Next-Generation 911 and Data: Transparency, Privacy, and Evidentiary Considerations

(by Connor Boe, TLPC alum)

Data collection, analysis, and storage is cheaper and more reliable than ever before. This advancement in technology is constantly improving public services specifically in services dedicated to emergency response. The adoption of new technologies to increase the amount and diversity of information that public safety entities have access to during an emergency response is called Next Generation 911 (NG911). In a NG911 world, the proliferation of data when responding to emergencies will inevitably increase in size and scope. Though the receipt, processing, analysis, and storage of more data in emergency responses will be beneficial for public safety, it may also create complexities for existing statutory and regulatory obligations these entities have. Specifically, these systems have the potential to complicate state open records law compliance, privacy and data protection obligations, and chain-of-custody rules of evidence. Policy makers, emergency services, and vendors of these services need to consider the legal implications before deploying NG911 systems and not after the fact.

The benefits and drawbacks when choosing to adopt NG911 systems are far reaching. The architecture choices local governments make have the potential to rewrite the public safety answering points relationship with the general public and public safety entities. Advocates and practitioners need to understand that after data is collected by the government in response to an emergency, the information that they collect will be highly scrutinized by the communities in which they serve. These NG911 data management systems need to strike a balance between public safety, personal privacy, the rule of law, and government transparency that is acceptable to all the stakeholders in the community.

Working with several 911 stakeholders, the TLPC drafted and is pleased to release the attached white paper, which discusses attempts to discuss how the architecture of NG911 systems will impact existing legal obligations and discuss the opportunities that local governments will have when adopting these systems.

Municipal Drone Policy

TLPC student attorneys and Colorado Law 2Ls Kristine Roach, Trey Reed, and Jay Gurney recently finalized a white paper on municipal drone policy. The paper outlines some of the many drone applications for hobbyists, businesses, researchers and governments, while considering disruption and intrusion concerns.

Given these competing concerns and interests, the paper outlines different approaches to municipal drone policies and regulations, including the prospect of federal preemption. The paper also analyzes 4th Amendment limitations on municipal drone surveillance and open records requirements implicated by municipal drone use. While the analysis is most pertinent to Boulder, the drone policy considerations are intended to be applicable to municipalities across the United States.

Our thanks to Prof. Deborah Cantrell, Prof. Ann England, Prof. Margot Kaminski, Tom Carr, Boulder City Attorney, Julia Richman, Boulder Chief Information and Analytics Officer, and Cory Dixon, IRISS Chief Technologist for their help in the development of this paper.

TLPC Files Three DMCA Reply Comments for Disability Services, Multimedia E-Books, and Security Research

Today the TLPC filed three reply comments to the U.S. Copyright Office as part of the seventh triennial Section 1201 proceeding. Under Section 1201 of the DMCA, parties may petition the Copyright Office every three years to create or modify exemptions when the DMCA adversely affects noninfringing activities. Opponents filed public comments in February responding to the initial long form comments filed in December.

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TLPC Files Three DMCA Comments for Disability Services, Multimedia E-Books, and Security Research

Today, TLPC student attorneys filed three long form comments with the Copyright Office as part of the seventh triennial Section 1201 proceeding. Under Section 1201 of the DMCA, parties may petition the Copyright Office every three years to create or update exemptions when the DMCA adversely affects noninfringing activities.

Sophia Galleher filed a comment to enable better access to films and other copyrighted works for people with disabilities. Susan Miller and Angel Antkers, along with colleagues at the UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Art, and Technology (IPAT) Clinic, filed a comment to enable artistic expressions like fan fiction by expanding the allowed uses of multimedia e-books. Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov filed a comment to better protect good faith security researchers.

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How the Rightsback.org Termination of Transfer Tool Helps Authors

The following is a cross post from Authors Alliance’s blog, by Luke Ewing, student attorney at the Colorado Law Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic. Luke was helped by his classmates Sean Doran and Andi Wilt, and their supervisor Blake Reid, at Colorado Law; and law students Eric Malmgren, Erica Row, and Julia Wu, and their supervisor Jack Lerner, at UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic for their assistance with the development of the Termination of Transfer tool and templates.

Erica Row, Julia Wu, Pamela Samuelson, Mike Wolfe, Eric Malmgren, and Jack Lerner (not pictured: Sean Doran, Luke Ewing, Andi Wilt, and Blake Reid)

Authors Alliance and Creative Commons recently released the Termination of Transfer tool at rightsback.org. You may be wondering what the tool does and how termination helps authors. Along with many other beta testers, student attorneys at the Colorado Law Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic and the UC-Irvine Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic helped verify that the tool accurately reflects the state of termination law. We scoured statutes, regulations, and case history to determine what is required to make the termination process go smoothly under a wide range of circumstances. We also tested the tool to ensure that its results accurately reflect the current state of the law. Finally, we drafted a standardized form and written guidance that make the paperwork simple once an author decides to exercise their termination right.

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TLPC Facilitates Makerspace Webinar for Librarians

On February 28th, student attorneys Andi Wilt and Sean Doran and TLPC Director Blake Reid delivered a webinar on best practices for public library makerspaces hosted by the Colorado State Library Association.

The webinar focused on addressing problems and concerns that arise when a public space like a library provides access to 3D printing technology. 3D printers present challenges to libraries stemming from objects that may infringe intellectual property rights or raise other concerns under library policies.

The best way for libraries and other public makerspaces to mitigate against these risks may be to set up a positive agenda, training, and programming for the use of the space. For example, libraries should provide education and training of design technologies that work with 3D printers. Programs like Tinkercad are now free and easy to use, and many of them offer free training programs. Webinar attendees contributed a variety of helpful best practices that have worked in libraries across the country.

The webinar was recorded and archived by the CSLA and can be viewed anytime along with links to various resources and best practice ideas.

TLPC Releases White Paper on Intellectual Property Issues at the FCC

In this white paper, TLPC student attorneys Colter Donahue and J. Parker Ragland outline steps that the FCC can take to avoid having rulemakings and other policymaking initiatives delayed or negatively affected by intellectual property issues. In recent years, the Commission has faced several situations, including in the context of 9-1-1 services, telecommunications relay services, and set-top boxes, where intellectual property issues have arisen and affected proceedings. The white paper urges the Commission to develop adequate expertise in intellectual property law and to proactively anticipate and address IP issues to avoid these situations in the future.

Piloting Risk-Informed Assessments in the FCC Waiver Applications

Working with Silicon Flatirons Senior Fellow Pierre de Vries, TLPC student attorneys Andrew Manley and Jonathan Bair endorse prior recommendations that the Federal Communications Commission improve its waiver application process for radio operations through the adoption of Risk-Informed Interference Assessment (RIA). The TLPC and de Vries submitted a filing to the Commission suggesting how RIA might be adopted as a tool to assist the Commission in its decision making process. The filing elaborates on the RIA method, offers a checklist by which the Commission can request RIA from parties, and explores three test waivers for the application of RIA.

Understanding and Solving the Problems that Non-Service-Initialized Devices and Non-Emergency 911 Calls Cause for PSAPs, First Responders, and the Public

(by Zach Goldberg and Eilif Vanderkolk, TLPC Student Attorneys)

Over the past several months, the TLPC, in collaboration with the National 911 Program, has researched problems burdening 911 call centers, with the aim of discovering solutions to improve the efficiency of emergency response throughout the country. Specifically, we have examined the negative impact of calls made from non-service-initialized devices (“NSIDs”) and high non-emergency 911 call volume upon the efficacy of public safety answering points (PSAPs). We aimed to gain deeper understanding of how 911 systems work, the difficulties they face, and how changes in law and policy, technology, and consumer awareness and behaviors might help. However, crafting effective solutions to these problems is difficult because the factors contributing to high non-emergency 911 call volume figures are complex, and reliable, precise studies and data is scarce. We explore these problems in the attached white paper.