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Category Archives: Legal Research

Emoji are showing up in court cases exponentially

and courts aren’t prepared – The Verge: “Bay Area prosecutors were trying to prove that a man arrested during a prostitution sting was guilty of pimping charges, and among the evidence was a series of Instagram DMs he’d allegedly sent to a woman. One read: “Teamwork make the dream work” with high heels and money bag emoji placed at the end. Prosecutors said the message implied a working relationship between the two of them. The defendant said it could mean he was trying to strike up a romantic relationship. Who was right? Emoji are showing up as evidence in court more frequently with each passing year. Between 2004 and 2019, there was an exponential rise in emoji and emoticon references in US court opinions, with over 30 percent of all cases appearing in 2018, according to Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman, who has been tracking all of the references to “emoji” and “emoticon” that show up in US court opinions. So far, the emoji and emoticons have rarely been important enough to sway the direction of a case, but as they become more common, the ambiguity in how emoji are displayed and what we interpret emoji to mean could become a larger issue for courts to contend with…”

Dirty Data, Bad Predictions: How Civil Rights Violations Impact Police Data, Predictive Policing Systems, and Justice

Richardson, Rashida and Schultz, Jason and Crawford, Kate, Dirty Data, Bad Predictions: How Civil Rights Violations Impact Police Data, Predictive Policing Systems, and Justice (February 13, 2019). New York University Law Review Online, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN in PDF: “Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using algorithmic predictive policing systems to forecast criminal activity and allocate… Continue Reading

How badly is Google Books search broken, and why?

Via Sapping Attention blog: “I periodically write about Google Books here, so I thought I’d point out something that I’ve noticed recently that should be concerning to anyone accustomed to treating it as the largest collection of books: it appears that when you use a year constraint on book search, the search index has dramatically… Continue Reading

DeepFakes – how will AI impact our next election?

Axios: “Researchers have broadened the controversial technology called “deepfakes” — AI-generated media that experts fear could roil coming elections by convincingly depicting people saying or doing things they never did, Axios’ Kaveh Waddell reports. A new computer program, created at the San Francisco-based OpenAI lab, is the latest front in deepfakes, producing remarkably human-sounding prose that… Continue Reading

A guide to anti-misinformation actions around the world

Poynter: “In mid-March, a European Commission high-level group published its final report on misinformation, drawing upon the input of experts from around the world who gathered over several weeks to help the European Union figure out what to do about misinformation. The report created by the high-level group — announced in November to help the EU craft policies to… Continue Reading

Privacy and security risks with genetic tests like 23andMe, Ancestry

Business Insider – After you spit into a tube for a DNA test like 23andMe, experts say you shouldn’t assume your data will stay private forever “It may be getting easier to link your private and anonymized DNA data to your identity. That means the genetic data you share with a testing company — which… Continue Reading

ISDA Publishes Guidelines for Smart Derivatives Contracts

Perkins Coie – “The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has published the first in a series of guidelines for what it colloquially refers to as “smart derivatives contracts” (the Guidelines).* A smart derivatives contract is a derivative that incorporates software code to automate aspects of the derivative transaction and operates on a distributed ledger,… Continue Reading

How Brexit Is Creating New Political Factions

The Guardian Data Visualization – How Brexit has created four new political factions – Analysis of Commons voting patterns show how Europhobe and Europhile rebels from both main parties are forming new parliamentary blocs “Our study clusters MPs by the similarity of their voting patterns: if two MPs always vote the same way, the chart… Continue Reading

The median gender pay gap: It’s time to tell the whole story

Quartz: “There are gender pay gaps … and then there are median gender pay gaps. Understanding the difference between the two may determine just how much progress women make in terms of fairer compensation in the next decade. So first, the definitions: “Equal pay” gap: What women are paid versus their direct male peers, statistically… Continue Reading

AALL Calls on Congress to Improve Access to Electronic Records of Federal Court System

“The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is advocating for the passage of the Electronic Court Records Reform Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. This legislation would, for the first time, allow… Continue Reading

Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for February 2019

In Custodia Legis – “In January, Robert announced the first version of the new Committee Schedule that we have been working on.  It is a great way to see quickly which meetings and hearings the House and Senate committees have scheduled for the week…” Continue Reading

The 8 Most Common 2019 Tax Return Questions, Answered by Experts

The New York Times – The most important changes to the tax code in decades have taken effect — and filers are confused. We asked CPAs and other tax-prep pros to simplify things “Some level of bafflement attends tax-filing season every year. But in 2019, as Americans examine their returns for the first time under the… Continue Reading