What is RSS and how do federal courts use it? Rebecca Fordon informs us that courts vary in the types of documents they provide via RSS feeds – only about 70% of bankruptcy courts and 50% of district courts provide full feeds. The effort urging courts to fully enable RSS feeds has many advocates and would have a significant positive impact for legal researchers in all sectors.
Emily Donnellan updates readers on the lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit over what essentially boils down to the question: are PACER fees too high? Donnellan includes resources to track and monitor changes and issues related to Pacer in addition to user objections to fees.
Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways technology is used to compromise and diminish our privacy and security, often without our situational awareness. Four highlights from this week: Finland is winning the war on fake news. Other nations want the blueprint; Ari Mahairas and Peter Beshar on AI and 5G security risks; Age of fraud: Are seniors more vulnerable to financial scams?; Concern Growing Over ‘Nefarious’ Website Offering Individuals’ Personal Information, Reputation Rating.
At the beginning of this year, President Trump signed into law the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act, requiring that nonsensitive government data be made available in machine-readable, open formats by default. As researchers who study data governance and cyber law [Anjanette Raymond, Beth Cate and Scott Shackelford] we are excited by the possibilities of the new act. But much effort is needed to fill in missing details – especially since these data can be used in unpredictable or unintended ways. The federal government would benefit from considering lessons learned from open government activities in other countries and at state and local levels.
Former CPA, writer and teacher Ken Boyd provides readers with an explanation of tax fraud that is clearly presented, instructive and relevant to the ongoing Mueller investigation. Boyd uses the extensive New York Times investigative report of November 2018 that documented a history of tax fraud allegedly committed by Donald Trump, his father and siblings, as the foundation for his lesson on various types of tax fraud. The allegations documented by the Times are under review by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
This guide by Marcus Zillman focuses on selected free and fee based resources published by a range of reliable sources that researchers can use for tracking, monitoring and sector research discovery purposes, as well as on tools and techniques to leverage in their business intelligence work.
Criminal law expert Ken Strutin’s article addresses how DNA forensics is about information, privacy and the presumption of innocence. It has become the determinant for identification, solving cold cases and exonerating the innocent. Strutin describes that at its core, it is an inestimable library of personal data. Due to the increasingly important role of Personally identifiable information (PII), courts and legislatures have been attempting to balance the interests of the individual in protecting their genetic information with the usefulness and necessity of that same data for criminal investigation. Strutin notes clearly that any DNA or forensic database is a composite of intertwined informational and legal values that pose competing and conflicting questions about the analytics (accuracy, reliability and validity) of the data and the lawfulness (constitutionality) of its gathering. His article collects recent notable decisions and scholarship appearing in the aftermath of Maryland v. King.
Lawyer and legal tech expert Nicole Black highlights how federal court judges are leveraging research and current awareness sources and services provided to professionals and the public via their respective court websites, as well as actively using mobile tools and apps in their daily work flow.
Via the American Society of Access Professionals, of which he is President, attorney and FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes informs us about the new guidance to all federal agencies that acknowledges the need for federal employees to attend mission-related conferences and provides some best practices for approving travel and conference expenses. This new guidance adopts many of the best practices suggested in a meetings protocol that the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) provided to OMB at their request.
Scott A. Hodes’ New Year’s commentary is both an overview and a roadmap to the FOIA process. Scott’s experience has taught him that requesters do not realize that their biggest obstacle to having their requests processed in a timely manner is not usually FOIA offices. The biggest obstacles tend to be the program offices that have equity in the records sought and the agency executives who see FOIA offices as an expense they don’t want to fund.