rvenkat + regulation   54

Hall of Mirrors: Corporate Philanthropy and Strategic Advocacy
Politicians and regulators rely on feedback from the public when setting policies. For-profit corporations and non-pro t entities are active in this process and are arguably expected to provide independent viewpoints. Policymakers (and the public at large), however, may be unaware of the financial ties between some firms and non-profits - ties that are legal and tax-exempt, but difficult to trace. We identify these ties using IRS forms submitted by the charitable arms of large U.S. corporations, which list all grants awarded to non-pro fits. We document three patterns in a comprehensive sample of public commentary made by firms and non-profits within U.S. federal rulemaking between 2003 and 2015. First, we show that, shortly after a firm donates to a non-profit, the grantee is more likely to comment on rules for which the firm has also provided a comment. Second, when a firm comments on a rule, the comments by non-profits that recently received grants from the firm's foundation are systematically closer in content similarity to the firm's own comments than to those submitted by other non-profits commenting on that rule. This content similarity does not result from similarly-worded comments that express divergent sentiment. Third, when a firm comments on a new rule, the discussion of the final rule is more similar to the firm's comments when the firm's recent grantees also comment on that rule. These patterns, taken together, suggest that corporations strategically deploy charitable grants to induce non-pro fit grantees to make comments that favor their benefactors, and that this translates into regulatory discussion that is closer to the firm's own comments
lobbying_complex  corruption  governance  regulation  political_economy  natural_language_processing  via:nyhan 
5 weeks ago by rvenkat
[1803.02887] A first look at browser-based Cryptojacking
In this paper, we examine the recent trend towards in-browser mining of cryptocurrencies; in particular, the mining of Monero through Coinhive and similar code- bases. In this model, a user visiting a website will download a JavaScript code that executes client-side in her browser, mines a cryptocurrency, typically without her consent or knowledge, and pays out the seigniorage to the website. Websites may consciously employ this as an alternative or to supplement advertisement revenue, may offer premium content in exchange for mining, or may be unwittingly serving the code as a result of a breach (in which case the seigniorage is collected by the attacker). The cryptocurrency Monero is preferred seemingly for its unfriendliness to large-scale ASIC mining that would drive browser-based efforts out of the market, as well as for its purported privacy features. In this paper, we survey this landscape, conduct some measurements to establish its prevalence and profitability, outline an ethical framework for considering whether it should be classified as an attack or business opportunity, and make suggestions for the detection, mitigation and/or prevention of browser-based mining for non- consenting users.
via:randw  cryptocurrency  cybersecurity  privacy  consumer_protection  regulation 
march 2018 by rvenkat
[1711.01134] Accountability of AI Under the Law: The Role of Explanation
The ubiquity of systems using artificial intelligence or "AI" has brought increasing attention to how those systems should be regulated. The choice of how to regulate AI systems will require care. AI systems have the potential to synthesize large amounts of data, allowing for greater levels of personalization and precision than ever before---applications range from clinical decision support to autonomous driving and predictive policing. That said, there exist legitimate concerns about the intentional and unintentional negative consequences of AI systems. There are many ways to hold AI systems accountable. In this work, we focus on one: explanation. Questions about a legal right to explanation from AI systems was recently debated in the EU General Data Protection Regulation, and thus thinking carefully about when and how explanation from AI systems might improve accountability is timely. In this work, we review contexts in which explanation is currently required under the law, and then list the technical considerations that must be considered if we desired AI systems that could provide kinds of explanations that are currently required of humans.
algorithms  law  ethics  explanation  regulation  governance  artificial_intelligence  machine_learning  via:? 
march 2018 by rvenkat
A Horrifying Path to America for Hotel Workers - The Atlantic
--Their stories sound remarkably similar to the H1B holding Indian techies. Of course, the living conditions, pay and a basic freedom to leave do exist, unlike the people featured here.
labor  regulation  slavery  immigration  united_states_of_america  the_atlantic 
march 2018 by rvenkat
The Captured Economy - Brink Lindsey; Steven Teles - Oxford University Press
For years, America has been plagued by slow economic growth and increasing inequality. Yet economists have long taught that there is a tradeoff between equity and efficiency-that is, between making a bigger pie and dividing it more fairly. That is why our current predicament is so puzzling: today, we are faced with both a stagnating economy and sky-high inequality.

In The Captured Economy , Brink Lindsey and Steven M. Teles identify a common factor behind these twin ills: breakdowns in democratic governance that allow wealthy special interests to capture the policymaking process for their own benefit. They document the proliferation of regressive regulations that redistribute wealth and income up the economic scale while stifling entrepreneurship and innovation. When the state entrenches privilege by subverting market competition, the tradeoff between equity and efficiency no longer holds.

Over the past four decades, new regulatory barriers have worked to shield the powerful from the rigors of competition, thereby inflating their incomes-sometimes to an extravagant degree. Lindsey and Teles detail four of the most important cases: subsidies for the financial sector's excessive risk taking, overprotection of copyrights and patents, favoritism toward incumbent businesses through occupational licensing schemes, and the NIMBY-led escalation of land use controls that drive up rents for everyone else.

Freeing the economy from regressive regulatory capture will be difficult. Lindsey and Teles are realistic about the chances for reform, but they offer a set of promising strategies to improve democratic deliberation and open pathways for meaningful policy change. An original and counterintuitive interpretation of the forces driving inequality and stagnation, The Captured Economy will be necessary reading for anyone concerned about America's mounting economic problems and the social tensions they are sparking.

book  bureaucracy  governance  regulation  administrative_state  critique 
january 2018 by rvenkat
Federal Statistics, Multiple Data Sources, and Privacy Protection: Next Steps | The National Academies Press
The environment for obtaining information and providing statistical data for policy makers and the public has changed significantly in the past decade, raising questions about the fundamental survey paradigm that underlies federal statistics. New data sources provide opportunities to develop a new paradigm that can improve timeliness, geographic or subpopulation detail, and statistical efficiency. It also has the potential to reduce the costs of producing federal statistics.

The panel's first report described federal statistical agencies’ current paradigm, which relies heavily on sample surveys for producing national statistics, and challenges agencies are facing; the legal frameworks and mechanisms for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of statistical data and for providing researchers access to data, and challenges to those frameworks and mechanisms; and statistical agencies access to alternative sources of data. The panel recommended a new approach for federal statistical programs that would combine diverse data sources from government and private sector sources and the creation of a new entity that would provide the foundational elements needed for this new approach, including legal authority to access data and protect privacy.

This second of the panel's two reports builds on the analysis, conclusions, and recommendations in the first one. This report assesses alternative methods for implementing a new approach that would combine diverse data sources from government and private sector sources, including describing statistical models for combining data from multiple sources; examining statistical and computer science approaches that foster privacy protections; evaluating frameworks for assessing the quality and utility of alternative data sources; and various models for implementing the recommended new entity. Together, the two reports offer ideas and recommendations to help federal statistical agencies examine and evaluate data from alternative sources and then combine them as appropriate to provide the country with more timely, actionable, and useful information for policy makers, businesses, and individuals.
nap  report  data  privacy  governance  regulation  data_fusion 
december 2017 by rvenkat
AUTOMATING INEQUALITY by Virginia Eubanks | Kirkus Reviews
-- As long as they are open, transparent and regulated, I see no problem with an automated bureaucracy. I understand the concerns but I am becoming increasingly numb to this monotonous tone of the critics. Then again, bureaucracy is never known to operate under openness, transparency and sensible regulations to go along with it.

Technology has been mostly good to humankind and there is no reason to expect that *this* is going to be any different. But who knows, maybe civilization will end in a catastrophic *core dump*...
book  algorithms  machine_learning  big_data  automation  ethics  inequality  critical_theory  phobia  sociology_of_technology  bureaucracy  governance  regulation  via:zeynep 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Inside Trump’s Cruel Campaign Against the U.S.D.A.’s Scientists | Vanity Fair
-- By far, the most justifiably sympathetic profiles of bureaucrats in the federal government. The article reminds me of all the good work done by career bureaucrats of the Indian Civil Service.

-- exemplary old fashioned journalism.
administrative_state  bureaucracy  united_states_of_america  governance  regulation  american_machine  via:? 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Labor Market Concentration by José Azar, Ioana Marinescu, Marshall Steinbaum :: SSRN
A product market is concentrated when a few firms dominate the market. Similarly, a labor market is concentrated when a few firms dominate hiring in the market. Using data from the leading employment website CareerBuilder.com, we calculate labor market concentration for over 8,000 geographic-occupational labor markets in the US. Based on the DOJ-FTC horizontal merger guidelines, the average market is highly concentrated. Using a panel IV regression, we show that going from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile in concentration is associated with a 17% decline in posted wages, suggesting that concentration increases labor market power.
labor  productivity  inequality  wealth  regulation  governance  via:? 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Yale Law Journal - Stuck! The Law and Economics of Residential Stagnation
America has become a nation of homebodies. Rates of interstate mobility, by most estimates, have been falling for decades. Interstate mobility rates are particularly low and stagnant among disadvantaged groups—despite a growing connection between mobility and economic opportunity. Perhaps most importantly, mobility is declining in regions where it is needed most. Americans are not leaving places hit by economic crises, resulting in unemployment rates and low wages that linger in these areas for decades. And people are not moving to rich regions where the highest wages are available.

This Article advances two central claims. First, declining interstate mobility rates create problems for federal macroeconomic policymaking. Low rates of interstate mobility make it harder for the Federal Reserve to meet both sides of its “dual mandate”: ensuring both stable prices and maximum employment. Low interstate mobility rates also impair the efficacy and affordability of federal safety net programs that rely on state and local participation, and reduce wealth and growth by inhibiting agglomeration economies. While determining an optimal rate of interstate mobility is difficult, policies that unnaturally inhibit interstate moves worsen national economic problems.

Second, the Article argues that governments, mostly at the state and local levels, have created a huge number of legal barriers to interstate mobility. Land-use laws and occupational licensing regimes limit entry into local and state labor markets. Different eligibility standards for public benefits, public employee pension policies, homeownership subsidies, state and local tax regimes, and even basic property law rules inhibit exit from low-opportunity states and cities. Furthermore, building codes, mobile home bans, federal location-based subsidies, legal constraints on knocking down houses, and the problematic structure of Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy all limit the capacity of failing cities to “shrink” gracefully, directly reducing exit among some populations and increasing the economic and social costs of entry limits elsewhere.

Combining these two insights, the Article shows that big questions of macroeconomic policy and performance turn on the content of state and local policies usually analyzed using microeconomic tools. Many of the legal barriers to interstate mobility emerged or became stricter during the period in which interstate mobility declined. While causation is difficult to determine, public policies developed by state and local governments more interested in guaranteeing local population stability than ensuring successful macroeconomic conditions either generated or failed to stymie falling mobility rates. The Article concludes by suggesting how the federal government could address stagnation in interstate mobility.
migration  cities  economic_geography  bureaucracy  law  regulation  labor  policy  critique  political_economy  via:noahpinion 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Digital Justice - Paperback - Ethan Katsh; Orna Rabinovich-Einy - Oxford University Press
Improving access to justice has been an ongoing process, and on-demand justice should be a natural part of our increasingly on-demand society. What can we do for example when Facebook blocks our account, we're harassed on Twitter, discover that our credit report contains errors, or receive a negative review on Airbnb? How do we effectively resolve these and other such issues?

Digital Justice introduces the reader to new technological tools to resolve and prevent disputes bringing dispute resolution to cyberspace, where those who would never look to a court for assistance can find help for instance via a smartphone. The authors focus particular attention on five areas that have seen great innovation as well as large volumes of disputes: ecommerce, healthcare, social media, labor, and the courts. As conflicts escalate with the increase in innovation, the authors emphasize the need for new dispute resolution processes and new ways to avoid disputes, something that has been ignored by those seeking to improve access to justice in the past.


legal_system  law  automation  governance  regulation  cyber  consumer_protection  book 
october 2017 by rvenkat
How Facebook Tries to Regulate Postings Made by Two Billion People
-- an interesting aside on new online pidgins and creoles and difficulty to comprehend the semantics of online conversations.
social_media  governance  regulation  freedom_of_speech  linguistics  common_knowledge  twitter 
october 2017 by rvenkat
The Morality of Administrative Law by Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule :: SSRN
As it has been developed over a period of many decades, administrative law has acquired its own morality, closely related to what Lon Fuller described as the internal morality of law. Reflected in a wide array of seemingly disparate doctrines, but not yet recognized as such, the morality of administrative law includes a set of identifiable principles, often said to reflect the central ingredients of the rule of law. An understanding of the morality of administrative law puts contemporary criticisms of the administrative state in their most plausible light. At the same time, the resulting doctrines do not deserve an unambiguous celebration, because many of them have an ambiguous legal source; because from the welfarist point of view, it is not clear if they are always good ideas; and because it is not clear that judges should enforce them
democracy  moral_philosophy  governance  regulation  administrative_state  law  political_science  cass.sunstein 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Free Speech in the Algorithmic Society: Big Data, Private Governance, and New School Speech Regulation by Jack M. Balkin :: SSRN
We have now moved from the early days of the Internet to the Algorithmic Society. The Algorithmic Society features the use of algorithms, artificial intelligence agents, and Big Data to govern populations. It also features digital infrastructure companies, large multi-national social media platforms, and search engines that sit between traditional nation states and ordinary individuals, and serve as special-purpose governors of speech.

The Algorithmic Society presents two central problems for freedom of expression. First, Big Data allows new forms of manipulation and control, which private companies will attempt to legitimate and insulate from regulation by invoking free speech principles. Here First Amendment arguments will likely be employed to forestall digital privacy guarantees and prevent consumer protection regulation. Second, privately owned digital infrastructure companies and online platforms govern speech much as nation states once did. Here the First Amendment, as normally construed, is simply inadequate to protect the practical ability to speak.

The first part of the essay describes how to regulate online businesses that employ Big Data and algorithmic decision making consistent with free speech principles. Some of these businesses are "information fiduciaries" toward their end-users; they must exercise duties of good faith and non-manipulation. Other businesses who are not information fiduciaries have a duty not to engage in "algorithmic nuisance": they may not externalize the costs of their analysis and use of Big Data onto innocent third parties.

The second part of the essay turns to the emerging pluralist model of online speech regulation. This pluralist model contrasts with the traditional dyadic model in which nation states regulated the speech of their citizens.

In the pluralist model, territorial governments continue to regulate the speech directly. But they also attempt to coerce or co-opt owners of digital infrastructure to regulate the speech of others. This is "new school" speech regulation. Digital infrastructure owners, and especially social media companies, now act as private governors of speech communities, creating and enforcing various rules and norms of the communities they govern. Finally, end users, civil society organizations, hackers, and other private actors repeatedly put pressure on digital infrastructure companies to regulate speech in certain ways and not to regulate it in others. This triangular tug of war -- rather than the traditional dyadic model of states regulating the speech of private parties -- characterizes the practical ability to speak in the algorithmic society.

The essay uses the examples of the right to be forgotten and the problem of fake news to illustrate the emerging pluralist model -- and new school speech regulation -- in action.

As private governance becomes central to freedom of speech, both end-users and nation states put pressure on private governance. Nation states attempt to co-opt private companies into becoming bureaucracies for the enforcement of hate speech regulation and new doctrines like the right to be forgotten. Conversely, end users increasingly demand procedural guarantees, due process, transparency, and equal protection from private online companies.

The more that end-users view businesses as governors, or as special-purpose sovereigns, the more end-users will expect -- and demand -- that these companies should conform to the basic obligations of governors towards those they govern. These obligations include procedural fairness in handling complaints and applying sanctions, notice, transparency, reasoned explanations, consistency, and conformity to rule of law values -- the “law” in this case being the publicly stated norms and policies of the company. Digital infrastructure companies, in turn, will find that they must take on new social obligations to meet these growing threats and expectations from nation states and end-users alike.
freedom_of_speech  internet  regulation  governance  administrative_state  big_data  algorithms  privacy  data  artificial_intelligence  machine_learning  ethics  philosophy_of_technology  new_media  social_media  networked_public_sphere  public_sphere  GAFA 
september 2017 by rvenkat
Free Speech Constitutionalism by Alexander Tsesis :: SSRN
This article develops a contextual model of free speech. Despite extensive work in this area, dating back to the early twentieth century, the three dominant theories of free speech do not adequately describe the full range of expressions protected by the Constitution. The proponents of the first school of thought claim that the purpose of protecting free speech is to further democratic institutions. Those of the second conceive personal autonomy to be the predominant reason why free speech is so carefully guarded by courts and society at large. And those of the third persuasion relate the American people’s high regard for free speech to the advancement of knowledge. While each touches on the ideals of representative democracy, none fully accounts for the intricacies of the First Amendment within the context of overall constitutional structure. Each contains elements of why free speech is so important to our legal culture, but none of these three provides a comprehensive account.

The First Amendment is not solely established to protect speech but also the other predicates of representative democracy. Speech empowers individuals to engage in self-realization within a community of equals committed to the general welfare. Any regulations inhibiting, limiting, or restraining it should be narrowly tailored to safeguard the Constitution’s overarching guarantee of liberal equality for the common good. This principle derives from the Preamble to the Constitution’s General Welfare Clause and the Declaration of Independence’s Unalienable Rights Clause. Scholars and courts have too often ignored these two sources of federal power. Yet they provide the groundwork for representative democracy, wherein expressive liberty enables individuals to voice their political opinions, enjoy personal dignity, and attain knowledge and expertise. Free speech is a function of a constitutional system that enables people to pursue happiness for the betterment of the whole polity. After expounding a comprehensive theory of free speech and critiquing its most important alternatives, the article applies this major shift in First Amendment thought to defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and incitement doctrines.

-- not entirely convincing but interesting, precursor to a book length treatment.
us_supreme_court  law  freedom_of_speech  united_states_of_america  regulation  critique 
august 2017 by rvenkat
The Negative Effect Fallacy: A Case Study of Incorrect Statistical Reasoning by Federal Courts - Enos - 2017 - Journal of Empirical Legal Studies - Wiley Online Library
This article examines the negative effect fallacy, a flawed statistical argument first utilized by the Warren Court in Elkins v. United States. The Court argued that empirical evidence could not determine whether the exclusionary rule prevents future illegal searches and seizures because “it is never easy to prove a negative,” inappropriately conflating the philosophical and arithmetic definitions of the word negative. Subsequently, the Court has repeated this mistake in other domains, including free speech, voting rights, and campaign finance. The fallacy has also proliferated into the federal circuit and district court levels. Narrowly, our investigation aims to eradicate the use of the negative effect fallacy in federal courts. More broadly, we highlight several challenges and concerns with the increasing use of statistical reasoning in court decisions. As courts continue to evaluate statistical and empirical questions, we recommend that they evaluate the evidence on its own merit rather than relying on convenient arguments embedded in precedent.
us_supreme_court  statistics  empirical_legal_studies  judgment_decision-making  public_administration  regulation  governance  via:gelman 
august 2017 by rvenkat
Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency: Sixth Edition | The National Academies Press
Publicly available statistics from government agencies that are credible, relevant, accurate, and timely are essential for policy makers, individuals, households, businesses, academic institutions, and other organizations to make informed decisions. Even more, the effective operation of a democratic system of government depends on the unhindered flow of statistical information to its citizens.

In the United States, federal statistical agencies in cabinet departments and independent agencies are the governmental units whose principal function is to compile, analyze, and disseminate information for such statistical purposes as describing population characteristics and trends, planning and monitoring programs, and conducting research and evaluation. The work of these agencies is coordinated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Statistical agencies may acquire information not only from surveys or censuses of people and organizations, but also from such sources as government administrative records, private-sector datasets, and Internet sources that are judged of suitable quality and relevance for statistical use. They may conduct analyses, but they do not advocate policies or take partisan positions. Statistical purposes for which they provide information relate to descriptions of groups and exclude any interest in or identification of an individual person, institution, or economic unit.

Four principles are fundamental for a federal statistical agency: relevance to policy issues, credibility among data users, trust among data providers, and independence from political and other undue external influence.� Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency: Sixth Edition presents and comments on these principles as they’ve been impacted by changes in laws, regulations, and other aspects of the environment of federal statistical agencies over the past 4 years.
nap  report  policy  statistics  regulation  administrative_state  democracy  collective_cognition 
july 2017 by rvenkat
The New Governors: The People, Rules, and Processes Governing Online Speech by Kate Klonick :: SSRN
Private online platforms have an increasingly essential role in free speech and participation in democratic culture. But while it might appear that any Internet user can publish freely and instantly online, many platforms actively curate the content posted by their users. How and why these platforms operate to moderate speech is largely opaque.

This Article provides the first analysis of what these platforms are actually doing to moderate online speech under a regulatory and First Amendment framework. Drawing from original interviews, archived materials, and leaked documents, this Article not only describes how three major online platforms—Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—moderate content, it situates their moderation systems into a broader discussion of online governance and the evolution of free expression values in the private sphere. It reveals that private content moderation systems curate user content with an eye to First Amendment norms, corporate responsibility, and at the core, the economic necessity of creating an environment that reflects the expectations of its users. In order to accomplish this, platforms have developed a detailed system with similarities to the American legal system with regularly revised rules, trained human decision-making, and reliance on a system of external influence.

This Article argues that to best understand online speech, we must abandon traditional doctrinal and regulatory analogies, and understand these private content platforms as systems of governance operating outside the boundaries of the First Amendment. These platforms shape and allow participation in our new digital and democratic culture. They are the New Governors of online speech.
freedom_of_speech  social_media  regulation  law  networked_public_sphere  united_states_of_america 
june 2017 by rvenkat
Washington Monthly | The Big Lobotomy
--looks like the dismantling of the administrative state has a long history
via:henryfarrell  administrative_state  us_politics  regulation  governance  institutions  us_congress 
march 2017 by rvenkat

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