Authorship and Accessibility in the Digital Age

(cross-posted from Authors Alliance)

The Internet has opened up the opportunity for creators to reach worldwide audiences. Authors can transmit digital creations in a matter of seconds by simply uploading an article or ebook, sharing a video, or posting a blog entry. But authors can reach an even wider audience if their digital creations are accessible to those with disabilities. Notwithstanding significant strides made toward making digital content more accessible over the past decade, the prevalence of inaccessible digital content continues to be problematic.

Last fall, Authors Alliance, the Silicon Flatirons Center, and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology convened a group of content creators, technologists, attorneys, academics, and advocates to discuss the role of creators in making digital works more widely accessible to people with disabilities, reported by TLPC student attorneys.

The roundtable discussion focused on the unique role authors, educators, and libraries play in making digital works accessible; the benefits, obligations, and barriers around accessibility; the availability of authoring tools that facilitate accessibility; and the gaps for digital accessibility that technology and policy might fill.

That conversation led to the creation of the report, Authorship and Accessibility in the Digital Age, which distills these topics into a concise summary of the current landscape, as well as recommendations for further action. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Authors Alliance, Silicon Flatirons Center and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology in making the roundtable and the report possible. We also thank Angel Antkers, Susan Miller, and Sophia Galleher, student attorneys in the TLPC, for their role in authoring this report; and Rob Haverty at Adobe Document Cloud for his assistance in creating an accessible PDF.

Last Week in Tech Policy #65: Fake News, Real Concerns

(by John Schoppert, Colorado Law 3L)

On Friday, February 16th, Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced the indictment of 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The announcement serves as the latest development in Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. More concretely, it provides further evidence that Russian operatives played a critical role in disrupting the 2016 election atop near-unanimous consensus among American intelligence agencies.

The indictments track the work of a so-called “troll factory” located in St. Petersburg, which designed and deployed divisive content over social media platforms to encourage collaboration within extreme groups online. More specifically, Russian operatives stole the identities of American citizens, posed as political activists, created posts affiliated with extreme ideologies and paid individuals to locally organize protests and rallies. While many debate over whether the Russians pushed for any one candidate over the other—as opposed to creating chaos more generally—based on internal documents, it appears that disruptive efforts were aimed at supporting the campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and undermining that of Hillary Clinton.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #65: Fake News, Real Concerns”

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.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #52: Cyberbullying”

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.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #51: Internet Platforms and Violent Content”

Last Week in Tech Policy: #45 Inspection of Electronic Devices and Passwords

(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”

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. 39: First Amendment Protection For Discriminatory Ads?

(by Andi Wilt, Colorado Law 3L)

When is the last time you Googled someone’s name? There are many reasons why you might have done that. You could have been trying to learn more about someone who was about to interview you for a position, or maybe you were about to interview them, or even deciding whom you were going to interview in the first place. An applicant’s online presence is important to many employers, as one source indicates that 90% of executive recruiters say they do online research on applicants; up to 70% of employers who have used LinkedIn say they have decided not to hire someone based on something they learn about the applicant online.

So what’s the problem with a little online research about a person? Professor Latanya Sweeney found that a Google search for a black identifying name is 25 percent more likely to be accompanied by an arrest-related ad. Professor Sweeney explored the connection between “[b]lack-identifying” and “[w]hite-identifying” first names, which are “those for which a significant number of people have the name and the frequency is sufficiently higher in one race than another.” Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 39: First Amendment Protection For Discriminatory Ads?”

Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 29: The Dangers of “Innocuous” Data

(by Parker Ragland, Colorado Law 2L)

People often hold one of two views on privacy—either it is important to them, or they state, “I have nothing to hide.” While the latter response legitimately expresses fear that privacy laws may be used by wrongdoers to shield themselves from justice, it also reveals a common misconception about privacy: only mistakes in your past can harm your future. Problems associated with data science, and specifically the data-broker industry, are at the core of this misconception.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 29: The Dangers of “Innocuous” Data”

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. 17: Do We Want to be Lab Rats?

(by Calli Schroeder, Colorado Law 3L)

Large companies experiment on their users all the time in large and small ways through “product testing.” Changing the format of a homepage or the layout of an app to see if it facilitates easier use or better engagement could constitute an “experiment.”  However, what happens when the experiment is only tangentially related to the product?  And how does this affect our understanding of privacy and informed consent?

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 17: Do We Want to be Lab Rats?”