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New CFIUS Regulations On February 13, 2020, the Department of the Treasury implemented rules for the Foreign Investment Risk Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) to expand the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Under the new regulations, TID businesses, or businesses with critical technologies, critical infrastructure, or sensitive personal […]

On January 22, 2020, a statement from The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that two Special Rapporteurs had obtained a report that claimed with “medium to high confidence” that the Saudi crown prince hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ cell phone. The hack is alleged to have happened just months before […]

On January 23, 2020, the Georgetown Law Technology Review’s Gabriel Khoury interviewed James Gatto, a partner in the D.C. office of Sheppard Mullin. Gabriel visited James Gatto at his office to discuss James’s career and current practice areas. James is the leader of the Blockchain Technology and Digital Assets Team at the firm. This conversation has […]

Until recently, Clearview A.I. was a relatively unknown and secretive company. Following the publication of a recent New York Times article, the company has become the center of data privacy concerns. Clearview A.I. is a facial recognition company created by Hoan Ton-That in 2016. The company scrapes images of people’s faces from millions of websites, […]

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), arguably the most sweeping data privacy law in the United States, went into effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA requires companies that buy or sell data on at least 50,000 California residents per year to disclose what they do with the data and to whom they sell it. […]

Several agencies of the federal government have been purchasing cellphone location data without a warrant from a third-party company, Venntel. This development implicates new privacy questions that have not been properly addressed by the judiciary or legislation. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with its divisions Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and […]

On February 11, 2020, District Court Judge Victor Marrero concluded that the $26 billion merger of Sprint with T-Mobile did not violate U.S. antitrust laws. Judge Marrero rejected the claims of fourteen states that sued to block the merger and found that efficiencies and other benefits of the transaction made the merger procompetitive. Over the […]

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election brought critical attention to the wave of political disinformation campaigns taking place on digital media platforms. Disinformation is the use of misleading, false, or irrational arguments to manipulate public opinion for political purposes and, left unchecked, can result in an electorate disconnected from fact and skeptical of the free press. […]

On January 30, 2020, Apple and Broadcom were slapped with one of the largest patent jury verdicts of all time—$1.1 billion—for infringing Caltech patents on Wi-Fi technology. Caltech filed the lawsuit in 2016 alleging that Apple and Broadcom jointly infringed Caltech’s patents on new types of error correction codes that fix glitches occurring during data […]

Introduction: With election season upon us, election security is a topic of much debate and utmost importance. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Drew Bagley and Robert Sheldon, two thought leaders at the leading cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike to discuss some of the issues facing cybersecurity in U.S. elections, and the challenges involved with […]

On January 13th, 2020, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie gave fans an opportunity to become more invested with an NBA player than ever before. The launch of Dinwiddie’s DREAM Fan Shares allows accredited investors to use digital tokens to invest in Dinwiddie’s three-year, $34 million guaranteed contract. The Ethereum-based blockchain platform claims that it will […]

Facial recognition “creates a ‘template’ of the target’s facial image and compares the template to photographs of preexisting images of a face(s) (known).” The technology is used by a wide range of groups, including law enforcement, airlines, and retail stores. Proponents of facial recognition emphasize its advantages, such as improving security and preventing fraud. Conversely, […]

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the marketing of a software program, Caption Guidance, that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help medical professionals administer cardiac ultrasounds. Caption Guidance helps the user capture high quality diagnostic images of a patient’s heart. After the images are captured, a cardiologist reviews the images […]

The Supreme Court will hear one of the most significant copyright law cases of the 21st century. The Google v. Oracle oral argument is scheduled for March 24th, with a decision likely by June. The foremost question presented is whether application programming interfaces (“APIs”) are copyrightable. A holding affirming that APIs are original works of authorship […]

The United States Supreme Court may take up two cases this term resolving critical questions about the constitutionality and scope of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”). The Court is currently reviewing briefs in support and opposition of certiorari from the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Duguid v. Facebook, Inc., 926 F.3d 1146 (9th […]

This January, Facebook updated its content policy covering “deepfakes.” Deepfakes range from the benign, such as modifications of scenes in the movie Forrest Gump, to the nefarious, like the massive volume of artificially-created porn featuring female celebrities. Facebook’s policy, which governs organic content, prohibits all media that has been edited in a way that “would […]

On January 22, 2020, a putative class action lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Illinois claiming startup app Clearview AI has amassed a facial recognition database using more than 3 billion images extracted from social media websites. The case, Mutnick v. Clearview AI, seeks certification of a nationwide class and an Illinois class, alleging the […]

On January 8th, the Department of Transportation released its latest set of guidelines for driverless cars, entitled “Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles.” Issued on an annual basis, this is the fourth time that the Department has released such guidelines, and this year the Department is placing a special emphasis on two […]

Privacy and surveillance scholars increasingly worry that data collectors can use the information they gather about our behaviors, preferences, interests, incomes, and so on to manipulate us. Consider: investigative journalists recently discovered that Facebook allows advertisers to target vulnerable teenagers at moments when they feel “worthless” and “insecure.” “Sharing economy” firms like the ride-hailing company […]

High-speed Internet access, otherwise known as broadband, is considered essential for partaking in the 21st-century economy; the Internet today is considered as important as road and energy infrastructure in terms of its potential to enhance socioeconomic development. Broadband, a subset of telecommunications infrastructure that includes wire-based and wireless communications networks, is currently a priority in […]

Are you male or female? When were you born? How tall are you? How much do you weigh? You may have encountered these questions when signing up with a fitness mobile application (app) like MyFitnessPal. After you quickly provide this personal information, and consent to the app’s privacy terms and cross-border data transfer policy, the […]

Americans increasingly get their news through the Internet, and specifically, through social media platforms. In fact, Americans get more of their news from social media than from print newspapers. As the rate of this news consumption increases, two attributes of social media platforms become more readily apparent. First, these platforms play a filtering role, stemming […]

Between 2015 and 2016, a new surge of violence broke out against Israeli civilians and soldiers, typified by lone actors using knives to attack at sudden and opportunistic times. Most often, assailants were Palestinian men without ties to any formal organization or a history of engaging in violence. During this period, attackers killed thirty-four Israelis […]

On April 23, 2013, the Associated Press Twitter account tweeted “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” While the claim was false and the result of a hack, its effects were very real: in three minutes the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted $136 billion in market value. The market recovered […]

In 1742, the Lord Chancellor of England noted that: [Directors] are most properly agents to those who employ them in this trust, and who empower them to direct and superintend the affairs of the corporation. In this respect they may be guilty of acts of commission or omission, of malfeasance or nonfeasance. Now where acts […]

Artificial intelligence is one of the most important innovations to impact national security in recent years. Among the national security concerns of the United States is that foreign countries seek to erode America’s leadership in artificial intelligence development by buying or merging with U.S. companies. In response to this perceived threat, Congress passed legislation in […]

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique to improve the ranking of a website on the results page of a search engine for the purpose of increasing the traffic to that site. This technique has become crucial in the modern Internet era, where standing out amongst the over 1.7 billion websites can be a challenge. […]

Spam, unsolicited commercial content spread at a mass scale, is everywhere on the Internet, in our email and on the sites we visit. At a minimum, spam is a nuisance, just another email or post online to delete or ignore. At its worst, falling victim to a spam attack risks infecting a system with malware […]

To say that data breaches are ubiquitous within the modern digital society may be an understatement. Over the past fifteen years, more than ten billion records have been breached from over 9,000 data breaches in the United States, impacting a majority of Americans. Continue Reading

Wireless communication technology is about to enter a new era: 5G networks. “5G” stands for “fifth generation,” the next step up from the currently mainstream 4G networks. From 2014 levels, mobile traffic is expected to increase by 1000 times by 2024. Continue Reading

On November 22, the five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted unanimously in favor of an order that would limit the ability of telecommunications firms to purchase equipment from Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturers Huawei and ZTE. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai introduced the two-part proposal in an effort to “protect U.S. communications networks from […]

On November 1, 2019, Google announced its acquisition of FitBit, Inc. for $2.1 billion. The transaction, expected to close in 2020, makes Google a formidable competitor in a booming smartwatch market where industry-wide revenue is set to double by 2023. The deal supplements Google’s recent acquisitions in wearable tech, including a $40 million purchase of […]

On June 28, 2018, former Governor of California Jerry Brown signed into law the most comprehensive consumer privacy law in the United States. Some refer to the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) as a mini-GDPR, the European Union’s consumer privacy regulation. The regulatory schemes in both the CCPA and GDPR do not neatly overlap. However, […]

Protecting and managing consumer data has undoubtedly proven to be a difficult task for Facebook in recent years. In 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal saw the personal data of up to eighty-seven million Facebook users misappropriated for political purposes. An internal investigation led Facebook to suspend sixty-nine thousand applications that improperly collected personal information from […]

According to a recently released report from the DEF CON 27 Voting Machine Hacking Village, there are a number of vulnerabilities in voting machines currently in use throughout the United States. The report’s findings came from an exhibition at DEF CON, where security professionals were invited to break into machines provided by the operators of […]

On September 27th, the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) announced the publication of the 2019 Executive Summary for its annual Technology Survey. ILTA, a lawyers association, provides information regarding product and support services to member firms. The Executive Summary reflects the responses of over 537 firms—representing more than 116,000 attorneys—and attempts to predict future challenges […]

On October 14–16, thought leaders from across the country attended the fifth annual Privacy + Security Forum. Professor Daniel Solove of George Washington University Law School and Professor Paul Schwartz of UC Berkeley School of Law organized the forum. Their goal was to craft presentations and sessions to help businesses implement solutions to privacy and […]

While American social media companies have dominated the industry for the last two decades, new competition from China is challenging the status quo. During a Senate hearing on April 10, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, acknowledged the presence of influential Chinese Internet companies. TikTok is one of them. TikTok is a […]

In the face of calls for a federal consumer privacy law, California took another step toward filling this gap at the state level. The California Attorney General (AG), Xavier Becerra, released new draft regulations clarifying and expanding the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) the day before the governor approved seven amendments to the law. The […]

On September 26, 2019, thirty-nine technology and law-enforcement organizations sent an open letter to Congress. The letter championed facial recognition technologies as a law enforcement tool to more efficiently promote public safety. As a reaction to an increase in public fervor against the use of facial recognition technologies nationwide, the letter proposed guidance, training, and […]

On September 24, 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Europe’s highest court, held that the operator of a search engine is not required to carry out delisting on all versions of its search engine. The ECJ stated that even though search engines are not required to delist content globally, search engines should prevent or […]

With the 2020 election cycle in full swing, the Georgetown Law Technology Review and Institute for Technology Law and Policy are pleased to announce a symposium titled Election Integrity in the Networked Information Era. Advances in technology are transforming how people across the globe engage with democracy. Opportunities for engagement and participation are expanding, but […]

On September 4, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Google will be required to pay $170 million to the FTC and the state of New York for children’s data privacy violations. The fine is part of a settlement in a case filed against Google and its subsidiary, YouTube, in the district court for the District […]

It’s a pleasure to be with all of you this afternoon as we discuss “The Role of the Courts in Shaping Patent Law & Policy.” And what better to address on this issue than the judicial exceptions to § 101? So, you will forgive me if we get a bit into the weeds today, as […]

Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today at this conference on patent law. Your invitation stated that I might speak on any relevant topics of my choosing, such as recent trends or developments in case law. But what I choose to speak on are not trends or developments in case […]

Would you let someone pay you $20 per month to look at every picture, message, and email you send? Every website you visit? Watch everything you look at on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube? Most would not. Yet this is exactly the deal Facebook secretly made with a myriad of users age 13–35. Why would […]

With cybersecurity attacks on the rise and amid growing calls for transparency in the private sector, public companies may soon be required to disclose whether they have any cybersecurity experts on their Boards of Directors in their periodic filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The pending bill, the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of […]

In January 2019, the USPTO published new patent subject-matter eligibility guidelines to direct inventors, attorneys, and courts in patentability assessment. The new guidelines provide crucial clarity to the original USPTO eligibility standards. Why the Change? The original patent subject-matter eligibility guidelines, codified in U.S §101, state: “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, […]

In 2001, a U.S. military drone, Predator, became the first weapon to stalk and kill an individual on the other side of the planet. Controlled from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) campus in Virginia, the Predator hovered over a compound in Afghanistan, which housed Mullah Mohammed Omar, an ally of Osama Bin Laden. The Predator […]

Automated defense technology (ADT) refers to weaponry designed to fend off incoming threats that is typically employed in international combat and utilizes automation in some part of its operation. Because of this automation, ADT removes some human error from warfare, and more recent automation technology allows machines to make certain decisions about engagement without any […]

The term “study drugs” refers to a sub-class of prescription stimulants, approved by the FDA for the treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), that students routinely abuse to enhance academic performance. This sub-class, categorized as substituted phenethylamines, includes methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), and a mixture of amphetamine salts (Adderall). In […]

Broadband Internet is the most common Internet service used in the United States. Broadband includes all services that provide high speed Internet, although not all Internet services are broadband. Government regulation of broadband is highly controversial, in part due to broadband’s rapid development and expansion. Congress has avoided drafting legislation governing broadband and instead granted […]

Policy makers have sought to ensure that Internet access is cost- effective, not unduly discriminatory, and of sufficient quality. To this end, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed the Open Internet Orders and the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. But has the FCC truly succeeded in meeting its goals? This paper argues primarily no. In place […]

Cryptocurrency is an attractive target for theft. This digital property is compact, portable, and subject to conversion by simply acquiring the private key, giving unfettered control to the key’s associated cryptocurrency. Crypto-theft may occur without any physical interaction with the true owner. Crypto-thieves are difficult to identify and—even when identified—are often out of the practical […]

Last year, a widely read technology blog turned heads with the deeply disturbing headline: “We Are Truly Fucked: Everyone Is Making AI-Generated Fake Porn Now.” While deliberately provocative, it was— and remains—unfortunately true. An unnamed individual on the popular discussion board, Reddit, superimposed images of celebrities such as Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Masie Williams (Game […]

Blockchain fever is hotter than ever. The World Economic Forum predicts that ten percent of global gross domestic product will be stored on blockchain by 2027, which has caused an unparalleled craze regarding blockchain’s possibilities. Some see it as a new way of organizing modern-day society, while others fear the chaos that it could create.There […]

China has recently embraced a national use of “big data” through the implementation of judicial reforms that utilize new technology. These technological reforms have turned China’s judicial system into one closely resembling a common law system. Because of this, China’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the judicial setting provides a case study for general […]

When the Federal Circuit granted en banc review of Alice in 2013, the Court asked the parties and amici curiaefor assistance in developing a test to determine whether a computer-implemented invention is patent-eligible or whether these inventions merely recite abstract ideas ineligible for protection. The Federal Circuit had been struggling to provide guidance on what […]

While both sides conceded from the beginning that few minds would be changed, supporters and opponents of the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint squared off in a lively debate at the Capitol Visitors Center on March 5, hosted by the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy. The event came on the heels […]

As part of the United States Government’s strategy to combat the potential threat of Chinese telecoms companies being leveraged by their government to enhance China’s intelligence collection capabilities, Huawei is the latest front in the battle. Last August, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) which provided over $700 billion in funding for the […]

Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck is a pending United States Supreme Court case about a public access cable television station in New York. The Manhattan Community Access Corporation (“MNN”) is a nonprofit company that operates four public-access channels in Manhattan. Such channels must be open to the public on a first-come and first-served basis. […]

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s antitrust authority and Federal Cartel Office, recently issued a regulatory blow to Facebook, labeling Facebook’s current data collection practices abusive. On February 6, 2019, the Bundeskartellamt ordered Facebook to cease cross-app integration and data tracking from Facebook-owned apps like WhatsApp and Instagram to Facebook user accounts without “users’ voluntary consent.” The regulator […]

On February 2nd, the New York City Police Department sent Google a cease-and-desist letter, demanding that it remove a popular function from its Waze navigation app that allows drivers to share and avoid the locations of police checkpoints.  “Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints,” the letter stated, “may be engaging in criminal conduct[,] […]

Introduction: In late November 2018, I sat down with three members of the 2017 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) honors attorney class for a conversation about the honors program, working in government, and all things telecom. The Attorney Honors Program is the FCC’s training and hiring program for recent law school graduates. I spoke with Annick […]

According to top officials at the U.S. Department of Energy, our nation’s energy infrastructure is “a primary target for hostile cyber actors,” and the “frequency, scale, and sophistication of cyber threats” are on the rise. In response to these growing concerns, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources held a hearing on February […]

In recent years the United States witnessed several giant technology companies stepping in to help fix the housing crisis in tech hubs like Seattle and San Francisco. Tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and Airbnb are contributing millions through corporation funds and personal donations. While this private philanthropy could help curb the housing crisis, questions arise […]

On November 2018, the White House announced renewed sanctions on the Iranian regime. The sanctions’ targets include fifty banks, the national airline, and 200 members of the shipping industry. While these sanctions predominately target large institutions, the Department of Treasury does have the ability to target individuals if national security so requires. Recently, the Department […]

Saying “Hey Google,” “Hey Siri,” or “Alexa,” wakes voice command technology for use and allows voice assistants to help users complete everyday tasks. The convenience associated with voice assistants has caused their popularity to grow significantly over the past few years. However, substantial privacy concerns are also on the rise. First, users are not comfortable […]

Transparency in political advertising serves an important function in democracy. In the wake of election meddling in the 2016 election along with concerning revelations about targeted advertising practices generally, organizations including ProPublica, Mozilla, and Who Targets Me created ad transparency tools to gain insight into this historically opaque world of targeted political advertisements on Facebook. […]

On January 1, 2019, Vietnam’s new cybersecurity law went into effect. Under this law, foreign companies with clients or customers in Vietnam are subject to a data localization requirement and cybersecurity audits. While the law has not been officially published, a copy of the passed draft has been released by VnEconomy (the electronic version of […]

On February 11, 2019, The Brookings Institution held an event moderated by Darrell West, the Founding Director for their Center for Technology Innovation, entitled “Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence.” Speakers addressed concerns, obstacles, and benefits that new digital tools and networks would raise as they are incorporated into urban environments. Nicol Lee, Fellow for the […]

On December 6th, the Australian Parliament passed an encryption bill despite strong opposition from technology companies and human rights advocates alike. The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill allows law enforcement to more easily target “criminals and terrorists” using encryption technology. The bill’s language creates and allows for the issuance of ‘technical […]

In late 2018, Researchers at MIT announced that they had developed a wirelessly controlled electronic pill (or capsule) capable of being ingested and remaining in the human body for up to a month. According to the researchers, the capsule can store and release drugs over time. It also carries a specially designed sensor, which allows […]

Data privacy surged to the forefront of policy concerns in Congress during 2018 after revelations regarding Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of Facebook user information. As a result, elected officials in both the House and Senate spent months hosting hearings, grilling technology companies, and drafting bills to address growing concern about the “wanton collection, dissemination, and monetization […]

Authorities in China have declared that researcher He Jiankui’s controversial gene-editing work “seriously violated” state laws. At a conference in November, the researcher revealed that he had successfully created the first gene-edited humans using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. China, as well as the United States, prohibit gene-editing for reproductive purposes. His conduct has reignited debates regarding the […]

The Growing Concern Over Data Privacy Individual data privacy is and has been a global concern for much of the 21st century. Should anyone need convincing, it is estimated that Google processes over 40,000 searches per second. Internet searches generally occur through a web browser run via a local computing environment. It may seem completely […]

This paper seeks to establish how human-designed networks and different flavors of openness—institutional, organizational, informational, and resource-based—can and do coexist meaningfully. As part of that examination, this paper surveys fifty years of openness in the telecommunications and information technologies networking space. The focus is on how the term “openness” has been employed by regulators and […]

Once, courts eschewed “the spector [sic] of trial by machine” and the possibility that “each man’s sworn testimony may be put to the electronic test.” Judges worried “jurors w[ould] abdicate their responsibility for determining credibility, and rely instead upon the assessment of a machine.” Forty years later, that fear has metamorphosed into trusting, even welcoming, […]

Over the past decade, social media has increasingly become an essential part of Americans’ everyday lives. As of 2017, eighty percent of Americans had a profile on at least one social media platform. Not only has social media become extremely popular for typical users, it has also become a massive marketing tool for celebrities, athletes, […]

On December 15, 2016, China seized a United States Navy unmanned maritime system (UMS) in the South China Sea. The UMS, known as an “ocean glider,” was used by the Navy to gather oceanographic data in the region. Chinese naval personnel seized the UMS within sight of Navy research vessel, USNS Bowditch, and despite protests […]

Your personal information has already been stolen. Statistically speaking, that is. From 2005 to 2017, 7,674 data breaches exposed over one billion U.S. consumer records. While this statistic includes the eighty million Social Security numbers stolen in Anthem’s 2015 hack, it does not account for the 145.5 million Social Security numbers that were compromised in […]

Mark Patterson starts his book with the simple statement, “[k]nowledge is power.” He then leads the reader through a very well-reasoned argument that the new information age creates new abilities for dominant market players to distort the market to their advantage—this time the dominant players are the information providers, such as Google, Yelp, and others. […]

For those entrenched in the data privacy profession, it is refreshing to read work that tackles familiar questions, such as those surrounding the value of personal data, through a less familiar lens. The practice of privacy is flourishing because of the many novel challenges sparked by the proliferation of personal data. Questions abound about how […]

“On sale” in the Patent Act has historically meant any commercial sale, but the adoption of the America Invents Act (AIA) has led some to assert that this meaning was abandoned—that “on sale” now only means certain sales. Even though the AIA still categorizes inventions that have been “on sale” as prior art, some claim […]

In an interview with Georgetown Law Technology Review, Paul Ohm, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Georgetown Law,discusseshow consumer privacy issues affect Americans, and addresses the need for better consumer privacy regulation. Paul Ohm is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Georgetown University LawCenter. He specializes […]

In an interview with Georgetown Law Technology Review, Karla Torres, AR Human Rights Policy Counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, describes how assisted reproduction (AR) and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) fit broadly among intersecting social movements, and how rapidly progressing technologies impact the surrounding legal landscape.   AR refers to medical technologies used to […]

Consumer rights advocates secured a major victory this October, as the Library of Congress and the US Copyright Office published new exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Among other effects, the new exemptions will promote digital preservation, make it easier to conduct security research, and enable users to repair and […]

The rapid expansion and evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) in our world has emphasized both the infinite amount of new possibilities this technology may be able to achieve, as well as the perils that its very use may cause. This duality is not news to the technology community—at  the end of October, Google announced that […]

On November 26th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Apple v. Pepper, a long-running antitrust case that was originally filed back in 2011 against both Apple and AT&T, which at the time had a five-year exclusivity deal for the iPhone following its initial launch. The claims against AT&T were dismissed in 2013 and the […]

In November, 2018, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that Ferial Nijem had been harassed by her ex-partner through her home security system. Nijem’s ex-partner used the security system installed in the home they used to share to blare music, flicker the lights, and turn the TVs on and off in the middle of the […]

On October 4, 2018, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Chinese spies had surreptitiously implanted microchips as small as a “sharpened pencil tip” on server motherboards sold by Supermicro, an American company whose customers included Apple and Amazon. Businessweek alleged that the spies had forced domestic subcontractors to install the chips before the processed components were shipped to other […]

Over the past couple months, two pioneers in blockchain technology, LO3 Energy and the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), joined forces to create blockchain technology for managing our nation’s energy grid. These companies are trying to figure out how to make blockchain scalable and standardized across the energy industry. LO3 Energy has been operating in the […]

In 2017, Bitcoin experienced a rise of 1500% investment in the world trade economy. Independent of the traditional investment channels, Blockchain technology has enabled safe exchanges of cryptocurrency through secured distributed ledger and smart contracts. The success of Bitcoin has attracted the attention of the aerospace industry. More specifically, Blockchain technology’s platform that enables the […]

On October 12, 2018, the Brookings Institution hosted a conversation with David J. Redl, an NTIA administrator, to discuss the growth and governance of the digital economy. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the Department of Commerce, advises the president on telecommunications and information policy issues. Among its stated goals are […]

Initial coin offerings, which were once considered beyond the scope of securities regulation, have now come under judicial scrutiny. On September 12th, 2018, Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the Eastern District Court of New York ruled in U.S. v. Zaslavskiy, that initial coin offerings constitute an investment contract and as such may violate laws against […]

Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity. Public safety apparatuses are becoming increasingly reliant on networks controlled by private companies. There are two apps that have been very helpful during these crises because they do not rely solely on cellular service: Zello and Firechat. These two apps, and other apps that employ the same […]

Silicon Valley, a region in Northern California, has become synonymous with innovation. This cluster of high-tech companies, startups, and innovators has created a unique environment known for setting trends for the 21st century. Although these trends tend to be focused on the growth of new technologies, Silicon Valley has also started to branch out into […]

Several of the world’s largest technology companies expressed support last month for federal regulation to protect consumers’ data privacy, signaling a shift from Silicon Valley’s longstanding preference for self-regulation. But critics argued that the companies’ push for new federal law is driven more by their desire to head off tougher state-level data rules than by genuine […]

Brick-and-mortar stores are increasingly using cutting edge technology to do everything from streamlining grocery shopping to identifying potential shoplifters. These technologies provide great benefits to consumers looking to shave precious minutes off their shopping time; however, they often collide with privacy and consent concerns. Amazon Enters the Real World In late September 2018, news leaked […]

On September 26th, the world’s largest biometric identification system passed a major hurdle as the Indian Supreme Court ruled that India’s Aadhaar system is constitutional, a year after it had ruled that Indians have a fundamental right to privacy. As a number of countries, including Germany, Argentina, and Spain, have implemented mandatory nationwide identification systems, India’s […]

In September 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) kicked off its hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century at the Georgetown University Law Center and the FTC’s Constitution Center facilities in Washington, D.C. The FTC’s hearings come at a time that the antitrust community is seeking to understand the proper role of […]

On September 28, California governor Jerry Brown signed SB-327 into law, making California the first state to pass a cybersecurity law regarding connected devices, which comprise what is popularly known as the Internet of Things (IoT). SB-327was introduced in February 2017 and passed the California State Senate in late August. It will go into effect […]

On September 12, 2018, as anticipated, Apple revealed their new line of iPhones. Apple also introduced the new generation of the Apple Watch. For the first time, the watch contained features that were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The sensors and the associated application (app) on the Apple Watch can produce […]

On May 14th, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States overruled a federal law from 1992 entitled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). PAPSA made it unlawful for all states except Nevada to legalize betting on professional and collegiate sporting events. Esports, or competitive computer gaming, has risen sharply over the last […]

In September, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced its plan to invest up to $2 billion over the next five years toward new programs advancing artificial intelligence (A.I.). DARPA describes the new investment as working toward what it calls the “third wave” of A.I. The “third wave” campaign is aimed at developing machines […]

In August, Congress passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) as part of a $717 billion defense spending bill. FIRRMA focuses on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a group that reviews proposed foreign investment deals and evaluates them for potential national security risks. It expands the scope of […]

Encounters between networked information technologies and law tend to be framed as examples of what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. For example, some argue that networked information and communication technologies are technologies of freedom, able to help human civilizations solve all of our most pressing problems—if only the law will stop […]

Content moderation is such a complex and laborious undertaking, it is amazing that it works at all and as well as it does. Moderation is hard. This should be obvious, but it is easily forgotten. Policing a major platform turns out to be a resource intensive and relentless undertaking; it requires making difficult and often […]

Facebook and YouTube have promised to take down Tide Pod Challenge videos. Easier said than done. For one thing, on the Internet, the line between advocacy and parody is undefined. Every meme, gif, and video is a bit of both. For another, these platforms are structurally at war with themselves. The same characteristics that make […]

It’s not easy being an Internet giant. Once the darlings of the innovation economy, the major technology companies—Amazon, Google/Alphabet, and Facebook—have in recent months found themselves suddenly on the back foot. From the firestorm surrounding the proliferation of “fake news” and hate speech on Facebook and YouTube, to Google’s long-burning dispute with Yelp over the […]

In this essay I discuss the political economy of data-driven platforms in terms of monopolies and monopsonies, arguing that the concentration of buying and selling power builds on and extends a pseudo-omniscient data architecture that feeds on an increasingly seamless data ecosystem. As the mathematical underpinnings of data-driven architectures are further extended into the hardware […]

As we transition to a data-driven economy, we are witnessing the emergence of data-opolies—companies that control a key platform, which, like a coral reef, attracts users, sellers, advertisers, software developers, apps, and accessory makers to its ecosystem. Apple and Google, for example, each control a popular mobile phone operating system (and key apps on that […]

A handful of tech platforms mediate a large and growing share of our commerce and communications. Over the last year, the public has come to realize that the power these firms wield may pose significant hazards. Elected leaders ranging from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) have expressed alarm at the level […]

In December 2017, under the Trump administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) repealed its 2015 network neutrality rules and abdicated its role to protect consumers and competition in the broadband market. This widely criticized decision, coupled with the enormous and growing power of online platform companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet’s Google, raised […]

Zero-rated services provide an on-ramp to networked resources that are otherwise beyond many users’ reach. Through such services, wireless service providers offer free access to a curated set of popular applications on the public Internet. Its proponents assert that zero-rated services provide an invaluable introduction to online applications and content, which, in turn, will increase […]

Platform regulation has become the cause celebre of technology regulation: a call to regulate the intermediaries who provide platforms for networked digital services. These include the GAFA giants: Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. Many policy entrepreneurs are peddling solutions as the policy cycle turns, in a classic Kingdon case of “solutions chasing a problem.” Yet networks are not […]

In 1986, science and technology studies scholar Langdon Winner wrote, “The issues that divide or unite people in society are settled not only in the institutions and practices of politics proper, but also, and less obviously, in tangible arrangements of steel and concrete, wires and transistors, nuts and bolts.” To that list, we might add the […]

The metaphor of the marketplace of ideas is under siege with its detractors pointing to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites as proof positive that the model is no longer operative. The surprising outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the concomitant focus on the scourge of “fake news” have placed Internet platforms at the center of […]

From Cloudflare’s headline-making takedown of the Daily Stormer to YouTube’s summer restrictions on LGBTQ content, 2017 was a banner year for platform censorship. Companies—under pressure from lawmakers, shareholders, the press, and some members of the public—ramped up restrictions on speech by adding new rules, adjusting their still-hidden algorithms, and hiring more staff to moderate content. They […]

Backpage is a classifieds hub that hosts “80 percent of the online advertising for illegal commercial sex in the United States.”This is not by happenstance but rather by design. Evidence suggests that the advertising hub selectively removed postings discouraging sex trafficking. The site also tailored its rules to protect the practice from detection, including allowing […]

In 2017, Peter Daou launched “Verrit,” a partisan news site targeted to Democratic voters disappointed with the results of the 2016 election. The site consists of single quotations, facts, and statistics, each formatted as a graphic and labeled with a unique “identification code” to indicate authenticity and accuracy. For instance, a Verrit article titled “Where […]

Election meddling, state-sponsored disinformation campaigns, and the potential manipulation of platform users is provoking intense reactions to technology around the world. The outrage following news reports that the data of millions of people were used without their knowledge to train sophisticated targeting tools that may have manipulated voters suggests that consumers expectations of how their data […]

In the absence of a technology-focused regulator, diverse administrative agencies have been forced to develop regulatory models for governing their sphere of the data economy. These largely uncoordinated efforts offer a laboratory of regulatory experimentation on governance architecture. This symposium essay explores what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has done in its first several […]

To tame the, sometimes, harmful power of enormous platforms, we need to reconsider the mathematics of regulation. The law tends to treat the growth of a company linearly, while the power and harm of online activity increases at a much faster rate. We need to scale up the mathematics of regulation to deal with many […]

  Search engines no longer merely shape public understanding and access to the content of the World Wide Web: they shape public understanding of the world. Search engine results produced by secret, corporate-curated “search scripts” of algorithmic and human activity influence societies’ understanding of history, and current events. Society’s growing reliance on online platforms for […]

Amidst allegations that Cambridge Analytica used the personal data of millions of Facebook users to target voters and help sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election, public spotlight is on the data management practices of social media platforms—particularly the transfer of data between the platform and third parties. Collaboration between social media platforms and outside entities […]

Recent months have seen several states moving to embrace blockchain technology and its promise of making governmental services more efficient and secure. On March 22, 2018, Tennessee passed legislation that establishes the legal authority of smart contracts in the marketplace. The Tennessee Senate Bill, referred to as SB 1662, acknowledges that smart contracts “may exist […]

On March 14, 2018, the Federal Election Commission (FEC, or Commission) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and released two alternative proposals that would amend its disclosure requirements for online political advertisements. Both proposals would require advertisers to disclose the sponsors for public communications on the internet that “contain express advocacy, solicit contributions, or […]

Autonomous vehicle companies still appear all-in on the development of self-driving cars—despite recent accidents and hesitation from states to grant the companies expanded testing authorization. On March 18, an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona. Uber responded by stopping testing in Arizona and San Francisco, Toronto, and […]

On April 11, 2018, the President signed FOSTA/SESTA into law. The bill combines largely similar House and Senate versions, both intended to target sex trafficking online. Though each passed with broad bipartisan support in Congress, FOSTA/SESTA has been highly controversial within the tech community and, notably, among anti-trafficking advocates and sex worker advocates. The Internet […]

On March 23, 2018, the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, or CLOUD Act, was signed into law. The CLOUD Act was tacked onto the omnibus spending bill and was passed without any public hearings or input as to its impact. The Act eases foreign law enforcement’s access to electronic information in cloud storage. […]

On March 26, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed that it is investigating Facebook relating to the recent controversy surrounding the collection and sale of user data. Cambridge Analytica suspiciously obtained the data of 87 million Facebook users, which has been used for targeted political advertising. There is conflicting information about what, if any, […]

Humans die at the hands of other humans every day. Often, people don’t seem to notice unless they are affected personally. However, a recent death involving a driverless vehicle and an Arizona pedestrian is causing serious turmoil across the country. But why? Is it worse when computer error causes death than when human error does? […]

Google, in a somewhat uncharacteristic move, has tenuously taken the first step in equipping the Department of Defense (DoD) with artificial intelligence (AI) technology for use in intelligence gathering. The U.S. government, already a substantial cloud user, is looking to the corporate technology sector for new systems and leaders in AI to partner with in […]

On March 16, 2018, a federal judge granted HTC’s motion to dismiss with leave to amend in Electronic Scripting Products, Inc. v. HTC America, Inc. et al.  In this case, Electronic Scripting Products, Inc. (ESPI) sued both HTC America, Inc. (HTC), a designer and manufacturer of mobile devices, and Valve Corporation (Valve), an American video […]

On March 12, President Trump issued an order prohibiting the $117 billion hostile takeover of Qualcomm by Singapore-based Broadcom Limited, following the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). If the merger is eventually allowed to move forward, it will likely be the largest tech merger of all time. In […]

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a nonprofit organization responsible for maintaining the WHOIS protocol. The WHOIS protocol is a tool for retrieving information about the registrant of an internet domain name—including information such as the registrant’s name, phone number, address, email, and technical and administrative contacts—by querying databases controlled by […]

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to impact nearly every industry, much attention is given to its ability to recognize patterns in information—e.g., face recognition, document review, and fraud detection—as well as make decisions. Recently, however, another capability of AI has attracted attention: its ability to create new content. This ability exists in a type of […]

On Friday, February 23, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruled against the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s motion to terminate a patent challenge on the basis of sovereign immunity. The unique circumstances that led to a Native American tribe holding the patents of the blockbuster drug Restasis were the subject of much controversy […]

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the workplace across all sectors, and the legal profession is no exception. The kneejerk reaction to AI’s infiltration has largely been fear that human professionals will soon be obsolete, and their positions will be filled by synthetic employees that can work around the clock, do not require livable salaries, […]

Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have faced growing pressure over the “fake news” phenomenon ever since the 2016 presidential election. Immediately after the election, concern was raised over several incidents that occurred during the campaign, such as the “Pizzagate” conspiracy, which culminated in a man opening fire in the Comet Ping Pong […]

As laws adapt to new technologies and societal norms, new questions arise as to the correct way they should be administered. Dahda v. United States is one episode in a series of pending cases in which the Supreme Court of the United States has granted certiorari that attempts to address some of these concerns. Along […]

What is a cloud? Twenty years ago, anyone on the street could easily define the term; even children could simply point to the sky to effectively communicate their understanding. But all of that changed when the term collided with technological evolution, subsequently transforming its ordinary definition. A cloud is no longer a strictly meteorological concern, […]

On February 23, former managing partner of the intellectual property firm Irell & Manella, LLP, Andrei Iancu, was sworn in as the new director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). An experienced litigator in the patent litigation field, Iancu bears a high expectation from the public to reform Patent Trial and Appeal […]

On February 23, 2018, the United States informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) that China’s data network restrictions, coming into force on March 31, appear to create illegal restrictions for cross-border service supplies and needs to be addressed by the WTO. Specifically, the statement claimed that new Chinese regulations would prohibit Virtual Private Networks (VPN) […]

On February 15, 2018, Google announced that it would be removing the “View Image” button from its Image Search in an attempt to encourage users to directly visit the hosting website to download an image. The company stated that the changes were designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns. More […]

On February 23, 2018, the state of Texas became the most recent state to recognize an evidentiary privilege for patent agent communications with clients. The Supreme Court of Texas, in In re Silver, extended the existing attorney-client privilege doctrine to include communications with a patent agent, reasoning that patent agents, acting within the scope of […]

Smart cloud computing, driverless vehicles, and wireless-sensor networks are all examples of technologies that have two things in common: Internet of Things (IoT) protocols and artificial intelligence (AI), both fields of innovation set to be the epicenter of telecommunication innovation in 2018. Since they are classified as emerging technologies, deals involving these innovations and a […]

The recent cryptocurrency phenomenon has proved controversial in many aspects, none more so than the existence of initial coin offerings (ICO). ICOs provide a way for new cryptocurrency companies to raise funds by selling their own cryptocurrency, often in exchange for more popular or established cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. The ICO process is […]

The United States has the greatest per capita healthcare spending in the world, but patient health outcomes have not received a proportional benefit when compared to other countries of similar economic status. Although measures like the Affordable Care Act have attempted to deal with aspects of the healthcare system such as insurance coverage as a […]