Friday, February 19, 2016

If the answer is yes, who is looking for evidence that this is happening? (Not just in the rankings of articles returned, but in the headline words. “Obama...good””)
Can Google influence election results?
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Feb 18, 2016
“…[Search Engine Manipulation Effect] SEME’s near-invisibility is curious indeed. It means that when people – including you and me – are looking at biased search rankings, they look just fine. So if right now you Google ‘US presidential candidates’, the search results you see will probably look fairly random, even if they happen to favour one candidate. Even I have trouble detecting bias in search rankings that I know to be biased (because they were prepared by my staff). Yet our randomised, controlled experiments tell us over and over again that when higher-ranked items connect with web pages that favour one candidate, this has a dramatic impact on the opinions of undecided voters, in large part for the simple reason that people tend to click only on higher-ranked items. This is truly scary: like subliminal stimuli, SEME is a force you can’t see; but unlike subliminal stimuli, it has an enormous impact – like Casper the ghost pushing you down a flight of stairs. We published a detailed report about our first five experiments on SEME in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in August 2015. We had indeed found something important, especially given Google’s dominance over search. Google has a near-monopoly on internet searches in the US, with 83 per cent of Americans specifying Google as the search engine they use most often, according to the Pew Research Center. So if Google favours one candidate in an election, its impact on undecided voters could easily decide the election’s outcome.”

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda
Hillary Clinton: "I've always tried" to tell the truth

If Apple fails, what will the FBI to demand of others?
Facebook, Google, Twitter, Woz, Trump, McAfee, Snowden, and more take sides on Apple vs. the FBI
… Here are some of the key (if not kooky) testimonies in the court of public opinion.
… On Thursday, the social media giant issued a statement acknowledging the “essential work” authorities do to keep us safe, but Facebook also pledged to “fight aggressively” against government efforts to curtail the security of tech products.
… Steve Wozniak
The Apple cofounder spoke to CNBC on Thursday about Apple’s recent privacy fight against the FBI.
“I’m not intimately involved in the fight, but I’m definitely against [the court order],” Woz said.
… Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Pichai took to Twitter to praise Cook for speaking out against the FBI’s demands. “Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy,” Pichai wrote.
… Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
Dorsey took to Twitter to share Cook’s letter and express his support for Apple.
… Donald Trump
I agree 100 percent with the courts. In that case, we should open it up,” Trump told “Fox & Friends,” as reported by Politico.
… Edward Snowden
Snowden posted on Twitter that Apple’s fight against the FBI is “the most important tech case in a decade.”

(Related) If the FBI had not gone public, would Apple have done what they asked?
How Tim Cook, in iPhone Battle, Became a Bulwark for Digital Privacy
… Apple had asked the F.B.I. to issue its application for the tool under seal. But the government made it public, prompting Mr. Cook to go into bunker mode to draft a response, according to people privy to the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The result was the letter that Mr. Cook signed on Tuesday, where he argued that it set a “dangerous precedent” for a company to be forced to build tools for the government that weaken security.

Imagine this connected to police dash-cams. “Oh look! A potential terrorist!”
Today, we're announcing the beta release of Google Cloud Vision API. Now anyone can submit their images to the Cloud Vision API to understand the contents of those images — from detecting everyday objects (for example, “sports car,” “sushi,” or “eagle”) to reading text within the image or identifying product logos.

You ain't been harmed unless you can prove you've been harmed.
Jason C. Gavejian writes:
The U.S. Court Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has ruled that statutory damages under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) are not available in a case where the plaintiff did not incur any actual damages.
The case, Vista Marketing LLC v. Burkett, originated from an extremely contentious divorce proceeding.

Peter Sullivan, Christopher Escobedo Hart and Colin Zick of Foley Hoag write:
How much does the question of harm matter in cybersecurity law? The answer is: It depends on who is bringing the claim.
Businesses confronting data breaches can face litigation from private consumers as well as from governmental entities. Managing litigation risk varies in these contexts because of the limitations of bringing private rights of action. One such limitation is the requirement of proving actual harm in private actions. As explained further below, the bar for enforcement is lower when federal regulators bring an action against an entity. Businesses must be mindful that the lack of actual harm may not be an avenue to dismiss these claims. Employing best practices is still paramount in helping businesses mitigate the risks that come from private party suits and government enforcement actions.
Read their full article that includes mention of notable court rulings and their implications on Security, Privacy, and the Law.

Is this what Facebook should have done in India? Could we do this in Denver?
New York’s futuristic new pay phones don’t require any payment at all
New York's futuristic, high-tech pay phones -- which are embedded with touchscreen tablets – are finally going live on Thursday.
The name "pay phone" doesn't quite do it justice, of course. Yes, the city's LinkNYC terminals will allow you to make domestic phone calls. But they'll also let you surf the Web, pull up online maps and connect to city services like 311 and 911. And all of it will be free, thanks to built-in advertising.

Perspective. Perhaps there is hope?
Twitter’s Account Suspensions Are Surprisingly Effective Against ISIS
… According to J.M. Berger and Heather Perez, Twitter’s routine pruning of Islamic State-associated accounts has kept the size of the Islamic State’s propaganda network small, and has particularly damaged the reach and influence of the largest and most prominent accounts.
The researchers’ findings, published Thursday by the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, temper a general sense of panic among government officials, sparked by the impression that the Islamic State is “winning” a propaganda war against the Western world.
Top lawmakers have lamented the effectiveness of the group’s grassroots-like Twitter apparatus, and have launched shaky attempts to counter it. In doing so, they have painted a picture of a well-oiled propaganda machine that floods Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram with pro-jihadi messages that inspire Westerners to either travel to Iraq and Syria, or commit acts of terrorism at home.

Perspective. A strong indication that smartphones are ubiquitous?
Volvo reveals plans to replace car keys with a smartphone app starting in 2016
The Swedish car maker has announced a pilot program kicking off in Sweden this spring that will offer cars without any kind of physical key or fob, with plans to make the system available commercially in 2017.

Because I'm teaching spreadsheets in the Spring…
How to Create Powerful Graphs & Charts in Microsoft Excel

Something our CJ students ca use?
California DOJ’s OpenJustice Platform Makes Local Law Enforcement Data More Transparent
OpenJustice, an interactive web platform developed by the California Department of Justice and spearheaded by the office of the attorney general, has today released a new set of criminal justice data for the sake of transparency and accountability.
It includes data from California’s 1,000-plus law enforcement agencies to allow for side-by-side comparison of agencies, like San Francisco Police Department versus Los Angeles Police Department. The new local data also includes information on the demographic information of both victims and offenders.

It can be free AND good.
The Public Domain Review
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Feb 18, 2016
“Founded in 2011, The Public Domain Review is an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas. In particular, as our name suggests, the focus is on works which have now fallen into the public domain, that vast commons of out-of-copyright material that everyone is free to enjoy, share, and build upon without restriction. Our aim is to promote and celebrate the public domain in all its abundance and variety, and help our readers explore its rich terrain – like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond. With a focus on the surprising, the strange, and the beautiful, we hope to provide an ever-growing cabinet of curiosities for the digital age, a kind of hyperlinked Wunderkammer – an archive of content which truly celebrates the breadth and diversity of our shared cultural commons and the minds that have made it. The Main Parts of the Site:
  • The Collections – The vast majority of the content exists in our curated collections of images, books, audio and film, in which we shine a light on curiosities and wonders from a wide range of online archives.
  • The Essays – Every two weeks we publish a new long-form essay in which leading scholars, writers, archivists, and artists offer insight and reflection upon the oft overlooked histories which surround public domain works.
  • Curator’s Choice – In this series each month a curator from a gallery, library, archive, or museum picks out highlights from their openly licensed digital collections. Contributors include The British Library, the Rijksmuseum and the UK National Archives.”

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