Technology Regulation

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Is Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” Streaming Service Statutorily Discriminatory Against the Deaf? The Answer is Yes and No.

Netflix has established itself as the world’s premier on-demand Internet streaming media service, with thousands of movies and TV episodes available for unlimited and instant download and more than 33 million subscribers around the world. Yet, despite its overall popularity, over the past year Netflix has found itself defending against allegations that its “Watch Instantly” [...]

There’s a Law for That: Mobile Ridesharing Services Encounter Legal Troubles

Those who live in parts of cities that lack regular taxi traffic may know about Uber, the car service that will send a well-maintained black car to your location with a quick tap of your mobile touchscreen. Those who live outside of San Francisco may be less familiar with two new mobile based “rideshare” companies: [...]

There’s No App For That: Smartphone Data Privacy and Law Enforcement Searches

Smartphones have become repositories for vast amounts of personal information.  As their functionality grows, users store more and more of their details in their smartphone, from friends’ phone numbers, diary entries, photos, and messages, to shopping lists, bank details, and travel plans.  At the same time, phone manufacturers and app designers silently gather data on [...]

Tracing the Justification for Tracer Testing

This post discusses the use of tracer testing for gasoline station construction in California and argues that, while the regulatory regime is excessive given that its original justification no longer exists, mandating use of tracer testing technology makes sense as long as we are under the current regulatory standards for “product-tight.” As a laborer in [...]