May 16, 2007
New Database: Presidential Election 2008 Donor Demographics
CALI Conference Set for June 18-20
This year's Conference for Law School Computing is at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas, Monday to Wednesday, June 18 – 20, 2007 (early registration on Sunday, June 17). Some of the sessions of interest include:
- Considerations in Building an Online Law Course
- The Future of Casebooks: Can Anyone Deliver What I Want?
- A Faculty Member's Perspective on the Use of Technology in Legal Education - Is it Time to "Pull the Plug" on Technology Investment?
- Collaborative Self-Assessment: Using Student-Drafted Questions for Internet Quizzes
- Integrating Feedback: Creating a Response Oasis in an IT Mirage
- An Oasis for Collaborative Endeavors: Tools for Law Faculty, Librarians, and Students
Showdown Over Iraq War Funding
The U.S. Constitution gives Congress and the president different responsibilities in waging wars, but there have long been disputes about where one’s war powers begin and the other’s ends. This year’s showdown over the Iraq supplemental war-funding bills mark one of the biggest yet during an ongoing war. Check out the Council on Foreign Relation's backgrounder, Balance of War Powers: The U.S. President and Congress. Among the issues addressed include the following:
- Can Congress set timelines for a troop withdrawal?
- What are the president’s options in the event of Congress cutting off funding?
For the latest legislative salvo in this showdown, see House Approves Revised War Bill: Two-Part Funding Faces Veto Threat, Washington Post (May 11, 2007). [JH]
Georgetown opens Center for the Study of the Legal Profession
"Georgetown University Law Center has established the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, which will promote scholarship on complexities of legal careers. Directed by Georgetown law professors Milton Regan and Jeffrey Bauman, the center will serve as a resource for trends and developments in the profession." (sub. req.) [RJ]
Study on Website Authentication Shows Users Often Disregard Security Measures
The Emperor's New Security Indicators, An evaluation of website authentication and the effect of role playing on usability studies by Stuart E. Schechter (MIT), Rachna Dhamija (Harvard), Andy Ozmet (MIT), Ian Fischer (Harvard)
Abstract: We evaluate website authentication measures that are designed to protect users from man-in-the-middle, ‘phishing’, and other site forgery attacks. We asked 67 bank customers to conduct common online banking tasks. Each time they logged in, we presented increasingly alarming clues that their connection was insecure. First, we removed HTTPS indicators. Next, we removed the participant’s site-authentication image—the customer-selected image that many websites now expect their users to verify before entering their passwords. Finally, we replaced the bank’s password-entry page with a warning page. After each clue, we determined whether participants entered their passwords or withheld them. We also investigate how a study’s design affects participant behavior: we asked some participants to play a role and others to use their own accounts and passwords. We also presented some participants with security-focused instructions. We confirm prior findings that users ignore HTTPS indicators: no participants withheld their passwords when these indicators were removed. We present the first empirical investigation of site-authentication images, and we find them to be ineffective: even when we removed them, 23 of the 25 (92%) participants who used their own accounts entered their passwords. We also contribute the first empirical evidence that role playing affects participants’ security behavior: role-playing participants behaved significantly less securely than those using their own passwords.
Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]
2007 National Money Laundering Strategy
"The 2007 National Money Laundering Strategy is a direct result of close cooperation by the Departments of Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security, along with our foreign counterparts, and signifies our collective commitment to fight money laundering," said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. "Implementation of this strategy will greatly assist in efforts to seize and forfeit millions in illegal proceeds that flow through the international financial system." [RJ]
EPA Quietly Resumes Dismantling Library System
"Despite promises to consult with Congress before proceeding with dismantlement of its library system, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered its libraries to “disperse or dispose of their…contents,” according to agency directives released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The move to eliminate physical collections comes as EPA’s own enforcement branch warns about the risks of hampering environmental prosecutions."
- Read the latest EPA enforcement memo on the need for libraries
- View the new interim policy on “Library Materials Dispersion”
- See the policy consolidating all libraries under one political appointee
- Look at the union grievance and growing accessibility problems
- Learn more about the role libraries play in environmental enforcement
- Revisit the EPA-wide staff protest of library closures
- Find out more about the Bush administration effort to shutter EPA libraries
May 15, 2007
Professional Reading: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age
We're All Journalists Now
The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age
By Scott Gant
Free Press, June 2007
Hardcover, 256 pages
List Price: $26.00
Description: As the internet continues to reshape almost all corners of our world, no institution has been more profoundly altered than the practice of journalism and distribution of information. In this provocative new book, Scott Gant, a distinguished Washington attorney and constitutional law scholar, argues that we as a society need to rethink our notions of what journalism is, who is a journalist and exactly what the founding fathers intended when they referred to "the freedom of the press."
Are bloggers journalists, even if they receive no income? Even if they are unedited and sometimes irresponsible? Many traditional news organizations would say no. But Gant contends otherwise and suggests we think of these sometimes unruly online purveyors of information and opinion as heirs to those early pamphleteers who helped shape our fledgling democracy. He gives us a persuasive and engaging argument for affording bloggers and everyone else who disseminates information and opinion in the U.S. the same rights and privileges that traditional journalists enjoy.
The rise of the Internet and blogosphere has blurred the once distinct role of the media in our society. It wasn't long ago that the line between journalists and the rest of us seemed relatively clear: Those who worked for news organizations were journalists and everyone else was not. Those days are gone. On the Internet, the line has totally disappeared. It's harder than ever to answer the question, "Who is a journalist?" Yet it is a question asked routinely in American courtrooms and legislatures because there are many circumstances where those deemed "journalists" are afforded rights and privileges not available to the rest of us. The question will become increasingly important as the transformation of journalism continues, and bloggers and other "citizen journalists" battle for equal standing with professional journalists. Advancing arguments that are sure to stir controversy, Scott Gant leads the debate with a serious yet accessible discussion about whether, where, and how the government can decide who is a journalist. Challenging the mainstream media, Gant puts forth specific arguments about how to change existing laws and makes elegant suggestions for new laws that will properly account for the undeniable reality that We're All Journalists Now. For all of us who care about the ways in which the digital revolution is sweeping through our culture, this is a work of opinion that will be seen as required reading.
Editor's Note: I can't wait to get a copy! [JH]
Congratulations to the A Day in the Life of the Law Library Community Photo Contest Winners
Doesn't the 3rd Place photo in the Most Humorous category remind you of something? Like this! [JH]
Westlaw's State Trial Court Orders
From Westlaw's product description:
State Trial Court Orders, available in 25 states and counting, deliver something you never had before: online access to the full text of a judge's orders in state courts.
State Trial Court Orders save untold hours, provide invaluable insights
- Motion practice can be the most time-intensive portion of a litigation practice. This database saves you hours of time, travel and trouble at the very point you need it most – preparing and drafting those key documents.
- Uncover judicial biases, trends, experience in similar cases. You can view orders by judge, and link to a full profile on Westlaw.
- Develop winning strategies more efficiently: By viewing both the motions and the final decision, you have an almost forensic-type insight into what will work – or fail – in your type of case. What motions prevailed, and why? What motions and strategy did not persuade the same judge you're about to face?
- Manage your client's expectations by providing a realistic evaluation of a case's merits.
- Make better informed evaluations about accepting a case, how to handle it, and what to tell the client to expect if litigation does go forward.
- Develop a motion practice and negotiation strategy for your own case by seeing how motions were resolved in other, similar cases.
Follow this link for an online demo and additional information: State Trial Court Orders. [JH]
CDT Urges Congress to Make CRS Reports Available
From the Center for Democracy and Technology:
"CDT Executive Director Leslie Harris urged lawmakers to make the unclassified, taxpayer-funded reports produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) available to the public over the Internet. Harris joined other open-government advocates at an event on Capitol Hill to unveil the recommendations of the Open House Project, a collaborative effort launched earlier this year by the Sunlight Foundation to make the House of Representatives more readily accessible to ordinary citizens on the Web. CDT created OpenCRS.com in 2005 to increase the public availability of CRS reports and has long advocated for Congress to make the reports fully available to the public online." [RJ]
Education Department to push for accreditation changes after negotiators fail to reach consensus
"The U.S. Department of Education, overriding emotional opposition from colleges and accreditors, is pushing ahead with a plan to remake American higher education by requiring that colleges show results if they want to remain eligible for more than $90-billion in federal student aid." (for subscribers) [RJ]
"Washingtonpost.com's Presidential Campaign Tracker uses information from campaigns, media reports and other sources to compile a listing of events involving presidential candidates and their spouses. The tracker covers events since January 2007. It does not include every event -- particularly fundraisers, which often are unannounced. Some events will be added retroactively as more details become available."
The FTC in 2007: A Champion for Consumers and Competition
“The FTC in 2007: A Champion for Consumers and Competition, available on the Commission’s Web site, describes the agency’s competition and consumer protection missions and accomplishments. For the first time, the online version of this year’s annual report will link readers to all source documents, such as press releases, reports, speeches, and education materials." [RJ]
May 14, 2007
Military puts YouTube, MySpace, other sites off limits
The Defense Department will start block troops' access to YouTube, MySpace and 11 other popular Web sites. Members of the military can still access the sites on their own computers and networks, but Defense Department computers and networks are the only ones available to many soldiers and sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more about it on CNN. [JH]
A first look at US case against Padilla
The trial begins today in a Miami federal court for the American - and alleged terror conspirator - held for five years. Check out the Christian Science Monitor article (May 14, 2007) about the Bush Administration's case against Padilla. [JH]
Professional Reading: A Proposed Standard for the Scholarly Citation of Quantitative Data
A Proposed Standard for the Scholarly Citation of Quantitative Data
Micah Altman and Gary King
D-Lib, March/April 2007
From the abstract: An essential aspect of science is a community of scholars cooperating and competing in the pursuit of common goals. A critical component of this community is the common language of and the universal standards for scholarly citation, credit attribution, and the location and retrieval of articles and books. We propose a similar universal standard for citing quantitative data that retains the advantages of print citations, adds other components made possible by, and needed due to, the digital form and systematic nature of quantitative data sets, and is consistent with most existing subfield-specific approaches. Although the digital library field includes numerous creative ideas, we limit ourselves to only those elements that appear ready for easy practical use by scientists, journal editors, publishers, librarians, and archivists.
Survey on Blogger Perceptions on Digital Preservation Ends May 23rd
Do you blog? If yes, then please consider participating in an online survey from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science. The study, Blogger Perceptions on Digital Preservation, is being conducted under the guidance of Paul Jones. Members of this research team are Carolyn Hank (Principle Investigator), Songphan Choemprayong and Laura Sheble, PhD students at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-CH.
The researchers are interested in hearing from all bloggers on their perceptions on digital preservation in relation to their own blogging activities, as well as the blogosphere in general. To hear more about this survey, please visit the study's fact sheet at The Project Site. From there, you can link out to the web-based survey. The survey will be available through May 23, 2007. [JH]
Federal Sentencing Trends Detailed in Sourcebook
"Extensive information about criminal cases sentenced under the federal sentencing guidelines is contained in the U.S. Sentencing Commission's 2006 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics.
Highlights include sentencing profiles of judicial districts, detailed information on guideline departures, plea and trial rates by district and circuit, data on appeals of sentencing decisions, and information about organizational defendants." [RJ]
Cornell University Center for Documentation on American Law in Paris to Feature Services by Cornell Law Librarians
The Ithaca Journal is reporting that the Cornell University Center for Documentation on American Law in Paris will be dedicated July 17 before an audience of the world's leading jurists at an international judicial conference. The new legal center is an initiative of the Cornell Law School and the Cour de cassation, the highest court in the French judiciary. The center, which will be located within the court in the Palais de Justice, will house 13,000 law books from Cornell's Law Library and will offer special training and instruction in online research by Cornell law librarians.
Read more about it on the Cornell Law School website. Great example of international collaboration! [JH]