The Race to 5G

By: Geovanny Mora

5G capability will be the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) gift to America by the end of this year.  The technology is expected to be built into the networks of carriers such as AT&T, and will be deployed by other major carriers by next year.[1]  5G sparked interest back in 2015 subsequently causing millions to be invested into grants for experimentation.[2]  5G is the “next generation of internet connectivity, essentially offering faster speeds and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices. . . .”[3]  5G works by utilizing “a higher-frequency band of the wireless spectrum called millimeter wave.” Unfortunately, because the millimeter waves do not travel as far as previous wireless networks, 5G will require more antennas.[4]

 

The need for more antennas has the possibility of intruding onto health and property rights.[5]  Initial health concerns are always common for new technologies, such as when the public became concerned with emission on the release of cellphones and microwaves.  5G will be regulated by the FCC but “the FCC is not a health agency.”[6]  “The FCC only regulates communications and methods for limiting electromagnetic interference between radio frequency (RF) energy”[7]  Part of the health safety concerns stems from Congressional action pushing to streamline and expedite 5G implementation.[8]  Groups opposed to its expedited implementation seek “comprehensive review of the current RF emission.”[9]

 

Opposition to 5G’s hurried implementation has also been heard in court. This October, the D.C. Circuit refused to suspend the FCC’s “rule intended to accelerate the deployment of infrastructure to support the next generation network.”[10]  The petitioners, consolidated with The Natural Resource Defense Council and numerous tribes, argued that the FCC rule exempting 5G antennas from certain environmental and historical regulatory reviews would blemish natural and cultural sites.[11]  The tribes are fighting the FCC’s order, which declared that the act of deploying antennas necessary to support 5G networks, “does not constitute a ‘federal taking’ or a ‘major federal action.’”[12]  In one of the many motions opposing the FCC’s order, it was argued that the FCC’s order would cause “irreparable harm if not stopped by the court.”[13]  The tribes also argued that the FCC failed to consult the Native American governments; interestingly FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, dissenting on the order passing, stated that the “vote should have been delayed to more closely assess the real world impacts on tribes . . . .”[14]  In sum the FCC’s hurried approach to 5G implementation, along with America, will also “gift” the legal world with litigation in the areas o

[1] Growing Demands for Computation Power Taxing Networks, WASHINGTON INTERNET DAILY (Sept. 21, 2018) https://advance.lexis.com/api/permalink/f5cae2e5-f4c9-47cf-8725-cfdd7c7eadcf/?context=1000516.

[2] New Rules for CBRS Band get FCC ok Over Rosenworcel Dissent, WASHINGTON INTERNET DAILY (Oct 24, 2018) https://advance.lexis.com/api/permalink/86baa5d6-5734-4889-9ee1-bf4f966490df/?context=1000516.

[3] Mike Moore, What is 5G? Everything you Need to Know, TECHRADAR (last updated Oct. 25, 2018) https://www.techradar.com/news/what-is-5g-everything-you-need-to-know.

[4] Matthew Frankel, What is 5G?, FOOL, https://www.fool.com/knowledge-center/what-is-5g.aspx (last visited Oct. 25, 2018).

[5] Email from William N. Sosis, NEW JERSEY STATE BAR ASSOCIATION COMMUNITY NET, to Young Lawyers Division (Oct. 8, 2018 7:45PM).

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Streamline Small-cell Deployment act Opponents Cite 5G RF Emission Concerns, Existing Issues, WASHINGTON INTERNET DAILY (Oct. 17, 2018) https://advance.lexis.com/api/permalink/7d06995a-2b6c-4d84-8355-dd864fc713c1/?context=1000516; see also Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by removing barriers to Infrastructure Investment, FCC 18-133 (FCC Sept. 26, 2018) (Declaratory ruling and third report and order); see also STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, S. 3157, 115th Cong. (2018).

[9] Streamline Small-cell Deployment act Opponents Cite 5G RF Emissions Concerns, Existing Issues, supra note 8.

[10] Kelcee Griffis, DC Circ. Won’t Halt FCC’s Next-Gen Rule Amid Challenges, LAW360 (Aug. 15, 2018) https://advance.lexis.com/api/permalink/128a79c9-1579-4328-a26b-948ee1b3b3bd/?context=1000516.

[11] Id.

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Id; see also Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by removing barriers to Infrastructure Investment, supra note 8.

Every Step You Take, Google’s Watching You

By: Hannah Andrade

When a person makes the decision, a personal and privacy-based choice to shut off Location History on their phone, one would think the Location History disabling action is final. One would assume in making that choice that they are free from any kind of tracking or recording. A person would believe the company that provides that option to disable Location History would abide by the user’s decision. Unfortunately, Google does not oblige to its own consumers. According to a recent report, “Google records users’ locations even when they have asked it not to.”[1] This alarming infringement can impact approximately two billion Apple and Android telephone users who were using Google search or maps. [2]

Google has been recording and tracking its users whether the location history has been turned on or off.[3] Google even “stores a snapshot of where you are when you open the Maps app.”[4] Even when completing an unrelated or simple search, a user’s longitude and latitude are identified.[5] The study demonstrates that despite a researcher from Princeton using an Android with location history disabled, Google continued to track the researcher and save the location markers.[6] Google continues to store information that is generated by the searches and uses of other applications, such as the Maps app.[7]

Various politicians have spoken out against this discovery.[8] Democratic congressman Frank Pallone even suggests how there should be improved data security legislation that can deter this type of circumstance from occurring.[9] Furthermore, this situation contradicts legal authority deterring or dissuading this type of action from organizations such as Google.[10] According to the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and Data Protection Act of 2018, companies should oblige to a “legal duty to be open, transparent and fair with the public about how their personal data is used.”[11]

Google violates the GDPR and the Data Protection Act of 2018, as they continue to store location data until the user turns off both the Location History and Web & App Activity.[12] Many technology companies, such as Google, have not been compliant with the Act nor have companies been transparent with their privacy settings. Additionally, Google has allowed advertisers to track the success of online advertisements, relying on the location history.[13] Companies are demonstrating they are slyly repudiating GDPR and Data Protection laws, by making privacy options difficult for its users.

The GDPR is relevant to technology companies as it is an EU law that alters the collection and usage of personal data.[14] Companies even outside of the EU are required to follow the rules if they offer their amenities or services throughout the EU—including Google.[15] The big tech companies should abide by regulations such as the GDPR, for their own benefit and for their consumers.

 

[1] Jane Wakefield, Google tracks users who turn off location history, BBC News (last visited Sept. 1, 2018, 1:15 PM), https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-45183041?ns_source=facebook&ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] See Wakefield.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Id.

[13]See Wakefield.

[14] Chris Foxx, Google and Facebook accused of breaking GDPR laws, BBC News (last visited Sept. 1, 2018, 3:00 PM), https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44252327.

[15] Id.

3D Printed Guns: Questions, Fears, Regulations

By: Anya Sahaydachny

The spate of school shootings, particularly Parkland, has reinvigorated calls for gun control.[1] Emerging 3D gun printing technology adds a new dimension to the gun control debate. 3D gun printing, while still developing, raises calls for regulation because it enables anyone, regardless of age, mental health, or criminal history, to download and print weapons that are very difficult to detect even with metal detectors, without the registration and traceability of standard guns.[2] Online distribution of downloadable and printable gun plans raises risks that courts and regulators are beginning to confront. While violent crimes involving 3D printed guns have yet to be reported, lawmakers and politicians are beginning to act in anticipation of widespread availability of such technology.[3]

In 2013 when Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed published blueprints for 3D printed guns to Defense Distributed’s website, the US Department of State deemed that a violation of the Arms Export Control Act and, exercising its jurisdiction under the Act, demanded their removal.[4] In 2015, Wilson sued the US government on free speech grounds.[5] Yet, despite prevailing against Defense Distributed’s attempts to get a TRO pending trial, the Government (now under Trump) settled the case last July.[6] The settlement stipulates that banning online publication of 3D gun plans violated Defense Distributed’s First Amendment rights.[7]

Subsequently, nine states (Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia) jointly sued the Trump administration for its decision to allow 3D printable guns online, specifically naming Wilson’s organization.[8] In addition, Attorneys General from 21 different states sent a joint letter to the State Department and Department of Justice, requesting an injunction blocking the sharing of 3D printed gun plans.[9]

As recently as August 1, 2018, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against online distribution of 3D printable gun files by chief distributor Defense Distributed.[10] However, Defense Distributed has circumvented that order by releasing the files through a different website, a tactic that could be exploited by others to bypass such court rulings.[11] This has added significance because, once available, consumers can redistribute blueprints without obstruction.

While effectiveness of litigation is yet undetermined, the recent settlement sets a dangerous legal precedent for unhindered online publication of 3D gun plans. However, strong opposition from Democratic lawmakers, who have introduced legislation in Congress, and from gun safety groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to open access to 3D gun blueprints, and recent legal actions, signify a growing awareness of the serious threat to public safety posed by the proliferation of 3D gun printing.[12] Time will tell if lawmakers and public officials act in anticipation of that threat before it ushers in a new wave of school and other mass shootings.

[1] Jeremy Ghez, Gun Control in America: Why This Time It Could Be Different, (Feb. 27, 2018), forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/hecparis/2018/02/27/gun-control-in-america-why-this-time-it-could-be-different/#7b80f97254af.

[2] Katilin Benz and Sean Hollister, 3D Printed Guns: 19 states sue, nationwide restraining order granted, (Aug. 3 2018), cnet https://www.cnet.com/news/3d-printed-guns-19-states-sue-nationwide-restraining-order-granted/.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.; see also 22 • U.S.C.§ 39 (2012).

[5] Defense Distributed v. United States Dept. of State 838 F.3d 451, 453-476.

[6] Benz, Hollister, supra note 1.

[7] See Defense Distributed, 838 F.3d 451, 453-476.

[8]Tyler Koslow, 3D Printed Gun Report – All You Need to Know in 2018, (Aug. 1, 2018), all3dp, https://all3dp.com/3d-printed-gun-firearm-weapon-parts/.

[9] Id.

[10] Deirdre Shesgreen and Josh Hafner, Courts in three states bar release of 3D-printable gun blueprints, (Jul. 31, 2018),  usa today, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/07/31/3-d-printable-guns-donald-trump/870557002/.

[11]Koslow, supra note 7.

[12] Id.

Sustainability of Cryptocurrency Mining

By: Amanda Gulli

When you envision the word mining, you assume extracting some metal or mineral from the Earth. However, this is 2018 and the new mining extracts bitcoins from the internet.

  1. What is a bitcoin?

Since its inception in 2008 by a mysterious author named Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin has catapulted the financial industry into a new realm of digital currency.[1] This digital currency uses a decentralized public ledger that records all information known as blockchain.[2] Blockchain is not controlled by any single institution but instead maintained by its anonymous users.[3] To use blockchain, a user must have a “node” which is a computer that runs the bitcoin software.[4] Furthermore, some nodes are “miners” which collect unresolved transactions into blocks adding them to the blockchain.[5]

  1. What is mining?

The process which verifies and adds transactions to the blockchain is called mining.[6] Each time a miner adds a new block to the blockchain she is rewarded with bitcoins.[7] To add a block, a user must compose new transactions and then decipher a problematic mathematical puzzle.[8] The difficulty of the puzzles varies on the number of miners in the network.[9] The more miners, the more difficult the computational puzzles are.[10] The network adjusts the difficulty because it wants to keep the rate of new blocks constant.[11] Not only does mining incentivize users, it also acts as the sole function in the bitcoin operation that “enables the currency to be safely and predictably created without” a centralized system.[12]

  • Mining a pollutant?

Bitcoin is contributing to global warming because it takes an astonishing amount of electricity to mine.[13] It is estimated that the bitcoin network total energy usage per year is 31 terawatt-hours per year which is more than what 150 countries produce annually.[14] For more perspective, Visa estimated energy use is equivalent of 50,000 US households to perform 350 million transaction, whereas bitcoin’s 350,000 transactions energy equivalent is 2.8 million US households.[15] Industry experts estimate that by 2019 the bitcoin network will need more electricity than the entire United States. [16] Bitcoin is on a trajectory that is not only unsustainable but also dangerous to the world.

  1. Crypto-governance

As governments try to regulate cryptocurrency through policy and legislation, they must also attach environmental standards. Certain restrictions can incentivize bitcoin to create a more innovative system that is environmentally stable. Environmentalist Guillaume Chapron suggests lawyers need to develop “smart contracts” that are established in the blockchain network’s code instead of language making it accessible all over the world.[17] Additionally, smart contracts would set up independent digital entities within blockchain to manage and guarantee that the energy being used is clean. [18]

[1] Noelle Acheson, What is Bitcoin?, CoinDesk (Jan. 26, 2018), https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-bitcoin/ (last visited Sept. 26, 2018)

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Noelle Acheson, How Bitcoin Mining Works, CoinDesk (Jan. 29, 2018), https://www.coindesk.com/information/how-bitcoin-mining-works/ (last visited Sept. 26, 2018)

[5] Id.

[6] Bitcoin Mining, Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bitcoin-mining.asp (last visited on Sept. 26, 2018)

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Bitcoin Mining, supra note 6.

[13] Eric Holthaus, Bitcoin Mining Guzzles Energy and Its Carbon Footprint Just Keeps Growing, Wired, (Dec. 6, 2017), https://www.wired.com/story/bitcoin-mining-guzzles-energyand-its-carbon-footprint-just-keeps-growing/ (last visited Sept. 26, 2018)

[14] Id.

[15] Nicole Kobie, How Much Energy Does Bitcoin Really Use, (Dec. 2, 2017), https://www.wired.co.uk/article/how-much-energy-does-bitcoin-mining-really-use (last visited Sept. 26, 2018)

[16] Holthaus, supra note 13.

[17] Guillaume Chapron, The Environment Needs Cryptogovernance, Nature, (May 22, 2017) https://www.nature.com/news/the-environment-needs-cryptogovernance-1.22023 (last visited Sept. 26, 2018)

[18] Id.

Happy 20th Birthday DMCA! Is it Time Now for a Safe Harbor Face Lift?

By: Sherry Gelenius

Two decades have passed since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was enacted on October 28, 1998 by President Clinton.[1] This landmark legislation was a significant step in updating U.S. copyright law to keep pace with the Internet. It was intended to be a quick, cheap, and easy means to resolve online copyright disputes, but it’s now showing its age.[2] Due to changes in data consumption and a dramatic increase in data volume,[3] the DMCA is no longer able to keep up with the explosion of on-line infringement possibilities (now including music and video), and its safe harbor protection for Online Service Providers (OSPs) is being strained by countless infringements not envisioned twenty years ago.[4]

Why do we care? We care because OSPs are more likely to automate their takedown process and remove content, and even whole websites, rather than be subject to losing their safe harbor status. We care because today more users are using Internet-based services, not just for entertainment, but also for essential life services, such as emergency notifications and phone connections.[5] The loss of these services, even for a short period, has far-reaching effects.

The first issue with the DMCA is the vagueness of the safe harbor language addressing the Repeat Infringer Termination Policy (R.I.P.) threshold.  The DMCA does not explain how this threshold is to be “reasonably implemented,”[6] and the courts have differed in their interpretation of a reasonable threshold.[7] Most recently, the court in BMG Rights Management v. Cox Communications[8] found that Cox should lose its safe harbor provision for not having a reasonable R.I.P., although they followed a thirteen-strike policy.[9] Because of these inconsistencies,  OSPs are now more likely to follow the DMCA process strictly and first remove content with little regard to repercussions for users. Instead, these OSPs will allow the process[10] (Figure 1) to determine if and when the content is reinstated.[11]

Figure 1: DMCA Takedown Notice Steps

The second issue with the DMCA has to do with the increase in the number of takedown notices received by OSPs. Google processes over seventy-five million takedown notices each month, an average of over 2 million per day. [12] This is up from only a few dozen a year in 2008.[13] This dramatic increase is due largely to a form of spamming.[14] Bots are being used to find infringements and then submit the takedown notices in an automated manner. The issue with bots seeking infringements is that they are not discerning, i.e., “[n]early 30 percent of requests to remove copyrighted material are of questionable validity . . . In millions of cases, the content targeted didn’t even match the copyrighted work, the majority of which was music or adult entertainment.”[15] As expected, some of these false identifications are resulting in the content of non-infringers being taken down, and “[t]hat’s a big problem for the [DMCA] procedures that are often considered the legal backbone of the Internet.”[16]

While the DMCA was revolutionary twenty years ago, an arbitrary takedown process is no longer viable. The increase in the number of Internet users and the essential need for Internet services, on a consistent basis, requires changes to the DMCA. Reform of the safe harbor provisions to accommodate the changes in technology, the changes in the areas in which violations are being found, and the enormous growth in Internet users is needed to ensure essential services are not halted due to a rogue bot.

So, Happy Birthday DMCA . . . and may there be many more!

[1] Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512 (1998).

[2] Your Website May Be 84 Years Old in Internet Time, The Profitable Firm,  (Nov. 14, 2014), https://theprofitablefirm.com/website-may-84-years-old-internet-time, (“Just as one year of human life equals seven years for dogs, there is also a life-multiplier for Internet-years. Some estimate it to be as high as 27 to one, which makes this Act now a staggering 540 years-old!”).

[3] Tom Hale, How Much Data Does The World Generate Every Minute?, IFL Science, (Jul. 26, 2017: 9:38 PM), https://www.iflscience.com/technology/how-much-data-does-the-world-generate-every-minute, (“In 2016 there were 3.7 billion Internet users and 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated each day.”).

[4] Mitchell Zimmerman, Your DMCA Safe Harbor Questions Answered, Fenwick & West, (2017), https://www.fenwick.com/FenwickDocuments/DMCA-QA.pdf, (“The four safe harbors cover claims arising from the OSP having: (1) Hosted, stored and made infringing matter available if it was stored at the direction of users (the Storage Safe Harbor, § 512(c)); (2) Transmitted, routed or provided connections (for example, telephone lines) for digital online connections for infringing material transmitted by users (the Transmission Safe Harbor, § 512(a)); (3) Cached infringing material on a system or network, when the material was initially made available by someone else (the Caching Safe Harbor, § 512(b)); or (4) Provided links or referred users to online locations containing infringing matter or activity (the Search Engine or Information Location Tools Safe Harbor, § 512(d))”).

[5] Mark Surman, Internet Access is an Essential Part of Life, But The Quality of That Access Can Vary Wildly,  Community Based Solutions, (May 5, 2017), https://qz.com/976013/internet-access-is-an-essential-part-of-life-but-the-quality-of-that-access-can-vary-wildly.

[6] 17 U.S.C. § 512 (c)(i)(1)(A) (1998).

[7] Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC, 481 F.3d 751 (9th Cir. 2007), (The Ninth Circuit in Perfect 10 v. CCBill suggested reasonableness “if, under ‘appropriate circumstances,’ the service provider terminates users who repeatedly or blatantly infringe copyright.”); see also Corbis Corp. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 351 F. Supp. 2d 1090, 1104 (W.D. Wash. 2004) (“Some courts have held that this determination requires proof the OSPs have actual knowledge of the ‘user’s blatant, repeat infringement of a willful and commercial nature.’”).

[8] BMG Rights Mgmt. (US) LLC v. Cox Communs., Inc., 881 F.3d 293 (4th Cir. 2018).

[9] Anthony Rutkowski, DMCA Compliance Becomes a Serious Obligation for ISPs, Yaana, (Feb. 15, 2018), https://www.yaanatech.com/dmca-compliance-becomes-serious-obligation.isps.

[10] A Guide to YouTube RemovalsA Guide to YouTube Removals, Electronic Frontier Foundation, (Aug. 30, 2018), https://www.eff.org/issues/intellectual-property/guide-to-youtube-removals (“Description of DMCA takedown steps. Step 1: The rightsholder initiates the process by submitting a DMCA notice; Step 2: The OSP is obligated to initiate a takedown, as long as the notice is properly completed; Step 3 is one of two paths: 3a- the user accepts the takedown and the process ends or 3b – the user files a Counter Notice indicating why the content is not an infringement. If a valid Counter Notice is filed, then Step 4 has one of two paths: Step 4a -the rightsholder has 14 days to file a lawsuit or Step 4b – if 14 days have lapsed and no lawsuit has been filed, the OSP automatically restores the content”).

[11] Haley Fine, Consequences of BMG Rights Management v. Cox Communications, Public Knowledge Blog, (Dec. 1, 2016), https://www.publicknowledge.org/news-blog/blogs/consequences-of-bmg-rights-management-v-cox-communications.

[12] Gina Hall, How Many Copyright Takedown Notices Does Google Handle Each Day? About 2 Million, (Mar. 7, 2016), https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2016/03/07/how-many-copyright-takedown-notices-does-google.html.

[13] Id.

[14] Jonathan Bailey, The DMCA’s Spam Problem, (Apr. 20, 2015), https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2015/04/20/the-dmcas-spam-problem.

[15] Mark Fahey (@marktfahey), Blame the Robots for Copyright Notice Dysfunction, The Big Crunch with Eric Chemi, (Mar. 31, 2016: 12:13 PM ET), https://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/29/blame-the-robots-for-copyright-notice-dysfunction.html.

[16] Id.

The Regulation of Microtransactions in Online Gaming

By: Justin Hill

  1. Online Gaming

Since the year 2000, online player-to-player communication has become a paramount component in products released in the video game industry. Whereas traditional video games were centered around a quest or adventure which the player would try to complete, technological advancements have allowed players to communicate with fellow console owners around the world. The early stages of this player-to-player system began with consoles such as Atari ST and Macintosh, that allowed users to connect their devices via a MIDI input/output wire. In 1993, gaming platforms were expanded to include player-to-player competition through local area networks.[2] Sega Dreamcast was one of the first internet based consoles to gain widespread popularity, and it has been regarded as a precursor in online gaming in that the internet was at the core of the console’s setup and general functions.[3] In the early 2000’s, internet capabilities developed, computer processor technologies improved and the cost of technology dropped; allowing for easier and more efficient access to multiplayer internet opportunities offered by gaming consoles at that time.[4] In more recent years many consoles have an online component that improves the gameplay and interactivity of its games.

  1. Microtransactions

Microtransactions refer to a small financial transactions that take place on digital platforms such as gaming consoles and cell phone applications. These transactions generally involve the sale of in app or in game content through the use and sharing of credit card information. Recent studies have found that some in game purchases can be traded outside their respective games, effectively giving the purchases a real market value. Other in game features such as mystery boxes, where a player’s credit card is charged once per use, encourage players to spend more money in order to increase their chances of finding a rare item. These slot features have been identified as having potential addictive qualities not unlike those in online slot and casino venues. In response to a large volume of complaints regarding the effects of Microtransactions on the average player’s gaming experience, video game manufacturer Electronic Arts (EA) has, “overhauled [its] game’s microtransaction and progression systems, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers in the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, and elsewhere from pursuing regulations against what they consider predatory practices and gambling for children.”

Games such as Battlefront and NBA 2K, that include casino like microtransactional features, should be regulated and monitored to ensure that these new age games do not circumvent established restrictions on American gambling or any international prohibitions on internet betting. Additionally, since video games are often marketed to a young audience, there is a potentially harmful risk of catalyzing or creating gambling and other additive tendencies in minors and other vulnerable groups

[1]Riad Chikhani, The History of Gaming: An Evolving Community, Tech Crunch (Oct. 31, 2015), https://techcrunch.com/2015/10/31/the-history-of-gaming-an-evolving-community/

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] What Are Micro Transactions and How Do Developers Use Them, Super Rewards (last visited Sept. 6, 2018), http://www.superrewards.com/micro-transactions

[6] Stefanie Fogel, Some Video Game Publishers Could Face Legal Action Over Loot Boxes in Netherlands, Variety (Apr. 19, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/loot-boxes-law-1202764617/

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

The Importance of Neutrality in Technology-Forcing

By: VeJay Vicino

Concerns about the ways countries generate their energy have grown steadily over the second half of the 20th and continued to grow in the 21st century. The United States legislature attempted to assuage a number of these concerns in the 1970’s with the passage of the Clean Air Act.[1] The Clean Air Act is a piece of legislation that requires industries to meet emission standards that technology has not yet made possible.[2] Setting goals or requirements that are not yet possible is referred to as “technology-forcing”. The establishing of industry standard emission limits has allowed members of various industries a great deal of freedom in developing and licensing new technology to meet these requirements.[3] Limits on emissions as well as cap and trade taxation schemes are examples of “technology-neutral” forms of technology-forcing. These schemes are referred to as being technology neutral because they do not prescribe any specific ways in which emissions should be reduced. Technology-neutral legislation establishes an economic incentive to have a smaller environmental impact through any available means.[4]
While emission limits and taxing schemes are generally technologically neutral, other there exists other forms of technology-forcing legislations that are not.[5] When Obama was running for office in 2008, he made campaign promises to pass legislation that would require 25 percent of American electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2025.[6] This proposed legislation would be an example of legislation that is not technology-neutral, as it prescribes exactly what kind of technologies must be developed in order to generate our country’s electricity. The issue with non-neutral approaches to technology forcing is that is that it forces the industries to invest their time and resources into developing technology in specific areas that may be less efficient than others. This may be a problem for developing or rapidly industrializing countries as they attempt to develop infrastructure that allows their people to be more productive.
An example of the issues non-neutral policies can produce is readily observed with the current energy situation in China. China is a rapidly industrializing country that began technology-forcing policies in areas such as auto-emissions and energy production in 2010. China has aggressively pursued these technologies to reduce urban smog and increase industrial development.[7] Chinese success in technology-neutral emissions standards led to massive joint ventures between Chinese and American companies. An example of this success is the $765 million dollars that Ford has recently committed towards building electric vehicles alongside a Chinese based partner.[8] However, China’s attempts to use non-neutral technology-forcing policy to generate increased reliance on solar and wind have been far less successful.[9]
The amount of power generated from coal in the first 7 years of China’s reliance on industrialized coal consumption far outgrew the amount of energy generated from wind and solar in the same span of time over a decade later.[10] China’s rapid growth as a world power was largely reliant on the energy coal produced during this span. However, despite massive investments China’s wind and solar energy efforts have been largely unsuccessful. An example of this can be seein in the Xinjiang Uighur region, where issues resulting from grid constraints have led to large amount of the energy generated by the windfarms in this region being wasted.[11] Thus, while technology-forcing as a way to cut emissions has lead to advancements in technology in the various areas industries see promise in has been quite effective, the mandatory focus on renewable sources of energy for a percentage of a countries power seems to be an less effective solution for a majority of the world’s countries.
  1. Ann Johnson, Environmental regulations and the technological development in the U.S. auto industry, Washington Center for Equitable Growth (May 2016), https://equitablegrowth.org/research-paper/environmental-regulation-technological-development-u-s-auto-industry/
  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  4. Schalk Cloete, The dangers of green technology-forcing, Energy Post (May 3,2018), http://energypost.eu/the-dangers-of-green-technology-forcing/
  5. Id.
  6. Louis Jacobson, Cap-and-trade bill died, though other trenchers may achieve goal without a law, Politifact (November 8th, 2012), https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/444/require-25-percent-renewable-energy-by-2025/
  7. Greg Dotson, Why EPA’s U-Turn on Auto Efficiency Rules Gives China the Upper Hand, EcoWatch (March 29th, 2018), https://www.ecowatch.com/epa-automobiles-pollution-china-2554480585.html
  8. Id.
  9. Cloete, supra note 3
  10. Id.
  11. Coco Liu, Facing Grid Constraints, China Puts a Chill on New Wind Energy Projects, Inside Climate News (March 28, 2016), https://insideclimatenews.org/news/28032016/china-wind-energy-projects-suspends-clean-energy-climate-change

Forced Labeling Guidelines for Clean Meat Violates the First Amendment

By: Sam Taddeo

In the March 1932 issue of the magazine Popular Mechanics, a well-known quote by Winston Churchill reads: “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”[1] The idea was far-fetched at the time, and even now, seventy plus years hence, supermarket coolers have yet to see the appearance of such meat. However, while it hasn’t made it to market yet, laboratories across the country have begun creating this futuristic food that goes by a variety of names: cultured meat, clean meat, synthetic meat, in vitro meat, etc., and with its arrival has also arrived a new dispute in law. On Tuesday August 28, the general assembly of the state of Missouri passed Senate Bill Nos. 627 and 925, the first pieces of state legislation to regulate the labeling of the term “meat” on food labels.[2]
Supporters of the law, which includes groups such as the Missouri Cattlemens Association, argue that equivalent labeling will lead to consumer confusion and be detrimental to the interests of ranchers who take the care and time to raise livestock for consumption.[3] Supporters also point to the definitions of meat in state statutes, such as Missouri’s, which would lead to inconsistencies if alternative meat producers are allowed to engage in equivalent labeling.[4]
The opposition to the law, which includes clean meat supporters such as the Good Foods Institute, argue that it violates the 1st Amendment and is discriminatory against out-of state companies that compete with those that are in-state.[5] A main contention among alternative meat producers is that they should be free to label their products as they wish so long as their packaging clearly lists the ingredients for consumers to see.[6] Regulating the labeling of clean mean products carries the risk of inflicting negative impressions with consumers. Words that have been proposed to be a component of the labels, such as “biotech,” carry negative connotations with many, if not most, consumers, and could negatively impact the companies’ bottom line.[7]
In today’s world of ever complicating technology, consumers are often left none the wiser when confronted with an increasingly diverse and sophisticated array of choices. Statutes like the one passed in Missouri add a new layer of confusion. Although produced in an alternative manner, lab-grown meat shares the same basis as its conventional counterpart, being produced from animal cells.[8] Producers of clean meat should be allowed to exercise their commercial speech as they see fit. To not have the freedom to do so could subject them to injury to their brand and reputation. Clean meat is our future and deserves the full support of our lawmaking bodies.
  1. Winston Churchill, Fifty Years Hence, Popular Mechanics, Mar. 1932, at 390.
  2. S. B. 627 & 925, 99th Gen. Assembl., Reg. Sess. (Mo. 2018).
  3. Press Release, Missouri Cattleman’s Assoc., Missouri Cattlemen’s Fake Meat Bill Passes, (May 17, 2018) (on file with author).
  4. Id. (“The current definition of meat in Missouri Statutes is:  ‘any edible portion of livestock or poultry carcass or part thereof.’”).
  5. Matt Ball, GFI Goes to Court for First Amendment, The Good Foods Inst.: Blog (Sept. 7, 2018, 10:00AM), https://www.gfi.org/gfi-goes-to-court-for-first-amendment.
  6. Tofurky Sues to Stop Missouri law over meat terminology, Ap news (Sept. 7, 2018), https://apnews.com/80be8d989eb04d909dbdf073036f6dbb.
  7. Zachary Schneider, Comment, In Vitro Meat: Space Travel, Cannibalism, and Federal Regulation, 50 Hous. L. Rev. 991, 1021 (2013) (proposing the adoption of the adjective “biotech” as part of a federal regulation scheme for labeling clean meat).
  8. Complaint at 3, Turtle Island Foods et al. v. Richardson et al., No. 18-CV-4173 (W.D. Mo. Aug. 27, 2018).

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE UNVEILING OF 5G TECHNOLOGY

By: Andrew Strafaci

Telecommunication companies have set a  2020 deadline for the unveiling of functional 5G networks, legislators at the local, state, and federal levels will need to actively consider the legal effects that the new technology will have on our society. 5G networks will allow downloadable bandwidth speeds of up to 20 gigabytes per second (to put this into perspective 4G LTE networks, currently the fastest available, allow 1 gigabyte per second).[1] When fully integrated into our society, 5G could make the most recent technological advancements seem archaic. The potential advancements that 5G will provide, as well as the means of installing the network itself, will create an urgent need to reexamine an expansive list of laws ranging from privacy, to property rights.
5G will jumpstart the next leap in technological advancements. The ability to transfer almost 20 times the amount of data that current networks can provide will be a catalyst for the redefinition of every day apps and social media, as well as powering both the “internet of things” and self-autonomous vehicles.[2] However, with new technology comes a need to reexamine the law, and how it will need to adapt in a constantly changing world. Exponentially increased data speeds will allow an individual to stream a high definition movie to their phone with the ease of watching a Snapchat video.[3] It will also allow individual users to upload such videos.[4] Theoretically, the way in which people interact on social media could transition to predominantly video messages.[5] to copyright can become more when everyone can upload a movie about their daily life on a whim. Yet even these legal arguments pale in comparison to the issues of liability when 5G networks allow self-driving cars to communicate regularly with each other and their surroundings, effectively eliminating the need for a human driver.[6]
Before the advancements can become a reality, the network itself must be installed, which requires hurdling a litany of property rights issues.[7] 5G networks are powered by small-cell radio antennas.[8] and cellular service by numerous large cell towers that broadcast a signal to miles of surrounding area mall cell systems will shrink that broadcast down to a mere couple of dozen feet.[9] nstead of one cell tower covering a area, companies will roll out hundreds of small antennas in discrete locations, creating a web-like network.[10] With shorter distances to travel, larger amounts of information can be transferred between antennas, and with more reliable accuracy.[11]
cells being installed within right of way. Predominantly, telecom companies have turned to utility poles and street signs as reliable mounting points for 5G radios.[12] In response, local municipalities have begun to fight, and sometimes prohibit, companies from intruding on public right of way for further utility installations.[13] Companies have turned to either case law, the Telecom Act of 1996, and more recent state legislation in order to prevent local government blocking of network installations.[14] Often, the issue at hand is negotiating rental fees for mounting antennas within the public right of way.[15] While municipalities seek higher fees to justify public interest, telecom companies argue that high rental fees will greatly undermine the efforts of creating the next wireless internet network.[16]
he issue turns to state legislators, who can either limit or enhance the power of municipalities.
  1. Tim Fisher, How reG and G Different?, Lifewire (Sep. 12, 2018),
  2. Michael Nunez, What s 5G and How illt Make My Life Better?, Gizmodo (Feb. 24,2016),
  3. Alissa Fleck, The Shift rom 4G to 5G ill Change Just About Everything Adweek (Jun. 18, 2018),
  4. Id.
  5. Nathan . Greenblatt, Self-Driving Cars ill e Ready Before ur Laws Are, IEEE (Jan. 19, 2016),
  6. Carey L. Byron, Cities Argue 5G Internet Rollout Laws Violate Property Rights, The Christian Science Monitor (Mar. 2, 2018)
  7. See
  8. Rick Boucher, Clearing a Way for a 5G Wireless World, Bloomberg Law (Nov. 15, 2017),
  9. Jonathan Babcock, Joshua Turner, and Anna Gomez, 5G Deployment Faces Unique Challenges Across The US, Law 360 (Aug. 1, 2017),
  10. See.
  11. See

Web 3.0- A Decentralized Future?

By: John Meyer
In today’s online environment we are faced with rapid innovation and creation, especially when referring to data integration, collection, and utilization. Since its inception the internet has grown to gargantuan size boasting an incredible 4.4 billion active users worldwide.[1] This tremendous influx of users has changed the very structure of the internet. The idea of read-only web pages has long since passed to now feature highly interactive user created content.[2] This era of user created content taking the forefront of internet activity is known as Web 2.0, and is the current iteration of internet we exist in.[3]
As user content and input began to generate value it became important for corporations to collect and utilize user data.  This data, such as web behavior, device information, and personal information is collected by corporations, and are often stored in “centralized” data warehouses[4] through the use of cookies, and other tracking methods.[5] A centralized data warehouse is a collection of information in a single location that serves the needs of multiple entities, usually businesses, allowing for access from multiple locations at fast speeds.[6]
Concerns are raised, however, regarding the vulnerability of centralized data stores to breaches in privacy. If personal data stores serving multiple large corporations are in one location, then one breach could mean compromised personal data of thousands of individuals. As the United States does not have a single cohesive statute governing the use of commercial user data, but rather a patchwork of laws such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act[7], the Federal Trade Commission Act[8], or privacy torts, remedies are limited and regulations are loose.[9] Faced with privacy issues and vulnerability of individual data, Web 3.0 seeks to ameliorate some of these concerns.
While Web 2.0 revolved around the collection and centralization of user data, Web 3.0 seeks to do away with the idea of centralized data by integrating both AI and user input coupled with Blockchain technology to access and utilize data across multiple platforms to deepen and enhance web experiences while maintaining control over one’s own data.[10] By melding AI and user input, the integrated AI learns a user’s “context” and creates relevant searches and experiences for the user by gathering and organizing user data across devices.[11] What is more enticing about Web 3.0 however, is the ability to control that data.
Through Blockchain technology, a method of encryption wherein users verify and maintain a ledger via encrypted public addresses that tracks transactions, individuals do not have to surrender their data to corporations without first giving them the “key” to their encrypted address.[12] Without the “key” to the user’s information, data giants are hard pressed to gather user information without consent as the encryption would prevent traditional methods of data collection.[13] Thus, the individual maintains the power to divulge their information when they please rather than being at the mercy of other’s tracking devices. By storing data in individuals and multiple entities rather than centralized data warehouses, data is thereby dispersed and decentralized throughout the web.
While these components sound enticing, Web 3.0 is still in it’s infancy, and sets forth difficult and concerning issues. Blockchain technology has been criticized as a method to sidestep financial regulations through anonymous transactions.[14] Additionally, though Web 3.0 provides a method for greater privacy, the question of data breach remedies still remains. Nations worldwide have recently taken steps to protect user data through legislative enforcement. Such notable regulations as the European Union’s recently enacted GDPR, place consent requirement from users to corporations before allowing the data to be collected while failing to comply can result in up to a twenty million Euro fine.[15] However, in the United States, data mining laws remain sparse. In an age of ever mounting importance on user data and the value it creates, it is extremely important that individuals be able to take control of their own individual information and value. While Web 3.0 provides a novel response to an important issue, it is still a long way off, and still leaves sizable gaps in the realms of privacy breach enforcement, and accountability.
  1. Global Digital Population as of July 2018, Statista (Jul., 2018), https://www.statista.com/statistics/617136/digital-population-worldwide/.
  2. Brian Getting, Basic Definitions: Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Practical Ecommerce (April 18, 2007), https://www.practicalecommerce.com/Basic-Definitions-Web-1-0-Web-2-0-Web-3-0.
  3. See Id.
  4. Indika, Difference Between Distributed Database and Centralized Database, Difference Between (May 29, 2011), https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-distributed-database-and-vs-centralized-database/.
  5. How Do Data Companies Get Our Data?, Privacy International (May 25, 2018), https://privacyinternational.org/feature/2048/how-do-data-companies-get-our-data.
  6. Centralized Data Warehouse, Geek Interview (Dec. 18, 2007), http://www.learn.geekinterview.com/data-warehouse/data-types/centralized-data-warehouse.html.
  7. Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2704, 2707 (2018).
  8. Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a) (2018).
  9. John Yates, Privacy and Data Mining on the Internet, Morris, Manning, and Martin, LLP., https://www.mmmlaw.com/media/privacy-data-mining-on-the-internet/ (last visited Sept. 6, 2018).
  10. Kumar Sharma, How is Blockchain Verifiable by Public and Yet Anonymous?, Blockchain Council (Jul. 10, 2018), https://www.blockchain-council.org/blockchain/how-is-blockchain-verifiable-by-public-and-yet-anonymous/.  
  11. See All Innovated Usage of Blockchain in Web 3.0 Applications, CIS (Feb. 9, 2018), https://www.cisin.com/coffee-break/technology/all-innovative-usage-of-blockchain-in-web-3-0-applications.html.
  12. What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners, Block Geeks (Sept. 13, 2018) https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-blockchain-technology/.
  13. See Sharma, supra note 10.
  14. See William Magnuson, How Should Financial Regulators Handle the Bitcoin Era, Harvard Law School (Apr. 19, 2018), https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2018/04/19/how-should-financial-regulators-handle-the-bitcoin-era/.
  15. Commission Regulation 2016/679 of Apr. 17, 2016, On the Protection of Natural Persons With Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data, and Repealing Directive 95/46/EC, 2016 O.J. (L 119/1) 83.