Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Crime and law news from campuses on the campaign trail

It's time for a sequel of sorts to Technology and security intersect at campuses on the campaign trail, as national security overlaps with terrorism, which overlaps with crime, which overlaps with law, which has an effect on technology.

Rutgers University on YouTube goes first with Gun Control Debate Heats Up on Campus.

Have the recent mass shootings in Connecticut and Washington D.C. changed the way you feel about guns and gun control? We surveyed students and staff at Rutgers with some hard questions about guns and gun violence. Should people be allowed to own assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips? Should gun ownership continue to be a constitutional right or should laws be changed? Would you be comfortable having a gun in your home?
Considering that gun control was the main issue in the recall elections in Colorado and that the law in question was a reaction to Sandy Hook, this topic looks like it will echo for quite a while.

Follow over the jump for more news about crime and law with a healthy heaping of technology.

University of Massachusetts, Lowell: International Experts, Boston Police Commissioner Headline UMass Lowell Program
LOWELL, Mass. – Nearly two-thirds of Americans are more concerned about a terrorist attack in the United States since the Boston Marathon bombings in April and believe the threat of terrorism has increased in the last decade, according to a new national poll by UMass Lowell.

Half of those surveyed say the bombings made them think the United States is too involved in the affairs of other countries, according to the poll, released today at the opening event for the university’s new Center for Terrorism and Security Studies. The event, “New Security Challenges,” also included news that more than $1 million in research grants has been awarded to the center by the National Institute of Justice.

The program, which drew approximately 200 representatives of the counterterrorism, law enforcement and academic communities to the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, featured Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis; Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center; Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge, FBI Boston Division; Roger Cressey, a UMass Lowell graduate and former National Security Council deputy for counterterrorism whose U.S. government roles included managing the responses to the Sept. 11 and USS Cole attacks; and Andrea Cabral, Massachusetts secretary of public safety. UMass Lowell’s College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences sponsored the event.
Speaking of echoes, this topic shows that the Boston Marathon bombings are still resonating.

Next, Boston University shows that not all action in a courtroom is criminal by announcing BU Sues Leading Tech Firms for Patent Infringement.
Dispute involves popular smartphones, tablets, other devices
By Rich Barlow
The University has filed a number of lawsuits against some of the brightest stars in the high-tech constellation—Microsoft, Motorola, Sony, and BlackBerry among them—to defend a College of Engineering professor’s patented material used in the production of blue LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which are components in many electronic devices.

The lawsuits, like several others filed earlier this year, claim that the companies made use of Theodore Moustakas’ invention without securing a license from the University. The ENG professor of electrical and computer engineering is the recipient of the University’s 2013 Innovator of the Year Award. BU alleges that the companies are making or selling products that have used Moustakas’ invention without permission and is requesting a jury determination of damages owed the University. The earlier lawsuits target such giants as Apple, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, and LG Corporation.

BU Provost Jean Morrison emphasizes the importance of the University’s protecting the research and invention of one of its faculty, particularly when unlicensed use has become so widespread. “We’re protecting our intellectual property,” she says. “We are an Association of American Universities research university and as such, the creation of new knowledge is fundamental to our mission. Ted Moustakas created a process that significantly improves the performance of these products. It’s incredibly important for a university to defend its intellectual property.”
Finally, there are laws that should be repealed.  The University of Virginia gives an example of one in U.Va. Panel Discusses Progress of Marriage Equality in Changing Legal Landscape.
September 12, 2013
In 1967, Virginia still had a law on the books prohibiting marriage between white and black people; the rationale was that God did not intend for the races to mix. The law was finally overturned.

Similarly, one of the rationales for Virginia’s state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage is the need to protect responsible procreation. In a class-action lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union will argue that is not a rational basis for having such a law.

A panel of same-sex marriage advocates at a University of Virginia event Wednesday sounded hopeful notes about changing Virginia laws in the aftermath of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. They also cautioned that much work remains to be done, possibly taking several years.
This is only the latest entry of mine about marriage equality.  I'm sure there will be more.  Stay tuned.

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