(By Irena Stevens, PhD Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Telecom Program)
With the goal of promoting the deployment of next-generation wireless facilities, the FCC will vote on April 20th to continue a rulemaking proposal to preempt local authority in the Right-of-Way (ROW). Wireless carriers are increasingly seeing utility poles in the ROW as an opportunity to expedite and diminish the cost of siting small cells, and say that local governments are creating unnecessary delays and charging excessive fees for pole attachments.
Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #49: Preemption of Local Authority for Wireless Siting”
(by Sergey Frolov, University of Colorado Computer Science Ph.D candidate)
In the U.S., it is illegal to produce, distribute, and possess child pornography. Playpen is a now-defunct child pornography website. The FBI managed to trace the site’s operators, then obtained a warrant and seized the web server on which the site ran.
However, instead of shutting the server down immediately, the FBI continued to operate Playpen for an additional 13 days. During that time, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the FBI sent malware to visitors to the site in order to identify and prosecute them for possession of child pornography.
Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #48: Playpen and Government Hacking”
(By Lucas Ewing, Colorado Law 2L)
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international organization whose goal is to set standards for the World Wide Web. Due to W3C’s highly technical subject matter, internal discussions rarely broach the public discourse, but recently, open internet advocates and some W3C members have expressed concern over plans to endorse Encrypted Media Extensions (EMEs).
Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #47: W3C and EME—Is DRM Being Inserted in Your Web Browser?”
After the release of the Federal Communications Commission’s public notice seeking comment on 911 applications, student attorney Eilif Vanderkolk filed a reply comment addressing the issues of locational data, interface design, and cybersecurity in 911 smartphone applications. These issues were previously raised by TLPC in the whitepaper published by the Clinic last fall, and remain important during the NG911 transition .
(by Ben Epel, Colorado Law 2L)
The world is facing a new problem when it comes to innovation: automation and robots increasingly have been replacing individual workers. Robots have moved out of the factories and will soon be coming to a fast food restaurant near you; in 2016, McDonald’s former CEO Ed Rensi said that it is cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who makes $15 an hour bagging French fries. As robots become cheaper and the need for higher wages increases, what will happen to displaced employees?
What would Bill Gates do? A robot tax. Private companies would be taxed whenever the company replaces an individual with a robot. Gates claims that the government should implement this tax to slow down the rate of automation in the United States. Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy: #46 Is Taxing Robots Really the Answer?”
(By Gabrielle Daley, Colorado Law 2L)
NASA scientist and U.S citizen Sidd Bikkannavar flew back into the United States on January 30th, 2017 and was detained by U.S customs and border patrol agents. Mr. Bikkannavar was detained upon his arrival at the Houston airport by agents who stated the reason for the detention was to ensure that he was not bringing anything dangerous into the country. However the agents never searched Mr. Bikkannavar’s luggage. Instead he was handed a document entitled “Inspection of Electronic Devices” and asked for his cell phone and cell phone password.
Mr. Bikkannavar was reluctant to hand over the phone because as it belonged to his employer, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories. However, agents insisted on access to the phone and password, and eventually Mr. Bikkannavar gave an agent both. The agent then left the room with the device. Mr. Bikkannavar has no idea what the agent did with the phone outside of his presence, but in a Tweet last week confirmed that JPL is running digital forensics on the phone to try and determine what may have been taken—or left—on the phone.
Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy: #45 Inspection of Electronic Devices and Passwords”
(by Andrew Manley, Colorado Law 2L)
Recently, more and more Americans are intent on “cutting the cord”—dropping traditional cable and satellite TV services for internet-based streaming services. The growing availability of internet streaming services that provide linear streams of content is making cutting the cord more accessible and more affordable. Services like Sony’s Playstation Vue and Dish Network’s Sling TV offer subscribers streaming video service over the internet that resembles cable service in many ways, and even provide local content streams in certain markets. AT&T and DirecTV have a similar service in the works. However, these services do not fit neatly into the FCC’s regulatory regime for Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs). Three specific cases have exposed the gaps in regulatory coverage for internet protocol based linear video services: Sky Angel, ivi, and Aereo.
Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #44: Streaming Killed the Video Star”
(By Lindsay Bombalski, PhD, Colorado Law 2L)
For those not involved in the publication of scientific papers, it may come as a surprise that once a new scientific finding is published in a scientific journal it often becomes the intellectual property of that journal. Access to the article describing the finding is usually available in three ways:
- By purchasing an individual or institutional license through the journal;
- Purchasing individual articles after reading the abstract through various search engines; or
- Finding the article in a version of the publication that is open-access.
Individual licenses often run around $500/annually for access to up to 250 articles in up to 25 journals with the purchase of a scientific membership—for example, though the American Chemical Society. Institutional agreements can run as high as $25,000 per journal. Alternatively, individual articles can be purchased for $32-$60.
For a student researcher at a university that does not receive funding for journal subscriptions, this means a paper with a reference list of 30 citations from the same journal could require on the order of $600 in subscriptions or $960 in individual payments in order to pass a peer-reviewer in the examination prior to publication. For real articles, the cost can be even higher because many more articles need to be accessed to develop the science in a new article. These figures make clear that the cost of scientific literature research—on top of the cost of materials, chemicals, equipment, and measurements devices makes scientific research—can be out of reach.
A new web site called Sci-Hub was created to lower the cost of educational scientific materials. Sci-Hub, in turn, has raised significant debate about open access to scientific materials and related intellectual property issues.
Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #43: The Educational Materials Copyright Debate”
(By Connor Boe, Colorado Law 2L)
After it was first announced that President Trump would continue to use his personal Twitter account after taking office, it has become clear that social media is going to become a dominant source of information from the White House. How might social media impact the consistency and clarity of messaging that the American public has come to expect from the executive branch?
Trump first created the @realDonaldTrump account in 2009 and has tweeted roughly 34,000 tweets and accrued over 22 million followers since. Since the election Trump has used Twitter along with other social media platforms to release policy statements, personal opinions, and a surprising number of politically polarizing statements. This new form of communication from the President creates some interesting dynamics, some possible opportunities, and a multitude of challenges that need to be considered as we enter a new era of American politics.
Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #42: @realDonaldTrump: How Twitter is Changing Communications from the White House”
(by Zach Goldberg, Colorado Law 2L)
Norway has begun phasing out analog FM radio by shutting down broadcasts in certain parts of the country. The switch began at 11:11 am on January 11 Nordland, a county in northern Norway, and within a year, the Norwegian government plans to transition the entire country to Digital Audio Broadcasting (“DAB”). Under this new regulatory scheme, only 200 or so small local stations will be permitted to broadcast on FM frequencies.
This post explores the past, present, and future of the transition.
Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #41: FMExit—Norway’s Transition from FM Radio to Digital Audio Broadcasting”