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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

The Capitol riot and its aftermath makes the case for tech regulation more urgent, but no simpler

TechCrunch: “Last week and throughout the weekend, technology companies took the historic step of deplatforming the president of the United States in the wake of a riot in which the US Capitol was stormed by a collection of white nationalists, QAnon supporters, and right wing activists. The decision to remove Donald Trump, his fundraising and moneymaking apparatus, and a large portion of his supporters from their digital homes because of their incitements to violence in the nation’s Capitol on January 6th and beyond, has led a chorus of voices to call for the regulation of the giant tech platforms. They argue that private companies shouldn’t have the sole power to erase the digital footprint of a sitting president. But there’s a reason why the legislative hearings in Congress, and the pressure from the president, have not created any new regulations. And there’s also a reason why — despite all of the protestations from the president and his supporters — no lawsuits have effectively been brought against the platforms for their decisions. The law, for now, is on their side…”

Experts explain how disinformation online helped fuel the attack on the Capitol

Poynter – How did we get here?: “The world changed last week after rioters infiltrated the U.S. Capitol building and disrupted our legislative and democratic process. It was an event most people did not see coming, but others have worried about for months, if not years. Disinformation and misinformation researchers, online content verification analysts and… Continue Reading

Racial Allies – public interest law sector in the United States

Adediran, Atinuke O., Racial Allies (December 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3755013  – “Public interest law has played a critical role in American social and legal change both historically and in modern times. From abolitionist lawyers, to lawyers involved in civil rights and civil liberties, to lawyers challenging economic inequality, the eviction crisis and immigration, public… Continue Reading

The Future of Law Schools: COVID-19, Technology, and Social Justice

Sundquist, Christian, The Future of Law Schools: COVID-19, Technology, and Social Justice (August 1, 2020). Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 53(1), 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3665221 “The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare not only the social and racial inequities in society, but also the pedagogical and access to justice inequities embedded in the traditional legal curriculum.… Continue Reading

2020 was the year activists mastered hashtag flooding

Mashable: “…There are a number of reasons why hashtag flooding can be impactful, but Volsky feels a hashtag’s ability to help people reclaim a narrative is one of the strongest.  “I think the way social media is structured is to reward the loudest most obnoxious, most controversial voices out there, and that’s part of the… Continue Reading

Pew – 20 striking findings from 2020

“The global coronavirus pandemic upended life in the United States and around the world in 2020, disrupting how people work, go to school, attend religious services, socialize with friends and family, and much more. But the pandemic wasn’t the only event that shaped the year. The videotaped killing of George Floyd by police officers in… Continue Reading

Road Map for Improvements: GAO’s Transition Webpage Flags Ways to Improve Government, Save Money

“The 117th Congress and the incoming Presidential administration will be taking office in a time that presents significant challenges to the government. Today the U.S. Government Accountability Office launched a new webpage dedicated to informing incoming lawmakers and administration officials about major challenges facing the federal government, as well as possible solutions. This Presidential and… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 3, 2020

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, January 3, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly… Continue Reading

COVID-19, Death Records and the Public Interest: Now is the Time to Push for Transparency

Sanders, A. K. (2020). COVID-19, death records and the public interest: Now is the time to push for transparency. Journal of Civic Information, 2(4), 1-22. “As the U.S. has grappled with COVID-19, the government has resisted repeated requests to follow open records laws, which are essential to transparency. Current efforts to reduce access to death… Continue Reading

Facts won’t fix this: experts on how to fight America’s disinformation crisis

The Guardian – “Trump’s false claims about the election and coronavirus are taking a dangerous toll. Can the divide be healed? At the beginning of 2021, millions of Americans appear to disagree about one of the most basic facts of their democracy: that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. The consequences of Donald Trump’s… Continue Reading

Differential Privacy

Harvard University Privacy Tools Project – “…Differential privacy is a rigorous mathematical definition of privacy. In the simplest setting, consider an algorithm that analyzes a dataset and computes statistics about it (such as the data’s mean, variance, median, mode, etc.). Such an algorithm is said to be differentially private if by looking at the output,… Continue Reading