Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shifting the Balance of the Supreme Court

Since the vacancy on the Supreme Court isn't likely to be filled soon, the article's author wonders how the balance of the court may be affected if more left-of-center justices are added to the current bench ("What If the Supreme Court Were Liberal?" The Atlantic, April 6, 2016). Several current justices are advancing to potential retirement age soon, so consideration of a political shift looks at how it would affect such areas as abortion rights, affirmative action, death penalty, and gun control.

Review selected hard copy/online library books related to the U.S. Supreme Court at LSC-CyFair Branch Library. Click the title of a listed item, select the "Place Hold" button in the listing, and enter your library card number and PIN for each title you want to request for pick up at the library.

Use these subject words and phrases to find more information in the library catalog:
  • Constitutional law United States
  • Courts of last resort United States
  • Judicial review United States
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Sandra Day O'Connor
  • Supreme Court United States

The Supreme Court by Lawrence Baum
Sage/CQ Press, 2016
call number: 347.732 Bau

"This book examines all major aspects of the highest court in the nation, from the selection of justices and agenda creation to the decision-making process and the Court's impact on government and U.S. society. . .This new edition gives particular attention to current developments such as the impact of political polarization on the Court, the justices' increasingly public roles, and recent rulings on same-sex marriage and health care." - publisher's summary excerpt

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman
Harper, 2015
call number: 347.732 Hir

"Strengthened by each other's presence, these groundbreaking judges, the first and second women to serve on the highest court in the land, have transformed the Constitution and America itself, making it a more equal place for all women. Linda Hirshman's dual biography includes revealing stories of how these trailblazers fought for recognition in a male-dominated profession--battles that would ultimately benefit every American woman. Hirshman also makes clear how these two justices have shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, setting precedent in cases dealing with employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and many other issues crucial to women's lives." - publisher's summary excerpt

The Constitution: An Introduction by Michael Stokes Paulsen and Luke Paulsen
Basic, 2015
call number: 342.73 Pau

"Beginning with the Constitution's birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a grand tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the 200-plus years since its creation. Along the way, the authors provide correctives to the shallow myths and partial truths that pervade so much popular treatment of the Constitution, from school textbooks to media accounts of today's controversies, and offer powerful insights into the Constitution's true meaning." - publisher's summary excerpt

Friday, March 4, 2016

Privacy Concerns Related to Unlocking a Cell Phone

A battle between law enforcement and technology companies continues over issues involved in gaining access to data from cell phone of a San Bernardino shooter ("Relatives of San Bernardino Victims and Tech Giants Lend Voices to Apple-FBI Fight over Locked iPhone," The Washington Post, March 3, 2016). In this case, a judge "directed Apple to write software disabling a feature that erases the phone’s data after 10 incorrect attempts at trying a password." Apple stalled this process with legal tactics, stating that creating such a back door into one of it products would have a major impact on its business.

Review selected hard copy/online library books related to electronic privacy and security at LSC-CyFair Branch Library. Click the title of a listed item, select the "Place Hold" button in the listing, and enter your library card number and PIN for each title you want to request for pick up at the library.

Use these subject words and phrases to find more information in the library catalog:
  • big data
  • computer security
  • electronic surveillance
  • information technology
  • intelligence service
  • national security
  • right of privacy

They Know Everything about You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy by Robert Scheer with Sara Beladi
Nation, 2015
call number: 323.448 Sch

"The revelation that the federal government has full access to all phone records and the vast trove of presumably private personal data posted on the Internet has brought the threat of a surveillance society to the fore. But the erosion of privacy rights extends far beyond big government. Big business has long played a leading role in the hollowing out of personal freedoms. In this new book, Robert Scheer shows how our most intimate habits, from private correspondence, book pages read, and lists of friends and phone conversations have been seamlessly combined in order to create a detailed map of an individual's social and biological DNA." - publisher's summary

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier
Norton, 2015
call number: 358.414 Str

"Your cell phone provider tracks your location and knows who is with you. Your online and in-store purchasing patterns are recorded, and reveal if you're unemployed, sick, or pregnant. Your e-mails and texts expose your intimate and casual friends. . . Corporations use surveillance to manipulate not only the news articles and advertisements we each see, but also the prices we're offered. Governments use surveillance to discriminate, censor, and chill free speech, and put people in danger worldwide. And both sides share this information with each other or, even worse, lose it to cyber-criminals in huge data breaches. Much of this is voluntary: we cooperate with corporate surveillance because it promises us convenience, and we submit to government surveillance because it promises us protection. The result is a mass surveillance society of our own making. But have we given up more than we've gained? Security expert Bruce Schneier offers another path, one that values both security and privacy. He shows us what we can do to reform our government surveillance programs and shake up surveillance-based business models, while also providing tips for you to protect your privacy every day." - publisher's summary excerpt

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman
Harper, 2015
call number: 303.483 Sil

"Social networking has grown into a staple of modern society, but its continued evolution is becoming increasingly detrimental to our lives. Shifts in communication and privacy are affecting us more than we realize or understand. . . . Jacob Silverman calls for social media users to take back ownership of their digital selves from the Silicon Valley corporations who claim to know what's best for them. Integrating politics, sociology, national security, pop culture, and technology, he reveals the surprising conformity at the heart of Internet culture, explaining how social media companies engineer their products to encourage shallow engagement and discourage dissent. Reflecting on the collapsed barriers between our private and public lives, Silverman brings into focus the inner conflict we feel when deciding what to share and what to "like, " and explains how we can take the steps we need to free ourselves from its grip." - publisher's summary excerpt

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Drones for Warfare Now Cheaper and Easier to Get

China is supplying less costly "armed drones for targeted killing by remote control" to most any nation interested in the technology ("A Fast Growing Club: Countries That Use Drones for Killing by Remote Control," Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2016). Meanwhile, the United States requires an okay by Congress for drone sales. Reportedly, six countries have the capacity for drone warfare, including Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, Great Britain, Israel, and the United States, although seventy-eight nations use the unmanned aerial vehicles (AKA drones) for reconnaissance.

Review selected hard copy/online library books related to drones at LSC-CyFair Branch Library. Click the title of a listed item, select the "Place Hold" button in the listing, and enter your library card number and PIN for each title you want to request for pick up at the library.

Use these subject words and phrases to find more information in the library catalog:
  • drone aircraft
  • drones
  • military robots

The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones: Confronting a New Age of Threat by Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum Basic, 2015
call number: 303.601 Wit

"Wittes (senior fellow, governance studies, Brookings Institution; Campaign 2012) and Blum (Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Harvard Law Sch.; Islands of Agreement), who co-direct the Harvard Law School-Brookings Project on Law and Security, introduce readers to the new and upcoming threats to security, privacy, and health in the 21st century, which are often enabled by low-cost, advanced technology. With ready access to drone technology, nano-tech, and biological tools and information, these threats are situated in a political economy of the role of the state, private citizens, and non-state actors. What Wittes and Blum set out to do is provide instructive possible actions that government may be poised to take, and others in which government players may not yet have ample guidelines to address." - Library Journal review excerpt

Opposing Perspectives on the Drone Debate by Bradley Jay Strawser with Lisa Hajjar, Steven Levine, Feisal H. Naqvi, John Fabian Witt
Palgrave Macmillan, 2014
call number: 358.414 Str

"Five scholars square off in a lively debate over the ethics of drones and their contentious use" - publisher summary

Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution by Richard Whittle
Holt, 2014
call number: 623.746 Whi

"Increasingly prominent in recent headlines, unmanned drones have a long history, as veteran military journalist Whittle (The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey) relates in this engrossing book. Thousands of drones were flown during WWII as targets for training antiaircraft gunners, and they played a modest reconnaissance role in Vietnam. But as Whittle shows, today's long-endurance, missile-firing drones are spinoffs of models developed by entrepreneurial startups during the 1980s. Largely commanded by former fighter pilots, the Air Force was hostile to unmanned planes until the 1990s wars in the Balkans. Peacekeeping forces could not track the marauding Serbian army, which shot down several manned reconnaissance aircraft, but an experimental drone, named the Predator, solved the problem. It was unarmed, but an updated version successfully launched a Hellfire missile in 2001 at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base test range. After 9/11, remotely controlled drones began raining destruction on targets identified, sometimes correctly, as enemies of the U.S. By 2010 the U.S. military possessed 8,000 and the number continues to grow. Whittle concludes this impressively researched, thought-provoking history by pointing out that drones have revolutionized warfare, but like previous revolutions (the machine gun, aircraft, nuclear weapons) they did not make the world a safer place and created as many problems as they solved." - Library Journal review excerpt