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What do they know about me? Contents and Concerns of Online Behavioral Profiles

September 1, 2014 Comments off

What do they know about me? Contents and Concerns of Online Behavioral Profiles (PDF)
Source: Carnegie Mellon Univeristy (Cylab)

Data aggregators collect large amounts of information about individual users from multiple sources, and create detailed online behavioral profiles of individuals. Behavioral profiles benefit users by improving products and services. However, they have also raised privacy concerns. To increase transparency, some companies are allowing users to access their behavioral profiles. In this work, we investigated behavioral profiles of users by utilizing these access mechanisms. Using in-person interviews (n=8), we analyzed the data shown in the profiles and compared it with the data that companies have about users. We elicited surprises and concerns from users about the data in their profiles, and estimated the accuracy of profiles. We conducted an online survey (n=100) to confirm observed surprises and concerns. Our results show a large gap between data shown in profiles and data possessed by companies. We also find that large number of profiles contain inaccuracies with levels as high as 80%. Participants expressed several concerns including collection of sensitive data such as credit and health information, extent of data collection and how their data may be used.

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“Don’t Say Gay” in the State of Tennessee: Libraries as Virtual Spaces of Resistance and Protectors of Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) People

September 1, 2014 Comments off

“Don’t Say Gay” in the State of Tennessee: Libraries as Virtual Spaces of Resistance and Protectors of Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) People (PDF)
Source: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

In recent years the geographic state of Tennessee in the United States has acquired a national notoriety and shameful reputation as a toxic place on issues of sex and gender (Mehra 2011; Mehra and Braquet, in press; Mehra and Braquet, 2011; Mehra and Braquet, 2007a, 2007b; Mehra and Braquet, 2006), especially owing to the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill that thankfully died a second death when lawmakers failed to pass the measure banning elementary and middle-school teachers from discussing sexual activity that is not “related to natural human reproduction” (Ford, 2013; McDonough, 2013; Staff eports, 2013). In the light of such failed, yet repressive and homophobic efforts, how are the state’s school, public, and academic libraries representing the needs and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in providing web access and coverage of information related to this marginalized population in a region that proudly identifies itself as the buckle of the conservative Bible – belt in the United States. This paper highlights findings from an exploratory website study to identify key trends, best practices, and case representations across different types of library environments of LGBTQ information resources, collections, programs, and services. It shows how library agencies around the state have the potential to serve as virtual spaces of resistance and protectors of human rights of LGBTQ people against the dictates of hegemonic, prejudiced, and hateful regime representatives and unjust laws.

Same-sex intimate partner homicide in Australia

September 1, 2014 Comments off

Same-sex intimate partner homicide in Australia
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

While there is a sizable body of research on intimate partner homicide in general, there has been limited focus on intimate partner homicide involving people in same-sex relationships.

The present study, one of the first of its kind, uses data from the National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) within a context of national and international research to describe what is known about the trends and key characteristics of same-sex intimate partner homicide in Australia.

An analysis is provided of the similarities and differences between same-sex and opposite-sex intimate partner homicide incidents, including identification of some of the factors associated with these incidents.

Consideration is also given to the role of sexual discrimination and marginalisation in same-sex intimate partner homicide.

Social Mobility and the Importance of Networks: Evidence for Britain

September 1, 2014 Comments off

Social Mobility and the Importance of Networks: Evidence for Britain (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Greater levels of social mobility are widely seen as desirable on grounds of both equity and efficiency. Debate on social mobility in Britain and elsewhere has recently focused on specific factors that might hinder social mobility, including the role of internships and similar employment opportunities that parents can sometimes secure for their children. We address the help that parents give their children in the job market using data from the new age 42 wave of the 1970 British Cohort Study. We consider help given to people from all family backgrounds and not just to graduates and those in higher level occupations who have tended to be the focus in the debate in Britain. Specifically, our data measure whether respondents had ever had help to get a job from (i) parents and (ii) other relatives and friends and the form of that help. We first assess the extent and type of help. We then determine whether people from higher socio-economic status families are more or less likely to have such help and whether the help is associated with higher wages and higher occupations. Our paper provides insight into whether the strong link between parental socio-economic background and the individual’s own economic success can be explained in part by the parents assisting their children to get jobs. We find parental help to have a strong social gradient. But we are unable to identify a clear link between any particular type of help – advice, help through contacts etc. – and individuals’ wages or occupations.

AU — Profiling parental child sex abuse

August 30, 2014 Comments off

Profiling parental child sex abuse
Source: Australian Institute for Criminology

Public policy initiatives to redress parental child sexual offenders have been hindered by the absence of an offending profile that characterises this core group of intrafamilial offenders. Drawing on data from a sample of 213 offenders, this study augments knowledge about sex offender typologies by identifying ten key descriptive features of parental offenders.

The findings revealed that parental sex offenders have a distinctive profile unlike that of other child sexual offenders and are more criminally versatile than presupposed. This may provide useful information to support clinical practice and preventive interventions aimed at increasing offender desistance and reducing threats to the safety and welfare of young children and their families.

Where More Americans Die at the Hands of Police

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Where More Americans Die at the Hands of Police
Source: The Atlantic (Richard Florida)

The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer has reintroduced police-related killings as a topic of major national debate. Brown is just the latest in a long line of young, unarmed black men killed by law enforcement agents.

It’s been widely reported that roughly 400 Americans die at the hands of police per year. And yet, that figure is likely a significant underestimate, as Reuben Fischer-Baum details at FiveThirtyEight.

We ask a slightly different question: Where are Americans more likely to die at the hands of police or while under arrest?

With the help of my colleagues Charlotta Mellander and Nick Lombardo of the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI), we mapped data from two sources: “arrest related deaths” from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, and from the FBI’s annual Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) on “felons killed by police.” We also got input from three leading American criminologists: Alfred Blumstein and Daniel Nagin, my former colleagues at Carnegie Mellon, and John Roman of the Urban Institute.

It’s important to reiterate that both data sources suffer from serious deficiencies, not the least of which is under-reporting. Roman worries about “reporting bias,” particularly the possibility that “more responsible agencies”—those least likely to use force in the first place—”are more likely to report, and less responsible agencies are less likely to report.” But he also adds that what looks like missing data may not be. “It might be that few policing agencies have an officer-involved shooting and the agencies that don’t simply don’t report any data,” he writes in an email.

But, taken together and in light of their limits, the maps are broadly suggestive of the geography of U.S. police killings as well as the states where arrests are likely to result in more deaths. As Roman puts it: “It is important to shine a light on the subject. Because there is such limited data, our ability to define the scope of the problem greatly limits our ability to form an appropriate response.”

The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations

August 29, 2014 Comments off

The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations
Source: Brookings Institution

This report uses a new database on foreign student visa approvals from 2001 to 2012 to analyze their distribution in the United States, finding that:

  • The number of foreign students on F-1 visas in U.S. colleges and universities grew dramatically from 110,000 in 2001 to 524,000 in 2012. The sharpest increases occurred among students from emerging economies such as China and Saudi Arabia. Foreigners studying for bachelor’s and master’s degrees and English language training accounted for most of the overall growth.
  • Foreign students are concentrated in U.S. metropolitan areas. From 2008 to 2012, 85 percent of foreign students pursuing a bachelor’s degree or above attended colleges and universities in 118 metro areas that collectively accounted for 73 percent of U.S. higher education students. They contributed approximately $21.8 billion in tuition and $12.8 billion in other spending—representing a major services export—to those metropolitan economies over the five-year period.
  • Most foreign students come from large fast-growing cities in emerging markets. Ninety-four (94) foreign cities together accounted for more than half of all students on an F-1 visa between 2008 and 2012. Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hyderabad and Riyadh are the five foreign cities that sent the most higher education students to the United States during that time.
  • Foreign students disproportionately study STEM and business fields. Two-thirds of foreign students pursuing a bachelor’s or higher degree are in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) or business, management and marketing fields, versus 48 percent of students in the United States. Both large (San Jose, Calif.) and small (Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas) metro areas figure among those with the highest shares of their foreign students in STEM disciplines.
  • Forty-five (45) percent of foreign student graduates extend their visas to work in the same metropolitan area as their college or university. Metro areas that retain high shares of their foreign graduates under the temporary Optional Practical Training (OPT) program tend to be either large diversified economies (e.g., New York, Los Angeles), or specialized labor markets that align closely with foreign graduates’ training (e.g., Honolulu, Seattle, Las Vegas).
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