The Use of Biometric Data for Personal Identification Purposes

Biometric identification technologies, once the realm of science fiction movies, have now become ubiquitous for many Americans. Roughly 90 million Americans own iPhones [1], which for several years, have used fingerprint scans in lieu of passcodes, and the most recent iPhone X, unveiled in September 2017, uses facial mapping technologies to identify owners. [2] Smartphone technology is just one of many uses for biometrics. Biometrics are also used by retailers to track and analyze the shopper experience [3]. Continue Reading →

Video Game Loot Boxes

Introduction Recently, a trend has developed in the video game industry of selling virtual “loot boxes” to consumers. This concept evolved from conventional trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon and developed in the virtual sphere through mobile games and virtual card games such as Activision Blizzard’s Hearthstone. However, as this fledgling concept moved beyond free-to-play mobile games and into fully-priced $60 video games, consumers have responded with significant backlash against what Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – November 3, 2017

Climate Science Special Report On November 3rd, The White House released a Climate Science Special Report written by 13 federal agencies. The Report concludes that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence. This report comes as a 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 →

The Next Rembrandt: Originality and Authorship of AI Generated Works

In recent years, the news has been flooded by innovations in artificial intelligence and its ability to create a diverse range of creative content. AI has produced music, poetry, paintings, and even sci-fi films. Some of the poetry is so “real” that it has even fooled humans into believing that it was generated by a human writer. As the list of creative works continues to grow, so does the elephant in the room: who owns Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – October 27, 2017

Listeria-Based Recall In US and Canada California-based vegetable supplier Mann Packing has issued a voluntary recall of certain “minimally processed” vegetable and vegetable-containing products from its customers across the US and Canada. According to the company announcement posted on the FDA’s website, the distributor made the decision after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found “a single positive result” of Listeria monocytogenes in one of their products. All products covered in the recall carried “best if used by” 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 →

January 2017 Amendment to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights

In 1948, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (“GATT”) established the rules for international commerce, with agreements signed by governments of the majority of global trading nations. The World Trade Organization (“WTO”) sprang from the de facto negotiating forum under the same name, GATT, through the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. While GATT focused primarily on liberalizing the trade of goods, the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPs”) extended to cover Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – October 22, 2017

CBI Calling for Commission to Research Artificial Intelligence Impact The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for the government to create a commission to examine the potential impact that artificial intelligence will have on industry in the UK. The lobby group has said that nearly half of the firms involved are planning to pool their resources into AI, with twenty percent already beginning the process. However, even with all this investment, two-thirds of these Continue Reading →

Disney and RFID: What it Means for Privacy

Disney has always embraced cutting-edge technology, but in their theme parks, that technology tends to be behind the scenes. In the last decade, however, Disney’s Next Generation Experience, or “NextGen,” project has aimed to integrate technology overtly into the theme park experience by capitalizing on millennials’ use of smartphones to improve the park experience. Users with a smartphones can download the My Disney Experience app, which can be used to book dining reservations, access the Continue Reading →