A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news

By Ellora Israni – Edited by Filippo Raso

IMDb is challenging the constitutionality of Assembly Bill 1687 (“AB 1687”), a California law requiring IMDb to remove ages from its website upon request from paid subscribers, claiming that the law violates the First Amendment’s free speech protections.



Facebook Blocks British Insurance Company from Basing Premiums on Posts and Likes

By Javier Careaga– Edited by Mila Owen

Admiral Insurance has created an initiative called firstcarquote, which analyzes Facebook activity of first-time car owners. The firstcarquote algorithm determines risk based on personality traits and habits that are linked to safe driving. Firstcarquote was recalled two hours before its official launch and then was launched with reduced functionality after Facebook denied authorization, stating that the initiative breaches Facebook’s platform policy.



Airbnb challenges New York law regulating short-term rentals

By Daisy Joo – Edited by Nehaa Chaudhari

Airbnb filed a complaint in the Federal District Court of the Southern District of New York seeking to “enjoin and declare unlawful the enforcement against Airbnb” of the recent law that prohibits  the advertising of short-term rentals on Airbnb and other similar websites.  Airbnb argued that the new law violated its rights to free speech and due process, and that it was inconsistent with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online intermediaries that host or republish speech from a range of liabilities.



Medtronic v. Bosch post-Cuozzo: PTAB continues to have the final say on inter partes review

By Nehaa Chaudhari – Edited by Grace Truong

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Federal Circuit”) reaffirmed its earlier order, dismissing Medtronic’s appeal against a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). The PTAB had dismissed Medtronic’s petition for inter partes review of Bosch’s patents, since Medtronic had failed to disclose all real parties in interest, as required by 35 U.S.C. §312(a)(2).




California DMV Discuss Rules on Autonomous Vehicles

DOJ Release Guidelines on CFAA Prosecutions

Illinois Supreme Court Rule in Favor of State Provisions Requiring Disclosure of Online Identities of Sex Offenders

Research Shows Concerns for Crucial Infrastructure Information Leaks


Illinois FlagBy Yaping Zhang – Edited by Mila Owen

On April 6, 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (“ACLU”) and the Electronic Freedom Foundation (“EFF”) filed an amicus brief at the Illinois Supreme Court, urging the Court to declare unconstitutional the State’s Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”). SORA imposes jail time on a registered sex offender who fails to report “Internet communications identities” to law enforcement, and broadly applies to such activity writing an online letter to the editor, posting a political comment, or researching health information.

The amicus brief can be found here. Both EFF and ACLU have given their accounts of the case and their reasons for filing the brief.

The Defendant-Appellee in the case, Mr. Minnis, committed a misdemeanor sexual offense several years ago as a juvenile . He served 12 months’ probation and following which was added to the sexual offender registry. He was recently arrested and charged with a Class 3 felony punishable by a year in prison after he failed to report to police a Facebook account to which he had uploaded a photo. SORA, codified at 730 ILCS 150, imposes considerable burdens on registered sex offenders, requiring them to report “all e-mail addresses, instant messaging identities, chat room identities, and other Internet communications identities that the sex offender uses or plans to use, all Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) registered or used by the sex offender, all blogs and other Internet sites maintained by the sex offenders or to which the sex offender has uploaded any content or posted any messages or information ”.


Posted On Apr - 19 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fed. Cir. Flash DigestBy Gia Velasquez – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Federal Court Grants Uber’s Class Action Certification Appeal

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted Uber’s appeal regarding the class action certification of Uber drivers in California. This will stall the case, which concerns whether Uber drivers are employees rather than independent contractors. Uber argued that all drivers forfeited their right to be a member of a class action lawsuit because their contracts contained a binding arbitration clause. Should Uber prevail on appeal, each driver would be forced to individually arbitrate to achieve employee certification.

Independent Contractor Classification of Uber Drivers May Violate Antitrust Laws

A lawsuit alleging Uber violates antitrust laws has been permitted to move forward by U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff. The suit, filed against Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, alleges Uber violates antitrust laws by classifying their drivers as independent contractors, but not permitting them to compete on price. The fares are calculated through an algorithm which cause all drivers to charge the same price, and according to Rakoff, “through the magic of smartphone technology, can invite hundreds of thousands of drivers in far-flung locations to agree to Uber’s terms.”

Self-Driving Car Will Be Considered Autonomous Driver

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the artificial intelligence system in Google’s self-driving car can be considered a driver under federal law. Now, Google faces the challenge of ensuring the system complies with standards designed to apply to vehicles with human drivers. Worried that the technological progress will be impaired by regulation, Chris Urmson, the head of the Google project, said the “leadership of the federal government is critically important given the growing patchwork of state laws and regulations on self-driving cars.”

Posted On Apr - 19 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

European CommissionBy Tim Saviola – Edited by Ariane Moss

Press Release, EU Commission and United States agree on new framework for transatlantic data flows: EU-US Privacy Shield (Strasbourg, February 2, 2016)

The European Commission and the United States have agreed on a new Privacy Shield to govern the usage and protection of data of European citizens when their data passes into the United States. The agreement, announced on February 2, 2016, creates a new set of data protection obligations for US companies when managing data of European citizens. US and EU authorities will also be able to better monitor and enforce the new regime.

Negotiations were prompted by the invalidation of the older “safe harbor” scheme adopted by the European Commission in 2000. Under those provisions, data from European countries could be shared with US companies if certain outlined privacy principles were complied with.  However, after an Austrian citizen complained that his Facebook data was inadequately protected due to US government surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden, the European Court of Justice overturned the safe harbor principles. In the 2015 Schrems decision, the court stated that because US law permitted national security and law enforcement usage of the data to trump the safe harbor data protections, the scheme “enables interference . . . with the fundamental rights of [European] persons.” Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner, 2015 E.C.R. C-362/14.


Posted On Apr - 19 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Department of Justice (DOJ)By Kevin Crenny – Edited by Mila Owen

United States of America v. Safya Roe Yassin, No. 16-mj-2009-DPR (W. D. Mo.) Criminal Complaint available here; Opposition to Motion to Revoke the Detention Order available here (hosted by Washington Post).

In a recent filing, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri argued for the continued pre-trial detention of Safya Roe Yassin, who has been charged with making threatening statements online in support of ISIS. The filing was noteworthy for its reliance not only on the tweets Yassin had published, but those of other ISIS supporters that she had retweeted.

The government’s filing states that in August 2015, Yassin posted a series of tweets indicating support for the “Caliphate State” of ISIS, including calls to violence and releases of names, addresses, and contact information for U.S. military personnel. On August 24, she retweeted tweets from another account that contained the names, cities, and phone numbers of two FBI employees under the heading “Wanted to kill”.


Posted On Apr - 18 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

UnknownBy Gia Velasquez – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

New Jersey Bill Seeks to Ban Texting While Walking

Though 46 states have banned texting while driving, New Jersey Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt introduced a bill that seeks to extend the texting ban to pedestrians.  Since a 2013 nationwide study at The Ohio State University reported 1,500 emergency room visits in 2010 for injuries sustained texting while walking, the problem has grown. Though a recent survey reported 78 percent of adults agree distracted walking is a serious problem, 49 percent believe they do “not at all” text, read emails/websites, play games, or take selfies. If passed, violators of the texting while walking statute could be fined up to $50 or imprisoned.

“Unreasonable” Behavior During Litigation Cost Video Website $30,000

In September 2015, Garfum.com, a small video website, claimed a Pennsylvania photographer infringed on their patent, entitled “Method of sharing multi-media content among users in a global computer network” by hosting photo contests on her website, Bytephoto. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took on Ruth Taylor’s case pro bono, and Garfum.com dropped the case. The EFF then sued Garfum.com for attorney’s fees, for which a New Jersey District Court has awarded Taylor $30,000. U.S. Chief District Judge Jerome Simandle found Garfum.com’s conduct during litigation was “unreasonable” and that the suit was brought in bad faith.

California Medical Device Company Fails to Meet Internal Standards

Theranos, Inc., a California-based medical testing company, is under scrutiny after a 121-page report issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) showed the company failed to meet their own internal standards regarding the accuracy of their Edison testing device. Valued at $9 billion in February 2014, Theranos promised only a few finger pricks could produce results for over 200 medical tests. CMS showed that 29% of the quality-control checks fell short of the expectations set forth by Theranos. Theranos responded to the report by “proactively suspending testing associated with any affected areas last year after learning of the issues” and planning to hire a new full-time lab director.

Posted On Apr - 11 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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