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Oversight Subcommittee Seeks Information About Ring’s Agreements with Police, Local Governments

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 19, 2020)—”Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to Amazon seeking information about its subsidiary Ring Inc.’s partnerships with city governments and local police departments, along with the company’s policies governing the data it collects. Ring sells internet-connected home surveillance equipment, such… Continue Reading

Elephant behavior toward the dead

Washington Post – An elephants story does not end when it dies See also Goldenberg, S.Z., Wittemyer, G. Elephant behavior toward the dead: A review and insights from field observations. Primates 61, 119–128 (2020). “Many nonhuman animals have been documented to take an interest in their dead. A few socially complex and cognitively advanced taxa—primates,… Continue Reading

Use Amazon, Uber or Walmart.com? You’ve probably signed away your right to sue them

CNN Business: “Tucked into the sign-up process for many popular e-commerce sites and apps are dense terms-of-service agreements that legal experts say are changing the nature of consumer transactions, creating a veil of secrecy around how these companies function. The small print in these documents requires all signatories to agree to binding arbitration and to… Continue Reading

Ring and Nest helped normalize American surveillance

Washington Post – a nation of voyeurs – For all the worries about hacking, owners of Internet-connected cameras say they love watching people silently from afar — often their own family members. Amazon’s Ring, Google’s Nest and other Internet-connected cameras — some selling for as little as $59 — have given Americans the tools they… Continue Reading

Forest Service says Appalachian Trail isn’t “land” in pipeline fight at SCOTUS

Quartz: “It’s not every Supreme Court brief that goes off the beaten legal path, supplementing jurisprudence with humor and spicing up statutory interpretation with devastating wit. But the filing from environmentalists fighting the US Forest Service (USFS) over its grant of a license for a gas pipeline through the Appalachian Trail is one such gem. … Continue Reading

Financial Secrecy Index 2020

Tax Justice Network – “The Financial Secrecy Index ranks jurisdictions according to their secrecy and the scale of their offshore financial activities. A politically neutral ranking, it is a tool for understanding global financial secrecy, tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions, and illicit financial flows or capital flight. The index was launched on 18 February 2020. The… Continue Reading

Why Amazon knows so much about you

BBC News article includes extensive history, narrative, graphics, photos and insight into how and why Amazon collects massive amounts of data Amazon on users through multiple channels of e-commerce and devices – by Leo Kelion – “You might call me an Amazon super-user. I’ve been a customer since 1999, and rely on it for everything from… Continue Reading

Classaction.gov

Rose, Amanda M., Classaction.gov (February 10, 2020). Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 20-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3534317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3534317 “This Essay proposes the creation of a federally-run class action website and supporting administration (collectively, Classaction.gov) that would both operate a comprehensive research database on class actions and assume many of the notice and claims processing… Continue Reading

Charting a Way Forward – Online Content Regulation

Monika Bickert, VP Content Policy, Facebook: “…This paper explores possible regulatory structures for content governance outside the United States and identifies questions that require further discussion. It builds off recent developments on this topic, including legislation proposed or passed into law by governments, as well as scholarship that explains the various content governance approaches that… Continue Reading

Leaked Document Shows How Big Companies Buy Credit Card Data on Millions of Americans

Motherboard – Yodlee, America’s largest financial data broker, says the data it sells it is anonymous. A confidential document obtained by Motherboard shows people could be unmasked in the data. “Yodlee, the largest financial data broker in the U.S., sells data pulled from the bank and credit card transactions of tens of millions of Americans… Continue Reading

Google AI no longer uses gender binary tags on images of people

INPUT Magazine: “Google’s image-labeling AI tool will no longer label pictures with gender tags like “man” and “woman,” according to an email seen by Business Insider. In the email, Google cites its ethical rules on AI as the basis for the change. This is a progressive move by Google — and one that will hopefully… Continue Reading