STLR Link Roundup – Nov. 20, 2015

Law professors oppose federal trade secret act

Forty-two law professors submitted a letter to Congress urging that the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) be rejected. The DTSA was introduced in July 2015 and would create a federal civil cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. With the exception of the Economic Espionage Act – which criminalizes theft of trade secrets – state law largely governs the area (typically through adoption of some version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act). The law professors characterize the bill as the “most significant expansion of federal law in intellectual property since the Lanham Act.” The professors believe that the legislation will not address the cyberespionage problem it seeks to remedy and will instead harm employees, small businesses, and startup companies by creating less uniformity in the law and increasing the length and cost of litigation.

Paris attacks renew push by law enforcement for access to encrypted data

After the recent terror attack in Paris, government officials have raised concerns that terror suspects could be using encrypted communications platforms to plan attacks. Messaging applications like WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage use encryption, which makes it easier for suspects to evade surveillance. It remains unclear if the suspects in the Paris terror attack used encrypted messaging systems to communicate and plan the attack. However, U.S. officials and others have called for legislation that would require technology companies to maintain “backdoor” access, thus enabling them to comply with wiretap orders. Companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have opposed weakening encryption.

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