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 →

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 →