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Category Archives: Government Documents

Biden Issues Executive Order to Protect Americans’ Sensitive Personal Data

“President Biden issued an Executive Order to protect Americans’ sensitive personal data from exploitation by countries of concern. The Executive Order on Preventing Access to Americans’ Bulk Sensitive Personal Data and United States Government-Related Data by Countries of Concern, marks the most significant executive action any President has ever taken to protect Americans’ data security, authorizes the Attorney General to prevent the large-scale transfer of Americans’ personal data to countries of concern and provides safeguards around other activities that can give those countries access to Americans’ sensitive data. The President’s Executive Order focuses on Americans’ most personal and sensitive information, including genomic data, biometric data, personal health data, geolocation data, financial data, and certain kinds of personally identifiable information. Bad actors can use this data to track Americans (including military service members), pry into their personal lives, and pass that data on to other data brokers and foreign intelligence services. This data can enable intrusive surveillance, scams, blackmail, and other violations of privacy. Companies are collecting more of Americans’ data than ever before, and it is often legally sold and resold through data brokers. Commercial data brokers and other companies can sell this data to countries of concern, or entities controlled by those countries, and it can land in the hands of foreign intelligence services, militaries, or companies controlled by foreign governments. The sale of Americans’ data raises significant privacy, counterintelligence, blackmail risks and other national security risks—especially for those in the military or national security community.  Countries of concern can also access Americans’ sensitive personal data to collect information on activists, academics, journalists, dissidents, political figures, and members of non-governmental organizations and marginalized communities to intimidate opponents of countries of concern, curb dissent, and limit Americans’ freedom of expression and other civil liberties…”

Their States Banned Abortion

ProPublica – Doctors Now Say They Can’t Give Women Potential Lifesaving Care. “…Most medical exceptions in abortion bans only allow the procedure to “save the life of the mother.” But there is a wide spectrum of health risks patients can face during pregnancy, and even those that are potentially fatal could fall outside of the… Continue Reading

With elections looming worldwide here’s how to identify and investigate AI audio deepfakes

Nieman Lab: “…Media manipulation investigators told GIJN that fake AI-generated audio simulations — in which a real voice is cloned by a machine learning tool to state a fake message — could emerge as an even bigger threat to elections in 2024 and 2025 than fabricated videos. One reason is that, like so-called cheapfakes, audio… Continue Reading

Violence Against Women and International Law – Updated February 2024

Violence Against Women and International Law – Updated February 2024 – Sabrina I. Pacifici is identifying and documenting pertinent sources for researchers on the October 7, 2023 terrorist attack and violence against women and girls. The guide was originally published on November 23, 2023 – link here, and had 8 pertinent sources on this topic comprising… Continue Reading

Why car insurance rates are so high

Vox: “If you pay for car insurance, you’ve probably noticed that rates are really high lately. You’re not alone. Last week’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report — the government’s method for tracking what people are paying for goods and services and how that’s changing over time — noted that the price of car insurance was… Continue Reading

ARCCI submits first report regarding Hamas October 7 attack to the UN

Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI): “The report clearly demonstrates that this is not a “malfunction” or isolated incident but a clear operational strategy involving systematic, targeted sexual abuse. The report focuses on sexual and gender-based violence during the massacre of October 7, 2023, and the war that ensued, serving as a primary… Continue Reading

US Census Bureau purposely fudges location data in census to protect people’s privacy

Via Kottke – The U.S. Census Is Wrong on Purpose: “…Full census data is only made available 72 years after the census takes place, in accordance with the creatively-named “72 year rule.” Until then, it is only available as aggregated data with individual identifiers removed. Still, if the population of a town is small enough,… Continue Reading

This Tiny Website Is Google’s First Line of Defense in the Patent Wars

Wired: “TDCommons is a free space for inventors to lay claim to breakthroughs without having to file a patent. Why is it so off the radar? A trio of Google engineers recently came up with a futuristic way to help anyone who stumbles through presentations on video calls. They propose that when algorithms detect a… Continue Reading

Mapping Soot and Smog Pollution in the United States

Earth Justice: “Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must set standards that protect public health from common air pollutants, such as fine particulate matter (also known as soot) and ground-level ozone (also known as smog). On Feb. 7, the EPA strengthened the annual particulate matter standard from 12 micrograms per cubic meter… Continue Reading

How the Smithsonian Is Helping Black Americans Trace Their Roots

Smithsonian Magazine – Free sessions hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture offer visitors advice on researching their genealogy..Genealogy researchers use military records, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, wills, legal and court documents, and census records to help piece together the past. The resources referenced by NMAAHC’s team don’t currently… Continue Reading

OMB stands up first online database of all federal programs

Federal News Network: “It took 13 years — with some stops, starts and stumbles in between — but as of today, the federal government now has a single website designed to deliver detailed, searchable information about all federal programs. The Office of Management and Budget flipped the switch Thursday on the new Federal Program Inventory,… Continue Reading

The impact of generative AI in a global election year

Brookings – Valerie Wirtschafter: “The influence of the online ecosystem in shaping democratic discourse is well-documented, with the expanded reach of generative artificial intelligence (AI) representing a novel challenge in a historic election year. Generative AI enables the creation of realistic images, videos, audio, or text based on user-provided prompts. Given the potential exploitation of… Continue Reading