Last Week in Tech Policy #50: Open Innovation in the Federal Government

(By Connor Boe, Colorado Law 3L)

Federal agencies have been feeling the pressure to use fewer resources while at the same time creating better outputs for the public good. Traditionally, public services were created and implemented by government experts hired to solve a specific subset of civic problems. Some have argued that this method of solving problems has become too outdated, too bureaucratic, and too politically driven to effectively solve some public issues. People expect their government to do more with less and create innovative solutions to complex problems. How can government actors create effective solutions in the face of competing interests?

Many agencies have turned to a trend in that has its roots in the private sector known as Open Innovation. Federal agencies in the last decade or so have begun to experiment with new forms of problem solving like prize challenges, citizen science, crowdsourcing, and entrepreneurial methodologies. This new trend has had a profound impact on the way government functions and how the public perceives the work that agencies produce.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #50: Open Innovation in the Federal Government”

Last Week in Tech Policy #42: @realDonaldTrump: How Twitter is Changing Communications from the White House

(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”

Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 34: Algorithm Bias, Discrimination, and the Law

(By Max Brennan, Colorado Law 2L)

This week’s blog post examines the concept of algorithm bias. It begins with a definition of algorithm bias, turning to  its interactions with the law, some real-world examples of bias, and ends with considerations for future legal treatment of algorithm bias.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 34: Algorithm Bias, Discrimination, and the Law”

Gone Fishin’

The TLPC will be offline during the spring of 2016 while its director is out on paternity leave, but we’ll be back in action in fall 2016.

Last Week in Tech Policy Vol. 27: Space, the Final Frontier…

(by Savannah Schaefer, Colorado Law 3L)

In policy circles, we spend a lot of time talking about unintended consequences and how new pieces of legislation or regulation balance economic efficiency against other pieces of the public interest. Often, we see aspects of old issues recycled when new technologies and circumstances emerge and must determine whether and to what extent new issues require new treatment.

As we turn to space—the final frontier—and encourage our peers to boldly go where no one has gone before, we must consider just how different extraterrestrial expansion is from continental and what lessons to keep in mind as we launch.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy Vol. 27: Space, the Final Frontier…”

Last Week in Tech Policy Vol. 26: Fair Play, Fair Pay?

(by Molly Hogan, Colorado Law 3L)

Many of our discussions about the different aspects of technology law involve evolving technologies and how antiquated laws can be applied to situations that their drafters could not have fathomed. This week, I wanted to bring it back to discuss a debate surrounding a technology that is over 100 years old: the radio.

Despite the coming and going of records, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, and now MP3s and beyond, music fans have long been able to rely on the AM/FM radio to hear new music and old classics. Unbeknownst to most listeners is the fact that those artists whose songs play on the radio are not receiving copyright royalties for the airplay.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy Vol. 26: Fair Play, Fair Pay?”

Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 25: The CISA/CISPA See-Saw of Cybersecurity

The government intelligence community has long vocally advocated for so-called “backdoors” in encrypted digital communications systems. Proponents of these special modes of entry and intercept into otherwise protected databases and communications believe they are a necessary part of national security in the modern age. However, attempts to statutorily codify these ideas have met significant opposition.

Not to be deterred, the government is currently seeking alternate ways to gather information about suspected criminals and terrorists. Two weeks ago, the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing Act (CISA). This bill seeks primarily to permit information technology companies to “voluntarily” share information about security threats with the Department of Homeland Security. Companies would be given immunity both from liability and from FOIA requests regarding this information sharing. A proposed amendment that would have required the scrubbing of personally identifiable information in this information sharing failed to pass.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 25: The CISA/CISPA See-Saw of Cybersecurity”

Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 24: Will Your Autonomous Car be Programmed to Kill You?

(by R. Kolton Ray, Colorado Law 2L)

Back to the Future Day—October 1, 2015—was celebrated this past week to commemorate the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled through time to save Marty’s future son in Back to the Future II. It’s easy to laugh at the zany fashion and technology—i.e., fax machines—but director Robert Zemeckis got a lot right about 2015. For example, Nike will release a pair of self-lacing sneakers next year, and hover boards have become close to a reality. The film even portrayed a current political candidate as a wacky villain.

While we have yet to reach the Back to the Future-style flying cars depicted in the second film, we are very close to the introduction of self-driving cars into our travel ecosystem. Google’s self-driving car has successfully completed 1 million miles and the company is planning to release a model to the general public by 2017. Automotive powerhouses like GM, Ford, Toyota, Daimler-Chrystler and Volkswagen have all partnered with Google, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that manually-operated cars will be illegal once autonomous cars reach 100% penetration.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 24: Will Your Autonomous Car be Programmed to Kill You?”

Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 23: The Rise of eSports

(by John Dubiel, Colorado Law 2L)

In August of 2015 teams from around the world competed for a total prize pool of $18,429,613 with the winners taking home over $6 million. A competition called The International 2015 took place at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, with a live audience, all for a video game, DOTA 2.

This was the largest prize pool ever for an eSports competition, but competitive gaming has existed since the early 1980’s. One of the first games to be played competitively for money was Swordquest: Earthworld. The prize pool there was a jeweled talisman, valued at $25,000. Now there are eSports tournaments for League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Starcraft 2,  DOTA 2, and others taking place almost hourly. As  interest in eSports has grown, legal challenges have become more apparent; players now have contracts, people are betting on every game, and every game involves intellectual property. Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 23: The Rise of eSports”

Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 22: Open Source Firmware and the Future of Router Modification

(by Jeffrey Westling, Colorado Law 2L)

Last Friday, the Federal Communications Commission closed the comment period for ET Docket No. 15-170, a controversial proceeding that may limit Wi-Fi users’ ability to install open source firmware on wireless routers. The FCC has remained adamant that their goal in this process is not to restrict users from modifying their routers, but rather to ensure that routers do not operate outside certain regulatory parameters. However, Wi-Fi users fear that the new rules may actually incentivize manufacturers to block all open source firmware from being installed on their devices rather than just limiting signal boosting capabilities or operating outside of the correct channels.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 22: Open Source Firmware and the Future of Router Modification”