morningbuzz

Leveson Inquiry, US Foreign Affairs, FOIAonline, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, December 9, 2018

NEW RESOURCES

Your Local Guardian: Kingston University launches online archive of Leveson Inquiry. “Launched by former Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, the inquiry led by judge Sir Brian Leveson delved into the practices and ethics of the press. The new online archive, called Discover Leveson, features a range of witness statements, video testimonies and transcripts and hundreds of biographies and short essay guides.” If you’re not familiar with the Leveson Inquiry, the BBC has a backgrounder.

US Department of State: Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Releases Fourteen Newly Digitized Foreign Relations of the United States Volumes . “The Department of State today announces the release of newly digitized versions of fourteen volumes from the Foreign Relations of the United States series, the official documentary record of U.S. foreign relations. These volumes cover events that took place between 1861 and 1866 and were originally published in print between 1861 and 1867.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Unredacted: FOIAonline Still Broken Six Months After Disastrous Redesign: FRINFORMSUM 12/6/2018. “Six months ago the would-be government-wide FOIA portal, FOIAonline, was redesigned and the site lost much of its functionality as a result. (The Reporters Committee’s Adam Marshall has a good run-down of all the things wrong with the site here.) In July FOIAonline posted a notice on its homepage saying the setback would only be short-term, claiming that ‘Much of the information from the previous version of FOIAonline is not yet in 3.0. This process is expected to take several weeks to complete. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through the most recent cases to the oldest.’ Several weeks turned into six months and there are still no updates about when we can expect the website, which the Environmental Protection Agency provides the IT for, to return to its previous usability.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: The 5 Best Linux Distros for Laptops. “Maybe you’ve just purchased a brand new laptop. Or maybe you have an older laptop sitting in your closet that you’d like to bring back to life. Either way, the best Linux distros for laptops are those that offer better driver support and can accommodate the performance offered by most laptops.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

BBC: Facebook could threaten democracy, says former GCHQ boss. “Facebook could become a threat to democracy without tougher regulation, the former head of intelligence agency GCHQ has said. Robert Hannigan told the BBC the social media giant was more interested in profiting from user data than ‘protecting your privacy’.”

Peel Archives Blog: Archives And Modern Mythology: The Use Of Archival Records In Comic Books. “Previously within our Archives in Popular Culture posts, we have explored how archives and/or records have been used to advance the plot in several different movies. For this popular culture post, I would like to change gears and move on to explore how selected comic book writers and artists have chosen to include and depict records in some of their stories and artwork.”

Australian Defence Magazine: New website to explain space law. “The space industry is set to benefit from expert guidance from University of Adelaide lawyers on Australian and international laws that regulate their activities. The Australian Navigational Guide Explaining Laws for Space (ANGELS) website will be created in a project of the same name, by the University’s Adelaide Law School and law firm International Aerospace Law and Policy Group (IALPG). A grant of nearly $100,000 from the Law Foundation of SA has financed the project.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Phys .org: Protecting our digital heritage in the age of cyber threats. “One of the key functions of the government is to collect and archive national records. This includes everything from property records and registers of births, deaths and taxes, to Parliamentary proceedings, and even the ABC’s digital library of Australian news and entertainment. A new report released today from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) considers the important role these records play as the collective digital identity of our nation. The report’s author, Anne Lyons, explains how an attack on these records could disrupt the day-to-day functioning of society, and why we need to do more to protect them.”

The Intercept: NYPD Gang Database Can Turn Unsuspecting New Yorkers Into Instant Felons. “As The Intercept has reported, the NYPD’s gang database was massively expanded in recent years, even as gang-related crime dropped to historic lows. The information on the secretive list is available to prosecutors but not to those named in the database, who often learn that the police have labeled them gang members only if they are arrested and slammed with inexplicably harsh charges or excessive bond. The database has been widely criticized as arbitrary, discriminatory, and over-inclusive — with no clear process in place to discover or challenge one’s alleged gang affiliation. Like [Keith] Shenery, an overwhelming majority of people in the database are young black and Latino men.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Slate: Fandom’s Fate Is Not Tied to Tumblr’s. “Like Tumblr is now, in the mid-2000s LiveJournal was a social hub for transformative fandom—communities of people who create and share fan works, from stories about the continuing adventures of Spock and Kirk to artwork depicting romantic relationships between Dragon Age nonplayable characters to the creation of alternate universes in which Severus Snape is a barista instead of a potions professor. However, following a policy change in which LiveJournal mass-deleted without warning a swath of fandom journals, that platform eventually became a ghost town for users seeking that community.”

KelloggInsight: What Google Is Teaching Economists About Unemployment Insurance. “For decades, policymakers have debated whether unemployment insurance provides a critical safety net during tough times, or whether it prolongs joblessness by reducing people’s incentive to find new work. But, to answer this question, researchers need a clear measure of how much effort people are actually making to search for jobs. And this activity has proven difficult to track. That is why Scott R. Baker, an associate professor of finance at the Kellogg School, turned to Google—specifically, to its data on search traffic.”

Mozilla Blog: Goodbye, EdgeHTML. “By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google. This may sound melodramatic, but it’s not. The ‘browser engines’ — Chromium from Google and Gecko Quantum from Mozilla — are ‘inside baseball’ pieces of software that actually determine a great deal of what each of us can do online. They determine core capabilities such as which content we as consumers can see, how secure we are when we watch content, and how much control we have over what websites and services can do to us. Microsoft’s decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us.” Good morning, Internet…

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