Tech Law Policy Blog

Tracking the Most Important Research and Developments in Tech Law & Policy

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Friday Links: 50 Ways to Draft a Privacy Law

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States are tripping over themselves to pass ever-stricter privacy laws. Texas just signed a new data breach notification law. Nevada and Oregon also have expanded their privacy laws. Nevada’s law includes a right to opt out of the sale of personal data, which is the first such law in the United States. Maine passed a new law that may be stricter still, one that requires ISPs to receive...

Friday Links: Moar Disinformation

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How Taiwan is trying to combat disinformation without “censorship.” What they try to do is monitor social media, spot disinformation early on, and then launch a government counter-narrative to combat the disinformation. It’s an interesting idea, but the Digital Minister acknowledges that, “[t]ruth to be told, it is actually very exhausting.” I suspect this would be difficult if not impossible to...

Friday Links: Fake News and Real Laws

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I have never linked to a podcast on this site, but I thought that the recent This American Life podcast, Anything Can Be Anything, about misinformation and the information wars, was spectacular. For a more highbrow analysis of similar issues, I enjoyed Renee DiResta’s The Digital Maginot Line. Also related, a recent BBC interview of a worker at a Macedonian fake news factory. Many smart people...

GDPR Turns 1! 8 Reasons GDPR is a Horrible Law

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The GDPR officially went into effect one year ago on May 25th. Since that time, the EU has issued at least €55 million worth of fines and set into motions many billions of euros (and dollars, pesos, yen, yuan, and pounds) worth of compliance efforts. The GDPR has seen its fair share of praise on this side of the Atlantic, with an increasing number of high profile commentaries from tech executives...

Friday Links: The Disintegrating Global Internet

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The BBC writes about the disintegration of the global internet. China has been, shall we say, customizing its internet for decades with the great firewall, but more nations are taking an active role in policing what its citizens can find online. Furthermore, expansive regulations, in supposedly more open countries, like the GDPR and Australia’s new law punishing platforms and their executives for...

Friday Links: The Right to a Well-Calibrated Machine Decision?

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An excellent forthcoming paper by Aziz Huq breaks down the various weaknesses in the increasingly common demand for a “right to a human decision.” Huq analyzes the many arguments in favor of obligatory human decision-making processes and concludes by suggesting that we’d be better off working toward a higher standard of machine decisions. Within the paper, Huq does an excellent job dissecting the...

Friday Links: China and Tech Giants

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European Council President Daniel Tusk compares US tech giants to China. They’re both big and powerful. The tech giants are private corporations doing the things private corporations do. China is a large, powerful, autocratic regime doing the things you might expect out of a large, powerful, autocratic regime. What’s the point again? You may have heard that Facebook banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex...

Friday Links: Sludge and Ordeals

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Last month, US lawmakers proposed an Algorithmic Accountability Act. The first rule of tech policy: Regulate harms, not technology. The former is hard, the latter is impossible.  The AAA purports to attempt to regulate algorithms for “accuracy, fairness, bias, discrimination, privacy and security.” Good luck with that. Sounds like a rather blunderbuss attempt at regulation, to put it mildly...

Friday Links 4/26/19 Mental Masturbation and Trolley Problems

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There appears to be some academic buzz about the new paper by Samantha Godwin on the Ethics and Public Health of Driverless Vehicle Collision Programming. I believe this is the most overdone and impractical area of tech policy today. As MIT professor Rodney Brooks said in a blog post a couple of years ago: Here’s a question to ask yourself. How many times when you have been driving have you had...

Friday Links 4/19/19, Bad Bots and Bad Laws

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Well, it’s not exactly Skynet, but that doesn’t mean that robots aren’t already taking over. Bad bots now constitute 37.9% of all web traffic. And that number, as you might imagine, is accelerating. Hard cases make bad law, as they say.  Daphne Keller of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society on why Australia’s response to the Christchurch massacre does not create the right incentives...

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