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Digital Bill of Rights - May 2016

Digital Bill of Rights - May 2016

Digital Bill of Rights

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Blog

The NSA Must Be Reined In

More than 230,000 computer systems from across the globe were recently attacked by a vicious ransomware virus, named “Wanna Cry,” that crippled computers for some of America’s largest companies, including FedEx. The virus, one of the largest of its kind, was paid for by the American taxpayers. How did this happen? How did this life threatening tool end up in the hands of seemingly illiterate hackers? Simple answer: government incompetency.

06/01/2017
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Blog

John Oliver and Title II: A Bad Combination

The internet has been buzzing about late-night talk show comedian John Oliver’s resurgence of interest in the regulations on internet broadband providers, about which he had an extended monologue on his show this week. But his misguided call-to-action has already had repercussions, including cyber-attacks on the FCC’s website, ruining the ability for them to receive comments on what the public thinks of the ”Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal presented by Ajit Pai.

05/10/2017
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Blog

Section 702’s Expiration Date -- Could it Bring Backdoor Searches to an End?

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FISA) is set to expire on December of 2017, and the debate over Fourth Amendment protections vs. security will be revisited. Intelligence officials have been pushing for its renewal for a year already. The use of Section 702 for spying on Americans created a national uproar when revealed by Edward Snowden, who disclosed classified information about the mass surveillance of Americans by the government.

04/08/2017
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Blog

The Email Privacy Act Passes in House, Next Stop: Senate

Two years after the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387) was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, it was revisited Monday, Febuary 6th, and passed unanimously. This is a huge victory for proponents of digital privacy, but the fight is not over quite yet. Now that is has been passed in the House, it will need to be passed by the Senate before Americans’ right to email privacy can finally be updated for the 21st century.

04/03/2017
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Blog

Celebrating Copyright Week

Today marks the conclusion of copyright week, where it’s time to remind policymakers of the balance needed in copyright law. Too often, recent policy changes have been used to benefit targeted groups rather than enhance social welfare, as initially outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Any copyright reforms must include a broad range of interests that foster innovation and economic growth.

01/20/2017
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Blog

The Digital Age Warrants Constitutional Protections

In the majority opinion for the unanimous Court in Riley v. California (2014), Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.” This “go get a warrant” sentiment is echoed again and again in more recent cases involving cell phone privacy. By taking a closer look at how exactly a search warrant works, it becomes increasingly clear that this protection is needed now more than ever as we enter the digital age.

07/19/2016
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Blog

Regulatory Agencies Exploit Unintended Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Regulatory agencies have entered the space of copyright law and have tipped the balance of the intellectual property system. Now, it is somehow unclear that agency regulations designed to protect health, safety, and the environment have absolutely nothing to do with copyright law. As with many threats to the balance of intellectual property, Section 1201 is responsible for tipping the scale.

07/14/2016
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Blog

Ruling Celebrated as Fourth Amendment Victory Leaves Unanswered Questions

A federal judge in New York ruled for the first time on Tuesday that the use of a surveillance device to capture cell phone location information constitutes a warrantless search. In the case, Lambis v. United States, government officials used a stingray device to track a drug suspect. Stingrays, also known as “cell site simulators,” force cell phones in the area to transmit signals that pinpoint the user’s location through cell site location information, or CSLI data.

07/13/2016
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Blog

If You Build the Blockchain, Regulators Will Come

The hardest part of drafting any new regulation is establishing a definition. In fact, most of the policy work is in the definition and there are alarmingly few policy considerations after something is defined as a covered entity. The definition of cryptocurrency has already proved problematic for regulators. Essentially, to commodities regulators, virtual currency is a commodity. For bank regulators, it is a bank. For securities regulators, it is a security. For those who regulate money transmitters, it is a money transmitter. For the purpose of property taxes, it is a property. Everyone wants a stake in the new world of virtual currency.

07/12/2016
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Blog

A Hidden Threat to Online Freedom: The Lost Balance of Fair Use and Intellectual Property

The current imbalance of our intellectual property system allows copyright law to strangle free speech and innovation. Ideally, the intellectual property system would strike a balance between the rights of the intellectual owner and those of consumer. Intended to support the property’s creator, copyright laws can promote fair compensation and allow for the continued creation of content. At the same time, intellectual property systems are designed so that after the creator is paid after the work enters the public domain and aids in the creation of new works. This balanced is threatened by the misuse and misunderstanding of the roles of copyright and fair use.

07/08/2016

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