California Law Enforcement, Law Networks, Literacy, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, September 23, 2016


The state of California has launched a new statewide system to track police use of force. “Under a new online system launched Thursday – the first of its kind in the nation – every law enforcement agency in California eventually will be required to report not just when their officers have a lethal encounter but how often officers or civilians, like Petrov, are left with “serious bodily injuries” like concussions, broken bones or major lacerations. Departments also will have to report when their officers open fire, even if the shots miss.”

Now available: an online database of law networks. “On Wednesday, the Association of International Law Firm Networks (AILFN) unveiled a free online database, Locate Law Networks, allowing anyone to search 45 networks’ combined 3,500 firms, which altogether employ some 300,000 lawyers…. Using the search fields, a potential firm can now easily locate vetted firms in jurisdictions where it has no office. Firms in a specific jurisdiction that haven’t yet joined a network can use the same search fields to determine which don’t yet have members in their jurisdiction.”


A little off-topic, but reading is so important. A new online resource offers literacy tools for teachers around the country. “Created by Michelle Brown, a former teacher from a high-poverty, rural school district in Mississippi, CommonLit was designed to offer all students—regardless of their economic status—a chance to access quality literacy tools by assessing the quality materials the education technology market has to offer.”

How nifty is this? A new tool lets you create 360-degree pictures in Second Life.


Oh man, I hope not. From The Atlantic: Is This the End of the Sunlight Foundation? “You’d think the Sunlight Foundation would be raring for a fight. Since its inception, in January 2006, the nonprofit has advocated for a new, digitally savvy vision of open government. It has pushed for campaign-finance reform and defended the Freedom of Information Act. It’s made services like Politiwoops, which collects and preserves tweets after politicians delete them from their official accounts; and it’s become a flagship for the civic-tech movement, which aims to build online tools for the public good. So developers and designers with a public-minded bent were surprised to discover that, in this of all years, the nonprofit seemingly has no idea what to do with itself.”

From WIRED: Inside Google’s Internet Justice League and Its AI-Powered War on Trolls. “For years now, on Twitter and practically any other freewheeling public forum, the trolls have been out in force. Just in recent months: Trump’s anti-Semitic supporters mobbed Jewish public figures with menacing Holocaust ‘jokes.’ Anonymous racists bullied African American comedian Leslie Jones off Twitter temporarily with pictures of apes and Photoshopped images of semen on her face. Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti quit the service after a horde of misogynist attackers resorted to rape threats against her 5-year-old daughter. ‘It’s too much,’ she signed off. ‘I can’t live like this.’ Feminist writer Sady Doyle says her experience of mass harassment has induced a kind of permanent self-­censorship. ‘There are things I won’t allow myself to talk about,’ she says. ‘Names I won’t allow myself to say.'”

Search Engine Land has a roundup of Google’s “Possum” algorithm update. “For those of you wondering what ‘Possum’ is, it’s the name we in the local search community decided to give the massive Local algorithm update that happened September 1, 2016. Phil Rozek suggested the name, pointing out that it is fitting since many business owners think their Google My Business listings are gone, when in fact they are not. They have just been filtered — they’re playing possum.” They also have fifty teeth, carry their young on their back, and freak out my neighbor’s dog.


Nextgov: Ransomware attacks on government agencies tripled in the last year. “Government entities are second most likely to be targeted by ransomware attacks, following only the education sector, an analysis from cybersecurity ratings company BitSight concluded.”


Interesting article: Chatbots: Your Ultimate Prototyping Tool “SMS is going through a renaissance, and designers are looking at this medium and interaction model to create new services and experiences. The immediacy and accessibility of SMS make it an ideal channel for building services in a world where systems continue to converge and apps are no longer the medium for digital experiences. As technology becomes more complex, users will need even more simplicity to engage with digital experiences.”

University of Maryland: Trump is Winning Twitter: Does It Matter? “Marketing professor Wendy Moe at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and Sarah Oates at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, authors of a working paper focused on presidential campaign media coverage and tweeting, say Trump has been driving the conversation with his frequent tweeting, which eclipses that of Clinton by about 21 messages per day. They say Trump isn’t just a prolific tweeter, he is also prolifically tweeted about.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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