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Category Archives: Legislation

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 accused of enabling everything from anti-conservative censorship to revenge porn, and politicians on both sides of the aisle are calling for change. Most recently, President Donald Trump drafted an executive order that would limit the provision. Though the executive order may change or be abandoned completely, expect the sound and fury over Section 230 to continue…”

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

New Online Resource Tracks Legislation Affecting Global Health

KKF – U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker. Published: Jul 22, 2019. “This tracker provides a listing of global health-related legislation introduced in the 116th Congress. Currently, there are more than 30 pieces of legislation related to global health. They address topics ranging from global health security to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and reproductive health. The… Continue Reading