Saturday, October 05, 2013

Privacy, Transparency and Yahoo

In the ongoing push and pull over consumer privacy, government security, and access to information, is at center stage.  On September 6, Yahoo released its first ever Transparency Report, covering requests for user data it had received from the governments of 17 countries, from January through June, 2013.  More about the document, which reports over 12,000 requests from the U.S. government, more than 11,000 of these resulting in data disclosure and over 4500 of them in content disclosure, is available in Yahoo's report overview and in coverage by ComputerWorld

Meanwhile, Yahoo has been involved in an ongoing lawsuit (with co-plaintiffs Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn) that challenges federal government restrictions on providing foreign surveillance-related data with greater specificity.  And just this week, Yahoo itself was hit with a class action suit over consumer privacy.  The California consumers' complaint in Kevranian et. al. v. Yahoo Inc. (case number 5:13-cv-04547 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of California) claims that Yahoo's practice of accessing and indexing users' email for profiling and targeted advertising violates both California's Invasion of Privacy Act and the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  The legal world and the public await further developments.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 04, 2013

Federal Govt web site shutdown?

Even a virtual cat has heard that there is a "partial shutdown" of the federal government.   Prowling the web, as I am wont to do, I have discovered a wide range of different situations at federal government sites.  The key here is to read the front page carefully and do not immediately click on  familiar links. Some are entirely blacked-out, like the National Science Foundation site.  Others are available but either not updated (Library of Congress) or only partially updated (FDsys) .   Fyi, those who filed for an extension for filing taxes still must file by Oct. 15 - see IRS).

If you need information that is inaccessible, try one of my very favorite sites, the WayBack Machine.  They have created a special page to give you access to prior versions of certain federal sites.

Stay tuned to this site for developments.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Supreme Court Docket: It’s That Time, Again

The U.S. Supreme Court recently added eight new cases to its docket for the coming term. Read more here to see what legal issues the Court will be addressing.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

George Washington Presidential Library

George Washington wrote to his friend James Henry in 1797, “I have not houses to build, except one, which I must erect for the accommodation and security of my military, civil and private papers, which are voluminous and may be interesting.”  After nearly two centuries, the “house” has been built.

The Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington opened last week.  The Library will feature over 18,000 published works about the president, a digital library with more than 250,000 pieces, and Washington’s personal books and hand-written letters to give scholars a glimpse into the Founding Father’s life.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Free Mobile Scanner App

Camscanner is a app that turns your mobile phone or iPad into a scanner that creates PDFs.  It is available for Android devices, iPhone and iPad.  There is a free version and a Pro version (currently $4.99).  If you register with a .edu email address, and tweet, FB or Google+ about the app, it will  unlock the Pro version for free! 

The Camscanner app will make PDF copies of anything you can take a picture of, then allows you to annotate your PDF, make an OCR copy and more. Find out about all the features of Camscanner here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Judicial Research Initiative (JuRI) at the University of South Carolina

The JuRI provides a comprehensive access point to the most recent and cutting-edge research on law and judicial politics.  Some of the databases archived at this site are:

United States Supreme Court databases compiled by Harold J. Spaeth
United States Courts of Appeals databases includes three separate datasets
Attributes of United States Federal Court  Judges
National High Courts databases
The Institutional History of the U.S. District Courts

JuRI also provides links to data archives at other locations.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breaking Bad Compliance Lessons

To commemorate the series finale of Breaking Bad, there are several top series moments, characters, quotes etc. all over the internet this weekend.  Law Technology News has gone one step further and actually put together a list of compliance lessons from Breaking Bad.  It proves to be an interesting reading, click here for the entire article.  For fans of Breaking Bad, happy watching tonight!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat