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 →

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 →

Digital Wills: Will They or Won’t They?

On January 24, 2019, Cory McCormick, a Las Vegas police officer, signed the United States’ first ever digital will.  “Mr. McCormick was able to sign and notarize his will in minutes,” which otherwise would have taken him “nearly an hour,” not including the time required to travel and find a lawyer.  This will was created with the help of a San Diego startup Trust & Will, which defines itself as an “online service providing legal 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 – February 2, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Case Briefing Software to Assist Litigators in Writing Briefs Just before the start of Legalweek New York excitement erupted when ROSS Intelligence CEO Andrew Arruda hyped the announcement of ROSS’s new product EVA. EVA uses artificial intelligence to assist litigators in writing briefs by streamlining the process of case law research by finding details relevant to new cases. The goal is to make case research, citations, and studies as easy as possible. Currently, Continue Reading →

Enforceability of Smart Contracts under the Statute of Frauds

What is a Blockchain: Blockchains are digital ledgers maintained by a network of computers. Anybody with internet access can set up an account to use a blockchain. The account is comprised of a public and private key. The public key can be analogized to an email account where the private key is like the password. Using the account allows to owner to send and receive tokens (such as bitcoin) and other information. All the transactions Continue Reading →

Does fMRI Lie Detection Have a Future in the Courtroom?

Background Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a brain imagining technique developed in the 1990’s based on blood oxygenation levels in the brain. The underlying property upon which fMRI relies is hemoglobin’s tendency to exhibit different magnetic properties when oxygenated than when deoxygenated. By inducing a strong magnetic field on the subject and observing how the hemoglobin responds to the field, neurologists can determine which parts of the brain are experiencing greater blood flow during Continue Reading →

Automated Notices for Copyright Infringement: Pitfalls and Remedies

Background of Notice and Takedown Since the birth of the internet, online service providers (OSPs) have butted heads with copyright holders over whether OSPs should be responsible for copyright-infringing material posted by their users. Should Google be liable for infringement when it provides links to websites that post photographs without a copyright license?[1] Should YouTube owe damages for hosting a video that plays a song or shows a clip from a movie protected by copyright?[2] Continue Reading →

Gill v. Whitford and the Math of Gerrymandering

On October 3, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, 137 S. Ct. 2268 (Mem) (2017), the latest case to reach the court contesting partisan gerrymandering. First coined in 1812 to lampoon a Massachusetts governor (Elbridge Gerry) and a particularly ugly congressional district (allegedly resembling a salamander), gerrymandering is the practice of crafting voting districts to give one group an electoral advantage over another. Erica Klarre, Gerrymandering Is Illegal, But Only Mathematicians Can Continue Reading →

Rapid DNA Testing: Verification or Collection Tool?

This year, the first local police precinct received and began using an on-site Rapid DNA testing device. Within 90 minutes, a cheek swab of any suspect can be run, exonerating or verifying their identity. If this program is a success, more criminal investigations will be solved with greater efficiency than ever before.  However, the limitations of the devices are pronounced. They cannot, for example, be used to help parse the controversy surrounding interpretation of complex Continue Reading →