Thursday News: Year in review, new cell phone ruling, UN drops Wonder Woman, and holiday gift books
The Year in Review: 10 Moments That Rocked the Literary World in 2016 – Some events on this list seem like they happened eons ago (the death of Harper Lee), while others SHOULD have been done eons ago (white women dominate publishing). I loved revisiting Paul Beatty’s Booker win, though.
This year’s literary events reverberated beyond the world of writers, and not just because a non-traditional ‘writer’?—?aka Robert Allen Zimmerman?—?won a major prize. After years of being warned that fiction is becoming irrelevant, 2016 felt like a confirmation that great writing still matters. That people are still reading. They’re buying books and supporting bookstores and listening to what artists have to say. Given that 2016 doesn’t exist in a vacuum?—?its roots were planted years ago and its fruit will continue bear in the future?—?this knowledge is more important than ever. – Electric Lit
Court Rules That Police Can Force You To Tell Them Your Phone’s Passcode – In a troubling and problematic ruling, a Florida District Court held that a suspect could be compelled to reveal your phone passcode to law enforcement. A number of previous rulings have gone the other way, finding that forcing someone to reveal their password is a 5th amendment violation (protection against self-incrimination). This decision relies in part on the assumption that the passcode itself is neutral and not evidence of wrongdoing. And yet, the passcode has been distinguished by other courts from fingerprint phone locking, all of which raises more issues about the relationship between evolving technologies and privacy protections.
Conceptually, it’s a similar situation to what the FBI and Apple argued out this spring, in the wake of the San Bernardino mass shooting. Law enforcement could in theory attempt to brute force the password — there are only 10,000 possible combinations between 0000 and 9999, after all — but entering the wrong one more than 10 times will force the phone to permanently erase any data it has stored.
Logistically and legally, however, it’s very different for one key reason: this suspect is still alive. In the San Bernardino case, law enforcement could not even first try to compel a passcode from the suspect because the suspect was deceased. In this case, investigators have a person to ask.
Initially, a trial judge denied the state’s motion to compel the suspect to give up his phone’s passcode. However, last week the Florida Court of Appeal’s Second District reversed that finding, determining that the passcode itself is not connected to any criminal data found on the phone. – The Consumerist
UN drops Honorary Ambassador Wonder Woman – You would think that Wonder Woman would be the perfect United Nations Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, but a recent petition has convinced the UN that WW’s imagery is too sexualized to communicate personal empowerment. There is, of course, the arguments to be made in both directions, especially since overt sexual power is so often belittled or viewed as threatening. At the same time, hyper-sexualization or caricature can be used to undermine the legitimacy of female power, including sexual power. Then there are the commercial aspects of the campaign, and its role as advertising for Marvel. The artist, of course, is none too pleased with the UN’s abandonment of the campaign.
The petition, which gained 44,520 supporters, read, “the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring bodysuit with an American flag motif and knee-high boots — the epitome of a ‘pin-up’ girl.” It also took exception to her status as the IP of a for-profit company. . . .
Nicola Scott, who created the art for DC Comics and the United Nations, and who has been working on the recently rebooted Wonder Woman comic book with Greg Rucka, expressed her disappointment in a Facebook post. . . .
“I created the art for the UN with a full understanding of who she is and how much reach she has and what she means to millions of people. The purpose of this initiative was so incredibly positive, with the best of intentions and knowing how perfectly Diana fit into this role. Personally I find it a shame, but I’m really disappointed we won’t get the full rollout of the plan.” – CNET
10 Holiday Book Gifts that Even The Pickiest Person On Your List Will Love – For those of you who love to gift books, there are some interesting ones on this list.
These books are all a little out-of-the-box, which is exactly what you need when the person you’re shopping for is picky. Each one of them is a ton of fun, and will bring a smile to even the Grinch-iest face. There are all also plenty of books on here that will appeal to even people who don’t consider themselves big readers, including interactive journals and books that have been fabulously illustrated. – Bustle