STLR Link Round-Up – Nov. 13, 2014

President Obama on Net Neutrality On November 10th, 2014, the White House uploaded a video and website in support of Net Neutrality. President Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to apply Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to Internet service providers (ISP). While the president acknowledged the FCC’s independent decision-making power, many commentators see the move as very influential. Until this point, the FCC had been working on a hybrid plan designed to Continue Reading →

Snowden Revelations Inspire Greater Transparency in Technology Companies

Edward Snowden’s leaked documents first surfaced in The Guardian and The Washington Post in June 2013, exposing National Security Agency (NSA) efforts to gather the telephone records and digital data of millions of Americans. Through its PRISM program, the NSA was able to directly collect information from the internet servers of companies like Microsoft and Yahoo. The NSA was also able to engage in bulk collection of user data through targeted data collection protected by Continue Reading →

STLR Link Round-Up – Nov. 6, 2014

Compelled Fingerprinting: The next development in what could be called IOs 8 Jurisprudence: a Virginia Circuit Court held that the 5th Amendment provides no protection for a Defendant forced to provide his fingerprint to unlock his phone. Professor and tech law writer Orin Kerr writes that the holding “is just a state court trial ruling, not an appellate decision. So it’s interesting more for its reasoning than its precedential value.” In dicta, the Court also Continue Reading →

Use of Athletes as Science Experiments: Are We Next?

John Calipari, University of Kentucky basketball coach, is a renowned and often controversial figure. He is also one of the first coaches to implement the use of heart-rate monitors during team practices to push his players beyond their comfort zones into complete physical exhaustion. Not only do the heart-rate monitors measure players’ exertion rates, but they also keep track of caloric burn. While the original purpose of these devices was to measure player exhaustion and Continue Reading →

STLR Link Round-Up – Oct. 31, 2014

Applying Aereo In June of this year, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., holding that Aereo was in violation of the Copyright Act when it sells to its subscribers a service that allows them to watch television programs over the Internet as those programs are being broadcasted over the air. Since then, Aereo has vowed to remain operational despite the significant challenges it faces. Aereo’s Continue Reading →

STLR Link Round-Up – Oct. 31, 2014

Spain’s Parliament approves new so-called “Google Tax” Spain’s Parliament announced that it would adopt a new tax on news aggregators. (Yahoo news). The tax has come to be known as the “Google tax.” At least one technology blog, Gizmodo, was quick to decry the new law as “bad for everyone.” (Gizmodo). A similar tax was tried in Germany. Ultimately after being blocked by Google, the news sites asked to be relisted. (TechCruch h/t Gizmodo).   Continue Reading →

Virtual Reality Meets Body Ink

The video game industry has swelled into a $20 billion market in the United States alone.[1] With industry growth, game developers continue to push the limits of digital graphics, inching closer every year to on-screen renderings that bear an uncanny resemblance to the real world.[2] This collision course into the uncanny valley, however, may have hit its first of many unexpected obstacles: the also-surging tattoo industry.[3] Sports games are the third-most popular video game genre Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – Oct. 24, 2014

President Obama Nominates New Director of the USPTO On Thursday, October 16, President Barack Obama nominated Michelle Lee to be the next director of the United States Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) following former director David Kappos’ resignation last year. Formerly a Partner at Silicon Valley firm Fenwick & West, Lee served as Google’s deputy general counsel from 2003 to 2012 before serving as the Director of the Silicon Valley Office of the USPTO. She Continue Reading →

Regulating Ridesharing

The pink moustaches that adorn Lyft vehicles are now ubiquitous throughout New York City, and it’s become increasingly more common these days to hear “I’ll just Uber it there” than “I’ll cab it.” Uber, Lyft, Gett, and other “ridesharing” services allow customers to request rides, see driver ratings, track vehicles, and pay- all through a smartphone application. Over the past five years, these services have becomes a major disruptive technology with the potential to disrupt Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – Oct. 17, 2014

San Francisco Leading the way in Regulating Airbnb Regulating Airbnb, the online, community-based home rental service, has been difficult. For example, Airbnb in New York has shown how the deregulated nature of that market leads to complaints from neighbors, springboards for illicit activity, and violations of local laws in subletting, zoning, and tax, even prompting action by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. New York’s regulations in response to Airbnb may be too overreaching in Continue Reading →