blockchain. A string of bundled digital records of completed cryptocurrency transactions during a specified time on a network collectively forming a ledger that is open to public view.

car-hacking. Slang. The practice or an instance of stealing a car by using a handheld electronic device to compromise a keyless ignition system or other electronic or internet-based security system.

clawback agreement. 1. A contract or contractual provision between litigants specifying the procedures that a party must follow in the discovery phase of litigation to protect against waiving a privilege or work-product protection and to reclaim any inadvertently produced privileged documents. — Also termed clawback provision. See Fed. R. Evid. 502. 2. tax-clawback agreement.

contempt of cop. Slang. A civilian’s challenge to a law-enforcement officer’s authority — as by expressing defiance, anger, mockery, or similar disrespect — made in such a way as to provoke the officer to respond inappropriately or illegally, as by making an arbitrary arrest, improperly detaining the person, or using unwarranted force. — Sometimes also termed contempt-of-cop syndrome.

cook the books, vb. Slang. To falsify entries in accounting records with the intent of concealing the actual financial activities or condition of a business. — Also termed juggle the books.

cross-race identification theory. The theory that people of a given race have more difficulty distinguishing the features of people of other races and are therefore more likely to misidentify a particular individual of a different race. — Also termed cross-race effect; other-race effect.

cryptocurrency. A digital or virtual currency that is not issued by any central authority, is designed to function as a medium of exchange, and uses encryption technology to regulate the generation of units of currency, to verify fund transfers, and to prevent counterfeiting.

dark money. Funds donated to or by a politically active organization that can receive unlimited amounts and is not required to disclose a donor’s identity under the tax code.

doxing, n. The nonconsensual online posting of a person’s personal information, such as home address, e-mail address, and place of employment, esp. for purposes of harassment.

drive up, drop off. Slang. The act of driving a person who needs emergency treatment to a hospital and abandoning the person there without providing any information about the person.

51% attack. An event in which the controllers of more than 50% of a cryptocurrency network’s computing power act jointly to prevent transactions between other users from being completed, to divert the cryptocurrency to other accounts, or to reverse completed transactions. — Also written 51-percent attack.

flash rob, n. (2011) 1. A group of people who rapidly assemble in a public place in a planned way to commit a crime, esp. an assault, looting, or rioting. 2. A type of retail theft in which people who have planned to do so enter a store and simultaneously steal goods. ● The term was coined on the analogy of flash mob. — Also termed multiple-offender crime; flash-mob robbery. Cf. FLASH MOB. — flash rob, vb.

improvised explosive device. A homemade bomb that is used by nonprofessional soldiers or by terrorists, esp. to harass, maim, or kill human targets. — Abbr. IED.

kakistocracy (kak-i-stahk-rə-see), n. (1829) Government by the worst, least qualified, or least scrupulous citizens.

lane-splitting. The act of driving a vehicle, usu. a motorcyle or bicycle, between lanes on a road to overtake and pass other vehicles. — Also termed lane-sharing; filtering; stripe-riding.

LGBTQQIAAP. abbr. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, allies, and pansexual.

medical tourism. The act of traveling from one country to another to obtain medical treatment. ● Medical tourism is usu. motivated by the unavailability or high cost of treatment in the home country.

mugshot extortion. Slang. A fee charged by a company for removing from the company’s website or publications an arrested person’s booking photo and details about the arrest.

nonstate actor. Int’l law. A person or entity that is independent of governments in whole or in part but that has considerable influence. ● Examples include corporations, banks, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and paramilitary groups. — Abbr. NSA. Cf. STATE ACTOR.

opportunity to speak. Criminal procedure. A presentencing occasion accorded by the court to parties and victims for the purpose of being heard on the question of what the most appropriate sentence might be. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 32(i)(4).

personal-care contract. Elder law. A formal agreement between an elderly person and a caregiver for the provision of personal-assistance services in the elderly person’s or caregiver’s home in exchange for financial compensation. — Also termed elder-care agreement; elder-care contract; family-care agreement; caregiver contract; personal-care agreement; family-care contract; caregiver agreement; long-term-care personal-support-services agreement; independent-caregiver contract.

pick-off case. Slang. In a class action or prospective class action, a defendant’s offer or payment to the named class representative of all the individual relief that particular person could obtain, followed by a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds of mootness. ● The name comes from the attempt to disqualify the class representative for lack of standing and thereby prevent a class from being certified or prevent the case from going forward. — Also termed pick-off issue.

porch pirate. Criminal law. Slang. Someone who steals a package that has been delivered to a recipient’s address but not yet retrieved by the recipient. ● The term comes from the practice of stealing packages that have been delivered to a recipient’s porch. By some accounts, porch piracy has become increasingly common during the 21st century because the increasing prevalence of online purchases has increased the volume of package deliveries and hence the opportunities for this type of theft. — porch piracy, n. Cf. BURGLAR.

public-improvement district. A special-assessment area created by a municipality usu. at the request of property owners, providing for specific improvements and additional infrastructure to be financed by tax assessments levied on residents. — Abbr. PID.

ransomware. 1. A computer virus in an e-mail or e-mail attachment that locks the computer’s hard drive with a secret pass key and pops up a message demanding a payment for the key within a certain time. ● The hacker who sent the virus effectively holds the computer’s contents hostage and demands a ransom to release them. This type of ransomware began appearing in 2013. 2. A pop-up message or e-mail that appears to be from a tax-collection, law-enforcement, or other agency and threatens the recipient with arrest unless a fine is paid. ● The message alleges that the recipient committed some kind of legal infraction, but rarely includes details. The earliest version of this type of ransomware appeared in 2006.

Raubkunst (rowb-koonst), n. [German “stolen art”] Int’l law. Collectively, works of art that were looted or purchased for far less than fair-market value under duress or coercion from the 1930s to the end of World War II. ● Although the term Raubkunst applies most strictly to works stolen or otherwise acquired by the Nazis, it may also extend to dealers and others who took advantage of people who were fleeing Europe or were otherwise under pressure to sell their property.

rescuing nationals abroad. Int’l law. A state’s use of operational resources to ensure the security of its citizens whose physical integrity or lives are threatened within the territory of another state, esp. by organizing their repatriation.

revenge porn. Sexually explicit photos or videos of someone either distributed or threatened to be distributed without the person’s consent for an improper purpose such as punishing the victim for ending a relationship, coercing the person to continue the relationship, or extorting sex acts from the victim.

skeuomorph, n. (skyoo-ə-morf) (1889) A product feature that persists in later versions despite having become obsolete and perhaps even having become in some way a hindrance or unnecessary cost. ● Examples include computer features that make the computer more likely to fail or harder to repair, car features having a similar effect, and contractual clauses having no beneficial effect but increasing uncertainties and encouraging litigation. — skeuomorphic, adj.

smishing, n. (2006) The criminal activity of sending a text message containing a website hyperlink that, if clicked, would download a Trojan-horse virus to the mobile phone. — Also written SMiShing. — Also termed SMS phishing.

smurfing, n. 1. The structuring of currency transactions to move large amounts of currency and evade currency-transaction-reporting requirements by making a series of transactions smaller than the reporting threshold. — Also termed structuring. 2. The practice of making multiple purchases from multiple stores of small quantities of over-the-counter drugs containing a particular substance, such as pseudoephedrine, for use in manufacturing an illegal substance, such as methamphetamine. — smurf, vb.

speciesism. (1973) Discrimination favoring one species over another, esp. human beings over animals.

synthetic identity theft. The creation of a false identity by combining elements of genuine identifying information from more than one person or elements of genuine information and fake information to deceive others, esp. for financial gain. ● The most commonly stolen item of genuine identifying information is a social-security number, usu. that of a child or senior citizen. Cf. IDENTITY THEFT.

private-equity takeover. A takeover undertaken by a private-equity firm, which often acts as the general partner in a limited partnership, the investors being limited partners. ● After an agreed period, the private-equity firm sells all the investments to return the original capital plus gains to the limited partners.

too-big-to-fail doctrine. The concept that some businesses are so large and important to the economy that the government will or should act to prevent them from failing. Cf. SYSTEMATICALLY IMPORTANT FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. — Often shortened to too big to fail. — Also termed too-big-to-fail theory.

tracking device. (ca. 1932) A piece of electronic equipment used for detecting the movement of a person or object and supplying a timed and ordered sequence of location data. 21 USCA § 3117(b).

transgender, adj. Of, relating to, or designating a person who does not unambiguously self-identify as male or female but has characteristics of both.

transgender, n. A person whose physical sex at birth differs from the sex with which the person later identifies.

trial by media. A campaign to affect public opinion on a legal issue; specif., the attempted influence of the public’s perception of someone’s guilt or innocence through press and social-media sources, regardless of whether the person has been actually charged with a crime or tried in a court of law. ● The original term for the phenomenon, trial by television, appeared in 1967 after David Frost, a talk-show host, conducted a confrontational interview of Emil Savundra, an insurance-company owner suspected of swindling claimants.

twocking. [Acronym from taking without owner’s consent] Slang. The wrongful act of taking (a car) without the owner’s consent; JOYRIDING.

ugly law. Hist. Slang. (1975) A law prohibiting someone with a physical deformity or disability, or otherwise considered unsightly or improper, from appearing in public.

vehicle-ramming attack. The act of deliberately driving a motor vehicle, usu. at high speed into a building, another vehicle, or a crowd of people with the intent to cause substantial damage, injuries, or death. — Also termed car-ramming attack; ramming attack.

remotely piloted warfare. Warfare in which the use of force is carried out by unmanned devices, such as drones, controlled by people at a great distance from the theater of operations. See THEATER OF OPERATIONS.

whitemail. Corporations. An antitakeover measure in which the target company sells stock at a substantial discount to a friendly third party, thereby increasing the aggregate stock holdings in the company, diluting the value of shares owned by a hostile bidder, and raising the company’s acquisition price. See ANTITAKEOVER MEASURE.

zombie foreclosure. A piece of property that the owner has abandoned even though the foreclosure process has not been completed, usu. on the incorrect assumption that the lender has acquired ownership of or responsibility for the property. — Also termed zombie home; zombie property.

zombie stock. Shares in a corporation that generates enough income to meet interest payments on its debt but is unable to make payments to reduce the principal; esp. a company that requires lenience from creditors or bailouts to continue existing.


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