In 2021, a company specializing in collecting and selling location data called Near bragged that it was “The World’s Largest Dataset of People’s Behavior in the Real-World,” with data representing “1.6B people across 44 countries.” Last year the company went public with a valuation of $1 billion (via a SPAC). Seven months later it filed for bankruptcy and has agreed to sell the company. Jon Keegan highlights the ramifications to the public.
Fact checking is a critical component to subject matter research regardless of customer, client, user sector or discipline. With the rapidity of information exchange on social media, it is increasingly important to identify and remove errors, misinformation, disinformation and untruths from any and all research that is delivered. Marcus P. Zillman’s guide includes actionable sources for professionals and students that are even more useful with the proliferation of AI as they assist researchers to validate the authority and purpose of the sources they use.
Some recent headlines have reported disturbing news about respected and respectable scholars falsifying or just ignoring data conclusions in scholarly papers. This is another example of the skepticism many of us have with the shifts in misinformation flooding our inboxes and newsfeeds, compelling each of us to exercise our critical thinking skills. And the examples we’re referring to aren’t even results of AI. It is human error, strong bias at play, or manipulative intention for one purpose or another. This leads us to another topic in our continuing explorations of human motivation. Why do we lie? Why do we cheat? Kevin Novak takes a deeper dive on this discussion about the issues and the people and actions that have been in the news recently.
Whether speaking with lawyers and law students who haven’t gotten around to trying ChatGPT or collaborating with post-doc explainable and legal AI experts with 20+ years of machine learning and Natural Language Processing experience, Colin Lachance, legal tech innovator and leader, is no closer to understanding in what way and precisely when permanent change will come, but is unshakeably convinced that change will be enormous, uneven, disruptive and, in many cases, invisible.
If you spend any time online, you probably have some idea that the digital ad industry is constantly collecting data about you, including a lot of personal information, and sorting you into specialized categories so you’re more likely to buy the things they advertise to you. But in a rare look at just how deep—and weird—the rabbit hole of targeted advertising gets, Investigative Data Journalist Jon Keegan and Visualizations Engineer Joel Eastwood of the The Markup analyzed a database of 650,000 of these audience segments, newly unearthed on the website of Microsoft’s ad platform Xandr. The trove of data indicates that advertisers could also target people based on sensitive information like being “heavy purchasers” of pregnancy test kits, having an interest in brain tumors, being prone to depression, visiting places of worship, or feeling “easily deflated” or that they “get a raw deal out of life.”
This guide by Marcus P. Zillman is a selected list of free and fee based (some require subscriptions), people finding resources, from a range of providers. A significant number of free sources on this subject matter are sourced from public records obtained by a group of companies who initially offer free information to establish your interest, from which point a more extensive report requires a fee to obtain. It is important to note that can be many errors in these data, including the inability to correctly de-duplicated individuals with the same common names. Also note that each service targets a different mix of identifying data such as: name, address, date of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, relatives, education, employment, criminal records. social media accounts, income. As we conduct research throughout the day it is useful to employ both impromptu and planned searches about individuals that are referenced.
Jerry Lawson discusses how a good resume is more like a stylish portrait photo. A top portrait photographer uses lenses, lighting, composition, props and other tools to bring out the subject’s best features in an original way. Your resume should do no less for your professional qualifications. This actionable guide clearly identifies the elements and components that comprise an outstanding resume for attorneys and other legal professionals.
Accurate and actionable data on the economy is critical to many aspects of our research and scholarship. This guide by research expert Marcus P. Zillman provides researchers with links to information on a range of sources focused on new economy data and analysis from the public and private sectors, as well as scholarly work, news, government information, reports and alerts. Many of these sources should find a place in your customized research toolkit. The sites recommended in this guide are all free to use, and they are published by advocacy, government, corporate, academic, international financial groups and research experts. Many of the sites are updated on a regular basis, so it is recommended that you use RSS feeds or alerts to remain abreast of changes.
Author and blogger Dave Pollard addresses the incendiary global war of lies vs. truth, reminiscent of the MAD Magazine cartoon Spy Vs. Spy for those who of us who can recall the scenarios they played which remain eerily prescient. Pollard posits the most effective way to win and retain political power is by seizing the hearts and minds of citizens through a mix of propaganda, mis- and disinformation, and censorship. He continues, this is especially true now, living with a ubiquitous and unceasing firehose of often-conflicting information, and exploitative for-profit “social” media controlled by a handful of dimwitted and unstable western oligarchs.
Private investigator Marcy Phelps searches social media and online news for clients on a daily basis and recommends specific sources as useful for asset investigations. Phelps notes that not everything will show up in public records, and news and social media research helps fill in the gaps. Phelps shares a few examples of useful sources and strategies that made a difference for clients.