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Uber Accused Of Espionage, By Former Employee

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The judge in the $1.86 billion legal battle between ride-hailing giant Uber and Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo case, released a damning letter based on the account of a former Uber employee. The letter alleges that a special division within Uber was responsible for acts of corporate espionage, the theft of trade secrets, the bribery of foreign officials and various means of unlawful surveillance.

The company solicited undercover agents to collect intelligence against the taxi groups and local political figures. The agents took rides in local taxis, loitered around locations where taxi drivers congregated, and leveraged a local network of contacts with connections to police and regulatory authorities..

The “Jacobs letter” was written by the attorney for Richard Jacobs, who previously worked as Uber’s manager of global intelligence before being fired in April. The highly detailed account brings about accusations of systematic illegal activity inside Uber’s Strategic Services Group (SSG) which allegedly sought to surface other companies’ trade secrets through eavesdropping and data collection. The letter alleges that some of the information gathered was relayed to then-CEO Travis Kalanick.

The trial has been delayed until February 2018 to give the Waymo legal team more time to investigate claims Jacob’s claims.

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New York City Council Passed Legislation To Address Algorithm Discrimination

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The New York City Council yesterday passed legislation seeking to address problems with Algorithms which can determine which school a child can attend, whether a person will be offered credit from a bank, what products are advertised to consumer, and whether someone will receive an interview for a job. Government officials also use them to predict where crimes will take place, who is likely to commit a crime and whether someone should be allowed out of jail on bail. The algorithms used in facial recognition technology, for example, have been shown to be less accurate on Black people, women, and juveniles.

The new bill seeking the signature of Mayor Bill de Blasio. States:

This bill would require the creation of a task force that provides recommendations on how information on agency automated decision systems may be shared with the public and how agencies may address instances where people are harmed by agency automated decision systems.

The task force would need to be formed within three months of the bill’s signing, and importantly it must include “persons with expertise in the areas of fairness, accountability and transparency relating to automated decision systems and persons affiliated with charitable corporations that represent persons in the city affected by agency automated decision systems.”

The New York division of the ACLU has argued in favor of it.

See The bill Here,

Curbing Fake Academic Credentials

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It  appears that it is very easy to get a fake academic certificate from any major urban centers. The buyer of the fake certificate dont have to worry about the authenticity of the signatures or paper quality – all that is sorted out by the fraudsters.

The discussion is often about whether you want a PhD, master’s or bachelor’s degree. Additionally, the more prestigious the university you want to claim to have graduated from , the more  money you will be required to pay for the fake certificate.

Once you have the fake paper in your hands, you can apply for prominent jobs, particularly in the public sector, where job security is so high that getting fired at a later stage is more complicated and costly.

Employers find it time-consuming to authenticate or verify that glimmering certificate from the purported universities for various reasons.

In developed economies, the data protection laws do not allow universities to disclose the private credentials of students to third parties – unless the students expressly and explicitly ask them to make the disclosure.

MIT and the University of Melbourne are pioneering this approach and solution to this problem. Blockchain technology-providing a decentralised ledger that is globally accessible, immutable, secure and with the support of anonymity. Universities can record student academic certificates into the global blockchain, allowing graduates to access their credentials from anywhere across the globe and share them with potential employers.

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Department of Justice sues To Block At&T /Time Warner Merger

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The Justice Department sued to block the company’s AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid to buy Time Warner Inc.

 A judge will determine whether the combination of AT&T and Time Warner would give the new entity too much power in the fast-changing media landscape.

 It is assume that AT&T will surely press for a decision before April 22, the date before which the two companies can walk away without penalty.

The first major antitrust enforcement action to be brought by the Trump administration — dealt a blow to a tie-up that appeared to be sailing toward approval as recently as a month ago. That was before Makan Delrahim, was appointed to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Delrahim contents that the merger would  harm American consumers enormously. Resulting in higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy. 

The White House has traditionally stayed at arm’s length from merger reviews. Trump told reporters during his recent trip to Asia that the deal might be challenged in court.

 Time Warner and AT&T combined, could use its control over programming like CNN and HBO to harm rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for the right to distribute the content, according to the 23-page complaint. The deal also would enable AT&T to impede competition from online video distributors, which would reduce choices for consumers, according to the complaint.

The government is open to dropping the lawsuit if the companies offer a proposal to fix the competitive harm from the deal, a Justice Department official said.

Currently there have been accusations that the Justice Department, driven by political meddling from the Trump White House, is pursuing a risky case that it’s bound to lose.

The Complaint

Robotic Lawyers On The Rise

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The list of occupations that will be decimated by artificial intelligence and automation is becoming larger and larger with drivers, translators and shop assistants under threat from the rise of the robots,.Now you can add lawyers to the list.

A contest that took place last month pitched over 100 lawyers from many of London’s ritziest firms against an artificial intelligence program called Case Cruncher Alpha.

Both the humans and the AI were given the basic facts of hundreds of PPI (payment protection insurance) and asked to predict whether the Financial Ombudsman would allow a claim.

In all, they submitted 775 predictions and the computer won hands down, with Case Cruncher getting an accuracy rate of 86.6%, compared with 66.3% for the lawyers.

Case Cruncher is not the product of a tech giant but the brainchild of four Cambridge law students. They started out with a simple chatbot that answered legal questions – a bit of a gimmick but it caught on.

Two judges oversaw the competition, Cambridge law lecturer Felix Steffek and Ian Dodd from a company called Prediction, which runs one of the world’s biggest databases of legal cases. He says the youthful Case Cruncher team chose the subject for the contest well.

Ian Dodd thinks AI may replace some of the grunt work done by junior lawyers and paralegals but no machine can talk to a client or argue in front of a High Court judge. He puts it simply: “The knowledge jobs will go, the wisdom jobs will stay.”

Spotting Counterfeit Books

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Counterfeit Clues: A high-demand textbook sold for way below Amazon’s price on a non-Amazon site like eBay.

If you’re sourcing online, this is a big one to look for. Counterfeiters love bootlegging the most popular textbooks, then unloading them for cheap(ish) prices on off-Amazon sites like Alibris, eBay, and more.

I would advise you to scrutinize any listing closely, but fact is no seller is going to admit their book is counterfeit. So if it seems too good to be true, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is (good mistakes do happen). But you’re taking your chances.

Thin, low-quality paper.

Big red flag: Paper that is so thin you can see text on one side of the page through the other side of the page.

Poor quality distorted cover art.

Art that looks slightly distorted or “off.”

Major textbook publishers will never publish a book with fuzzy or weird cover art. They have whole art departments who make sure this doesn’t happen.

Counterfeit Clue #5: Fuzzy barcode.

The first place to look when determining if a textbook is counterfeit is the barcode. If the barcode is distorted or fuzzy – it’s a fake. 100% of the time.

Note: Countefeiters only bootleg expensive, high-demand textbooks.

If you’re not holding a textbook ranked in the top 10,000, it’s probably not counterfeit.

That’s not to say that old counterfeit textbooks won’t stay in circulation, but the bulk of the business in counterfeits is the latest hot new high demand textbooks. They print a bunch of them, sell them quickly, and move on. Those are the books most likely to end up in your Amazon inventory (and be flagged by Amazon).

Question-Should Drunk Drivers Be Charged In Autonomous Vehicles?

 

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An independent panel pulled together by the Australian government released a report this week trying to hash out the difficulties that governing bodies will face in rewriting laws for humans engaging self-driving systems. That panel, called the National Transport Commission (NTC), wants to develop a clear set of laws by 2020, and its paper (PDF) solicited feedback from key industry players as the panel moves forward.

Though it may seem obvious that a drunk person should be allowed to be taxied home by a fully autonomous car, the question is less clear if you have to determine just how autonomous an autonomous vehicle needs to be for a drunk person to operate it. The government should want drunk people to engage a high-level autonomous driving system if the alternative is driving themselves home, but if they’ll be penalized for being drunk while they’re “in control” of an autonomous vehicle, uptake of self-driving systems may be slow.

Instead, the NTC argues, drunk driving offenses should only apply to drunk people who are manually operating their vehicles but not to people who have merely started an autonomous car. The present rules “exist because a person who starts or sets in motion a conventional vehicle while under the influence clearly has an intention to drive,” the NTC writes.

The questions are being raised in the US, too. At the Governors’ Highway Safety Association meeting this week, US authorities discussed open container laws in autonomous vehicles. Currently, it’s illegal to have an open alcohol container in a car while you’re driving US roads. But should that apply in fully autonomous systems where no one is driving?

Who makes these rules and enforces them is its own debate in the US, too, with the Trump administration largely calling for a continuation of the Obama administration’s “light regulatory touch” philosophy when it comes to automakers building self-driving cars. In Congress, the House passed a bill last month directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to adopt some guidelines for self-driving cars analogous to its regulation of manually driven cars.

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