Law and the Problem of Autonomous Cars

Fully autonomous vehicles will be in the hands of consumers in the near future.[1] Technology companies and car manufacturers have moved beyond small features like autonomous braking and autonomous lane assist, to fully workable cars that drive themselves with little human oversight. While the safety of the cars is largely uncertain, some initial reports bode well. Google’s self-driving vehicles have logged around 1.8 million miles on the road since 2009 and have been in only Continue Reading →

Paris Attacks Reignite Calls for Legally Mandated Encryption Backdoors

Only weeks ago, the Obama administration had decided that it would not pursue legislation requiring companies to build “backdoors” in their encryption allowing government access to encrypted data. However, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris may affect their stance going forward and have already influenced the debate on encryption. Soon after the attacks occurred, many quickly blamed encryption for enabling the attack’s organizers to plan in secrecy. Despite the fact that there is no evidence Continue Reading →

The Legality of Asteroid Mining

Introduction The space industry is experiencing a surge of activity that is making headlines. Elon Musk’s SpaceX was the first private entity to send a spacecraft into orbit, and is also one of the two private firms being paid by NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services program. Virgin Galactic is planning on flying paying passengers to the edge of space as a form of space tourism. Companies Continue Reading →

Inducing Renewable Energy Innovation Through Taxation

Renewable Energy Innovation’s Obstacles As the Paris Conference approaches, policymakers will search for a practical means by which the United States can meet any potential voluntary commitments to reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Economists have suggested that an increase in the price of fossil fuels could “induce innovation,” as businesses are given an incentive to develop low carbon solutions to limit their costs.[1] To have a realistic chance of mitigating human contributions to climate Continue Reading →

WikiLeaks Reveals the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Expansion of International Copyright Law

WikiLeaks Publishes TPP IP Chapter As the Trans-Pacific Partnership or “TPP” moves closer to becoming a reality , leaked documents of the international trade agreement published by WikiLeaks have sparked concerns that the treaty’s re-envisioning of intellectual property rights could prove detrimental to citizens of signatory nations. The latest version of TPP’s intellectual property chapter, hosted on WikiLeaks servers,[1] details a series of sweeping modifications to the international status quo in regards to copyrights as well as Continue Reading →

Cookies and Data Privacy

Recent developments in data privacy On October 6, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a landmark decision that invalidated the Safe Harbor Framework. The Framework had allowed U.S. companies, from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to tech firms like Microsoft, to move personal data such as user and employee data back and forth across the Atlantic. The potential ramifications of the ECJ’s ruling are troubling and real. Many U.S. companies that leverage data analytics for business or Continue Reading →

Grounding Delivery Drones

Amazon, an online retailer, made waves in 2013 when it announced its plans to develop drones to deliver its packages. The company was by no means the first to come up with the idea, a previously proposed airborne, taco delivery system whetted many appetites, but Amazon’s sheer success caused many to wonder if delivery would be changed forever. Plenty of naysayers opined that the service would never take off. With countless dangers out there for drones, ranging from birds of Continue Reading →

Regulators Seek to Keep Pace with a Quickly Evolving Market Structure

In 2005, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) established a series of rules known as Regulation NMS (National Market System) to promote transparency and efficiency in U.S. equity securities markets. However, advances in trading technology have frustrated the achievement of those goals. Private trading venues known as dark pools have increased tremendously in popularity since the adoption of Regulation NMS. Unlike traditional lit exchanges, dark pools do not display customer orders. This serves to Continue Reading →

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 →