China Geology, Gun Legislation, UC-Davis Catalogs, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, May 1, 2018


Global Times: Geological data made public by new ministry for first time. “One of China’s newly formed ministries, the Ministry of Natural Resources, has uploaded to a public database a massive amount of previously classified Chinese geological information, including estimates of mineral reserves and hydrogeology. It is the first time the one-month-old ministry has released to the public geological information, indicating the government’s ongoing commitment to further opening up various sectors.”

PRWeb: Publisher Offers Free Access to Gun Regulation and Legislation Research Collection (PRESS RELEASE). “William S. Hein & Co., Inc. has released the newest HeinOnline collection, Gun Regulation and Legislation in America. This collection has been in development since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six staff members. The Hein Company is a for-profit corporation with fiscal responsibilities to its shareholders, but its mission statement contains a number of core values, one of which is Corporate Citizenship. This means that, as a company, Hein resolves to make a positive difference in the community. In the wake of several of the deadliest mass shootings in United States history, Hein is offering this new collection of materials free of charge to its core U.S. subscribers, academics, and other institutional libraries in order to provide a platform for research on the myriad issues related to gun regulation. The goal of this database is to help facilitate civil discourse and productive discussions and to help to bring all sides of this issue together to effect positive change and prevent more senseless loss of life.”

University of California Davis: Catalog: Now Once-a-Year and Online-Only. “Going forward, the UC Davis general catalog is out of print. Going backward, all 71 years’ worth of catalogs are available to see, thanks to Randall Larson-Maynard of the Office of the University Registrar, who, in 2006, embarked on a UC Davis Centennial project to track down all of the university’s catalogs and have them digitized for an online archive. Some of you might have helped him, in response to his appeal in a Dateline article… At the time, Larson-Maynord had all the catalogs from 1994-95 to 2004-06 — and he was still looking for 1993-94, 1965-66, 1964-65, 1962-63, 1960-61 and everything from 1957-58 and earlier. Well, he succeeded — collecting all catalogs back to the first one, 1946-47. They’ve all been scanned from cover to cover and are available here as PDFs.”


BuzzFeed: The Justice Department Deleted Language About Press Freedom And Racial Gerrymandering From Its Internal Manual. “Since the fall, the US Department of Justice has been overhauling its manual for federal prosecutors. In: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough-on-crime policies. Out: A section titled ‘Need for Free Press and Public Trial.’ References to the department’s work on racial gerrymandering are gone. Language about limits on prosecutorial power has been edited down.” Old and new versions of the manual were compared using the Wayback Machine.


Los Angeles Times: Twitter sold public-data access to Cambridge Analytica-linked researcher. “Twitter Inc. sold data access to the Cambridge University academic who also obtained millions of Facebook Inc. users’ information that was later passed to a political consulting firm without the users’ consent. Aleksandr Kogan, who created a personality quiz on Facebook to harvest information later used by Cambridge Analytica, established his own commercial enterprise: Global Science Research, or GSR. That firm was granted access to large-scale public Twitter data, covering months of posts, for one day in 2015, according to Twitter.”


Bloomberg Quint: Google Privacy Settlement Gets Scrutiny From U.S. Supreme Court. “The U.S. Supreme Court will use a privacy case involving Google to consider making it harder for companies to settle class-action lawsuits without providing direct compensation to those affected. The justices agreed to hear arguments from two people who object to the Alphabet Inc. unit’s $8.5 million settlement of claims that it improperly disclosed users’ internet search terms to the owners of outside websites.”

New Jersey Law Journal: Increasingly, Courts Scrutinizing Lawyers’ Social Media Activity. “The recent New Jersey case of a lawyer whose excuse for missing a filing deadline was proved false by vacation photos she posted on Instagram is part of a growing body of cases in which lawyers and judges faced scrutiny over their social media postings. A federal judge in Newark ordered New York attorney Lina Franco to pay $10,000 in sanctions on April 26 after a sharp-eyed defense lawyer noticed that her personal Instagram page showed her vacationing in Miami on the week she was supposed to submit a motion in a wage-and-hour case. Franco told the court she missed the deadline because she was caring for her ailing mother.”


Wired: Data Protection Standards Need To Be Global . “WHETHER IT IS Cambridge Analytica gaining access to private information on up to 87 million Facebook users, or the large-scale data breaches at Equifax or Yahoo, alarmingly loose standards for the use and protection of customer data continue to fuel a backlash against large tech companies. More importantly, these events demonstrate the need for a global set of consumer data principles.”

Modern Diplomacy: A New Facebook Psychology: How to Account for Violating Public Trust. “Technology has become society’s answer for everything. The internet has virtually replaced brick-and-mortar libraries, has infiltrated most aspects of research, and has become the largest means by which people communicate and share information. However, information is not always accurate. Worse, information is often edited to purposefully alter perception. A lack of accountability further encourages erroneous internet content as there are few regulations and fewer methods for enforcement due to vague laws. Monopolies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft benefit from the current unregulated structure, as they profit off the consumers’ inability to hold them accountable for violations. This presents a conflict of interest to consumer privacy, as people allow access without understanding what they’ve allowed and how the information can be used.”

Pew (pew pew pew pew pew!): Declining Majority of Online Adults Say the Internet Has Been Good for Society. “…Americans have grown somewhat more ambivalent about the impact of digital connectivity on society as a whole. A sizable majority of online adults (70%) continue to believe the internet has been a good thing for society. Yet the share of online adults saying this has declined by a modest but still significant 6 percentage points since early 2014, when the Center first asked the question.” I can’t even imagine what the response is going to be to this question this time next year. Good afternoon, Internet…

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