope and effectiveness of cell phone tracking as a law enforcement tool." For more information, see EPIC: Wiretapping and EPIC: Electronic Surveillance 1968-2010."
Obama Administration Fulfills Some Open Gov Goals, National Security Bureaucracy Hinders Progress - "The Obama Administration has made some positive changes towards an open government this year, but the national security bureaucracy continues to hinder progress, according to a report released today. The 2011 Secrecy Report was released by OpenTheGovernment.org, a coalition of more than 80 groups (including POGO) advocating for a more open and accountable government. According to the report, some of the Obama Administration’s promises of transparency are paying off—but certain national security agencies are ignoring the open government agenda. Some of the good news highlighted in the report centers on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Administration has been “rebuilding openness” and FOIA performance has improved from previous years. Compared to 2009, FOIA backlogs in 2010 were reduced by 10 percent.Other moves the Obama Administration has made towards transparency include releasing newly declassified details about the U.S. nuclear stockpile, updating sites like FederalReporting.gov and USAspending.gov, and refusing to assert Executive Privilege to deny congressional requests for information (Obama is the first president in OpenTheGovernment.org’s records not to do so.)...The report points to an Associated Press study that found that the Central Intelligence Agency and Securities and Exchange Commission rejected information requests more than half the time during 2010."
News release: "The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), today filed lawsuits against 17 financial institutions, certain of their officers and various unaffiliated lead underwriters. The suits allege violations of federal securities laws and common law in the sale of residential private-label mortgage-backed securities (PLS) to the Enterprises. These complaints were filed in federal or state court in New York or the federal court in Connecticut. The complaints seek damages and civil penalties under the Securities Act of 1933, similar in content to the complaint FHFA filed against UBS Americas, Inc. on July 27, 2011. In addition, each complaint seeks compensatory damages for negligent misrepresentation. Certain complaints also allege state securities law violations or common law fraud."
International Journal of Central Banking - Volume 7, Number 3 September 2011