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27 March 2015
The hunt for the perfect suitcase, Chapter 3…
This is a product review, arising from my never ending quest for the perfect suitcase*. Whilst there is talk of e-bundles, and much berating of us for exceeding the 350 page bundle limit, in my day to day travels to and from court this is nothing but a distant dream. I am perpetually exceeding my own personal baggage allowance (as my back, knees and elbows would tell you if on they could talk). So the bar will still be needing a regular supply of not-knackered new suitcases for the forseeable future.

So. After my last suitcase fiasco I went back to the old style Tripp basic suitcases available from Debenhams, plus a similar one that I got from a Tesco offer. No Mulberry handbags round here Missus.

But then, I saw a colleague’s latest acquisition and I wanted one. A super dooper bomb proof rain proof affair so secure you could lock a whole information commissioner inside and he’d never get out. With its own padlock to stop anyone nicking your papers whilst you are distracted rooting around in the bottom of your handbag looking for your train ticket. This was a Peli case. And the lovely people at Peli were kind enough to let me have one to test out (a Peli 1440 to be precise), just so I could write this review.

So, what’s my expert opinion?

Well. It IS super dooper. It is robust if not unbreakable, has a waterproof rubber seal and perfectly protects whatever is inside. But they aren’t cheap, and would be an investment.

It provokes an interesting reaction from clients, colleagues and security staff, largely because it looks from the outside like it might be full of fishing tackle or spanners.

Because it is a robust beast, made of some sort of toughened resin it is also very heavy. I would say that when empty it is equivalent to pulling a lightweight suitcase with a PD27 compliant 349 page bundle and a red book. By the time it is full of the 3 lever arch files, red book and a pair of shoes that I usually fill it with it is like trying to drag your granny along the ground on a sack (Although why you would be doing that I don’t know).

It has good wheels, although it is a tad noisy on cobbles. Due to its rather low chassis it can scrape along or get caught on cobbles or uneven paving slabs, but basically ploughs through uneven mud. It is utterly lethal if you do let the handle slip and it drops on your leg and suprisingly easy to pulverise a toe with. If you were toting it fully laden with bundles and accidentally swiped a passer by you may be very unpopular. I wouldn’t fancy it on the tube.

I have found in practice that this suitcase is just too heavy for little old me, and although it has some fantastic features the sheer effort required outweighs the benefits. For others the balance may be different, so I think it is worth considering. There are a whole range of sizes and dimensions – my colleague has one that holds 5 lever arches, but that for me is just too heavy altogether. Due to the wide and low briefcase shape I selected it is difficult to neatly chicane around people without knocking your own leg out from under you as you turn the suitcase – the wheelbase is quite wide, so it doesn’t easily spin round to be tucked into the corner of a lift as you get in, and you can’t easily flip it around on its axis to reverse out of a tight spot.

So, whilst I do use my suitcase and will continue to do so I will not be ditching my trusty Tripp just yet.

I imagine it would not be too difficult for this company to modify this range so that they produced something a bit lighter and a bit less “toolbox” but which still kept the best features. If they did I would be the first to buy it.

 

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Shoshana Zuboff on Dark Google and the multi-dimensional threat of #SurveillanceCapitalism

© APAs if interests of his business stand for the entire Web and Internet: Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

Recall those fabled frogs happy in the magic pond. Playful. Distracted. The water temperature slowly rises, but the frogs don’t notice. By the time it reaches the boiling point, it’s too late to leap to safety. We are as frogs in the digital waters, and Springer CEO Mathias Dopfner has just become our frog town crier. Mr. Dopfner’s „Why We Fear Google“ ( a response to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s open letter, „A Chance for Growth“) warns of danger on the move: „The temperatures are rising fast.” If his cry of alarm scares you, that’s good. Why?
(Autorisierte deutsche Fassung: Die Google-Gefahr – Schürfrechte am Leben von Shoshana Zuboff)
First, because there is a dawning awareness that Google is forging a new kingdom on the strength of a different kind of power –– ubiquitous, hidden, and unaccountable. If successful, the dominion of this kingdom will exceed anything the world has known. The water is close to boiling, because Google understands this statement more profoundly than we do.
Second, because accessing the Web and the wider Internet have become essential for effective social participation across much of the world. A BBC poll conducted in 2010 found that 79% of people in 26 countries considered access to the Internet to be a fundamental human right. We rely on Google’s tools as we search, learn, connect, communicate, and transact. The chilling irony is that we’ve become dependent on the Internet to enhance our lives, but the very tools we use there threaten to remake society in ways that we do not understand and have not chosen.
Something new and dangerous

If there is a single word to describe Google, it is „absolute.” The Britannica defines absolutism as a system in which „the ruling power is not subject to regularized challenge or check by any other agency.” In ordinary affairs, absolutism is a moral attitude in which values and principles are regarded as unchallengeable and universal. There is no relativism, context-dependence, or openness to change.
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© RUSS SCHLEIPMAN Vergrößern

Shoshana Zuboff warns of the radical vision of Google

Six years ago I asked Eric Schmidt what corporate innovations Google was putting in place to ensure that its interests were aligned with its end users. Would it betray their trust? Back then his answer stunned me. He and Google’s founders control the super-voting class B stock. This allows them, he explained, to make decisions without regard to short-term pressure from Wall Street. Of course, it also insulates them from every other kind of influence. There was no wrestling with the creation of an inclusive, trustworthy, and transparent governance system. There was no struggle to institutionalize scrutiny and feedback. Instead Schmidt’s answer was the quintessence of absolutism: „trust me; I know best.” At that moment I knew I was in the presence of something new and dangerous whose effects reached beyond narrow economic contests and into the heart of everyday life.
Google kills Innovation

Mr. Schmidt’s open letter to Europe shows evidence of such absolutism. Democratic oversight is characterized as „heavy-handed regulation.” The „Internet”, „Web”, and „Google” are referenced interchangeably, as if Goggle’s interests stand for the entire Web and Internet. That’s a magician’s sleight of hand intended to distract from the real issue. Google’s absolutist pursuit of its interests is now regarded by many as responsible for the Web’s fading prospects as an open information platform in which participants can agree on rules, rights, and choice.
Schmidt warns that were the E.U. to oppose Google’s practices, Europe risks becoming „an innovation desert.” Just the opposite is more likely true. Thanks in part to Google’s exquisite genius in the science of surveillance, the audacity with which it has expropriated users’ rights to privacy, and the aggressive tactics of the NSA, people are losing trust in the entire digital medium. It is this loss of trust that stands to kill innovation. To make some sense of our predicament, let’s take a fresh look at how we got here, the nature of the threats we face, and the stakes for the future.
Google Colonizes a Blank Area and the NSA Follows

In his extended essay, „The Loneliness of the Dying“, the sociologist Norbert Elias observes that „dying is at present a largely unformed situation, a blank area on the social map.” Such „blanks” occur when earlier meanings and practices no longer apply, but new ones have yet to be created. Google’s rapid rise to power was possible because it ventured into this kind of blank area. It colonized the blank space at high speed without challenge or impediment. Google did not ask permission, seek consensus, elicit opinion, or even make visible its rules and ramparts. How did this occur?
Breaking the Rules of the „Old World“

The first key ingredient was demand. During the second half of the twentieth century, more education and complex social experience produced a new kind of individual. No longer content to conform to the mass, more people sought their own unique paths to self-determination. It was a period of growing frustration with existing institutions that were still oriented toward the mass society of an earlier time. People wanted to reinvent social experiences in ways that expressed their new sensibilities. They wanted information on their own terms, not controlled by the old norms, professional fortresses, and business models.
The arrival of the Internet provided a new way forward. As web browsers and search tools became available, the new individuals rushed onto the Web with their pent up demands for genuine voice and connection. Information access and communication could bypass old boundaries and be reconfigured to suit any need. Here finally was experience how I want it, where I want it, when I want it. There was a presumption that the adversarial rules from the „old world” of 20th century commerce did not apply. This was a new „networked public sphere,” as legal scholar Yochai Benkler called it. There was no looking back.
Google and other companies rushed into the new space too, and for a while it seemed that they were aligned with the popular expectations of trust and collaboration. But as pressures for profit increased, Google, Facebook, and others shifted to an advertising model that required the covert capture of user data as the currency for ad sales. Profits rapidly materialized and motivated ever more ruthless and determined data collection. The new science of data mining exploded, driven in part by Google’s spectacular success.
Fighting the Law

The whole topography of cyberspace then began to morph as Google and Facebook shifted away from the ethos of the public web, while carefully retaining its rhetoric. They began to develop a new logic of operations in what had until then been a blank area. The new zone didn’t resemble the bricks and mortar world of commerce, but neither did it follow the norms of the open web. This confused and distracted users. In fact, the firms were developing a wholly new business logic that incorporated elements of the conventional logic of corporate capitalism –especially its adversarialism toward end consumers – along with elements from the new Internet world – especially its intimacy. The outcome was the elaboration of a new commercial logic based on hidden surveillance. Most people did not understand that they and their friends were being tracked, parsed, and mined without their knowledge or consent.
A steady stream of eruptions from the new zone provides evidence of this new logic of operations. For example, Google faces a series of contentious lawsuits over its secret scanning of all Gmail, including mail from non-Gmail accounts. It first tried to conceal the scanning procedures in 2010 and only fully acknowledged them after four years of public outcry. In one „potentially explosive” lawsuit Google acknowledged that it unilaterally scans millions of email messages sent or received by the 30 million student users of the the company’s Apps for Education tools. In 2012 Google face more outrage and lawsuits when it announced that it would consolidate data about its users from all its services without any mechanism of consent.
Google Street View launched in 2007 is another example of the company’s absolutism. It didn’t ask if it could photograph homes for public consumption, it just took what it wanted and waited for any resistance to exhaust itself in defeat. Ultimately Street View would face protests and restrictions in many countries across the EU as well as Japan, Greece, and Canada.
The Shared Interest of NSA and Google

By 2010 the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection announced that Google’s Street View operation also camouflaged a covert data sweep from users of private Wi-Fi networks. He called for an immediate halt to Street View in Germany and erasure of all illegally captured data. Other countries followed with their own investigations and prosecutions.
The Electronic Privacy and Information Center has consistently pressed the case. It maintains a detailed overview of the worldwide outrage, protests, investigations, litigation, and settlements in response to Google Street View and its secret data gathering tactics.
In 2010, Google established a partnership with the NSA that added to the complexity and opacity of operations in the new zone. The ostensible trigger for this public-private alliance was Google’s discovery that the Chinese had hacked its infrastructure. However, the NSA already had a keen interest in all things Google. It struggled with the demands of tracking objects and discerning patterns in Internet time. The NSA was actively developing the same tools and capabilities that allowed Google to search and analyze masses of data at warp speed.
A New Business Model

The U.S. Justice Department kept the partnership secret, but news reports, court documents, and eventually the Snowden leaks reveals a picture of interdependence and collaboration. As former director of the NSA Mike McConnell put it, “ Recent reports of possible partnership between Google and the government point to the kind of joint efforts — and shared challenges — that we are likely to see in the future…Cyberspace knows no borders, and our defensive efforts must be similarly seamless.” The NSA developed its own software to mimic the Google infrastructure, uses Google “cookies” to identify targets for hacking, and widely accesses emails and other data through the PRISM program, the costs of which it covered for Google and other Internet firms.
Google and Facebook had led the way in colonizing the new zone with a commercial logic based on surveillance. Now the Google-NSA alliance added new layers and capabilities, as well as a complex public-private dimension that remains poorly understood. Whatever the details might be, the new logic spread to other companies and applications, driving the growth and success of operations in the new zone.
Despite this growth, it’s been difficult to grasp the changing social relations that are produced in the new zone. associated withi Google’s new commercial logic. There are two reasons for this. First, the companies move faster than individuals or democratic public institutions can follow. Second, its operations are designed to be undetectable. It’s this later point that I want to focus on for a moment.
Google’s Radical Politics

We often hear that our privacy rights have been eroded and secrecy has grown. But that way of framing things obscures what’s really at stake. Privacy hasn’t been eroded. It’s been expropriated. The difference in framing provides new ways to define the problem and consider solutions.
In the conventional telling, privacy and secrecy are treated as opposites. In fact, one is a cause and the other is an effect. Exercising our right to privacy leads to choice. We can choose to keep something secret or to share it, but we only have that choice when we first have privacy. Privacy rights confer decision rights. Privacy lets us decide where we want to be on the spectrum between secrecy and transparency in each situation. Secrecy is the effect; privacy is the cause.
I suggest that privacy rights have not been eroded, if anything they’ve multiplied. The difference now is how these rights are distributed. Instead of many people having some privacy rights, nearly all the rights have been concentrated in the hands of a few. On the one hand, we have lost the ability to choose what we keep secret, and what we share. On the other, Google, the NSA, and others in the new zone have accumulated privacy rights. How? Most of their rights have come from taking ours without asking. But they also manufactured new rights for themselves, the way a forger might print currency. They assert a right to privacy with respect to their surveillance tactics and then exercise their choice to keep those tactics secret.
A pre-modern absolutism

Finally – and this is key – the new concentration of privacy rights is institutionalized in the automatic undetectable functions of a global infrastructure that most of the world’s people also happen to think is essential for basic social participation. This turns ordinary life into the daily renewal of a 21st century Faustian pact.
It is difficult to appreciate the global reach and implications of this rights grab. Leaving aside whether or not it crosses the threshold of „revolution,” it is a form of radical politics that has engineered a significant redistribution of power in just a few years based on the. Expropriation of widely held privacy rights and the choices they entail. This has been accomplished through a unique assembly of public and private actors and interests that operate outside the auspices of legitimate democratic mechanisms. In some respects, the social relations that emerge from this rights grab are best compared to that of a pre-modern absolutism.
We have been caught off guard. Neither we as individuals nor our public institutions have a clear grasp of these new relationships, their implications, the relevant paths to action, or the goals to achieve. There are good reasons for so much confusion and dismay. The dynamics I describe have occurred in a blank area that is not easily captured by our existing social, economic, and political categories. They extend far beyond the realm of economics and the old debates about business monopolies and competitive practices. The new business operations reach beyond our wallets into the very essence of our lives. They elude our mental models and defy our rational expectations to such an extent that we end up questioning our own witness and powers of evaluation. Unfortunately, the situation is about to get worse as Google’s radical politics spread from cyberspace to the real world.
Reality is the Next Big Thing

What is Google up to next? We know it’s secret, but here is how it looks to me. Google is no longer content with the data business. It’s next step is to build an even more radical „reality business.” Google sees „reality” as the next big thing that it can carve up and sell. In the data business, the payoff is in data patterns that help target ads. In the reality business, the payoff is in shaping and communicating real life behaviors of people and things in millions of ways that drive revenue to Google. The business model is expanding to encompass the digital you as well as the actual you. The scene is changing from virtual reality to, well, reality. Unsurprisingly, the two entities at the vanguard of this new wave are Google and the NSA.
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Wants to reinvent societies’ systems within a control framework: Professor Alex Pentland of MIT in September 2011

The „reality business” reflects a shift in the frontier of data science from data mining to „reality mining.” This new approach was pioneered over the last decade at the MIT Media Lab. Now its migrating to military intelligence and commercial applications. In a 2011 paper, MIT Professor Alex Pentland explains the value of reality mining. „We must reinvent societies’ systems within a control framework.” He notes that this will require „exponential growth in data about human behavior.” In another paper, Pentland explains that the proliferation of sensors, mobile phones, and other data capture devices will provide the „eyes and ears” of a „world-spanning living organism.” „Where do people eat? Work? Hang out?” – „Distributed sensor networks,” he observes, will provide „a God’s eye view of ourselves. For the first time, we can precisely map the behavior of large numbers of people as they go about their daily lives.”
The NSA and other intelligence agencies are already using “pattern of life analysis” to identify threats, including those that might originate within the organization as they hope to head off the next Edward Snowden. A range of software companies, some spun off from or funded by the intelligence agencies, provide capabilities in patterns-of-life activity and activity-based intelligence analysis.
Reality is the new product

Google’s ambitions in this new arena appear to be limitless. In 2012 Brin/Page/Schmidt hired computer scientist Ray Kurzweil to lead engineering. Kurzweil, a brilliant inventor, is a proselytizer for the idea that computers can develop consciousness. „Future machines will be human,” he wrote, „Most of the intelligence of our civilization will ultimately be nonbiological.” Kurzweil wants to turn “the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality” at Google. The firm has purchased most of the top machine learning and robotics companies to build what has been described as the „greatest artificial intelligence laboratory on earth.” It paid richly for a company that produces high altitude drones as well as Nest Labs, a firm at the forefront of smart devices for the home and considered essential in the new Internet of Things.
All this suggests that Google is building capabilities even more ambitious than reality „mining”. The aim is not merely the God’s eye view, but the God’s eye power to shape and control reality. Google’s glasses, wearables, or self-driving cars have a clear purpose: to inform on where you’ve been, and where you are, and to influence where you’re going. As one expert has suggested, third parties could pay for programming that drives the car sends you to their restaurant, store or political rally .
There are vast opportunities for similar reality mining and shaping through the Internet of Things. This refers to the growing network of smart sensors and Internet enabled devices intended as an intelligent infrastructure for all objects and even bodies. From your baby’s diapers, to your refrigerator, heating system, mattress, lights, walls,coffee mug, and artificial knee ––this will be the smart neural network in which you breathe, eat, sleep, travel, and work. It will perform infinite configurations of actions, observations, suggestions, communications, and interventions all geared to a new product category: reality. Google and others will make money knowing, manipulating, controlling, slicing, and dicing all of it.
Is Reality for Sale?

To make sense of this big puzzle, it helps to have some historical perspective. There are two useful ideas for us in the work of historian Karl Polanyi. He described the rise of a new human conception: the self-regulating market economy. He saw that the market economies of the 19th and 20th centuries depended upon three astonishing mental inventions. He called them „fictions“. The first was that human life can be subordinated to market dynamics and be reborn as „labor.” Second, nature can be subordinated and reborn as „real estate.” Third, that purchasing power can be reborn as „money.” The very possibility of industrial capitalism depended upon the creation of these three critical „fictional commodities.” Life, nature, and exchange had to be turned into things that could be profitably bought and sold.
Google brings us to the precipice of a new development in the scope of the market economy. A fourth fictional commodity is emerging as a dominant characteristic of market dynamics in the 21st century. „Reality” is about to undergo the same kind of fictional transformation and be reborn as „behavior.” This includes the behavior of creatures, their bodies, and their things. It includes actual behavior and data about behavior. It is the world-spanning organism and all the tiniest elements within it.
Polanyi understood that the pure unimpeded operations of a self-regulating of the market were profoundly destructive. Society required countermeasures to avoid such danger. He called this the „double movement”: „a network of measures and policies…integrated into powerful institutions designed to check the action of the market relative to labor, land, and money.” Regulation, legislation, democratic oversight…these are the critical responses necessary to protect society from a downward spiral. Anticipating the century to come, he urged the strengthening of the double movement, that „every increase in integration in society should thus be accompanied by an increase of freedom…the strengthening of the rights of the individual in society.”
Europe’s Task

This returns us to our starting point. Eric Schmidt and Mathias Döpfners controversy in the F.A.Z. is only the beginning of a disruption that will shake industry, society and citizens. It is a plea for the primacy, urgency, and necessity of a new double movement. It must be stronger, more confident, and more deeply principled than we have yet seen. It must provide a counterweight to a dangerous new absolutism that relies on pervasive, secret, unaccountable power.
We are beyond the realm of economics here. This is not merely a conversation about free markets; it’s a conversation about free people.
It’s an urgent new public conversation that can’t be reduced to 20th century technical debates about Google’s monopoly status or competitive practices. We tend to revert to these old categories in the absence of ready language and law that can help us discern the full implications of what is taking shape. But such specialized professional arguments shift the Google debate from the realm of everyday life and ordinary people to the arcane interests of economists and bureaucrats. They obscure the fact that the issues have shifted from monopolies of products or services to monopolies of rights: rights to privacy and rights to reality. These new forms of power, poorly understood except by their own practitioners, threaten the sovereignty of the democratic social contract.
We are powerful too. Our demands for self-determination are not easily extinguished. We made Google, perhaps by loving it too much. We can unmake it, if we must. The challenge is to understand what is at stake and how quickly things are moving. The need is to come together in our diversity to preserve a future in which many visions can thrive, not just one –– Where many rights can flourish, not just some.
Mehr zum Thema

 Die Google-Gefahr: Shoshana Zuboff antwortet Mathias Döpfner

 Why we fear Google: Mathias Döpfner’s open letter to Eric Schmidt

 Eric Schmidt about the good Google does: A chance for growth

 Almighty Google: Whoever owns our data will determine our fate

Things are moving fast. This is why the world now looks to the E.U. – not to Google – to reverse the growing menace of absolutism and the monopoly of rights. The EU can stand for the double movement. It can represent the future and assert the dominion of democratic rights and the principles of a fair marketplace. These are the precious victories of a centuries-long struggle, and we dare not abandon them now.
The author

Shoshana Zuboff is the author of The Summons: Our Fight for the Soul of an Information Civilization (forthcoming, 2015). She is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration (retired) at the Harvard Business School and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School. @shoshanazuboff

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This is the unabridged version. The german version has been authorized.

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The battle over Trumps Executive Orders is just getting started

TRACKING TRUMP’S CONGRESS
The Battle Over Trump’s Executive Orders Is Just Getting Started

img_20161218_2111201_rewind

MARK HAY
Feb 3 2017, 9:13pm

Around the country, lawyers and state attorney generals are ready to challenge the president’s entire agenda in court.
Like many new presidents, Donald Trump’s first days in office were marked by a flurry of executive actions. Some of these restricted travel and immigration to the US in sweeping ways, some of them were more vague directives for federal departments to do something in the future; a large number of them appear to have been sloppily worded. But by Tuesday, the White House had slowed its roll, delaying a planned action on cybersecurity accountability indefinitely. Rumored executive orders that would restart a CIA “black site” program and legalize some discrimination against LGBTQ people also have yet to surface.

But the decision to hold off on the cybersecurity order was reportedly less about picking which orders to act on and more about the administration’s need to focus on the lawsuits his “travel ban” has stirred up.

That order, which temporarily bars refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, is the most infamous and contentious Trump action so far. Early lawsuits resulted in judges declaring that travelers who were en route to America when Trump signed the order should be released from detention. But a number of advocacy groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are challenging the entire order, as are the attorneys general of Minnesota and Washington and several large tech companies, who have many foreign-born employees. Even more legal actions are likely to emerge in the coming days, both on this order and others as they move toward implementation.

If you’ve been having trouble keeping up with all of the cases, you’re not alone.

“I have done a chart trying to catalogue [them] as best I can,” said Melissa Keaney, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, which is involved in the legal pushback to the order. “There continues to be minute-to-minute changes to the list. And I think some cases, especially individual habeas actions, are not all accounted for, because they’re being filed on such emergency bases that a lot of folks aren’t even able to share out the fact that it’s happening.”

“Altogether, we have a lot of very significant cases pending,” Keaney added. “And I think we will be seeing more in the next few days.”

Each lawsuit relies on some mix of the following arguments: The order implicitly singles out Muslims for restrictions, violating the First Amendment. It violates the due process guaranteed under American law as per the Fifth and 14th Amendments. It violates the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on nationality or place of birth or residence when issuing visas. It violates the 1946 Administrative Powers Act against arbitrary or capricious actions or the abuse of executive discretion, especially when unsupported by substantial evidence of the need for action. Finally, some attorneys general argue, it harms the interests of the citizens of specific states.

Many of the anti-ban arguments are very broad, which Keaney told me was necessary due to the order’s vague wording and inconsistent implementation—green-card holders were stopped from returning to the country, then they weren’t; either 100,000 or 60,000 visas were revoked—making it hard to litigate specific implementations.

Skeptics of the suits have noted that foreign nationals, and especially non-permanent residents, often have fewer rights than citizens, that an older immigration law still allows the president to restrict entry (as opposed to visas) as he sees fit, and that the order does not specifically target religion. (The counter to that last point is that Trump and his advisors have spoken publicly many times about a “Muslim ban.”) However, several federal judges have shown sympathy to plaintiffs’ arguments when they halted people affected by it from being removed from the US. One Iranian man who was coerced into signing a document revoking his visa was returned to America by court order on Thursday, signaling hope for some with visas who were turned back and are now stranded abroad.

But adding to the confusion, some officials, particularly at Virginia’s Washington Dulles Airport, are refusing to comply with court orders. “We have been spending the last few days just gathering evidence of all those various violations in order to obtain additional remedies,” Keaney told me. But “it’s a very dangerous statement that thus far the administration does not seem to feel compelled to respect [all] of the judiciary’s rulings.”

So far, these court-ordered reprieves only help those who were already physically on their way to the US when the ban was implemented. Citizens of the seven banned countries who have valid visas but are overseas are still barred from entry. And there has been no legal relief for refugees who find themselves suddenly unable to come to America.

The Minnesota-Washington case will have its first hearing on Friday, which could conceivably result in a pause on the entire order in the near future—and, further down the line, possibly lead to a wide nullification of elements of it.

It’s relatively rare for courts to overturn provisions of an executive order, says Keaney, especially when national security issues are at play. But Paul Nolette, an expert on attorneys general, notes that courts have been open to lawsuits from states that target the federal government, some of which hampered Barack Obama’s immigration-related executive orders.

Trump’s other executive actions haven’t attracted nearly as many lawsuits, possibly because they have had little immediate impact. San Francisco is suing the federal government over Trump’s threat to pull federal funding from “sanctuary cities” that don’t comply with immigration authorities, but some critics say that’s mere a political stunt.

Keaney told me that many of Trump’s actions were unclear enough that most organizations won’t know what sort of cases to pursue until his administration does something concrete. “But I certainly think we’re going to be seeing a lot of legal action,” she added.

Nolette noted that attorneys general have made it clear they’re ready to pounce on further actions and will likely have broad strategies ready to go. Key targets for future litigation might center around sanctuary cities, plans for the construction of the border wall, attempts to implement the one-in-two-out regulation restriction, and a bid to guarantee American pipelines are made with American steel. Nolette thinks attorneys general will be especially vigilant on environmental and healthcare issues.

This storm of litigation will continue, in bursts, for some time—and may actually lead to substantial limitations on Trump’s boldest designs. The big question, though, is whether this is part of the Trump administration’s design or just the byproduct of an inexperienced White House trying to do everything at once. Even before he became president, Trump wasn’t afraid of risking suit by, for instance, not paying his contractors what his company had promised. He and his team could be using executive actions and litigation against them like a form of negotiation—ask for everything you want, and see what the courts will give you. Or not. In any case, we shouldn’t expect the Trump administration to stop testing just how far the law can bend to its whims.

Follow Mark Hay on Twitter.

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I am proud to say I passed ‘Introduction to American Law’ with 85 percent. 

I am proud to have passed’ Introduction to American Law’ with 85 percent’

.

 It was my first real introduction to 1L Law but from an American perspective.

 And the first time ever I got introduced to Civil Procedure!!

This was the Subject that caused me more angst than all the others; that spurred me to read Papers by Academics that showed the way.

 It was whilst googling I discovered Arthur Miller a reknowned legal academic an expert in Civil Procedure!!

 He opened my eyes to how Civil Procedure is used to deny access to the courts instead of open them.

Examples

Rule 23 is thrwarted by The Federal Arbitration Act which cuts off Class Actions.( which Corporations quietly sneaked in unawares)

 Class Actions require Certification a key issue 

Rule 12(b) and Rule 56 Notice Pleading seems to be used to strike out advocacy with hidden rules in Contract Cases.

(In Contract Cases it would appear that your poor lawyer needs to be a Contract specialist who can not merely plead a Case line by line but negotiate hidden Contract law obstacles!!)*

*Contract Disputes Act Casebook Landmark Publications.

 Arguments were struck out by claims of misuse or absence of jurisdiction; something the U.S. is unsurprisingly big on as correct jurisdiction ( subject matter,personal,choice of forum,choice of law, various Jurisdiction Doctrines..) given that lawyers have to determine appropriate jurisdiction and therefore applicable State Law all goes into making a Case and that is minus substantive parts! often combined e.g. Contract,Tort, Property.Cases I have read don’t appear to be about one type of Law!

 So instead of hating Civil Procedure I LOVED it passing the Exam easily first time with 100 percent!

 This Course by Coursera has set me off on a journey to do more Courses on Subjects in the Course.

Constitutional Law Erwin Chereminsky is my man who happens to be a Commentator on Criminal Procedure the most interesting of all my Con law options.

Common Law U.S. style the counterpart to English Common Law Strutures and Principles.

Environmental Law and Policies.Good resources on this to more than prepare me for the Course.

Human Rights in open Societies.

I am more than overdue to do a Human Rights Course this is a start 

The International Criminal Court in three Courses!

Children’s Law nuff said it is appalling to see children( like animals) out on the street. When I see my how wonderful happy children are.How shameful these little ones suffer so 

 Animal Law Edinburgh University too good to miss!

 As you see I am on a journey.

 I like to prepare by marshalling resources my own way in order to confront the challenges head on.

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Lottery tickets are best brought in hard copy versions as the National Lottery reversed my sequence of numbers all appropriately RANDOM

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MOOC Platforms, Surveillance, and Control | AAUP

https://www.aaup.org/article/mooc-platforms-surveillance-and-control

MOOC Platforms, Surveillance, and Control

The institutional impact of MOOCs.

By Paul-Olivier Dehaye

In the mid-1980s, while she was a professor at the Harvard Business School, Shoshana Zuboff formulated three laws about the implications of information technology:

1. Everything that can be automated will be automated.

2. Everything that can be informated will be informated.

3. Every digital application that can be used for surveillance and control will be used for surveillance and control.

Informating is the process that translates descriptions and measurements of activities, events, and objects into information. Zuboff’s original analysis was applied to a variety of workplaces, but its scope has naturally expanded with the spread of information technology to the spaces where we live, shop, exercise, relax, heal, and, now, teach and learn.

The first public promise of broadcast-style massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has always been to reduce costs by automating the classroom experience as much as possible: large participation numbers are possible because content can be delivered online 24-7, to the great convenience of students, and because thousands of tests can be scored automatically, to the great convenience of professors. This automation has been critical in the evolution of MOOCs, and its impact on pedagogy has been much discussed. Less frequently discussed, however, are the informating, the surveillance, and the control entailed in MOOCs. Indeed, these online courses are constructed as part of a bigger assemblage, a MOOC platform, whose logic is secreted away into venture capital–funding rounds, term sheets, quarterly reports, partnership contracts, partner conferences, and support tickets.

In more recent work, Zuboff cleverly deconstructs the informating step by recycling observations of Hal Varian, chief economist at Google. Varian identifies four different benefits of computer-mediated transactions:

1. data collection and analysis

2. personalization

3. constant monitoring enabling new forms of contracts

4. constant experimentation

These four facets frame the following analysis of the systemic and societal impacts of MOOCs.

Data Collection and Analysis

One of the operating strategies of web platforms is to represent symbolically as many events and interactions as possible. For teaching and learning platforms, this strategy renders subjective events into commodities, actively traded by professors, universities, and the platforms themselves.

The stated promise associated with data collection is to improve education and gain insights to inform our on-campus teaching. But this one-way extraction of data will unfortunately occur at the expense of a vast erosion and redistribution of privacy rights: in exchange for access to the data they contributed, eager universities have turned a blind eye to third-party uses of those data. They have also partly shielded themselves from liability by relying on start-ups that will simply nullify the privacy laws they don’t like. This is particularly problematic in Europe, where international agreements fail to ensure adequate protection for data transferred across the Atlantic but limit what can be exchanged between universities in the same country afterward.

The data collection has other goals as well: it allows platforms to gather new types of information about the online education market. Netflix can tell precisely when a TV series hooks its viewers, and MOOC platforms can say the same for individual courses and students. They use metrics that have been defined by computer engineers with little understanding of cognitive processes and no form of accountability.

MOOC platforms can track the topic searches of students to assess the demand for particular courses or topics. They use this knowledge in competitive bidding processes for new courses and specializations, sometimes offering loans to universities to develop the content, which gives the platform more control over the production process. Eager to get a first-mover advantage, universities often embark on these projects despite some initial reluctance. The bidding process is opaque and easily manipulated by the central player, the platform.

Personalization

Personalization and adaptive learning are often touted as a (future) advantage of MOOC education. They have drawbacks, however. The primary aim of MOOC platforms is to offer the best user experience, which, in heated academic debates, can sometimes result in censorship. When a professor ends up being the lone dissenter, his or her account can easily be suspended without explanation.

Even more troubling, this personalized experience sometimes evolves into more refined forms of censorship. Through the practice of “shadow banning,” some individuals’ forum posts are not delivered to others—without providing notice to the original posters that their comments are being blocked. This practice is fairly common in online communities but has no place in a classroom.

In the context of an online course, such tactics can destroy creativity and breed a culture of compliance and anticipatory conformity among faculty members: professors are encouraged to fit their content into patterns that can then be delivered at scale by the platforms in ways that can be (paradoxically) personalized and monetized for each student. Professor comments are centralized into a partner portal, which only contributes to this groupthink through insidious self-censorship and vain self-presentation.

Monitoring

Varian boasts that the constant monitoring of web platforms enables new forms of contracts: examples include online advertisers paid per click and Amazon authors paid per Kindle page-turn.

Already, MOOC providers reward content producers (universities and professors) through a precise assessment of the revenue they generate. Eventually, this system might be tied to actual hours of video watched or some other inaccurate proxy for the quality of the teaching done.

Varian also looks favorably upon the new online businesses that thrive thanks to new means of verification embedded in our devices. In some MOOCs, students are required to send pictures of their identification cards to certify their identities. In the more extreme verification systems, keystroke dynamics are also used to identify users. These mechanisms, which are outside of the control of universities, raise profound questions about consent and privacy that cannot be adequately resolved through “terms of service” agreements.

Perhaps most notable among the newly possible contracts are those that involve certifications and, ultimately, integration with the employment market. Currently, students exchange money for cryptographically signed certificates, but this system does not guarantee that certifications will be recognized. Some classes of certifications have already been retired as meaningless or technologically degraded. In the future, the introduction of digital rights management schemes might mean that students will never fully own their degrees or might be required to pay as technology is upgraded. In fact, after around one year of operations, Coursera started to anticipate such a monetization strategy by slipping an extra clause into its (leaked) partnership contracts—without providing any disclosure to students. Such practices are particularly worrisome in the context of today’s workplace: while optional “upskilling” in a stable work environment is desirable, in our fragmented labor market it seems more likely that individuals will be constantly expected to showcase their earned certificates in order to land their next gig.

Experimentation

Universities are also participating in MOOCs for their own research purposes. Undoubtedly, the vast collection of data gathered through MOOCs will lead to many new quantitative studies, sometimes confirming prior smaller-scale or qualitative ones and almost always discovering statistically but not practically significant effects. The numbers will be staggering and unprecedented, but not necessarily informative from a pedagogical standpoint. In addition, a lot of the experimentation now revolves around increasing student retention. MOOC platforms seek, for instance, to optimize the scheduling and content of their periodic e-mail reminders. It is unclear what effect, if any, this nudging could have on students.

Universities are stepping into an ethical quagmire. Students are not informed of the legal and technical frameworks driving the experimental designs of courses, and scientific research conducted by academics will undoubtedly be confused with product research conducted by the MOOC platforms themselves. Some more active interventions will be especially questionable. Already, some MOOC platforms are experimenting with pricing discrimination, with the goal of maximizing revenue. This discrimination is currently based on geography, but could socioeconomic data collected through the voluntary “research” surveys that students take also be used to determine pricing? What about data submitted for financial aid applications? Either way, such tactics betray a profound disloyalty to students.

Experimentation can also be used as an opaque shield for activities that exploit universities and professors. In a world where a platform hosts thousands of courses, a recommendation engine is crucial to drive traffic. Just as Google can steer users to its own products, so can platforms favor courses that maximize their own returns.

Surveillance Capitalism

The concerns, however, go much further. The logic of data accumulation, which Zuboff calls surveillance capitalism, naturally tends to favor dominant players, because they get exhaustive knowledge of the unregulated markets they create and completely subsume. The platforms have successfully played on existing university rankings and a misplaced sense of competition among universities to lure them in. Once they enter agreements with MOOC platforms, the Varian principles will take over, and universities will end up competing to the exclusive benefit of their host platforms.

Zuboff has more recently christened the end state of this logic as Big Other, which she defines as a ubiquitous, distributed, networked, and novel institutional regime of individual corporate actors, each dominating and commodifying a separate facet of the global digital life. MOOCs constitute just one of those facets for many individuals worldwide, and it is certainly reasonable to expect a consolidation in the industry. There are already very few MOOC platforms that dominate the higher education market, and it becomes harder and harder to imagine new players coming in.

So, what happens when the dominant MOOC platform actually “wins” and enmeshes academia as part of Big Other? Will professors, reduced to mere content producers, all working under nondisclosure agreements, live in fear of being booted off the platform if they speak up, just like authors on Amazon? Will university administrators, in this pyramid of power and control, live in fear of damaging their privileged partnerships with a monopolistic player, just as they do now with academic publishers? Will this external player hasten the demise of shared governance in academia?

The asymmetries of knowledge and power between Internet giants and citizens are already large, and they seem to grow worse every month. We are rapidly institutionalizing new facts, igniting new network effects, and facilitating the influx of even more predatory capital.

As a mathematician who has seen mathematical models misused again and again—in the financial markets, for instance—I am inherently skeptical of big-data claims. I think, like many others, that machine learning helps perpetuate, legitimize, and cloak discrimination.

Should universities not be more careful in approaching MOOC platforms, for the benefit of their students? Should we not work against the centralization of our online presence? Should we not aim to preserve our independence from the Internet giants? In the end, we risk being collectively complicit in an unconditional intellectual surrender to venture capital–funded educational disruption—indeed, we risk directly contributing to the numbing effects of constant and indiscriminate surveillance. As professors, we should always insist that education remain emancipating and should resist the coercive logic of surveillance capitalism.

Paul-Olivier Dehaye is a former assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Zurich. His e-mail address is paulolivier.

KJH

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Save US Justice

Save US Justice

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