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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 […]

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, […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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: 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 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 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 […]

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 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 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, […]

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, […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the public gaining access to the World Wide Web. To say communications have come a long way since then would be quite the understatement. Today, billions of people around the world can be reached in seconds—a far cry from the time when email was only common among academics, […]

The Origins of Tor Security in online activity, and privacy from those who wish to monitor it, has been a priority for internet users since creation of the web. To achieve this goal, the concept of onion routing was developed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory (“NRL”) in the mid-1990s to protect online communications […]

Introduction It was recently discovered that Baltimore, MD—a city known for its aggressive policing of black communities, had used cell site simulators (“CS simulators”) to surveil these communities over 4,300 times in the last eight years. 4,300 already seems like a considerable figure; however, comparing it to the number of simulators deployed in New York […]

Introduction “Big Data” is the bogeyman of the information age: powerful, and as ill-defined as it is abstractly threatening. Broadly, it encompasses “technology that maximize[s] computational power and algorithmic accuracy”; “types of analyses that draw on a range of tools to clean and compare data”; and the underlying belief in the correlation between the size […]

Introduction As technology continues to evolve, the need to provide meaningful consumer protections remains an immense challenge for legislators and jurists. Aging statutes and inadequate precedents make devising modern technological solutions difficult. Increasingly, courts have had difficulty grappling with the questions arising from the increasing volume of consumer data, particularly how to consider the implications […]

Introduction Uncle Ben’s sage advice in Spiderman that “with great power comes great responsibility,” no doubt applies to today’s great power: big data. Like Peter Parker, privacy advocates and technologists are racing to harness the power of big data’s web of connections, but are sorely lagging in handling the power responsibly. Existing privacy protecting strategies, […]

One may occasionally see five letters displayed at the beginning of a URL: HTTPS. To understand HTTPS and its importance in internet communication, it is first necessary to understand HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol.) The difference of a single letter could contribute to the invasion of your privacy on the internet and the theft of your […]