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Category Archives: Legal Research

HUD File Housing Discrimination Complaint Against Facebook

“WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination. HUD claims Facebook enables advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon the recipient’s race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or zip code. Facebook then invites advertisers to express unlawful preferences by offering discriminatory options, allowing them to effectively limit housing options for these protected classes under the guise of ‘targeted advertising.’ Read HUD’s complaint against Facebook. “The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination including those who might limit or deny housing options with a click of a mouse,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone’s face. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing transactions including print and online advertisement on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. HUD’s Secretary-initiated complaint follows the Department’s investigation into Facebook’s advertising platform which includes targeting tools that enable advertisers to filter prospective tenants or homebuyers based on these protected classes.  For example, HUD’s complaint alleges Facebook’s platform violates the Fair Housing Act. It enables advertisers to, among other things:

  • display housing ads either only to men or women;
  • not show ads to Facebook users interested in an “assistance dog,” “mobility scooter,” “accessibility” or “deaf culture”;
  • not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “child care” or “parenting,” or show ads only to users with children above a specified age;
  • to display/not display ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in a particular place of worship, religion or tenet, such as the “Christian Church,” “Sikhism,” “Hinduism,” or the “Bible.”
  • not show ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in “Latin America,” “Canada,” “Southeast Asia,” “China,” “Honduras,” or “Somalia.”
  • draw a red line around zip codes and then not display ads to Facebook users who live in specific zip codes…”

EPIC Comments on Second Annual Privacy Shield Review

EPIC Comments on Second Annual Privacy Shield Review – “EPIC provided comments to the European Commission to inform the second annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, a framework that permits the processing of the personal data of Europeans in the United States. EPIC detailed the latest privacy developments in the U.S., including the extension of Fourth Amendment… Continue Reading

UK Open standards for government

Open standards for government – Information about the open standards chosen for use in government technology. “The UK government selects open standards for use in government technology. The aim is to apply these consistently across government bodies, making our services more integrated and better for users. These profiles include the open standards chosen by peer… Continue Reading

Preserving Presidential History

Podcast – “The National Archives has been collecting records of the United States since 1934. It holds billions of documents, photographs, and objects that tell the story of our country and our Presidents. White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin talks to David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, about the importance of record-keeping,… Continue Reading

3 Practical Tools To Help Regulators Develop Better Laws And Policies

Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University. 3 Practical Tools To Help Regulators Develop Better Laws And Policies a Policy Paper on Autonomous Vehicles, July 2018. “Regulators and policymakers are driving efforts to deliver the benefits of automated vehicles (AVs) to the public as soon as possible, while minimizing their potential challenges. However, there are still many… Continue Reading

How the Holocaust-Swiss banks deal was brokered

Swissinfo: “It has been 20 years since Swiss banks agreed to compensate Holocaust victims for assets lost during the Second World War. A documentary takes a look at the dormant Swiss bank account scandal.  The conflict over Jewish assets in Swiss bank accounts culminated in the 1990s in what would become Switzerland’s largest foreign policy… Continue Reading

National Archives Guides Federal Agencies on Managing Electronic Records

WASHINGTON, August 8, 2018 — “Earlier this week, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) held its first forum to discuss management of digital records [via YouTube] moving into the 21st century. As of December, 31, 2022, the agency will no longer accept records in analog or text form. So NARA is proactively providing guidance… Continue Reading

Paper – Can Microsoft Academic help to assess the citation impact of academic books?

Can Microsoft Academic help to assess the citation impact of academic books? Kayvan Kousha, Mike Thelwall (Submitted on 4 Aug 2018) arXiv:1808.01474 [cs.DL] (or arXiv:1808.01474v1 [cs.DL] for this version) “Despite recent evidence that Microsoft Academic is an extensive source of citation counts for journal articles, it is not known if the same is true for… Continue Reading

Visual Literacy for the Legal Profession

Sherwin, Richard K., Visual Literacy for the Legal Profession (January 15, 2018). Journal of Legal Education, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3212819 “Digital technology has transformed the way we communicate in society. Swept along on a digital tide, words, sounds, and images easily, and often, flow together. This state of affairs has radically affected not… Continue Reading

Should Rivers Have Rights? A Growing Movement Says It’s About Time

Yale Environment 360: “…In Chile, as in other places, we have come to this point because the traditional Western view of rivers — and of nature generally — has failed us. Western legal systems and governments traditionally viewed water and water rights as property, leading to overuse and contamination. One criticism levied by environmental groups… Continue Reading

Utilizing a Bloomberg-Curated Twitter Feed

“Social media has fundamentally changed the way new information is disseminated in everyday life. Compared with conventional channels such as TV, newspapers or magazines, social media outlets truly leveled the playing field by giving all content owners equal access to a publishing service that is essentially free, instant and global. In this paper, we explain… Continue Reading

Report shines light on political ads that appear on Google and affiliates

Google Transparency Report – “This searchable database features political ads that have appeared on Google and partner properties. It is updated once a week. Find ads about federal candidates or current elected federal officeholders, and see who paid for them… Introducing a new transparency report for political ads. We first launched our Transparency Report in… Continue Reading