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 →

Personal Data Encryption and its Legal Implications

Under the regime of Apple’s iOS 7 operating system, a law enforcement agency seeking access to a passcode-protected iPhone would send the phone, along with a valid search warrant, to Apple, who would then be obligated to bypass the passcode using a built-in “backdoor.” Thus, providing the law enforcement agency with the relevant information found in the phone. When iPhone users upgrade to the recently released iOS 8 (or purchase an iPhone 6 or 6 Continue Reading →

How to Stanch the Heartbleed: Short-Term Fixes and Long-Term Solutions

Experts disagree over the potential impact of Heartbleed. Many worry about the sheer ubiquity of OpenSSL code – which serves as the encryption platform for many Android devices plus over two-thirds of the Internet – and has been adopted by companies like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Yahoo. Government entities like the F.B.I. and the Pentagon also rely upon OpenSSL. Two weeks ago, the Canada Revenue Agency announced that its website was attacked with Heartbleed over Continue Reading →

Target-ing Data Security Breaches

On December 19, 2013 Target reported that there had been unauthorized access to Target customers’ payment card data, which may have resulted in 40 million credit card numbers and personal information of up to 70 million individuals being exposed.  The Target data breach was so significant and shocking that there are reports that a “cyber-thriller” movie based on the breach is in the works.  Only months later, Neiman Marcus reported that 350,000 of its customers’ Continue Reading →

White House Proposes to End NSA’s Mass Collection of Phone Data – But Reforms Don’t Go Far Enough for Many Privacy Advocates

Responding to mounting public pressure, President Obama announced this week that he would be proposing legislation to end the National Security Agency’s mass collection of phone records. Under the new proposal, phone metadata would be stored by telephone companies, not the NSA, and could only be obtained by the NSA through a court order.  However many members of Congress as well as privacy advocates argue that the proposal does not go far enough and that Continue Reading →

Cy Pres Remedies in the Internet Privacy Class Action Context

Last November, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Marek v. Lane, a class action case concerning potential privacy violations arising from Facebook’s short-lived and controversial “Beacon” program, which automatically posted information regarding users’ transactions on third-party websites to the users’ Facebook feeds. The class action ended in a settlement, in which Facebook agreed to pay $9.5 million into a cy pres fund to “establish a charitable foundation” that would “fund organizations dedicated to educating the Continue Reading →

Legal Issues in Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is when a user provides an input for a program, but some or all of the program’s processing is outsourced to another computer or set of computers (the “cloud server”). Google Maps is an easy example of this – the user provides an input, which Google’s cloud server processes in order to provide the user an output. Cloud servers, in processing inputs, will acquire data, some of which may be highly sensitive (i.e., Continue Reading →

The Legal Implications of Individual Genome Sequencing

Many people are ancestry enthusiasts, inquiring into historical databases and family records to find out more about their ancestors and about themselves.  They might learn about hobbies they shared with previous generations, and gain information on traits or diseases that run in their families.  Some people take such research a step further, digging into their DNA to learn about their biological past. Gene sequencing used to be prohibitively expensive for individuals—the first whole genome sequencing Continue Reading →

Client Confidentiality and the NSA: May attorneys still use unencrypted email?

Lawyers handling client data are under an obligation to protect the privacy of that data. State and ABA ethics opinions have approved of correspondence over unencrypted email, deciding that in most cases such communication is consistent with the lawyer’s privacy obligation. However, those opinions were based on an understanding of privacy law that preceded the recent revelations about government storage and tracking of email under the authority of FISA and the PATRIOT Act. It may Continue Reading →

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules that Warrants are Required to Electronically Track Cell Phone Data

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that law enforcement officials must obtain a warrant before electronically tracking a suspect’s cell phone. In State v. Earls, the court stressed that users are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy in the level of detail cell phone data can reveal about their lives. This holding applies both to tracking using data from cell towers and tracking using GPS technology from the cell phones themselves. The court Continue Reading →