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Category Archives: Legislation

Instagram Now Fact-Checks, but Who Will Do the Checking?

Wired – Facebook says it will extend its fact-checking program to Instagram. But the system is already overwhelmed and may not be able to handle more information. “Facebook announced on Thursday that it would expand a fact-checking program to its Instagram image-sharing service. Instagram users in the US can now report content they believe is false, but it’s not clear that the system, which is already overwhelmed, can handle more suspect information. Provocative stories that’ll forever change how you think. “Facebook did not ever scale the fact-checking program on Facebook to be able to reach all users and all information on Facebook,” says Robyn Caplan, a media and information policy scholar at Rutgers who studies social media governance. “I’m not quite certain how they’re going to scale to Instagram effectively.” Instagram was once the land of golden filters, where positivity reigned supreme. More recently, though, the platform has fallen victim to the same hate speech, bullying, and misinformation that plagues just about every social media site. Systems that can respect free speech, and sensitively address complicated and culturally inflected conversations, at Instagram’s monstrous and growing scale, have proved elusive…”

What is Section 230 and why does Donald Trump want to change it?

MIT Technology Review – This provision of the Communications Decency Act is being blamed for everything from social-media bias to enabling revenge porn. Here’s how to understand the law that created the modern internet. “Section 230 is one of the pieces of legislation that allowed today’s internet—and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—to develop. Now, it’s being… Continue Reading

Voter Purge Rates Remain High, Analysis Finds

Brennan Center for Justice: “Using data released by the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in June, a new Brennan Center analysis has found that between 2016 and 2018, counties with a history of voter discrimination have continued purging people from the rolls at much higher rates than other counties. This phenomenon began after the Supreme… Continue Reading

Few Federal Hate Crime Referrals Result in Prosecution

“The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (18 USC 249) was passed by Congress in 2009. Despite around 50 criminal referrals each year to federal prosecutors for these hate crimes, few have resulted in actual charges filed in federal court. During the Trump Administration, the number of federal prosecutions under this… Continue Reading

Trump administration deals blow to Endangered Species Act and disregards climate crisis

Washington Post: “The Trump administration moved on Monday to weaken how it applies the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act, ordering changes that critics said will speed the loss of animals and plants at a time of record global extinctions . The action, which expands the administration’s rewrite of U.S. environmental laws, is the latest that targets… Continue Reading

Libraries can have 3-D printers but they are still about books

The Conversation: “…How often do we hear that libraries aren’t just about books anymore? They are makerspaces with 3-D printers, scanners, laser vinyl cutters and routers. They provide green rooms, sewing machines, button makers, and tools like drills, saws and soldering irons. They are places to borrow seeds, fishing rods, cake making supplies, binoculars, laptops… Continue Reading

Legal Shield for Websites Rattles Under Onslaught of Hate Speech

The New York Times – “When the most consequential law governing speech on the internet was created in 1996, Google.com didn’t exist and Mark Zuckerberg was 11 years old. The federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, has helped Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and countless other internet companies flourish. But Section 230’s liability protection… Continue Reading

The terrible numbers that grow with each mass shooting

Washington Post – “The places change, the numbers change, but the choice of weapon remains the same. In the United States, people who want to kill a lot of other people most often do it with guns. Public mass shootings account for a tiny fraction of the country’s gun deaths, but they are uniquely terrifying… Continue Reading

Op-Ed: How data privacy laws could make the criminal justice system even more unfair

LA Times – “A cluster of new and proposed state and federal laws will soon make it harder for people accused of crimes to defend themselves. All of these laws are well-intended — to protect privacy by shielding sensitive personal information — but they suffer from a fundamental unfairness that needs correction. These laws tilt… Continue Reading

California privacy act interpretation could make common newsgathering practice unlawful

Reporters Committee for Freedom of Information – ” The California court of appeal is considering an expansive interpretation of state privacy law — in a pending lawsuit pending involving Yelp — that would make it unlawful to take notes during telephone conversations. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a coalition of 17… Continue Reading

Our lax cybersecurity policies put our elections and our data at risk

CNN Perspectives – Andrew Grotto – “Our national discussions about cybersecurity and privacy follow a frustrating pattern: a headline-grabbing incident like the recent Capital One breach occurs, Congress wrings its hands and policymakers more or less move on. So it is no surprise cybersecurity hasn’t been much of a focus as the race to the… Continue Reading

LC Report – Initiatives to Counter Fake News

“This report examines the legal approaches of 15 countries, representing all regions of the world, to the emerging problem of manipulation with “fake news” using mass and social media, especially the impact of fake news on ongoing political processes and elections, and the legislative measures undertaken to counteract the dissemination of false information. With the… Continue Reading