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Category Archives: Legislation

GAO – Trump administration violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid

GAO – Office of Management and Budget—Withholding of Ukraine Security Assistance. B-331564: Jan 16, 2020. In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances unavailable for obligation.

Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.

Read the press statement.

Facebook Said It Won’t Change Its Policies On Allowing Lies In Political Ads

BuzzFeedNews: “Facebook will not make any changes to its policies around political advertising, including ones that allow politicians to lie in ads and micro-target specific audiences, the company announced on Thursday. Facebook’s announcement follows intense pressure from lawmakers in the last few months over the company’s decisions to allow politicians to lie in Facebook ads.… Continue Reading

Washington’s New Anti-Robocall Law Won’t Stop the Calls

WSJ.com [article is paywalled but the 5 minute accompanying video is not, and well worth listening for the specificity of the explanation] “In a rare bipartisan achievement, Congress has moved to combat the scourge of robocalls inundating Americans. Just don’t stop the calls to stop coming any time soon..” Continue Reading

Trump Policy ‘Clarification’ All but Ends Punishment for Bird Deaths

The New York Times: “A new interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 2017 means that as of now, companies are no longer subject to prosecution or fines even after a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 that destroyed or injured about one million birds and for which BP paid $100… Continue Reading

An investigation into the smartphone tracking industry from Times Opinion

The New York Times – Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy – By Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel, December 19, 2019. “Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies — largely unregulated, little scrutinized — are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and… Continue Reading

Meet the American animals that bounced back in 2019

National Geographic – This year, a gecko, a songbird, and a minnow joined the short list of recovered American endangered species. “…The list of 27 (plus specific recovered populations of an additional five animal species) is modest when put into context. Since the Endangered Species Act took effect in 1973, 719 animal species native to… Continue Reading

Are you sharing too much about your kids online? Probably

Fast Company – “To save Neverland, Peter Pan fought the pirates. To save their childhood, youth today need us, their parents, to fight against our “sharenting” habits. Our kids need us to protect their privacy and, along with it, their protected space to play so that they can make mischief, make mistakes, and grow up… Continue Reading

Developing Systems to Summarize Legislation

Center for Data Innovation: “Researchers from FiscalNote Research, a technology firm based in Washington, DC, have released a dataset of U.S. Congressional and California state bills to advance the development of systems that can summarize legislation. The dataset contains more than 22,000 U.S. Congressional bills and summaries from 1993 through 2018 and more than 1,200… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues December 7, 2019

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues December 7, 2019 – 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… Continue Reading

Internet Archive and Boston Public Library to digitize and preserve over 100,000 vinyl LPs

Internet Archive Blogs – “Imagine if your favorite song or nostalgic recording from childhood was lost forever. This could be the fate of hundreds of thousands of audio files stored on vinyl, except that the Internet Archive is now expanding its digitization project to include LPs.  Earlier this year, the Internet Archive began working with… Continue Reading