IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report”

The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has recently released its Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report.

From the first 2 paragraphs of the press release accompanying the report:

Human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed on all continents. If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. However, options are available to adapt to climate change and implementing stringent mitigations activities can ensure that the impacts of climate change remain within a manageable range, creating a brighter and more sustainable future.

These are among the key findings of the Synthesis Report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Sunday. The Synthesis Report distils and integrates the findings of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report produced by over 800 scientists and released over the past 13 months – the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken.

A policymaker-targeted summary is here.

For a previous IPCC-related item on this blog please see here.

Final Incorporation by Reference Rule Implements Recommendation 2011-5

From the ACUS:

Final Incorporation by Reference Rule Implements Recommendation 2011-5:

“Today, the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) published its final rule on incorporation by reference.  See Incorporation by Reference, 79 Fed. Reg. 66,267 (Nov. 7, 2014).  The Freedom of Information Act allows agencies to incorporate by reference into federal regulations extrinsic materials that are “reasonably available to the class of persons affected.”  5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(1). . . .

OFR’s final rule is a significant step towards the implementation of Recommendation 2011-5, Incorporation by Reference.  The rule emphasizes that promulgating agencies have the primary obligation to ensure that incorporated materials are reasonably available to the public. . . .

The final rule also sensibly retains the requirement that material incorporated by reference be technical in nature.  This is consistent with paragraph 15 of Recommendation 2011-5, which provides that agencies should clearly establish regulatory requirements in the text of their proposed and final rules, and use incorporation by reference only to provide technical detail.”

Let’s Hear it for BNA Law Reports

An extra hour of sleep from the end of DST prompts a bounty of mirth…as do BNA Law Reports! We recently were asked for electronic copies of filings from an L.A. County Superior Court civil matter. Ah, the oft-elusive electronic state court records…Various e-access options exist for L.A. County civil court records. For instance, they can be searched electronically for a fee through the court’s website. Finding them on Westlaw or Lexis’ Courtlink can be hit-or-miss, though Bloomberg Law is a great resource because BLAW uploads and make available those filings previously requested by other interested customers. In this particular instance, while the memoranda of points of authorities from a motion to strike were already uploaded within the BLAW system, a quite recent court order was not. Before leaving the BLAW interface to search blogs and news more broadly, I quickly checked BNA Law Reports. Hooray! Though only a superior court case, it was newsworthy enough to have been covered by BNA’s Patent Trademark & Copyright Journal, which also provided a copy of the court’s order. We heart BNA Law Reports! (Now, if only the filing content from the BNA law reports could be linked directly to BLAW dockets!)

Kudos for SCOTUSblog updates

SCOTUSblog’s e-mail updates have been pretty helpful this October Term! We just started using them to track a few merits cases for which the filings have been fairly slow to appear on Bloomberg Law & WestlawNext. By contrast, the SCOTUSblog updates appear pretty timely in the trial runs we’ve done. The format is terrific, too, providing links both to the PDFs of the filed brief, and a link back to the docket, itself. Next up: subscription to and comparison with alerts from ABA preview briefs.

Oral Arguments on CourtListener!

Great news from our friends at CourtListener….

The CourtListener site is now adding oral arguments to the project,
and users can now search for oral
arguments and even get email alerts based on words in a case’s caption.

For more on this, see their exciting press release below from the Free Law Project:

“We’re very excited to announce that CourtListener is currently in the process of rolling out support for Oral Argument audio. This is a feature that we’ve wanted for at least four years — our name is CourtListener, after all — and one that will bring a raft of new features to the project. We already have about 500 oral arguments on the site, and we’ve got many more we’re we’ll be adding over the coming weeks.

For now we are getting oral argument audio in real time from ten federal appellate courts. As we get this audio, we are using it to power a number of features:

  • Oral Argument files become immediately available in our search results.
  • A podcast is automatically available for every jurisdiction we support and for any query that you can dream up. Want a custom podcast containing all of the 9th circuit arguments for a particular litigant? You got it.
  • You can now get alerts for oral arguments so you can be sure that you keep up with the latest coming out of the courts.
  • For developers, there are a number of new endpoints in both our REST API and our bulk data API for audio files.
  • Using the Free Law Seal Rookery, we are enhancing the audio we find on court websites by adding album art and better meta data.

For now, search results and alerts are limited to the data that is provided by court websites, so you cannot (yet) get alerted any time somebody says a certain word in court. Audio is a new area for us though and we’d absolutely love to automatically create transcripts for the courts, enabling such a feature. This would be an incredibly powerful feature, so if you are an expert on audio transcription, we’d love to hear from you and to work together on this.

Beyond all of the great features we’re rolling out today, oral argument data also marks an important turning point for the project because it lays the ground work for adding more types of data to CourtListener. It’s been a large undertaking adding a second type of data to the project, but adding a third will be much easier. Next in our hopper will likely be the content from RECAP so that you can create alerts, have powerful APIs, and do all the other things you expect from CourtListener, except this time, for documents from PACER.

We’re very excited about being able to provide oral argument data today and RECAP data tomorrow. We can’t wait to see what kinds of legal research and innovation these new features bring.”

New Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report on CyberCrime

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) earlier this month posted a new report:

Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Criminal Laws
by Charles Doyle
(97-1025)
From the report’s Summary:

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, outlaws conduct that victimizes computer systems. It is a cyber security law. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers connected to the Internet. It shields them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud. It is not a comprehensive provision, but instead it fills cracks and gaps in the protection afforded by other federal criminal laws. This is a brief sketch of CFAA and some of its federal statutory companions, including the amendments found in the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act, P.L. 110-326, 122 Stat. 3560 (2008).

World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) “Living Planet Report 2014″

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recently released its Living Planet Report 2014 — for the full report, please see here.

Unfortunately, biodiversity on earth seems to be in worse shape than ever and is declining in both temperate and tropical regions of the earth, although the decline is reportedly greater in the tropics.

Per U.S. Library of Congress, Congress.gov Is No Longer in Beta Phase

Per the U.S. Library of Congress, Congress.gov — the successor to THOMAS — is no longer in its beta phase — please see the following news release:

Congress.gov Officially Out of Beta

From the news release, here are some new features/enhancements:

  1. New Feature: Congress.gov Resources
    - A new resources section providing an A to Z list of hundreds of links related to Congress
    - An expanded list of “most viewed” bills each day, archived to July 20, 2014
  2. New Feature: House Committee Hearing Videos
    - Live streams of House Committee hearings and meetings, and an accompanying archive to January, 2012
  3. Improvement: Advanced Search
    - Support for 30 new fields, including nominations, Congressional Record and name of member
  4. Improvement: Browse
    - Days in session calendar view
    - Roll Call votes
    - Bill by sponsor/co-sponsor

New American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) earlier this summer published a report “to corroborate” what it calls “a trend … nationwide: American policing has become unnecessarily and dangerously militarized” — please see:

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Digitizes Millions of Files — including Fingerprint Cards and Criminal History Folders

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has recently digitized millions of its files — including fingerprint cards and criminal history folders.

Please see:

CJIS [Criminal Justice Information Services] Digitizes Millions of Files in Modernization Push