Monday, April 23, 2018

What Harley Davidson’s $19.2M Throttling Of Sunfrog REALLY Means… And It’s Not The Money; Above The Law, April 23, 2018

Tom Kulik, Above The Law; What Harley Davidson’s $19.2M Throttling Of Sunfrog REALLY Means… And It’s Not The Money

When it comes to intellectual property rights, companies ignoring their impact do so at their own risk.


"The point here is that rapid growth and success makes being proactive even more essential to the business.   Rather than follow-through with significant steps to stop the printing of infringing products, something got lost in the process and Sunfrog simply couldn’t get its arms around the scope of the problem.  In effect, Sunfrog’s failure to effectively address this problem  made Sunfrog a counterfeiter — it permitted the printing of infringing designs on T-shirts sold through its website, making Sunfrog a nice profit in the process. Of course, this was never Sunfrog’s intent — it set out to create a highly successful platform for printing custom T-shirts online, and in fact, succeeded in doing so.  That said, it also underestimated the extent to which a sizable part of its business model required intellectual property oversight — an oversight that is now costing them in both monetary and reputation damages.

Ultimately, the Sunfrog case is highly instructive on a number of levels, but the failure to appreciate the scope and extent of intellectual property oversight by Sunfrog is telling.  Whether your company or client is a startup or an already successful going concern, the use of intellectual property can never be taken for granted. When it comes to intellectual property rights, companies ignoring their impact do so at their own risk.  The good news is that warning signs usually present themselves at some point.  The bad news is that such signs can be ignored or otherwise under-appreciated.  That is the real point here, and a risk that your company (or client) shouldn’t take — just ask Sunfrog."

Starbucks won’t have any idea whether its diversity training works; The Washington Post, April 23, 2018

Hakeem Jefferson and Neil Lewis, Jr., The Washington Post; Starbucks won’t have any idea whether its diversity training works

"Without the expertise to know what makes an intervention more or less successful, it is hard to imagine that Starbucks or any other organization stands much of a chance of developing a successful diversity training program that has long-term, sustainable effects on its culture. Moreover, Starbucks claims that it is interested in knowing whether the training program it will implement will be effective. As social scientists, we know firsthand how difficult it is to measure the effects of an intervention, and we wonder who on Starbucks’s team is sufficiently equipped to do this. The track record of those Starbucks has included in its announcement is remarkable, but it is social scientists — not lawyers or activists — who are trained to adequately and rigorously assess whether this intervention works, or if it will join the long list of those that don’t.

The inclusion of social scientists at every stage of the process can make diversity training more than feel-good PR moves that are of little consequence. Yes, engaging the scholarly community will mean that the process will be slower. But as bias expert Brian Nosek said, if Starbucks and its corporate peers think interventions like this are worth doing, they should certainly think that it’s worth doing well."

Friday, April 20, 2018

Why Tech Companies Need a Code of Ethics for Software Development; Entrepreneur, April 19, 2018

Dave West, Entrepreneur; Why Tech Companies Need a Code of Ethics for Software Development
With so much potential for software to go bad, it's important that developers commit to doing good.

"As the race heats up among companies looking to be first-to-market with the next best product or service, considerations about the implications these systems and gadgets may have on society often are overlooked...

Academically, this movement is already in the works. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are jointly offering a new course on the ethics and regulation of artificial intelligence, the University of Texas at Austin recently introduced its Ethical Foundations of Computer Science course and Stanford University is developing a computer science ethics course for next year...

With the absence of an international standardized code of ethics, one solution organizations can implement immediately is to foster a culture among their delivery teams that places ethics in high regard...

One of the most effective ways organizations can achieve transparency is to create their own internal code of ethics. A baseline organizations can use to develop their code of ethics are the five values of Scrum...

The popular Spiderman phrase "with great power comes great responsibility" could not be more applicable to the organizations who are creating and releasing the products that define society. After all, these products are influencing the way people live and interact with each other, every day. This is why big tech companies must take the lead and create their own code of ethics."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Transcript of Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate hearing; Transcript courtesy of Bloomberg Government via The Washington Post, April 10, 2018

Transcript courtesy of Bloomberg Government via The Washington PostTranscript of Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate hearing

"SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TEX): Thank you, Mr. Zuckerberg, for being here. I know in — up until 2014, a mantra or motto of Facebook was move fast and break things. Is that correct?

ZUCKERBERG: I don't know when we changed it, but the mantra is currently move fast with stable infrastructure, which is a much less sexy mantra.

CORNYN: Sounds much more boring. But my question is, during the time that it was Facebook's mantra or motto to move fast and break things, do you think some of the misjudgments, perhaps mistakes that you've admitted to here, were as a result of that culture or that attitude, particularly as it regards to personal privacy of the information of your subscribers?

ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I do think that we made mistakes because of that. But the broadest mistakes that we made here are not taking a broad enough view of our responsibility. And while that wasn't a matter — the “move fast” cultural value is more tactical around whether engineers can ship things and — and different ways that we operate.

But I think the big mistake that we've made looking back on this is viewing our responsibility as just building tools, rather than viewing our whole responsibility as making sure that those tools are used for good."

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Public Outcry Against a Wall Street Titan’s Name on a High School; The New York Times, April 13, 2018

Kate Kelly, The New York Times; A Public Outcry Against a Wall Street Titan’s Name on a High School

"Naming-rights deals are common, but they increasingly risk provoking fierce reactions — sometimes leading to embarrassing retreats by the wealthy patrons and the recipients of their largess."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Scott Pruitt’s actions at the EPA have triggered a half-dozen investigations; Vox, April 12, 2018

Umair Irfan, Vox; Scott Pruitt’s actions at the EPA have triggered a half-dozen investigations

"The pressure on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is building as inauspicious details keep emerging about what he’s been up to since taking office."

Trump Body Man Turned EPA Whistleblower Is Violating Ethics Rules, the Agency Says; ProPublica, April 12, 2018

Derek Kravitz and Alex Mierjeski, ProPublica; Trump Body Man Turned EPA Whistleblower Is Violating Ethics Rules, the Agency Says

"The Ethics in Government Act requires that all political appointees file financial disclosures with the agency they work at within 30 days of their start date. The disclosures serve two purposes: transparency and identifying potential liabilities tied to financial conflicts of interest. They include staffers’ assets, debts, and stock and other financial holdings. Staffers can get 90-day extensions from agencies.

EPA officials say Chmielewski has not been granted any extensions, and he’s still obligated to provide a financial disclosure even though he has left the agency...

Marilyn Glynn, former general counsel and acting director of the Office of Government Ethics in the George W. Bush administration, said Chmielewski’s failure to file the government paperwork is “highly unusual.”
“Never filing anything seems unusual to me,” she said. “He was still under the obligation to recuse himself [in the event of a conflict of interest], so presumably the ethics office would’ve told him that he’s liable for criminal prosecution should he step over that line.”
It’s unclear if Chmielewski simply forgot to file the required paperwork or chose to dodge the requirement."

MIA Ethics Bowl Team Best in State; Coastal Breeze News, April 12, 2018

Barry Gwinn, Coastal Breeze News; MIA Ethics Bowl Team Best in State

"Ground zero for this change at MIA is the Ethics Bowl Team, a little known group who have been immersed in ethical issues for the past three years. On January 27, the current team won the Florida State Ethics Bowl championship and will get a shot at a national championship, beginning on April 20 at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The issues they discuss are provided by the National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB), headquartered on the campus of the University of North Carolina. The NHSEB oversees both regional and national competitions.

Mentoring and coaching the MIA team is math teacher, Chris Liebhart, who doubles as head baseball coach and assistant coach on three other varsity teams at the school...

For the national championships, the NHSEB had provided them with 16 case studies which were laid out like a law school hornbook, complete with references and case citations. The topics ranged from the Electoral College, Confederate monuments, male circumcision, and eminent domain, to dating on Tinder. The team would have to be prepared to discuss eight of these cases, but would not know in advance which ones they would draw." 

Comey book likens Trump to mafia boss 'untethered to truth'; The Guardian, April 12, 2018

Tom McCarthy and Martin Pengelly, The Guardian; Comey book likens Trump to mafia boss 'untethered to truth'

"The former FBI director James Comey denounces Donald Trump as “untethered to truth” and likens the president to a mafia boss, in an explosive new book set to bring fresh turmoil to the White House...

In an epilogue, Comey passes judgment on Trump’s character. Writing that “our country is paying a high price” for the 2016 election, he says: “This president is unethical, and untethered to the truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven, and about personal loyalty.”
The book, an instant bestseller, will be supported by a media blitz. In response, the Republican party has organized a Trumpian scheme to attack “Lyin’ Comey” – and has set up a rebuttal website."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Senator, They Told Mark Zuckerberg He Should Say “Senator” Before Every Statement; Slate, April 11, 2018

[Video] Heather Schwedel and Paroma Soni, Slate; Senator, They Told Mark Zuckerberg He Should Say “Senator” Before Every Statement

"Mark Zuckerberg did not go to Washington unready: He wore a suit, he brought his notes, and, it’s safe to assume, he logged hours of prep time with his much-alluded-to “team” before taking his (platform-boosted) seat on the Hill. Somewhere along the line, that preparation must have included someone taking Zuckerberg aside and advising him to address each questioner by his or her title as much as humanly possible."

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It’s not just America: Zuckerberg has to answer for Facebook’s actions around the world; The Washington Post, April 10, 2018

Karen Attiah, The Washington Post; It’s not just America: Zuckerberg has to answer for Facebook’s actions around the world

"In many countries around the world, Facebook is the Internet. And with little ability to influence how the social media site operates, such nations are vulnerable to any policy action — or inaction — the company decides to take.

So while Zuckerberg struggles to answer for how his company is affecting Americans, let’s not forget that he has a lot more to answer for...

Time will tell if countries outside of the United States will ever be able to compel Zuckerberg to appear before their citizens and lawmakers to answer for Facebook’s actions. He may never appear in say, Germany, India, or Nigeria on his whirlwind apology tour. Nevertheless, he should not be absolved from the global consequences of the digital empire that he has built."

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook hearing was an utter sham; The Guardian, April 11, 2018

Zephyr Teachout, The Guardian; Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook hearing was an utter sham

"On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in the hot seat. Cameras surrounded him. The energy in the room – and on Twitter – was electric. At last, the reluctant CEO is made to answer some questions!

Except it failed. It was designed to fail. It was a show designed to get Zuckerberg off the hook after only a few hours in Washington DC. It was a show that gave the pretense of a hearing without a real hearing. It was designed to deflect and confuse...

In my view, we need to break up Facebook from Instagram and the other potential competitors that Facebook bought up. We need to – at a minimum – move towards opt-in, we need to hold Facebook responsible for enabling discrimination, and we need to require interoperability.
But that’s not enough. There is so much we don’t know about Facebook. We know we have a corporate monopoly that has repeated serious violations that are threatening our democracy. We don’t know how their algorithm treats news organizations or content producers, how Facebook uses its own information about Facebook users or how tracking across platforms works, to just give a few examples.
Now that the initial show trial is done, we need the real deal, one where no senator gets cut off after a few minutes. The real hearing would allow for unlimited questions from each of our senators, who represent millions of people. If it takes two months of sitting in Washington DC, let it take two months. This is our democracy."

Facebook’s boy billionaire leaves the tough stuff to the grown-ups; The Washington Post, April 10, 2018

Dana Milbank, The Washington Post; Facebook’s boy billionaire leaves the tough stuff to the grown-ups

"Where do the 87 million Facebook users who had their data scraped for Cambridge Analytica come from?

“We can follow up with your office.”

Does Facebook collect user data through cross-device tracking?

“I want to have my team follow up with you on that.”

Is Facebook a neutral forum or does it engage in First Amendment-protected speech?

“I would need to follow up with you on that.”

Zuckerberg was practically crying out for adult supervision.

Zuckerberg, of course, is no dummy. He was coached for the hearing by some of the best Washington hands money can buy. His professed ignorance, therefore, was most likely a calculation that he could avoid committing to much — and it wouldn’t come back to bite him.

He was probably right. Senators seemed as if they were less interested in regulating him than in gawking at him."

Senate fails its Zuckerberg test; CNN, April 11, 2018

Dylan Byers, CNN; Senate fails its Zuckerberg test

"Congress doesn't understand Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg emerged unscathed from Tuesday's Senate committee hearing, and he did so in large part because most of the senators who asked him questions had no clue how Facebook worked, what the solutions to its problems are, or even what they were trying to achieve by calling its CEO to testify, other than getting some good soundbites in.

What the first day of the Zuckerberg hearings made clear is that many American lawmakers are illiterate when it comes to 21st century technology."

Congress tried to crack Zuckerberg – but Facebook still has all the power; The Guardian, April 10, 2018

Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian; Congress tried to crack Zuckerberg – but Facebook still has all the power

"In the end, it was Zuckerberg’s attitude toward his own privacy that was most revealing of the difference between the control that Facebook offers users and actual privacy. Zuckerberg said many times that he and his all his family used Facebook – a talking point we were apparently meant to take as proof that Facebook is safe.

Yet under questioning from Senator Dick Durbin, Zuckerberg expressed discomfort with revealing certain personal information, such as which hotel he was staying at while in Washington DC.

I’m a relatively well-informed Facebook user. I probably pay more attention than most people to privacy settings, and I consistently turn off things like location tracking. And yet, my Facebook data includes dozens of cases where the company has logged my location based on my IP address.

Zuckerberg may not want us to know where he slept last night, but his company sure as hell knows where the rest of us are sleeping."

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg posts a Facebook message as he heads into Senate hearing; CNN, April 10, 2018

CNN; Mark Zuckerberg posts a Facebook message as he heads into Senate hearing

"Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a message to his page just before he heads into the joint committee hearing in the wake of Facebook's data scandal.

"In an hour I’m going to testify in front of the Senate about how Facebook needs to take a broader view of our responsibility -- not just to build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good," Zuckerberg wrote. "I will do everything I can to make Facebook a place where everyone can stay closer with the people they care about, and to make sure it's a positive force in the world.""

A sea of Mark Zuckerberg cutouts has taken over the Capitol lawn; CNN, April 10, 2018

Andrea Diaz, CNN; A sea of Mark Zuckerberg cutouts has taken over the Capitol lawn

"The Avaaz campaign also includes an open letter in response to Zuckerberg's apology, which more than 850,000 people across the world have signed. Zuckerberg took out full-page ads in several British and American newspapers to apologize for a "breach of trust" in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The letter addresses four key elements the organization wants Facebook and other internet sites to address: tell the truth, ban the bots, alert the public and fund the fact-checkers.

"We want Facebook to tell the truth regarding the work that is being done to stop this and the scale of the fake news and fake post problem. We just want to know the transparency of the problem and what is being done to tackle it," [Avaaz campaign director Nell] Greenberg said."

Government Ethics Officials Raise Red Flags On EPA Chief Scott Pruitt; NPR, April 10, 2018

Domenico Montanaro, NPR; Government Ethics Officials Raise Red Flags On EPA Chief Scott Pruitt

"The Office of Government Ethics on Monday issued a strongly worded letter (full letter at the bottom of this post) that lays out its case for why ethics matter.

"Public trust demands that all employees act in the public's interest, and free from any actual or perceived conflicts when fulfilling governmental responsibilities entrusted to them," writes David Apol, acting director and general counsel of the office.

What's more, Apol points out, Pruitt is not just any "employee" who has to be held to this standard.

"Agency heads in particular bear a heightened responsibility," he notes. That's because, according to the Code of Federal Regulations, agency heads are literally "required to 'exercise personal leadership in ... establishing and maintaining an effective agency ethics program and fostering an ethical culture in the agency.'"

Not only that, but the statute lays out the expectation that agency heads "enforce" ethics rules in their agencies and consider them in "evaluating the performance of senior executives.""

A Code Of Ethics In Research; Forbes, April 9, 2018

Scott McDonald, Forbes; A Code Of Ethics In Research

"A single-minded focus on matters of fact can still leave us blind to the ethical implications of our work...

What ethical guidelines guide the use of “secondary data” collected for some other purpose, but now used for research? What responsibility do researchers have to ensure that the data they are using were collected legally, without any deception? What rights do consumers have to know about and approve the uses to which their data are put? What obligations do researchers have to protect consumers from harm that might come from the misuse of their data? What ethical guidelines should govern profiling and highly-targeted communications?

The reality is that the ability of technology to collect data is outstripping the guidelines in place to ensure that sound business practices are being followed. Just because we can do something, it doesn’t mean we should. The Cambridge event is a reckoning, not a revelation.

Let me be clear. The issue is that we should establish and comply with ethical guidelines not to ward off government intervention, but because it is good for our business. Consumer data is not ours, it belongs to consumers, and if we possess it and use it any form, we have a responsibility to respect it – and the consumer who provided it.

To that end, the ARF has issued a call for development and establishment of guidelines and standards to govern consumer data collection and protection." 

Privacy By Design Is Important For Every Area Of Your Business; Forbes, April 10, 2018

Heidi Maher, Forbes; Privacy By Design Is Important For Every Area Of Your Business

"The only solution -- the only way to change people’s behavior -- is to embed privacy in the very fabric of the organization. That’s why Privacy by Design, a decades-old application design and development strategy, is now being discussed as a foundational strategy for entire organizations...

Finally, the use of new technologies is evolving so fast it creates significant legal complexity. Who is at fault when an accident involves a self-driving car? Who can access the data collected by a fitness tracker or medical device implant?

While we may not be able to untangle all the legal and regulatory questions yet, we can do a better job of protecting the data. The seven original principles of Privacy by Design -- developed for software engineers by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada, the Dutch Data Protection Authority, and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research – suggest the path forward..."

Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington — so let’s stop acting like he can’t handle it. He can.; Recode, April 9, 2018

Kara Swisher, Recode; Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington — so let’s stop acting like he can’t handle it. He can.

"So, my guess — even if he is attacked badly by an attention-seeking politician, as Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang was when he was called a “moral pygmy” in 2007 — is that he can handle it. More to the point, he has to because, and I will try to say this slowly for those who do not get it: It. Is. His. Job. As. CEO. Of. Facebook.

It’s a job he has also clearly fallen down on from a management point of view, allowing the platform he built to be misused and abused by bad actors by his lack of policing the system he put in place. Mark screwed up here, that much is clear, and he now needs to both atone and fix it.

The so-so-sorry part is what he and other Facebook execs have been rolling out over the last week, after an initial bizarre period of silence that made the company look feckless. But those first apologies contained — including in an interview with me and Kurt Wagner last week on Recode — an odd mention that he did not want to sit at his desk in California and make rules for the community of Facebook, even though he made Facebook.

It was akin to Dr. Frankenstein saying “my bad” for making the monster and then insisting that he was really not the one responsible for the mess that resulted."

Full transcript: Apple CEO Tim Cook with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes; Recode, April 6, 2018

Meghann Farnsworth, Recode; Full transcript: Apple CEO Tim Cook with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes

"Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook in Chicago, IL. The interview was taped on Tuesday, March 27, and aired on Friday, April 6, 2018. Read the full transcript below.

The full video is not available online but you can listen to the full, uncut interview on Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. The audio is embedded below, or you can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts."

State of America’s Libraries 2018; American Libraries, April 9, 2018

American Libraries; State of America’s Libraries 2018

"On April 9, the American Library Association (ALA) released The State of America’s Libraries report for 2018, an annual summary of library trends released during National Library Week, April 8–14, that outlines statistics and issues affecting all types of libraries. The report affirms the invaluable role libraries and library workers play within their communities by leading efforts to transform lives through education and lifelong learning...


Through an analysis of the number of books challenged, the OIF produced the “Top Ten Most Challenged Books” of 2017, which includes:
  1. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
    Reason: Suicide
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Profanity, Sexually Explicit
  3. Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reason: LGBT Content
  4. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: Sexual Violence, Religious Themes, “May Lead to Terrorism”
  5. George, by Alex Gino
    Reason: LGBT Content
  6. Sex is a Funny Word, written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    Reason: Sex Education
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Violence, Racial Slurs.
  8. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Drug Use, Profanity, Pervasively Vulgar
  9. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole
    Reason: LGBT Content
  10. I Am Jazz, written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reason: Gender Identity
Additional information regarding why books were challenged, a Top Ten List video announcement, and infographics regarding the 2017 Top Ten List of Most Challenged Books are available on the OIF’s Banned and Challenged Books page."

Congress wants to 'inflict pain’ on Mark Zuckerberg. Is he ready for it?; Guardian, April 10, 2018

Olivia Solon, Guardian; Congress wants to 'inflict pain’ on Mark Zuckerberg. Is he ready for it?

"Taking the stand will be a major test for Zuckerberg’s communication skills. Unlike when he deals with the media, his public relations team won’t be there to cherry-pick questions from friendly parties. And Congress wants its pound of flesh.

“Congress is theatre. More than what they are going to want to learn [about the data lapses], they are going to want to inflict pain. They are going to want to be seen as being responsive to public disgruntlement with how Facebook handled the issue,” said Ari Ratner, founder of communications consultancy Inside Revolution and former Obama administration official...

Zuckerberg will want to come across as authentic and apologetic, and will, according to his testimony published on Monday, highlight the sweeping changes that the company has announced already to its privacy tools and to the way third parties can access data on the platform as well as a verification process for political advertisers and page administrators. He will probably also want to talk about Facebook’s global compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a broad set of privacy protections being introduced in the European Union in May."

Monday, April 9, 2018

Conspiracy videos? Fake news? Enter Wikipedia, the ‘good cop’ of the Internet; The Washington Post, April 6, 2018

Noam Cohen, The Washington Post; Conspiracy videos? Fake news? Enter Wikipedia, the ‘good cop’ of the Internet

"Although it is hard to argue today that the Internet lacks for self-expression, what with self-publishing tools such as Twitter, Facebook and, yes, YouTube at the ready, it still betrays its roots as a passive, non-collaborative medium. What you create with those easy-to-use publishing tools is automatically licensed for use by for-profit companies, which retain a copy, and the emphasis is on personal expression, not collaboration. There is no YouTube community, but rather a Wild West where harassment and fever-dream conspiracies use up much of the oxygen. (The woman who shot three people at YouTube’s headquartersbefore killing herself on Tuesday was a prolific producer of videos, including ones that accused YouTube of a conspiracy to censor her work and deny her advertising revenue.)

Wikipedia, with its millions of articles created by hundreds of thousands of editors, is the exception. In the past 15 years, Wikipedia has built a system of collaboration and governance that, although hardly perfect, has been robust enough to endure these polarized times."