The Brief No. 29 : POTUS Skeptics and Biometrics
March 6, 2019
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Where Allegiances Lie: Feeling unsafe in today’s tumultuous political climate? Here’s our virtual version of an emotional support animal; Massachusetts just opened a puppy kindergarten. Now on with the unsettling news. Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified before Congress, accusing the President of several criminal activities. Cohen’s testimony called into question Trump’s (as well as strategist Roger Stone’s) awareness of impending DNC email leaks back in 2016, directly opposing official statements made by POTUS and Stone. Cohen also shared 2 copies of checks allegedly issued as “hush money” for the President’s purported affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Republicans have attempted to discredit Cohen’s testimony, emphasizing his felony charges and upcoming incarceration, yet it appears that questionable character will not deter Congress from further investigation. Cohen is scheduled to return on March 6.
Checking Vitals: Tech company legal departments are bracing for legal consequences for invasive data practices. A Wall Street Journal report states that at least 11 popular health, fitness, and lifestyle apps have been sending users’ personal data to Facebook without requiring explicit consent. The information gathered includes things like “weight, BMI, menstrual cycles, alcohol consumption, food consumption, heart rate, blood pressure, and calories burned during exercise.” The report coincides with a new proposal from Arizona Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, which would provide users with more agency over when and how health data is gathered.
Meetings of the Mind: With law firms and companies alike finally making an effort to increase awareness and support, 2019 may be a groundbreaking year for mental health in the workplace. But how to implement these policies can cause a host of potential employment law puzzles. For employees looking to improve mental-wellbeing on a personal level, one study recommends being open and honest in how one presents themselves at work. This “just be yourself” approach can encounter obstacles, like sexism, and create greater career risks for oppressed employees. As professional industries work towards promoting healthier work environments, it is important to appropriately recognize the challenges that lay ahead and dispel outdated concepts that could hinder progress.
Inside Out: Technology continues to permeate the legal industry. Law firm Slaughter and May announced plans for Collaborate, an initiative that will link promising tech startups with the firm’s in-house resources and clients. Slaughters hopes that this initiative, which will allow them to engage with innovation at the ground floor, will enable them to utilize new technology more seamlessly than grafting a fully-formed provider’s tools into operations. Vertically integrating technology will provide firms with advantages, especially when the next wave of graduates enters the workforce. While the overwhelming number of services may seem daunting for firms looking to buy in, some have boldly embraced innovation with open arms.
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