Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Daily Archives: November 29, 2018

GPO to Retire the Federal Digital System Website 11/29/18

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office will officially retire its Federal Digital System (FDsys) website on December 14. The retirement will complete the transition to govinfo (, the user-friendly, modernized site that offers a dynamic way for the public to discover and access information on the three branches of the Federal Government. “With the official transition of FDsys to govinfo, GPO demonstrates its continued ability to meet the ever-changing technological needs of the public,” said GPO Acting Deputy Director Herbert H. Jackson, Jr. “GPO has now made it easier than ever for members of the American public to access Government information anytime, anywhere.” With the signing of the GPO Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of 1993, GPO set out “to establish a means for providing the public with online access to electronic public information of the Federal Government.” It was one of the earliest federal laws to require the Government to provide information online. The first version of the site, called GPOAccess, launched in 1994. In 2009, GPO unveiled the Federal Digital System (FDsys), a digital information platform for the 21st century. govinfo represents the third generation of electronic access to Federal Government information. The one-stop site to authentic, published Government information offers a user-friendly navigation system accessible on smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers.

govinfo, launched in beta in February 2016, offers many enhancements to the way the public accesses more than one million documents from all three branches of the United States Federal Government. Highlights include a modern, mobile-friendly design; links to related documents of interest; curated feature articles with links to famous documents such as the 9/11 Commission Report, the Warren Commission Report, and the Starr Report; quick and easy social sharing; the ability to browse collections A–Z and by category; sortable search filters; RSS notifications feeds; a search engine that makes search results more relevant than ever; shorter URLs; and more. When the FDsys website is retired, existing links will redirect to govinfo. govinfo had more than 424 million retrievals in fiscal year 2018.”

Behind an Effort to Fact-Check Live News With Speed and Accuracy

WSJ [paywall] – “The Atlanta-based North Highland consultancy’s Sparks Grove unit has created an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven voice-scanning tool that can identify dubious statements seconds after their utterance, in an effort to more accurately fact-check news. Sparks Grove’s prototype “Voyc” software transcribes live audio and runs each statement against a database of facts compiled from… Continue Reading

Is WikiLeaks a Russian Front?

Consider the ramifications of this article, via The Atlantic – The idea that the putative transparency group served as a connection between Moscow and the president’s associates is starting to become clearer – if it is an accurate appraisal of an expanding exposure of corruption and malfeasance perpetrated by public and private citizens and groups… Continue Reading

Principles and Boundaries of Fact-checking: Journalists’ Perceptions

Principles and Boundaries of Fact-checking: Journalists’ Perceptions by Paul Mena. Published online: 16 Nov 2018. [paywall] “This study examines journalists’ perceptions of fact-checking, a growing journalistic activity focused on assessing the veracity of public claims. Professional journalists working on fact-checking or interested in doing fact-checking and based in the United States were surveyed regarding… Continue Reading

Secret Service tests facial recognition system at the White House “The Secret Service started testing a facial recognition system in and around the White House last week, according to a privacy assessment released by the Department of Homeland Security on Nov. 28. The pilot uses a facial recognition system, unnamed in the privacy document, to pore over faces collected by the Crown closed circuit… Continue Reading

Questions We Should Be Asking About Facebook’s Smear Campaign Against Its Critics

EFF: “The New York Times published a blockbuster story about Facebook that exposed how the company used  so-called “smear merchants” to attack organizations critical of the platform. The story was shocking on a number of levels, revealing that Facebook’s hired guns stooped to dog-whistling, anti-Semitic attacks aimed at George Soros 1 and writing stories blasting… Continue Reading

‘Misinformation’ picked as word of the year by

The Guardian: “Online resource picked the word over ‘disinformation’ where other dictionaries had opted for ‘toxic’ and ‘single-use.’ “Misinformation”, as opposed to disinformation, is’s word of the year. It followed “toxic”, picked for the same honor by Oxford Dictionaries, and “single-use”, picked by Collins. Jane Solomon, a linguist-in-residence at, said the choice of… Continue Reading

Electing the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions

CRS report via FAS – Electing the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions, updated November 26, 2018. “This report briefly poses and answers several “frequently asked questions” in relation to the floor proceedings used to elect a Speaker of the House. Current practice for electing a Speaker, either at the start of… Continue Reading