Last Week in Tech Policy #57: Medjacking

(by Justin Manusov, Colorado Law 3L)

Hacking. Tapping. Cracking. Medjacking.

In the TV show Homeland episode Broken Hearts, a CIA informant  is forced to retrieve a serial number that corresponds to the American Vice President’s pacemaker. A terrorist gains access to the VP’s pacemaker, accelerates his heartbeat and induces a heart attack.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney revealed that when he had a device implanted to regulate his heartbeat in 2007, he had his doctors disable its wireless capabilities to prevent a possible assassination attempt.

The health IT community is beginning to take medjacking seriously.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #56: LEDs Talk About Lights!

(By Sophia Galleher, Colorado Law 2L)

Some people enter Newark Airport and look up. The lights, like many LEDs, seem almost too crisp—too bright. But most travelers, perhaps worried about missing a connection or losing a wayward child in the terminal, rush through the airport without raising a brow; the LEDs lights, twinkling down from their chic, architectural fixtures, don’t really beg much thought. They seem innocuous enough.

But just know, the next time you walk through Newark Airport, that those lights are watching you.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #55: CRISPR Possibilities and Concerns

(by Trey Reed, Colorado Law 2L)

CRISPR Cas9, a gene editing software, is increasingly being used by researchers to modify the genetic code of organisms. Recently, scientists from Spain have found the genetic sequence that produces most of the gluten in wheat. They removed this sequence and produced wheat with 85% reduced gluten toxicity. In the United Kingdom, scientists have found a gene (OCT4) that, if absent, causes the embryo to fail to implant correctly which leads to a miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy. By ensuring that this gene is present, doctors can help in vitro fertilization pregnancies survive. Scientists in the United States received permission to begin testing on human embryos this past July.

From taking the gluten out of wheat, to preventing miscarriages, the possibilities are almost endless. However, while the possibilities are staggering, the ethical considerations are also large.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #54: Challenges of Apprehending and Combating Cybercriminals

(by Jordan Demo, Colorado Law 2L)

The recent Equifax breach affecting approximately 143 million people has left many to call for justice—but justice for whom? After-the-fact investigations have tended to focus on whether the targeted entities took sufficient or reasonable measures to protect their systems. But what is the process for bringing attackers to justice? How are attackers who take the personal information of companies and individuals held accountable? What can be done to help deter this kind of behavior?

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TLPC Files DMCA Exemption to Ease Making Video Accessible in Educational Settings

Last week, the TLPC continued its efforts to make copyrighted works more accessible to people with disabilities. On behalf of the TLPC’s client, the Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers (ATSP), as well as the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the American Library Association (ALA), and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) TLPC student attorneys Sophie Galleher, Angel Antkers, and Susan Miller filed a petition for an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would allow disability services offices, organizations that support people with disabilities, libraries, and other units at educational institutions to circumvent technological protection measures on videos to make them accessible, including through closed and open captions and audio description. The exemption will allow disability service offices, educational institutions, and libraries to better fulfill their legal and ethical obligations to make visual media more accessible to people with disabilities. The TLPC filed the petition as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s triennial review of exemptions from the anti-circumvention measures in Section 1201.

TLPC Files DMCA Exemption Renewal for Security Research

(by Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov, Student Attorneys)

TLPC Files DMCA Exemption Renewal

This week, TLPC student attorneys Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov filed a petition with the Copyright Office to better protect good faith security researchers. The petition, along with another filed earlier this summer, seeks to renew and modify an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits circumvention of technological access controls (such as digital rights management (DRM)) to copyrighted material. The modification specifically seeks to limit the potential risk of liability that good faith security researchers face in their work to protect consumers from security breaches and other harm. The TLPC filed the comment on behalf of the TLPC’s clients Prof. Ed Felten and Prof. J. Alex Halderman, who are both computer scientists whose research includes computer security and privacy.

TLPC Files DMCA Exemption Renewal and Expansion Petition for Multimedia E-Books

This week, TLPC student attorneys Sophie Galleher, Angel Antkers, and Susan Miller filed with our colleagues at the UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Art, and Technology (IPAT) Clinic a petition with the Copyright Office seeking to expand an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for nonfiction multimedia e-books offering film analysis. The petition asks to modify the exemption to include fictional multimedia e-books, multimedia e-books on subjects other than film analysis, and removing the limitations that refer to screen-capture technology.  The TLPC and UC IPAT team filed the petition on behalf of the TLPC’s client, Authors Alliance, as well as Professor Bobette Buster and the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s triennial review of exemptions from the anti-circumvention measures in Section 1201. 

Last Week in Tech Policy #53: Equifax and Data Breach in the Modern Era

(by Susan Miller, Colorado Law 2L)

A cyberattack on Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency, was announced last week. The breach was especially problematic for a variety of reasons:

  1. Equifax’s job is to gather and maintain sensitive personal information. Yet it learned of the breach in July but failed to inform the public of the breach until September, taking more than two months to give consumers notice of the breach.
  2. The breach put the personal information of 143 million Americans, nearly one-third of the entire population, at risk. This personal information includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and in some cases, credit card numbers.
  3. Three Equifax executives sold their stock days only days after the company learned of the attack and before the public was notified.

Equifax is offering free credit monitoring and, thanks to angry consumers, waived fees for setting up credit freezes through Equifax.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #52: Cyberbullying

(by Angel Antkers, Colorado Law 2L)

Can you imagine a complete invasion of your privacy? Nude images intended only for a significant other’s eyes can be leaked online, as Robert Kardashian did earlier this year with pictures of his ex-fiance Blac Chyna,  Several other celebrities have encountered their own intimate images hacked and shown online.

Revenge porn is not the only form of online harassment. Online figures, such as game developers Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn and media critic Anita Sarkeesian, have been targeted during the Gamergate controversy with posts containing personal information, like their social security numbers and addresses, and even threats of assault, rape, and murder. These types of threads have even included the  threat of a mass shooting at a university, which prevented Sarkeesian from delivering a presentation, as well as threats that forced Sarkeesian to flee her own home. Despite FBI opening an investigation regarding the Gamergate threats against Wu and Sarkeesian, it was eventually closed.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #51: Internet Platforms and Violent Content

(by Kristine Roach, Colorado Law 2L)

After the Unite the Right rally and associated violence in Charlottesville, NC on the weekend of Aug 11th, internet platforms and domain name providers responded by taking down content from The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that had encouraged some of the weekend’s events, raising a complicated debate over the responsibility that online platforms bear for hate speech, harassment, and violence, the concentration of power online, and free speech.

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