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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 […]

At the end of last November, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Carpenter v. United States on whether the Fourth Amendment permits the warrantless seizure and search of cellphone records that contain the location and movements of a user over a 127-day period. In anticipation of this hearing, the Georgetown Law Technology Review explained […]

Since 2015, Facebook has been fending off a lawsuit challenging its use of facial recognition software, and this pressure will continue as Facebook is pushed to adjust its biometric data processing practices to comply with the impending European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be implemented this May. Developing facial recognition software is […]

In late January, Georgetown University Law Center hosted a debate on the best method for electing the President of the United States, with expert panelists arguing whether we should maintain the Electoral College or establish a national popular vote. During the event, one line of conversation focused on the significant technological and national security implications […]

For Twitter users, it’s easy to be aware when a new social media idea is trending. Spread by celebrities and acquaintances alike, a hashtag can go viral in a matter of hours, and then, just as quickly, its popularity will fall off. When the tag is something like #DescribeYourselfBadly, the decline in its use is […]

In a highly publicized and politicized decision, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality at the end of last year. Net neutrality, a phrase coined by Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu, is a set of rules to ensure that the internet is kept neutral. To achieve this end, the FCC adopted three […]

After creating one of the world’s most profitable companies and moving into the online food space just last year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s latest move is into the healthcare industry. In an announcement made at the end of January, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway announced a new agenda to create a “fully independent” healthcare […]

On January 28, Axios Media, Inc. published a Trump Administration report on the stakes of 5G wireless network deployment. The report, authored by the National Security Council, is undated but likely was created in late December 2017 or early January 2018. It advocates for the creation of a nationalized 5G—or fifth generation—wireless network, which will […]

The legal profession has long been regarded as one of intellect, advocacy, and prestige. The process of obtaining a legal education alone exemplifies the commitment lawyers make to the profession. Although there may be outliers—the bad eggs or misguided egos—overall, the profession is steeped in tradition, guided by the precedent of brilliant legal scholars. To […]

INTRODUCTION: HACKING AND SOCIETY Nearly ubiquitous in today’s online culture, “hacking” has generally reclaimed the benign spirit the word once held in the early days of electronics, throwing off the more nefarious meaning it held throughout the tail end of the twentieth century. The word “lifehacks”—a technique for accomplishing a familiar task more easily and […]

INTRODUCTION After years of anticipation, the era of telemedicine has finally arrived. It has been nearly a decade since doctors, insurance companies, and other health care professionals predicted a telemedicine revolution. Telemedicine literally means “healing from a distance” and involves the direct treatment and prevention of diseases and injuries by healthcare professionals at a distance. […]

INTRODUCTION: ANONYMIZATION USING TOR Between February 20 and March 4, 2015, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) administered and monitored a child pornography website in an effort to identify those who accessed the website’s illicit content. This website, “Playpen,” had more than 150,000 users worldwide. The FBI’s investigation was known as “Operation Pacifier.” […]

INTRODUCTION The rapid progress of technology challenges traditional application of the Fourth Amendment. As law enforcement’s technological capabilities advance, judges have had to wrangle with what constitutes a search and seizure. Past precedent generally remains unhelpful unless new technology can be analogized to past technology. To combat this, the Supreme Court recognized the need to […]

LAW ENFORCEMENT’S HISTORY OF TRACKING SUSPECTS Locating and tracking individuals is often a vital component of law enforcement operations. Throughout its history, American law enforcement has continually adopted new methods and technologies to track suspects with greater efficiency. Nineteenth-century state governments employed bounty hunters to track suspects across state lines, while some twentieth-century agencies used […]

INTRODUCTION  When an employee leaves a company for a competitor, there is a concern that trade secrets and confidential information belonging to the company may leave for the competitor as well. Protecting trade secrets is important in order for businesses to remain technologically competitive. The following case raises important questions about what constitutes a trade […]

INTRODUCTION  On June 19th, 2017, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned a North Carolina law (hereinafter referred to as “statute”) that effectively instituted a social media ban for registered sex offenders. The statute made it a felony for a registered sex offender to “access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that […]

INTRODUCTION Searching the word “algorithm” on Google leads to images of spider-web charts, three-dimensional graphs and rows of mathematic equations. What could social media and math have to do with each other? Looking at the motive behind social media companies tells us why algorithms are an inseparable part of social media platforms. SOCIAL MEDIA AS […]

INTRODUCTION As technology continues to develop and as citizens increasingly embrace a digital society, consumers accordingly consider methods to better protect their privacy. One method, the virtual private network (VPN), was developed in 1996 to address that need. A VPN is a secured network that protects data by creating a secure connection that shields those […]

INTRODUCTION San Francisco is the home of the platform economy. Uber and Airbnb—the poster children of that economy—launched their initial products in the city and used the feedback garnered from Bay Area users to perfect their business models. These and other platform companies also started to build their loyal user bases with Bay Area consumers. […]

INTRODUCTION Fraud is a seemingly easy concept to understand. By definition, it describes the actions of a person “deliberately deceiving someone else with the intent of causing damage.” However, various jurisdictions within the United States qualify both the act of fraud and the related offenses differently. These varying perspectives alone can lend themselves to numerous […]

INTRODUCTION When Samsung and Apple, both dominators of the smartphone market, went head-to-head in the Supreme Court in Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple, Inc., the Supreme Court refused to “resolve whether, for each of the design patents at issue [in Samsung], the relevant article of manufacture is the smartphone, or a particular smartphone component,” or […]

INTRODUCTION Recent technological innovations have led to an increasing number of devices connecting to the Internet, which in turn collect and store user data. The expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) industry raises new privacy and security concerns for users of these devices. One surprising area of concern is children’s privacy and security in […]

DIGITAL INFORMATION’S MODERN CONTEXT: A DATA SECURITY CRISIS Major breaches to corporate information systems, such as Equifax’s 2017 data breach, have shown the vulnerabilities of many data security practices. These highly public failures have created some of the most significant headlines of the early twenty-first century, forcing data security experts to rethink their methods for […]

On October 16, four patents for Allergan’s second best-selling product, the dry-eye treatment Restasis, were invalidated by a federal judge in a Hatch-Waxman Act case for patent infringement. United States Circuit Judge William C. Bryson of the Eastern District of Texas ruled that although Allergan had proved the defendants’ infringement of the Restasis patents at […]

On October 24, 2017, Twitter announced its plans to roll out a number of policies aimed at increasing the transparency of on-site advertisements. This shift comes about one month after the platform publicized its discovery of approximately 200 accounts with suspected ties to Russia and a number of ads purchased by Russia Today (RT), a […]

Sophia, an advanced humanoid robot created by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, uses artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and strikingly human-like expressions. On October 25, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to Sophia, making “her” the first robot to achieve that distinction in the world. Though many have speculated as to the motives of this ostentatious move on the […]

On November 1, 2017, the Trump administration placed an Obama-era connected vehicle Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “long-term status” and removed the rulemaking from the White House Office of Management and Budget’s list of regulations actively under consideration. The NPRM, known as “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; V2V Communications,” would have required automakers to […]

Tesla, Inc. has been accused of using customers’ personal information without their consent for sales and marketing purposes, putting the customers’ privacy interests at risk. A driver in a proposed class action suit, plaintiff Wayne Skiles, alleged that Tesla has been storing and transmitting consumers’ personal information to credit agencies, who then create an overview […]

The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering an amendment to the current federal child pornography law that would give prosecutors the ability to charge minors for voluntarily creating or sending sexually explicit material featuring the minors themselves. The bill was spurred by a recent Fourth Circuit decision reversing a federal conviction of a nineteen-year-old who had […]

In October 2015, AlphaGO, an artificial intelligence (AI) programmed by Google’s Deep Mind, shocked the world by handily beating human-master Lee Sedol in a five-match series in the ancient game of Go—a game far more complex than chess. Since then, AlphaGo and its sibling, AlphaGo Zero, have dominated all challengers, proving that games like Go […]

On October 24, 2017, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)—a global organization composed of representatives from companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft—published a set of guidelines detailing how governments and leaders within the technology industry can collaborate to reduce any harmful effects stemming from artificial intelligence (AI) developments. Fears of technology gaining dominance […]

The price of Bitcoin (BTC) has soared in 2017 with little sign of looking back. It now sits above $7,000/BTC, up from roughly $1,000/BTC since January, which is motivating many to acquire more of the virtual currency. In addition to purchasing the cryptocurrency, one can also “mine” Bitcoin; the blockchain maintained by the Bitcoin network […]

For more on Georgetown Law Technology Reviews coverage of the Equifax breach, read how the “Equifax Breach Highlights Regulatory Gaps in Data Privacy Protection,” and for more a technical description of the hack, read “What Happened at Equifax, and Should It Have Been Ready?” On November 1, 2017, President Trump signed a bill into law […]

The Supreme Court is set to hear Carpenter v. United States on November 29, 2017. The question presented to the Court is whether the government violates an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights by collecting historical cell-site location information without a warrant. The District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan convicted Timothy Carpenter of armed robberies […]

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has long used gag orders as a forceful tool to prevent certain information from reaching third parties. Recently, the DOJ issued new guidelines to its attorneys and agents narrowing their ability to impose gag orders on tech companies. The new policy aims to provide transparency and confidence around DOJ requests […]

The Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in U.S. v. Microsoft, a case that will examine the extraterritorial reach of the Stored Communications Act (SCA), and thus whether warrants in criminal cases seeking information under the SCA apply outside of the United States. In 2013, the federal government served Microsoft at its U.S. headquarters with a warrant, […]

The modern digital assistant has been in the works for decades. IBM introduced the Shoebox, a speech recognition machine that had a vocabulary of sixteen words, in 1962. Over time, speech recognition machines have evolved from the Shoebox to automated telephone support, and now they take the form of internet-connected devices such as Amazon Alexa, […]

For decades, patent holders could effectively file a lawsuit in any district where a defendant made sales, thanks to a broad interpretation of the phrase “resides” in 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b). With this reading, the patent world saw the rise of forum shopping, a practice which allows plaintiffs to bring suit in a court they […]

On October 13, 2017, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) released a report concluding that Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system breaches local privacy law. The report bases its conclusion on the operating system’s processing of personal information in relation to telemetry data—diagnostic system information used to fix errors and improve products. According to the report, […]

In the immediate aftermath of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, false information spread rapidly across the internet about the perpetrator and the method of the attack. Online sources quickly attributed blame to a man later determined innocent; Google News spread misinformation and gave credence to unverified rumors for the online community. Websites such as […]

Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s cell tower infrastructure in September, severely limiting communications among those on the island. After the hurricane, 95.2% of Puerto Rico’s cell towers were down, meaning forty-eight of the seventy-eight counties had no service at all. There are 2,739 cell sites on Puerto Rico’s 13,791 square kilometers, an area roughly the […]

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept dating back to the 1920s, when Nikola Tesla first described a wireless world “converted into a huge brain.” Now, almost a century later, we are experiencing the real possibility that we have created this “brain” through the Internet of Things. This begs the question: does the average […]

On September 29, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated a civil enforcement action involving Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). In this first-of-its-kind action, the SEC alleges that Maksim Zaslavskiy and his companies, ReCoin Group Foundation and Diamond Reserve Club (DRC), fraudulently sold investors cryptocurrencies in the form of securities, which normally require registration. An ICO […]

A man creates a religion where an artificial intelligence (AI) robot is an all-knowing god; though this sounds like the next science-fiction blockbuster, Anthony Levandowski is doing just that. Prior to this new venture, Levandowski, a former Google employee and master engineer, developed driverless car technology that was later purchased by Google Beyond his efforts […]

Dating back to 1906, voice recordings have been utilized in the courtroom to convey everything from custodial confessions and depositions to undercover sting operations and legal wills. These recordings accurately displayed the intent and character of the subject, whether or not she was aware that her words were being preserved. In most jurisdictions, these preserved […]

For the second year in a row, Mattel has faced criticism for a high-tech toy it plans to release. Last year’s “Hello Barbie” was introduced despite criticism over the security risks inherent in a doll that records all the conversations it has with a child. This year, Mattel had hoped to introduce a device called […]

Top tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel, use arbitration clauses to bind employees to resolve workplace disputes through individual arbitration. On October 2, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in N.L.R.B. v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., a case that could affect the rights of twenty-five million U.S. employees with arbitration agreements, and […]

On September 18, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would begin collecting information on the social media accounts of all immigrants entering the United States in an attempt to screen out those with terrorist ties. In a notice in the Federal Register, DHS stated that it would collect “social media handles, aliases, associated […]

For decades, web-based companies have had free rein to track their users’ activity online and sell the information they gather to third parties. That era may be ending soon. Apple and Google recently announced plans to incorporate new privacy software into their web browsers, which will severely limit the data web-based companies will be able […]

Robert Williams was a twenty-five-year-old assembly line worker at a Ford Motor plant when he died in 1979. Robert was collecting parts when a robot’s arm struck him and killed him instantly as it also attempted to gather parts. This is the first ever recorded death of a human due to the actions of a […]

On August 1, 2017, Senator Rob Portman introduced S. 1693—Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The bill, which places liability on websites that “knowingly facilitate” sex trafficking, has some in Silicon Valley concerned over the effect on free speech on the Internet. SESTA amends the Communications Decency Act (CDA), a twenty-one-year-old law that protects online […]

Earlier last month, Apple introduced a new feature in its flagship phones, a jump forward in biometric security that it calls “Face ID”.. Instead of a numeric code or fingerprint, iPhone owners can use their face to unlock their phone for use. Although Apple has touted this technology as a step towards the future, facial […]

“If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax.” On September 14, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it will be investigating the Equifax data breach. The FTC is empowered, through the […]

Inter Partes Review (IPR) has become a vital procedure in the patent system since the adoption of the America Invents Act (AIA). As of March 31, 2017, there have been 4,563 IPR petitions initiated. In the final quarter of 2016, thirty-six percent of defendants in patent infringement litigations filed IPR petitions before the U.S. Patent […]

In a spectacular blow to data privacy, Equifax announced on September 7 that hackers had breached their database, exposing the sensitive personal information of 143 million people over the course of nearly two months. Even more troubling, Equifax purportedly learned about the breach in late July, waiting over a month to notify consumers of the […]

On October 3, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a case that demonstrates both the promises and pitfalls that arise when modern technology meets election law. On appeal is a 2016 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, in which a three-judge panel found that […]

Hundreds of drones took to the sky to assist with disaster-relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey. They were used to help find missing relatives, monitor levees for potential flooding, and assess and map the damage to different areas across Texas. In some ways, these events have acted as a testing ground for the use of this […]

While autonomous and semi-autonomous cars are hitting the pavement for testing at a dizzying pace in states across the nation, the industry remains subject to a patchwork of incongruous state laws, as well as federal safety standards that were drafted with human—not machine—drivers in mind. Given the rapid acceleration in the testing and deployment of […]

Speaking in 1931, Winston Churchill predicted that within fifty years, “we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing.” Though his math was a bit off, his prophetic words may soon ring true. The cutting edge of agriculture technology is “clean meat”: meat grown in a […]

The world is changing fast. At the end of 2015, nearly 44% of the world population had access to the internet. By some reliable estimates, the remaining 56% of the world’s population will be connected to the vast digital network by 2025. In less than nine years, every human will have the potential to be […]

The freedom to contract is one of the oldest and most basic tenets of the American legal system. Subject to limited judicial and statutory exceptions, parties have been and are generally afforded carte blanche in determining the terms of a binding agreement and how those terms are memorialized. The recent emergence of “smart contracts,” that […]

Introduction Machine learning describes the process through which computers can learn without continued human input. In the era of big data, machine learning is particularly promising because it allows for identification of patterns in large data sets. Machine learning has applications in fields as diverse as medicine, e-commerce, and banking. This essay will discuss the […]

Before 2016, blockchain technology was known, if at all, as the technical underpinnings of virtual currency. However, in the past year, blockchain technology has come into its own. It is now seen as a groundbreaking advance that can both reduce frictional costs in existing transactional systems and enable new, previously-unworkable models of social and commercial […]

Introduction Mobile banking, digital payments, peer-to-peer lending, and e-commerce are no longer ideas drawn from science fiction. The rise of the internet has disrupted our notion of financial payments; we can now shop, invest, and manage our payments online. The emerging industry of financial technology (“fintech”) deepens and broadens the range of financial services that […]

A new technology called “smart contracts” has emerged. What makes these legal agreements innovative is that their execution is made automatic through the use of computers. This Article examines smart contracts from a legal perspective. Specifically, this Article explains smart contracts’ operation and place in existing contract law. It introduces a distinction between strong and […]

The electricity market is undergoing a transformation. The basic tenet of a centralized production, transmission and distribution system where consumers purchase electricity from a single provider is increasingly developing into a decentralized, multiple provider system centered on renewable energy, in which the customer may produce, consume, and then sell excess electricity capacity like a commodity […]

Introduction The patentability of business methods has become a controversial subject in recent years as technological advancements force legal scholars and policymakers to reconsider long-standing doctrines. Historically, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) only granted business method patents on rare occasions because they were deemed to be abstractions beyond the confines of patent law. […]

Introduction In an increasingly globalized world, the emergence of decentralized systems of virtual currency has created a way for individuals to quickly and easily transfer value directly to one another without the need for a trusted third-party intermediary. While this is useful to many individuals, it creates challenges for society. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are […]

Native American tribes possess something special-tribal sovereignty. “Tribal sovereignty includes tribes’ right to govern themselves, define their own membership, manage tribal property, and regulate tribal business and domestic relations.” Tribal sovereignty also recognizes the existence of a government-to-government relationship between tribes and the U.S. government. This relationship often complicates the intersection of tribal, state, and […]

Introduction The global insurance industry has approximately $15 trillion in assets under management and $5 trillion in annual premium revenues. $1.2 trillion of the annual premium revenues come from the United States alone. Despite the financial appeal to investors, this industry has seen fewer technological improvements than any other financial services sector. Insurance providers have […]

Soon after the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposed a comprehensive cybersecurity regulation in September 2016, fear rippled throughout the financial services and technology industries. The proposal imposed unprecedented obligations on banks, insurance companies, and other financial services firms under the jurisdiction of New York’s Department of Financial Services. Two months later, DFS […]

Introduction Since the release of Bitcoin in 2009, the cryptocurrency has grown in prominence and public acceptance. By seemingly providing a layer of anonymity in transactions, Bitcoin has also become the public face of virtual currencies in illicit online dealings: Bitcoin has been associated with several high-profile criminal cases involving major drug website shutdowns, notably […]

It could happen any time—at work, at home, or on vacation. You receive a text message and glance at your smartphone. Your bank-issued credit card provider just sent you a message asking if you recognize a recent transaction. “Did you authorize a purchase of $5,000 for Super Bowl tickets? Text 1 for YES, 2 for […]

American consumers using peer-to-peer (“P2P”) payment services, such as Venmo and PayPal, could unwittingly violate U.S. foreign policy—at least if their transactions involve parties on the Treasury Department’s foreign sanction list. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), a division of the Treasury Department, enforces economic sanctions based on U.S. national interests, and prohibits Americans […]

President Donald Trump’s first hundred days in office were characterized by a whirlwind of executive actions and attempts to fulfill campaign promises . Yet the technology sector’s primary concern has been Trump’s lack of regulatory action and unknown policies. How this administration will impact emerging technologies like fintech is still relatively uncertain, but an analysis of […]

Introduction In 2010, the Wall Street Flash Crash caused the United States to experience a trillion-dollar stock market crash. Within a few minutes, the Dow Jones index lost nearly 9% of its value, which wiped off hundreds of billions of dollars from the share prices of established companies such as Proctor & Gamble and General […]

Introduction Today, the average person spends the majority of time plugged into the internet. A phone has become a pocket assistant that lives in the Cloud, binge streaming TV shows online has become a popular Saturday night affair, and most job searches entail uploading a resume to the Internet. Even children can be exposed to […]

On December 1, 2016, Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs the procedures regarding issuances of search warrants, was amended in two critical ways. The amendments remove venue restrictions in two narrow situations, authorizing magistrate judges to issue warrants for remote searches of electronic storage media when (A) the location of […]

I. Introduction Facial recognition technology (“FRT”) is the general term for a complex series of programs, the aim of which is to have computers recognize and compare images of faces to determine if they match. The process of identifying and recognizing faces, while common and intuitive for humans, is a daunting task for computers. For […]

I. Introduction Biologics, such as the arthritis drug Humira, are therapeutics and diagnostics derived from living systems—as opposed to non-biologic drugs derived from chemical synthesis—and are often state-of-the-art treatment for many diseases. Today, biologics account for at least one-third of all drug approvals, and the majority of biologics research and development is in monoclonal antibodies […]

Introduction “There’s one way to love you, but a thousand ways to kill you. I’m not gonna rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the cuts.” Anthony Elonis claimed that this statement was not a threat, but an original lyric, which he penned and posted to Facebook as […]

I. Introduction Today, almost everything about our lives is digitally recorded and stored somewhere. Every interaction with technology creates data about that user. Each credit card purchase, medical diagnosis, Google search, Facebook post, or Netflix preferences is another recorded data point about that individual user. Beyond that, every census report, home purchase, voter registration, medical […]

I. Introduction Encryption, though once the narrow province of countries, commanders, and spies, has become widely commonplace. Akin to Prometheus bringing Zeus’s fire to common man, modern computing has made even the most advanced encryption seamlessly and transparently available to the masses. People of the modern world routinely utilize encryption standards strong enough to protect […]

The Federal Rules of Evidence were originally established to create uniformity in evidence law by providing guidance for every evidentiary problem that could be reasonably expected to occur at a trial. The rules are firmly grounded in the tangible, as courts typically deal with the concrete concerns posed by physical evidence or the testimony of […]

Introduction In a few short years, our skies will be far more crowded. Existing avian occupants will have to share the space above our heads with a new, man-made species of flying machines carrying packages, cameras, and pizzas: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), a.k.a., drones. On neighborhood streets, Amazon Prime Air will use a fleet of […]

Introduction Every day, lawyers, regulators, and policy advocates must use information about a situation to evaluate, predict, and draw conclusions about the world around them. The problem is ubiquitous: You have a hypothesis that attempts to explain something in the real world – perhaps the cause of a disease, the guilt of an accused criminal, […]