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Category Archives: Legislation

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…”

So you want to comment on a regulation? Here’s how

How to effectively comment on regulations. August 2018. Adam Looney, Director, Center on Regulation and Markets, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution. “The Trump administration has made its deregulatory agenda clear since inauguration day. The administration’s actions have ranged from sweeping rollbacks of major rules that have garnered media attention, to smaller orders and guidance withdrawals… Continue Reading

United States Legislative Markup XML

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is collaborating with the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, and the Office of the Federal Register on parallel projects to convert a subset of enrolled bills, public laws, the Statutes at Large, the Federal Register, and the… Continue Reading

“Stand Your Ground” Laws Have Failed to Stem Crime or Improve Safety

Rockefeller Institute- Robert J. Spitzer “Many knowledgeable Florida political observers were shocked when the state legislature passed, and Republican Governor Rick Scott signed in March, a modest gun-control measure that included raising the purchase age for firearms from eighteen to twenty-one, banning bump stocks, and giving police greater power to seize weapons from those deemed… Continue Reading

Comparing Men and Women in Parliament – data analysis about gender representation

The Pudding – What 1.2 million parliamentary speeches can teach us about gender representation. “100 Years of Women in the House of Commons – This year marks a century since some women in the United Kingdom were awarded the right to vote in and stand for elections. Since then, 490 different women have represented their… Continue Reading

National Parks Conservation Association Map of Habitat for Threatened and Endangered Species

“National parks are places where plants and animals have the opportunity to thrive. While this site provides detailed information on species in a few national parks across the National Park System, this map shows all national parks that, based on our methodology, provide habitat for threatened and endangered species. Explore the map or use the… Continue Reading

Gun Law TrendWatch 2018 Mid-Year Review

Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: “In 2018, a new wave of youth-led activism has spurred sweeping gun safety reforms across the nation. Mass shootings, far too common in our country, are often the catalysts for safer gun laws. After a gunman used a bump stock to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of… Continue Reading

GAO – Only One-Quarter of Agencies Publishing Timely, Accurate Spending Data

NextGov: “Eight agencies submitted financial data that was more than 75 percent wrong. Nearly three-quarters of federal agencies failed to meet internal auditors’ quality standards when publishing financial data, according to a congressional watchdog. Under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, agencies must use a standard framework when submitting quarterly spending data to the Treasury… Continue Reading

Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for July 2018

In Custodia Legis – LC: “We just passed the two year anniversary of when THOMAS was retired to make way for Congress.gov.  Robert recently shared our second set of enhancements that we had for Congress.gov in June. One area where we have focused is on enhancing committee data.  With this release we are adding a legislative interest column… Continue Reading

Trump administration seeks to roll back Endangered Species Act

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) jointly propose revisions to regulations that implement portions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In 2017, we sought public input on how the Federal government can improve upon the regulatory framework. We received substantial input… Continue Reading

House Cmte panel approves bill to expedite fed firings

FCW.com: “The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee advanced a bill that would make it easier to fire federal employees. The Modern Employment Reform, Improvement and Transformation Act, introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), would allow the head of an agency to remove a federal employee “if the head determines the performance or misconduct of… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About California’s New Data Privacy Law

Harvard Business Review: “Late last month, California passed a sweeping consumer privacy law that might force significant changes on companies that deal in personal data — and especially those operating in the digital space. The law’s passage comes on the heels of a few days of intense negotiation among privacy advocates, technology startups, network providers, Silicon… Continue Reading