Monday, June 30, 2014

Major Ruling Shields Privacy of Cellphones: Supreme Court Says Phones Can’t Be Searched Without a Warrant; New York Times, 6/25/14

Adam Liptak, New York Times; Major Ruling Shields Privacy of Cellphones: Supreme Court Says Phones Can’t Be Searched Without a Warrant:
"In a sweeping victory for privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.
While the decision will offer protection to the 12 million people arrested every year, many for minor crimes, its impact will most likely be much broader. The ruling almost certainly also applies to searches of tablet and laptop computers, and its reasoning may apply to searches of homes and businesses and of information held by third parties like phone companies.
“This is a bold opinion,” said Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. “It is the first computer-search case, and it says we are in a new digital age. You can’t apply the old rules anymore.”"

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Blocked in China; New York Times, 6/27/14

Jane Perlez, New York Times; Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Blocked in China:
"The new memoir of Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Hard Choices,” which gives blow-by-blow accounts of tough discussions with Chinese officials, particularly on human rights, has been blocked in China, according to the American publisher.
No Chinese publisher made an offer to buy the rights for the book to be translated into Chinese for sale on the mainland, said Jonathan Karp, president of Simon & Schuster, which published the American edition.
The English version of the book was delisted from Amazon China on June 10, the day of publication in the United States, a move that effectively barred wide distribution in China, Mr. Karp said.
In Beijing, Gu Aibin, the head of Yilin Press, the state-owned publishing house that published Mrs. Clinton’s earlier book, “Living History,” said “Hard Choices” was different. “Some of the content was not suitable,” Mr. Gu said. “The company decided not to buy the copyright.”"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stem-cell advances may quell ethics debate; (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal via USA Today, 6/22/14

Laura Ungar, (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal via USA Today; Stem-cell advances may quell ethics debate:
"Recent strides in stem-cell research show adult stem cells to be ever-more-promising, many scientists say, quelling the controversy steeped in faith and science that has long surrounded embryonic stem cells.
In fact, University of Louisville researcher Scott Whittemore said the debate is almost moot.
"Realistically, (many scientists don't use) the types of stem cells that are so problematic anymore," he said, adding that adult stem cells can now be reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells. "The field has moved so fast."
In addition to these genetically reprogrammed adult cells — known as induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells — scientists are on the cusp of being able to turn one type of cell into another in the body without using stem cells at all. They shared some of the latest research last week at the annual International Society for Stem Cell Research in Vancouver.
"IPS cells overcame the main ethical issues," namely the use of embryos some Americans consider sacred human life, said Brett Spear, a professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the University of Kentucky who uses iPS cells to model liver disease.
But other scientists argue that embryonic stem cell research remains important."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Unblinking Eyes Track Employees: Workplace Surveillance Sees Good and Bad; New York Times, 6/21/14

Steve Lohr, New York Times; Unblinking Eyes Track Employees: Workplace Surveillance Sees Good and Bad:
"A digital Big Brother is coming to work, for better or worse.
Advanced technological tools are beginning to make it possible to measure and monitor employees as never before, with the promise of fundamentally changing how we work — along with raising concerns about privacy and the specter of unchecked surveillance in the workplace.
Through these new means, companies have found, for example, that workers are more productive if they have more social interaction. So a bank’s call center introduced a shared 15-minute coffee break, and a pharmaceutical company replaced coffee makers used by a few marketing workers with a larger cafe area. The result? Increased sales and less turnover.
Yet the prospect of fine-grained, digital monitoring of workers’ behavior worries privacy advocates. Companies, they say, have few legal obligations other than informing employees. “Whether this kind of monitoring is effective or not, it’s a concern,” said Lee Tien, a senior staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco."

‘Klinghoffer’ Composer Responds to Met’s Decision; New York Times, 6/18/14

Michael Cooper, New York Times; ‘Klinghoffer’ Composer Responds to Met’s Decision:
"Mr. Gelb, a champion of Mr. Adams’s who was the first to bring his operas to the Met stage, has faced sharp criticism for canceling the “Klinghoffer” transmission from some music critics and arts administrators. (Nicholas Kenyon, the managing director of the Barbican Center in London, posted on Twitter that the Met’s decision was “shocking shortsighted and indefensible.”)
Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of the PEN American Center, which promotes free expression, called the decision troubling. “We are deeply troubled by the decision of an arts organization to withhold a performance not because there’s anything wrong with it, but because someone, somewhere might misconstrue it,” she said in an email.
Mr. Gelb said that the Met remains committed to the work.
“The Met is resolute on going forward with it, and the fact that we offered this compromise outside the United States doesn’t mean that we’re prepared to compromise on artistic integrity inside the opera house,” Mr. Gelb said in an interview on Tuesday. “This is a great work of art that should be seen and heard at the Met, where it belongs.”
Mr. Adams, one of America’s foremost composers, said that he did not understand why the cinema transmission and radio broadcast were still being canceled if Mr. Gelb and the Anti-Defamation League agreed that the work is not anti-Semitic, though some critics have said otherwise. And he said he had been concerned by what he called “the really completely unjust charges” about his opera, especially by people who have not heard it."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy; New York Times, 6/9/14

Michael Paulson, New York Times; Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy:
"Similar conflicts are playing out on a handful of campuses around the country, driven by the universities’ desire to rid their campuses of bias, particularly against gay men and lesbians, but also, in the eyes of evangelicals, fueled by a discomfort in academia with conservative forms of Christianity. The universities have been emboldened to regulate religious groups by a Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that found it was constitutional for a public law school in California to deny recognition to a Christian student group that excluded gays...
Cal State officials insist that they welcome evangelicals, but want them to agree to the same policies as everyone else. “Lots of evangelical groups are thriving on our campuses,” said Susan Westover, a lawyer for the California State University System. However, she said, there will be no exceptions from the antidiscrimination requirements. “Our mission is education, not exclusivity,” she said.
At Vanderbilt, the decision to push groups to sign antidiscrimination policies was prompted by a Christian fraternity’s expulsion of a member who came out as gay. About one-third of the 35 religious groups on campus have refused to sign and are no longer recognized by the school; they can still meet and recruit informally, and the campus Hillel has even opened its building for meetings of one of the Christian groups.
“I am hopeful for a better future, but I’m not na├»ve, there are some issues that are irresolvable,” said the Vanderbilt chaplain, the Rev. Mark Forrester, who is a United Methodist minister. “This is a larger social and ethical struggle that we as a society are engaged in.”"

Kennedy letters fiercely protected for decades; Boston Globe, 6/10/14

Matt Viser, Boston Globe; Kennedy letters fiercely protected for decades:
"In 1966, in a letter to a friend in Ireland, Jacqueline Kennedy seemed to see her future. She described her “strange” world, one in which “privacy barely exists, and where I spend all winter in New York holding my breath and wondering which old letter of mine will come up for auction next!”
All these years later, her family is still carefully guarding her legacy — and launching a new attempt to prevent the auction of letters she wrote to an Irish priest.
Caroline Kennedy has gotten involved in trying to establish ownership over the batch of more than 30 deeply personal letters that her mother had written to the Rev. Joseph Leonard over nearly 15 years. Those letters — in which Kennedy revealed some of her most private thoughts on marriage, motherhood, and death — had been set to be auctioned.
But under questions of ownership, copyright, and morality, the letters were pulled. The same day that attorneys for Caroline Kennedy contacted the Irish auction house planning to sell the letters, the auction was canceled. And the financially strapped college that discovered the letters and was hoping for a windfall — All Hallows College in Dublin — is now planning to close some 172 years after it opened."