STLR Link Roundup – December 2, 2017

Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Constitutionality of Inter Partes Review Last Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, No. 16-712, to decide the issue on the constitutionality of the inter partes review (IPR) procedure created by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011. IPR is an adversarial process that allows the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to reconsider the validity of issued patents on Continue Reading →

Changing Privacy Laws in the Digital Age: Carpenter v. United States

In an age of ever-increasing reliance on digital technology, concerns about security and privacy have become increasingly relevant. When such technology has been used by individuals to coordinate and orchestrate criminal acts, courts been faced with the challenge of balancing these individuals’ privacy rights with law enforcement’s investigative goals. For example, in 2014, the United States Supreme Court held that the warrantless search of a cell phone obtained during an arrest was unconstitutional.  On the Continue Reading →

Automated Notices for Copyright Infringement: Pitfalls and Remedies

Background of Notice and Takedown Since the birth of the internet, online service providers (OSPs) have butted heads with copyright holders over whether OSPs should be responsible for copyright-infringing material posted by their users. Should Google be liable for infringement when it provides links to websites that post photographs without a copyright license?[1] Should YouTube owe damages for hosting a video that plays a song or shows a clip from a movie protected by copyright?[2] Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – November 25, 2017

Diverging Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence Carlos Moedas, the EU Research Commissioner, recently gave a speech in which he censured the overwhelming pessimism of contemporary artificial intelligence scholarship. He warned that sensational headlines warning of apocalyptic scenarios resulting from the development of super-intelligent machines are likely to stoke fears that could impede the adoption of new beneficial technologies. Many prominent figures in the technology community have begun making public comments warning of the cataclysmic potential of Continue Reading →

Human Germline Modification Is Coming

Introduction Inside a decade, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will approve clinical trials for the genomic modification of a viable human embryo in order to prevent disease. That seems a real possibility in light of significant developments in policy and research this year. While such trials are currently barred in the United States by federal law, the prospect of future trials gained key support from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Continue Reading →

Is Your Smart Home Spying on You? Personal Data Issues with the Internet of Things

In the finale of the latest season of HBO’s Silicon Valley, a network of “smart” refrigerators were the unlikely heroes. In earlier episodes, the fictional Pied Piper company installed their innovative software – designed to compress and store peer-to-peer, shared data – in their home “smart” refrigerator. Due to some glitch, the software was downloaded by other refrigerators of the same model. Unknown to the company, the refrigerators continually backed up the data stored in Continue Reading →

Internet Piracy: The Effects of Streaming Services and the Digital Marketplace

Internet piracy was thought to be an unstoppable blight on the digital market as recently as five years ago. As quickly as music, movie, and video game companies could shut down pirates and pirate sites, new ones would appear. The notorious Pirate Bay website, for example, is practically indestructible, having survived being forcibly taken down almost a dozen times. Entertainment and software companies began to prophesize the end of their industries due to lost profits Continue Reading →

The Use of Biometric Data for Personal Identification Purposes

Biometric identification technologies, once the realm of science fiction movies, have now become ubiquitous for many Americans. Roughly 90 million Americans own iPhones [1], which for several years, have used fingerprint scans in lieu of passcodes, and the most recent iPhone X, unveiled in September 2017, uses facial mapping technologies to identify owners. [2] Smartphone technology is just one of many uses for biometrics. Biometrics are also used by retailers to track and analyze the shopper experience [3]. Continue Reading →

Video Game Loot Boxes

Introduction Recently, a trend has developed in the video game industry of selling virtual “loot boxes” to consumers. This concept evolved from conventional trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon and developed in the virtual sphere through mobile games and virtual card games such as Activision Blizzard’s Hearthstone. However, as this fledgling concept moved beyond free-to-play mobile games and into fully-priced $60 video games, consumers have responded with significant backlash against what Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – November 3, 2017

Climate Science Special Report On November 3rd, The White House released a Climate Science Special Report written by 13 federal agencies. The Report concludes that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence. This report comes as a Continue Reading →