Surveillance Under the Mask of Identification

Surveillance Under the Mask of Identification We may imagine any number of circumstances in which the government might need to know whether someone is who she says she is. For example, the government might reasonably need to verify the identities of visa applicants. Similarly, local and federal law enforcement agencies are tasked with finding and identifying suspects efficiently and effectively. At first, it may seem simple to support these agencies’ use of new technology that Continue Reading →

Principle of Distinction in Cyberwar

Modern warfare has become increasingly advanced, with cyberattacks providing a powerful and complex way to attack both offensively and defensively. While cyber operations have traditionally been thought of as an indirect means of warfare, cyberattacks have been used to physically maim and kill targets, and are expected to continue to do so. [1] As the threat of cyber use to cause physical damage increases, an interesting question arises regarding the principle of distinction in the Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – December 6, 2019

Democrats Unveil New Federal Online Privacy Pill, Promising Tough Penalties for Data Abuse Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation unveiled the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA), proposed a new piece of aggressive Federal privacy legislation. Fellow senior members Senators Brian Schatz, Amy Klobuchar, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts have also backed the bill. The legislation penalizes companies that fail to meet data Continue Reading →

The Inherent Incongruities of University Patent Enforcement

The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 allows small businesses and non-profit organizations such as universities to retain ownership of inventions made with federal funding and profit through the licensing of patents.[1] Since then, universities have been a powerhouse in research and innovation in the United States, with total expenditures in R&D reaching over $75 billion in 2018.[2] Despite these significant investments, many universities face unique difficulties in capitalizing on their patents to generate revenue. Concerns over Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – November 22, 2019

Global Blood secures FDA approval for new pill to treat sickle cell disease Global Blood Therapeutics, an international pharmaceutical company, was given an accelerated approval by the FDA, for their drug, Oxybryta. The accelerated approval means that a follow-up clinical trial will still be needed. The move was surprising: it came three months ahead of time, but more importantly, was based on a mode of showing efficacy. The FDA usually gives approval for such drugs Continue Reading →

Scrap the AI Loophole for Housing Discrimination Lawsuits

Housing discrimination lawsuits are about to become much harder to prove. Imagine if the auto industry successfully lobbied lawmakers to give them a complete defense from product defect liability if their cars were made by complicated, but increasingly commonly used, industrial robots. Alternatively, imagine that the law didn’t go quite so far, but instead provided two escape valves from product defect lawsuits. The first escape valve exempts the carmaker from lawsuits for defects like random Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – November 15, 2019

Twitter’s New Rules Ban Political Ads from Candidates but Not Ads About Causes Twitter released revised rules regarding advertising political content today. The rules come in response to growing concerns about the ease with which politicians can weaponize social media platforms and pay to promote falsehoods. Moving forward, businesses and activists will be able to pay to promote messages around broadly defined political causes, but will not be permitted to advocate for or against particular Continue Reading →

Scraping Together Best (Scraping) Practices: Is There an API for That?

Despite its evocative name, “web scraping” is just a blitz of electrical impulses zipping across fiber at approximately the speed of light. Not so easy to envision. I find, however, that many digital phenomena, like this one, are best demystified and understood by conjuring an analogue:  Last Sunday, those who braved New York City streets to run the Marathon careened down Central Park West, visibly fatigued as they neared the end of the race. The Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – November 8, 2019

‘Game-Changer’ Warrant Let Detective Search Genetic Database A detective in Florida recently announced the approval of a warrant to search consumer DNA company GEDmatch’s full DNA database in what appears to be the first instance of a judge approving such a warrant. The largest consumer DNA databases, Ancestry.com and 23andMe, have long pledged to keep their users’ genetic information private, resisting requests for access from law enforcement. GEDmatch had previously cooperated with police investigations before Continue Reading →

(Deep)fake News

What do presidential candidates and adult film stars have in common? The answer is not some crude political joke you might hear at a bar, but it may be equally disturbing. Deepfakes, deceptively real audiovisual products created using deep learning algorithms, are a rising concern in the United States. Two of the most alarming uses of deepfakes involve political deceit and non-consensual pornographic content. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of deepfake Continue Reading →