Can Electronic Surveillance Constitute a Search of Private Property Under the 4th Amendment? Gorsuch’s Comments Raise New Questions.

At oral argument in Carpenter v. United States, now awaiting final decision, Justice Gorsuch raised the possibility that individuals have a property right in their data. Specifically, Gorsuch suggested that a customer of a cellular provider had a property interest in location data that police had obtained from the provider without a warrant. This is relevant in a Fourth Amendment context because government trespass against private property is a form of “search.” But there is Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 11, 2018

Washington Becomes the First State to Pass Net Neutrality Law Washington’s new law, House Bill 2822, is the first state law passed to reinstate the protections dismantled when the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality this past December. The bill received bipartisan support and Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, announced at the bill signing ceremony that “Today we make history: Washington will be the first state in the nation to preserve the open internet.” Continue Reading →

Has the Time Come to Kill Quill?

The Online Sales Tax Controversy State and local governments are at a nearly unprecedented level of underfunding and it might have something to do with our online shopping carts. In 2017, the Government Accountability Office estimated that state and local governments experienced a loss of anywhere from $8 billion to $13 billion due to the prohibition on collecting state sales taxes on online purchases. Online commerce accounts for 9.1% of total retail sales and continues Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 2, 2018

Facebook Must Face Biometric Privacy Suit On Monday, a U.S. District Judge in San Francisco ruled that Facebook Inc. must face a privacy suit regarding the gathering and storing of millions of users’ biometric data. Alphabet Inc.’s Google is fighting similar suits in Chicago. Judge Donato’s decision to allow the class action to move forward means that Facebook may have to pay fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for each use of an individual’s image Continue Reading →

The Emerging Trend of Data Localization

Free flow of data across the globe has been a remarkable feature of the Internet. Innovations like cloud computing—spreading data across a host of servers in several locations—have been possible due to the free, open nature of the Internet, and have resulted in technical efficiencies and reduced costs. Cross-border data flows are estimated to have raised the world GDP by 10.1%. However, this lack of borders in the digital world has tested traditional notions of Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – February 25, 2018

SEC Charges Former Bitcoin-Denominated Exchange and Operator with Fraud On February 21, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed security fraud charges against BitFunder, a former bitcoin-denominated online platform, and its founder Jon E. Montroll, in violation of Section 10 (b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5. They were charged with operating an unregistered securities exchange, defrauding the users by misappropriating their funds, and failing to disclose the cyberattack resulting in bitcoins theft. Continue Reading →

The Ethicality and Legality of Facial Recognition Technology

The advent of relatively effective and scalable facial recognition technology has prompted a spirited policy debate about the appropriateness of its use in law enforcement contexts. Some commentators have raised both ethical and constitutional concerns over the implementation of these technologies. While the Supreme Court has not yet directly addressed the use of facial recognition systems, there is some indication it may feel compelled to do so in the near future.  China Leads the Way Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – 2/17/2018

California Ballot Initiative a Hodgepodge of Pseudoscientific Conspiracy Theories Ars Technica reports on a new California ballot initiative described as “a conspiracy theorist’s dream.” The initiative’s author, Cheriel Jensen, has been cleared by California’s secretary of state to begin collecting signatures, and will need to collect 365,880 by August 8, 2018 if she wants the initiative to make it onto California’s next ballot. The full text of the proposed initiative can be found here, and Continue Reading →

Peer Review and Daubert: The Uncertain Science of Evaluating Scientific Certainty

Peer review is the bedrock of scientific publication and is used by courts to determine the evidentiary reliability of a proffered expert witness. Should peer review play such a role, and if so, how much weight should it be given? I.       Daubert: Judges as Gatekeepers Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals[1] established the role of federal judges as “gatekeepers” of scientific evidence, preventing “junk science” from being presented to a jury. Rather than the Frye test, Continue Reading →

STLR Link Round-up – 2/10/2018

Settlement Reached in Waymo v. Uber Almost a year after Waymo (the self-driving car unit spun off by Google) filed a lawsuit against Uber, the two sides reached a settlement in which Uber agreed to give $245 million in shares—.34 percent of its equity at the company’s $72 billion valuation—and the case would be dismissed with prejudice. Waymo had originally demanded at least $1 billion in damages and a public apology as conditions for settling Continue Reading →