Japan Research, Vermont Police, First Amendment, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, November 18, 2016


Global Times (China): National Library of China to create database of Japan’s historic investigations of China. “On Nov. 15, the National Library of China announced plans to establish a database of investigation records that Japanese residents of China compiled in the early 20th century. The publication of the collection of East Asia Tongwen College marks the start of the database, which will grow to include journals and reports. Founded by Japan in the city of Shanghai, East Asia Tongwen College, which now is Aichi University in Japan, used to allow its students to conduct investigations in China, to provide references for the Japanese government. These investigations guided Japan’s policies toward China from 1901 to 1945.”

The Vermont State Police have launched a new Web site with data sets in an effort to increase transparency. “The first five data sets are Vermont State Police numbers on traffic stops between 2010 and 2015; traffic fatalities and seatbelt use since 2010; DUI arrests since 2013; DUI arrests involving a crash since 2013; and officer-involved shootings since 1977.”

Now available: an online library providing information about the First Amendment. “…an organization dedicated to defending the rights of students, staff and faculty on college campuses has launched its own online library with the goal of helping ‘the public’s understanding of the First Amendment.’ The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) said it created the ‘First Amendment Library’ for use by anyone — students, attorneys, law clerks, judges, journalists — who wants to learn more about the amendment.” Contents include a timeline and a database of Supreme Court cases.


LinkedIn has been blocked in Russia. “Amid a tense stand-off and attempt at negotiations, Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor has started to enforce a proposed block of LinkedIn in the country, after the social network failed to transfer Russian user data to servers located in the country, violating a law instituted in Russia requiring all online sites to store personal data on national servers.”

Wow! China now has the largest online court database in the world. According to China, anyway. “Addressing a forum at the third World Internet Conference in Wuzhen of east China’s Zhejiang Province on Thursday, [He Rong] said courts have uploaded 22 million verdicts to a website open to the public. The site has been visited more than 3.6 billion times.”

Oh look, Facebook is admitting more metric miscounts. “Facebook has been posting big gains on the back of advertising this year, but it looks like not all is well in the world of ad metrics on the social network. Today the social network admitted that it has discovered some bugs and errors in its system that have led to misreporting numbers across four products, including Instant Articles, video and Page Insights.” Time for external auditors…

Google is launching some crazy new cases for the Pixel. “Today we’re excited to launch a new line of Live Cases designed exclusively for Google’s new Pixel phones that do more than just protect your phone. The Google Earth and Google Trends Live Cases enable you to experience new places around the world and stay up-to-date with the latest trends, with the companion live wallpaper.”


Reuters: South Korea rejects Google request to take government mapping data out of country . “South Korea, whose 1950-53 war with North Korea ended without a peace treaty, argues that if it allowed such data to leave the country, the locations of military facilities and other sensitive sites could be revealed. The government could grant permission if Google removes images of sensitive sites on its satellite imaging services, an official at the body in charge of mapping data has previously said.” Google won’t remove the images.


This isn’t a large data leak, but the breadth of personal information involved is horrifying. Daily Dot: 25,000 California union members’ personal data exposed by unsecured database. “The database, discoverable by search engine, was not protected by a password, and contained an extraordinary amount of personal information belonging to the union members: addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, dates of birth, ethnicity, gender, marital status, family members and beneficiaries (plus their contact information), employment dates—up to 108 individual details per member—among other personal files detailing litigation and contracts, essentially any legal work performed by the union on behalf of its members.”


MIT Technology Review: Data Scientists Chart the Tragic Rise of Selfie Deaths. “In 2014, 15 people died while taking a selfie; in 2015 this rose to 39, and in 2016 there were 73 deaths in the first eight months of the year. That’s more selfie deaths than deaths due to shark attacks. That raises an interesting question—how are these people dying, and is there a way to prevent these kinds of accidents?” Good afternoon, Internet…

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