Just about every week during the fall and spring semesters, the TLPC spends time discussing current events in tech law and policy. Our students do a great job researching and highlighting current events, so this semester we thought we’d share what we’re reading with the world.
I have the task of leading our inaugural discussion, so I’m going to focus on two events that have blown up over our winter break:
Net Neutrality. While it’s hard to narrow down the 10+ year-old net neutrality / Open Internet discussion down, the biggest news over break was the soft-launch of the Commission’s plan to reclassify ISPs under Title II of the Telecommunications Act— announced at the Consumer Electronics Show—in rules to be voted on at the Commission’s February open meeting. Other interesting issues waiting in the wings include the treatment of wireless providers, the Commission’s approach to forbearance, various other bells and whistles of the final item (I’m particularly interested in the treatment of reasonable network management and the premises operator exception), and how the courts and Congress will ultimately impact the state of play (or not).
The Sony Hack. There’s so much to say about this, but I’ve been most interested in the epistemological debate over whodunit (is it North Korea, or isn’t it?), and the difficulty of assessing adversaries online. This is the tip of the iceberg for this phenomenon, which has broad implications for the future of law enforcement, crime and punishment, privacy, and war.
We at TLPC are proud to introduce the pilot episode of our podcast, Tech Law and You. In the inaugural episode, we present an interview with Jeff Blattner, President of Legal Policy Solutions and Clinical Professor at American University in Washington, DC. Student attorneys Mel Jensen and Alex Koral talk with Jeff about his time working for Senator Ted Kennedy, and discuss lessons for law students on maintaining strong relationships, working on teams, and building a portfolio of skills.
(by Stephanie Vu, Colorado Law 3L, and Stefan Tschimben, Interdiscliplinary Telecom Program student)
On October 20th, the TLPC and the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado held a screening and panel discussion of the documentary The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. The documentary follows the life and death of Internet activist and programing prodigy Aaron Swartz. Aaron played a part in the creation of web feed format RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and was a co-founder of Reddit. Aaron was best known to some for his political activism against the Stop Online Piracy Act and his crusade for the open access to information. This crusade led to a two-year legal battle and ultimately his death at age 26. The documentary explores the relationship between civil liberties and technology and gives a heartfelt account of a young man whose life work has benefited almost everyone who has ever used the internet.
According to Professor Blake Reid, “Aaron’s life and death have left an indelible mark on public policy surrounding technology, digital civil liberties, and access to knowledge. The Internet’s Own Boy is a window into Aaron’s legacy through which anyone interested in the future of our democracy in an information age should take a careful and thoughtful look.”
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 CU Fall Technology Policy Challenge! The winning team consisted of four TLPC members. From left to right: Molly McClurg (Colorado Law 2L), Amber Williams (Colorado Law 3L), Stefan Tschimben (CU Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program student), and Vickie Stubbs (ATLAS Institute student).
The TLPC continued its efforts in the Copyright Office’s triennial review last week by filing a petition for exemption from the anti-circumvention measures in Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for circumventing technological protection measures (TPMs) to perform good faith security research. The TLPC filed the petition, drafted by student attorneys Chris Meier, Amber Williams, and Bridgett Murphy on behalf of Dr. Matthew Green, Assistant Research Professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute.
Today, the TLPC’s Spencer Rubin, Trip Nistico, and Vickie Stubbs submitted reply comments in the FCC’s Text-to-911 and Next Generation 911 dockets. The comments propose a framework for balancing public safety with privacy and cybersecurity concerns.
Last week, TLPC student attorneys Mel Jensen and Alex Koral filed an initial petition with the Copyright Office seeking to renew an exemption for people who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled to read ebooks on equal terms by circumventing technological protection measures (TPMs) on ebooks that interfere with adaptive technologies, such as text-to-speech functions and refreshable Braille displays. The TLPC filed the petition in partnership with the American Foundation for the Blind and the American Council of the Blind as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s triennial review of exemptions from the anti-circumvention measures in section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
This comment explains why user-testing requirements for accessibility are necessary for usable advanced communications services or products. Written in conjunction with Professor Clayton Lewis of CU-Boulder’s Coleman Institute, the TLPC’s comment explains why user-testing best serves the purposes of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. The comment additionally explains how the Act applies to people with cognitive disabilities and, moreover, analyzes how the Act may be defined to the full extent that Congress intended. This interpretation ensures that people with disabilities have full access to advanced communications technologies. The comment proposes a complaint-based enforcement process that will help implement reasonable user-testing requirements for accessibility.