A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The Court of Justice of the European Union Finds the Harbor No Longer Safe

Written by: Ann Kristin Glenster - Edited by: David Nathaniel Tan

This fall, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a landmark ruling,  holding that the Safe Harbor Agreement on the handling of personal data by U.S. companies in Europe was invalid. This article will give a brief overview of the case, and explore the salient issues to which the European Court took umbrage. Finally, it will attempt to sketch out some possible consequences of the ruling, and the options that now face E.U. and U.S. legislators.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Yiran Zhang – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Senators Introduce a Bill which Requires Social Media Companies to Report Terrorist Activity

New EU Copyright Rules Left Possibility for Google Tax

COP21 Reached an “Ambitious and Balanced” Deal on Climate Change

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By David Nathaniel Tan – Edited by Adi Kamdar

Software Pirate Settles Suit Via YouTube

After Paris Attacks, FCC Chairman Calls for Expanded Wiretap Laws

Hoverboards Declared Illegal in New York City

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Belgian Court Demands that Facebook Stop Tracking Non-Members

By Mila Owen – Edited by Kayla Haran

The Belgian Privacy Commission requested a cessation order against Facebook regarding their practice of placing “datr” cookies on devices of non-Facebook users to track activity on other Facebook pages or on pages containing the “like” or “share” button. The court ruled that this tracking violates the Belgian Privacy Act because it amounts to the collection and “processing of personal data.”

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Facebook not liable for discrimination against Sikhs in India

By Ann Kristin Glenster – Edited by Yaping Zhang

By dismissing Sikhs for Justice Inc.’s case against Facebook for discrimination by blocking the group’s page in India, the United District Court of Northern California maintains the neutrality of interactive online providers and exempts them from liability under Title II of the Civil Rights Act.

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Magnifying GlassBy Kasey Wang – Edited by Ariane Moss

State v. Rindfleisch, 857 N.W.2d 456 (Wis. Ct. App. 2014)

Link to opinion (hosted by Leagle)

Kelly Rindfleisch is serving a six-month sentence for misconduct in public office while working for then-County Executive Scott Walker. Rindfleisch claimed that the government violated her Fourth Amendment rights while searching her emails for evidence for a different case. The government, she asserted, obtained warrants that “lacked sufficient particularity” and were general warrants. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed her sentence. After the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear her case, Rindfleisch filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

In early 2010, Rindfleisch was hired as a Milwaukee County employee working for then-County Executive Scott Walker.  On October 20, 2010, a Milwaukee County District Attorney submitted an affidavit for a warrant to search Rindfleisch’s emails for correspondence from Rindfleisch’s colleague, on suspicion that the colleague had committed a crime. The warrant authorized the seizure of all of Rindfleisch’s emails from Google and Yahoo! servers. The government used evidence obtained from this warrant to charge Rindfleisch with misconduct in public office. Rindfleisch pled guilty and appealed, citing a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that Rindfleisch’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated because the “warrants in question were based on probable cause established by affidavit, were authorized by a judge, and particularly described the place to be searched and items to be seized.” In discussing probable cause, the court cited a similar Ninth Circuit case, United States v. Adjani, in which a search through a defendant’s emails for evidence of a different suspect’s wrongdoing led to the defendant’s conviction. In discussing “sufficient particularity,” the court found that it was sufficient for the warrants to describe specific email addresses within Google’s and Yahoo’s servers.

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Posted On Jul - 20 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Russia & ChinaBy Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

The legislatures in Russia and China took steps this month to tighten regulations over Internet companies with access to user data. In Russia, President Vladmir Putin signed a law ensuring a “right to be forgotten” reminiscent of the European Court of Justice’s ruling in May 2014. And in China, the National People’s Congress released a draft cybersecurity bill that would formalize and strengthen the State’s long-standing regulation of websites and network operators.

On July 14th, 2015, Russian President Vladmir Putin signed into law a piece of legislation that guarantees Russian citizens a so-called “right to be forgotten,” allowing them to selectively edit the history that is unearthed when internet users search for their names. Beginning on January 1, 2016, Russian citizens can request that a search engine remove a link if it (1) reveals information that “violates their personal data, (2) contains ‘unverified information’, or (3) contains information that is ‘no longer relevant.’” Affected websites include any search engines that serve targeted advertisements to Russian citizens, such as Google, Yahoo! and Yandex. Search engines will have up to ten days to respond to takedown requests, and failure to respond to requests within the time frame, or an erroneous refusal to remove content, will result in litigation and potential fines.

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Posted On Jul - 20 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

JOLT - AvvoLogoBy Leonidas Angelakos – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Thomson v. Doe, No. 72321-9-1 (Washington Court of Appeals, July 6, 2015)

Link to opinion (hosted by Citizen.org)

The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the King County Superior Court’s denial of a motion to compel disclosure of an anonymous critic’s identity.

The Court of Appeals held that—absent evidence of defamation—a third party website is not required to unmask an anonymous defendant who posted a negative review on the plaintiff’s profile. In so holding, the court adopted an analysis similar to the widely cited Dendrite test for the showing a defamation plaintiff must make on a motion to compel disclosure of a Doe defendant’s identity. Dendrite Int’l, Inc. v. Doe No. 3, 775 A.2d 756 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2001). Commentators have called this a victory for anonymity: before the court will unmask an anonymous internet poster in a defamation suit, the plaintiff must provide evidence supporting her claim.

Lexology and the ABA Journal provide an overview of the case. The popular tech website GeekWire has celebrated the decision for the protection it offers to anonymous internet posters, calling it a “victory for anonymous commenters.”

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Posted On Jul - 20 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Amazon LogoBy Yaping Zhang – Edited by Henry Thomas

On July 6, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a 2-1 opinion allowing watch manufacturer Multi Time Machine (MTM) to continue pursuing its legal action against Amazon.com. The Court reversed the summary judgment order granted by the Central District Court of California and remanded for a new trial, concluding that the likelihood of confusion created by Amazon.com’s search results presented genuine issues of material fact. This case offers an interesting conflict of opinions on how trademark law applies in e-commerce scenarios.

MTM manufactures high-end, military-style watches, which are not sold on Amazon.com because MTM wants to maintain an image as a high-end exclusive brand. When consumers search for MTM watches, they see watches from other brands instead without being notified that Amazon does not sell MTM watches. Unlike Amazon.com, competitors Buy.com and Overstock.com clearly announce that no search results match the “MTM Special Ops” query before listing competitors’ products. The Central District Court of California granted summary judgment to Amazon, holding that an analysis of the eight factors set forth in the 1979 case of AMF Inc. v. Sleekcraft Boats established that there was no likelihood of confusion in Amazon.com’s use of MTM’s trademark in its search engine or display of search results.

Applying the same Sleekcraft factors, the Ninth Circuit reversed and held that under the doctrine of initial interest confusion – which applies “not where a customer is confused about the source of a product at the time of purchase, but earlier in the shopping process” – triable issues of fact existed.

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Posted On Jul - 13 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST


Written by: Aaron Frumkin
Edited by: Anton Ziajka

I.     Introduction
Perched quietly atop a long-dormant volcano on the most isolated landmass of Hawaii, thirteen of the largest and most advanced telescopes known to modern science dutifully survey the night sky, gathering light and information from the nearly unobstructed vantage at the highest point in the Pacific.[1] But long before telescopes and the annexation of Hawaii, Mauna Kea was a tremendous source of astronomical and meteorological understanding. From its peak, native Hawaiians gained much of the profound knowledge necessary to navigate vast distances across the Pacific, sailing from tiny island to tiny island using only skylights — sun, moon, and stars — as their guide.[2]

According to native Hawaiian religion, Mauna Kea is the meeting point between sky and earth, a temple built by the divine creator and the zenith of Hawaii’s ties to creation itself.[3] Believing the machinery desecrates their sacred summit and the scarce natural resources it shelters, native Hawaiians have opposed telescope development on Mauna Kea since it began nearly fifty years ago.[4] Despite this opposition, thirteen telescopes adorn Mauna Kea today.[5] The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), which will be larger and more powerful than any other on Earth, is likely to make fourteen.[6]

The summit land is held by the University of Hawaii, which subleases tracts to telescope corporations in exchange for access to the telescopes.[7] TMT obtained such a sublease and, in September 2010, applied for a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP), seeking permission from the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) to develop on Mauna Kea’s summit.[8] A group of Native Hawaiian residents and environmental groups (“petitioners”) challenged the application before the BLNR.[9] The BLNR approved TMT’s application over petitioners’ objections in February 2011 and reaffirmed its initial decision after an administrative appeal in April 2013.[10] Petitioners then filed an appeal in Hawaii State court challenging the BLNR’s final decision, which is pending as of the time of this writing.[11] While it seems that the native Hawaiians’ beleaguered resistance to telescope development will fail yet again, this Note attempts to articulate their best arguments in hopes of properly framing the social costs associated with the great scientific and technological gains that TMT will surely provide.

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Posted On May - 19 - 2015 2 Comments READ FULL POST
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