Medium: Plan for Publishing CRS Reports Falls Short. “In March, new legislation from Congress required the Library of Congress publish all non-confidential Congressional Research Service reports online by September 19th of this year. That deadline is rapidly approaching and while congressional and civil society concerns about the library’s implementation plan remain unaddressed, the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Hayden, declined a direct request from Rep. Lofgren for the Librarian to meet with civil society about improving the website.”
CNET: Facebook takes heat from HUD over allegedly discriminatory housing ads. “Facebook is getting in trouble again for housing ads that a US agency says are discriminatory. The Department of Housing and Urban Development said Friday that it’s filed a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act because the social network lets landlords and home sellers engage in housing discrimination.”
National Archives: National Archives Works to Release Records Related to Judge Kavanaugh. “Each time a candidate is nominated to the Supreme Court by the President, the staff at the National Archives and Records Adminsitration immediately begin the task of reviewing and releasing records related to that nominee. The process is governed by several laws, including the Presidential Records Act, the Federal Records Act, and the Freedom of Information Act. All of the records, electronic and paper, must be reviewed by archival staff before being released.”
MIT Technology Review: How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump. “To understand how digital technologies went from instruments for spreading democracy to weapons for attacking it, you have to look beyond the technologies themselves.” A deep and scary dive.
Gareth Wilson: Helping Make Government Work with Law Bots and Civic Hacking. “Angelina Bethoney created a bot that tweets legislation being worked on in Massachusetts. But she didn’t stop there. She made it a remixable template on Glitch, and the response she got when she shared the project was amazing!” At this writing similar bots have been made for 19 states.
Slate: Regulating Bots on Social Media Is Easier Said Than Done. “Both Congress and California are currently considering legislation that would require social media bots to disclose the fact that they’re automated. These bills are designed to respond to serious, well-founded concerns about the use of social media bots to spread misinformation and sow discord online, most infamously during the 2016 election season. It’s a well-intentioned idea, but the proposals face a common challenge in the regulation of new technology: defining the technology itself. While perhaps not the most exciting part of any legislation, the definitions section is critical—it tells us who will be subject to the requirements and prohibitions that follow. While both the federal and state bills have definitions sections, neither tells us precisely what they mean by ‘bot.'”
Open Secrets: Foreign interests have spent over $530 million influencing US policy, public opinion since 2017. “Foreign lobbyists and agents acting on behalf of foreign interests have reported hundreds of millions of dollars in payments since January 2017, an analysis of OpenSecrets’ exclusive new Foreign Lobby Watch data reveals. Today we’re making available, for the first time, a searchable database of foreign interests spending on lobbying and influence in the United States.”