Regulating Ridesharing

The pink moustaches that adorn Lyft vehicles are now ubiquitous throughout New York City, and it’s become increasingly more common these days to hear “I’ll just Uber it there” than “I’ll cab it.” Uber, Lyft, Gett, and other “ridesharing” services allow customers to request rides, see driver ratings, track vehicles, and pay- all through a smartphone application. Over the past five years, these services have becomes a major disruptive technology with the potential to disrupt 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 →

Hydraulic Fracturing: What’s the Controversy?

In the latest report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate researchers warn that drastic reductions to current greenhouse gas emissions are needed to avert devastating and irreversible climate impacts. One of the short-term strategies the IPCC considers in its report is the increased use of shale gas—an energy source often classified as “clean” because it emits less carbon than coal. But IPCC’s endorsement is cautious and conditional, partly because shale gas is 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 →

The Senate’s violent video games bill: witch hunt or legitimate concern?

Last January, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, Sen. Jay Rockefeller proposed S. 134: Violent Content Research Act of 2013, which has since worked its way through the Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee. Freshly amended in December, the bill would require various governmental agencies to work with the National Academy of Sciences in researching the effects of video game violence on children, and the possible disproportionate impact they have on Continue Reading →

Google and Amazon take on the Skies and its Regulations

It’s a drone… It’s a weather balloon… No, it’s a Google Loon balloon! Google Loon is by any account a project of enormous proportions. It was born of the ideal of providing Internet access to the most remote corners of the planet, and announced via video with the additional promise of chipping away at the world’s most pressing problems:  “Well even though today one in three kids can’t get to a secondary school, everyone could Continue Reading →

Aereo’s latest victory: what does it mean for the future of broadcast television?

Earlier this month, a Boston federal judge denied Hearst-owned Boston-station WCVB-TV a preliminary injunction motion against Aereo, strengthening Aereo’s Second Circuit victory in WNET v. Aereo, Inc., decided in April.  Aereo provides both live and time-shifted streaming of over-the-air television channels to paying subscribers.  To provide this service, Aereo relies on its use of tiny antennae, which are individually assigned to one user at a time.  When a user decides to record a program, an Continue Reading →

Eyes in the Sky: FAA Regulation of Commercial Drone Usage

The Federal Aviation Administration was created in 1958 by legislation signed into law by President Eisenhower, largely in response to a collision between two commercial airlines above the Grand Canyon which killed over 125 people. The Act abolished the old Civil Aeronautics Administration and empowered the FAA to take action to encourage and develop an air-transportation system adapted to the present and future needs of the United States as well as the promotion of safety Continue Reading →

Advancing Video Game Technology May Be Too Realistic

Technological improvements in the realistic portrayal of college athletes in video game graphics may partially be to blame for a string of recent legal disputes against major video game developer Electronic Arts, Inc. (“EA”).  NCAA college athletes have filed actions against EA for unauthorized use of their names and likenesses, a charge that falls under the statutory and common law right of publicity. This is a relatively new charge in the world of video games Continue Reading →