Expectations Matter: The FTC’s Next Approach to Privacy

Consumer Expectations and Privacy Recently, the Federal Trade Commission terminated its inquiry into Google’s “accidental” collection of Internet users’ personal data through its Street View vehicles after Google promised to improve its privacy efforts and delete the data. As you may recall, the investigation began after the FTC learned that Google’s Street View vehicles had been taking more than just pictures—the cars had also inadvertently collected and stored “payload” data, including passwords and email messages Continue Reading →

Moral Kombat: The Final Stage? Supreme Court Debates Ban on Violent Video Game Sales to Minors

Last Tuesday, November 2, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, questioning the constitutionality of a California ban on the sale of violent video games to minors.  The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech figured prominently in the debate as the state of California sought to overturn the permanent injunction that bars the law from taking effect.  The injunction is the result of a successful challenge to the Continue Reading →

USPTO to Implement New Quality Measurement System

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced that it will be implementing a new system for measuring the quality of patent examination at the start of fiscal year 2011.  This system is designed to provide a more comprehensive analysis of patent examination to better enable its participants to identify and follow its best practices.  The new quality measurement procedures were developed by the USPTO in conjunction with the Patent Public Advisory Committee Continue Reading →

A System of Autonomous Cars

The Vehicle According to a Bundle.com study, Americans spend an average of 72 minutes a day behind the wheel. Imagine the increased productivity and general welfare if that time could be spent on other tasks, such as doing work, checking email, making calls, or even sleeping. Having to spend less time keeping one’s eyes on the road and hands on a steering wheel will free up time for life’s greater pleasures. That day may not Continue Reading →

Schoolyard 24/7: The new tools of the 21st century bully

Facing the schoolyard bully is a classic part of adolescence, personified in movies and literature; it is an almost universal rite of passage that on the road to adulthood. However, today’s world of technology puts a new twist on this old and unfortunate schoolyard tradition. The Internet chat room, the social network, the text message – these are the new tools of the “Cyber Bully.” The point: any child can be a victim anywhere or Continue Reading →

The Law and Politics of Net Neutrality: Part 1

The current political climate portends significant political changes following today’s midterm elections.  The balance of power will likely shift back toward the right, greatly reducing the governing mandate of the Democratic Party.  The current administration’s ability to push policies through will be tempered by a shift of power in Congress, possibly preventing the Obama administration from achieving its stated policy goals after two years in power.  One of the policy goals under attack is Net Continue Reading →

Vernor v. Autodesk and the End of the First Sale Doctrine

The 9th Circuit’s Vernor v. Autodesk test demolishes the first sale doctrine by making its application contingent solely on the licensing agreement written by the copyright holder. Though the Vernor case centers on the distribution of software, there is no limiting principle that prevents the Vernor test from being applied broadly to all copyrighted works. Thus, the Vernor test, if upheld, it could mean the end of all markets for used copyrighted works. The First Continue Reading →