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Why Do Top Government Personnel Keep Using Private Email for Official Business?
An op-ed by Berkman Center Faculty Associate Josephine Wolff:
This was among the head-scratchers to emerge from the news this week that teenage hackers had gained access toCIA
director John Brennan’s unfashionable email account, yielding more than 2,500 email and instant message addresses for high-ranking government officials. But the more important question is why the boundaries between personal and work email accounts appear to be so porous in the upper echelons of the government.There are plenty of reasons to care when government officials use their personal email accounts for work-related activities, particularly when it comes to transparency and accountability. Journalists may not be able to gain access to emails sent from personal accounts under the Freedom of Information Act, and communications meant to be public record can stay under wraps.
Torture through a viewfinder
...Now, a cache of 55,000 photos smuggled out of Syria last year provides a glimpse into the apparent systematic torture and death of 11,000 civilians between 2011 and 2013 inside two military police facilities in Damascus, one of which is less than a mile from the presidential palace. It’s estimated that 300,000 other prisoners remain in Assad-controlled jails. Thirty of the images are on exhibit
in Lewis 202 at Harvard Law School
(HLS) through Nov. 4. It’s only the third time the photos have been displayed in the United States, following showings at the United Nations headquarters and in Congress. ...The panel was moderated by Professor Susan Farbstein
, co-director of the International Human Rights Clinic at HLS, and sponsored by the Human Rights Program, the Office of Public Interest Advising, and HLS Advocates for Human Rights.
Obama calls death penalty ‘deeply troubling,’ but his position hasn’t budged
President Obama calls the death penalty "deeply troubling," but he still has not changed his position in favor of using it for particularly heinous crimes. In an interview Thursday with the Marshall Project, Obama said, "At a time when we’re spending a lot of time thinking about how to make the system more fair, more just, that we have to include an examination of the death penalty in that.” ... Charles J. Ogletree Jr
. — a prominent death penalty opponent who was a law professor of the president and first lady Michelle Obama when both were students at Harvard Law School — has also urged Obama to alter his position. "He's not there yet, but he's close, and needs some help," Ogletree said in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this year.
The Strike That Birthed The United Auto Workers
United Auto Workers has ratified a new contract with Fiat-Chrysler. It was settled across a conference table, in a time-frame agreeable to both parties. But, it hasn't always been that way. ... GOLDSTEIN: The main thing the strikers wanted was for the company to negotiate with them on things like seniority and benefits, what we think of today as basic union stuff. A few weeks after the governor called in the guard, the company agreed. The strike was over. The Flint strike set off this huge wave. Over the next few years, industry after industry was unionized. This big swath of the economy was transformed. Richard Freeman
, a labor economist at Harvard, says this is the way union growth tends to happen in the U.S. and around the world. RICHARD FREEMAN: When unions go up, they go up in a really sharp, you know, boom, bang.
Meow, meow! Internet cat video festival returns to Boston
Forget about trying to get any work done on Thursday: the Internet Cat Video Festival is returning to Boston. The festival comes to the Berklee Performance Center for the second straight year to showcase a collection of amusing and adorable cat clips. ... The event is produced by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. This year’s videos were curated by Will Braden, creator of the popular Henri le Chat Noir videos on YouTube. Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain
will serve as the event’s emcee. “Why did I agree to do this? Because it’s a fun thing,” says Zittrain, an admitted dog owner who specializes in cyber law and policy. “Whatever we’re worried about, there are always cat videos to watch. And I’m grateful for that.”
Harvard Law School Kicks Off $305 Million Capital Campaign
Harvard Law School raised $241 million of its $305 million of its goal during the quiet phase of its capital campaign, which launched with fanfare on Friday evening. Titled the “Campaign for the Third Century,” the fundraising effort will focus on clinical education and financial aid for students. The Law School recently finished a capital campaign in 2008, when it raised $476 million, surpassing its $400 million goal. Because of the proximity to its last fundraising drive
, the Law School is the last of Harvard’s schools to launch its part of the University-wide Harvard Campaign, which kicked off publicly in 2013 and seeks to raise $6.5 billion.
Judges Will Travel, Overturn Decisions
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
In an unusual, head-snapping reversal, Amazon.com has convinced a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to retract an opinion on its search results technique and replace it with a decision in its favor. To make the result even weirder, the single judge who flipped isn't a member of the 9th Circuit all. He’s a 78-year-old partly retired judge from the Western District of Michigan sitting by designation with the appellate court whose megacircuit covers the half-moon from Arizona to Montana. What gives?
Wanted: Climate change solutions
Harvard is fertilizing a new crop of ideas to combat climate change. The Climate Change Solutions Fund will award grants of up to $150,000 each to stoke ideas for creative climate-related work in business, design, policy, public health, and the sciences. It was launched last year with $1 million from the office of President Drew Faust, who challenged alumni and friends to assist in raising $20 million for the fund as one pillar of a broader campaign to support the energy and environment...“This funding was a total game-changer for us,” said Emily Broad Leib
, assistant clinical professor of law and deputy director of the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, who was awarded a grant to reduce food waste. Leib has been able to make time for efforts to raise awareness of the issue through media appearances and by working with her students to make a short documentary about state expiration-date policies and the need for change at the federal level.