Press

CIS in the news.

  • Do You Really Need to Cover Your Computer Webcam?

    Date published: 
    December 19, 2016

    "Just beware that putting something over your camera lens isn’t a complete solution, according to Marshall Erwin, head of trust and privacy at Mozilla, which makes the Firefox browser.

    “When you use a webcam cover, you do block the camera lens, but it can also cover the indicator light, which means you can’t see when the camera and more importantly the microphone is activated,” he says. “This means hackers can still be listening in, even if the camera is blocked.”"
  • Google publishes secret FBI customer information requests two months after gag order is lifted

    Date published: 
    December 19, 2016

    ""In our continued effort to increase transparency around government demands for user data, today we begin to make available to the public the National Security Letters (NSLs) we have received where, either through litigation or legislation, we have been freed of nondisclosure obligations," Richard Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security policy, wrote in a statement."

  • Uber flouts rules with San Francisco self-driving test

    Date published: 
    December 19, 2016

    "Launching in cities before receiving regulatory approval has been characteristic of Uber's ride-hailing service, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who specializes in self-driving vehicles. In Portland Ore., Uber began operating before the city had amended its taxi regulations to include ride-hailing apps. After pushback from local government, Uber temporarily halted its service, but eventually got approval from local government and had less restrictive regulations than taxi services.

  • It took three years for Yahoo to tell us about its latest breach. Why does it take so long?

    Date published: 
    December 19, 2016

    "“The law should require, not just encourage, reasonable data security practices from companies that collect, process, and share personal information,” said law professor Woodrow Hartzog in a hearing in 2015. “This will fortify the protection of personal information in the United States and help ensure that fewer breach notifications need to be sent at all.”"

  • A design blueprint for privacy

    Date published: 
    December 19, 2016

    "One outstanding privacy commentator was Prof Woodrow Hartzog of Samford University, Alabama. Prof Hartzog is the Starnes Professor of Law at Cumberland School of Law, as well as being an Affiliate Scholar at The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and he spoke about his upcoming book - Privacy's Blueprint: The battle to control the design of new technology.

  • Silicon Valley execs need to grow a conscience on Muslim registry

    Date published: 
    December 18, 2016

    "“The fact that we’re even having this conversation is very disturbing,” said Geoffrey King, when I phoned him for a comment. King is a constitutional lawyer and a fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. “The idea of a registry contravenes everything that Americans have literally bled and died for. Any decent human being who works in the technology industry, or anywhere else, should be fundamentally opposed to this kind of discriminatory proposal. The United States is not Nazi Germany.

  • At Halfway Mark, Few Details About Police Body Camera Effort

    Date published: 
    December 16, 2016

    "Most large and mid-size cities with some form of a body camera program haven't been forthcoming once their programs are underway, said Harlan Yu, a principal at Upturn, a consulting firm working with civil rights groups to study police body camera programs.

    One exception is Washington, D.C., where the law requires police to release a report twice a year about body camera usage, he said."

  • Uber to California regulators: We still won’t seek permit for self-driving cars

    Date published: 
    December 16, 2016

    "The next step for Uber and state regulators likely will be court, said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and scholar with Stanford Law School who specializes in autonomous driving.

    “If Uber’s not backing down at all, the most likely step that the DMV would take would be to go to court and ask the judge for an injunction ordering Uber to stop,” he said."

  • Uber Refuses to Stop Self-Driving in SF, Setting Up a Legal Showdown

    Date published: 
    December 16, 2016

    "Uber has a strong legal argument, even if it doesn’t give a damn about the spirit of the law, says Bryant Walker Smith, an expert on autonomous vehicles at the University of South Carolina School of Law. And its standard approach of charging into new territory without concerning itself with local laws and counting on its popularity to carry it through, has worked out well so far, even if it draws fire from critics."

  • California DMV Calls Uber’s Autonomous Autos ‘Illegal’

    Date published: 
    December 15, 2016

    "Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina assistant professor of law and expert on autonomous car law, said Uber may have a plausible argument as the law allows some interpretation. Still, he said in an email, Uber’s actions are “in tension with the law if interpreted in context. This was a law intended to apply to aspirationally autonomous vehicles. It was in large part about building trust, and Uber is not building any trust in its systems or practices by doing this.”"

  • FCC Chair Tom Wheeler to Resign, Leaving 'Remarkable Legacy'

    Date published: 
    December 15, 2016

    ""During his tenure, despite industry roots, Wheeler proved to be a leader who heeded democracy's call," said Malkia Cyril, executive director at the Center for Media Justice. "Wheeler was a chairman willing to act in defense of the public interest, and in defiance of industry pressure and partisan politics."

  • Who would want access to 1 billion Yahoo accounts?

    Date published: 
    December 15, 2016

    "If this most recent attack is also state-sponsored, says Albert Gidari, the director of Privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, "it's government espionage that's really at issue."

    Gidari says the size of the breach fits the profile of a government actor, which is typically motivated by an interest in collecting "large volumes of data that gets warehoused for future reference."

  • Uber's self-driving cars put tech's 'move fast, break things' credo to the test

    Date published: 
    December 15, 2016

    "Uber might have a plausible legal argument, based on the text of the legislation, said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and a specialist in autonomous vehicle law. But the intent of the law, he said, is “in large part about building trust, and Uber is not building any trust in its systems or practices by doing this.”

  • Uber's new driverless fleet in San Francisco swiftly declared 'illegal' by California DMV

    Date published: 
    December 15, 2016

    ""I wonder how this particular step fits into Uber's long game," said Bryant Walker Smith, associate professor at the University of South Carolina and an expert in the legal implications of autonomous driving.

    Smith raised concern with the definitions around driverless vehicles years ago, which, he said is "at odds with the goal of the regime—to build trust in the systems and developers.""

  • Uber’s Robo-Car Test in SF Is a Middle Finger to Regulators

    Date published: 
    December 15, 2016

    "Uber’s got a good argument when it comes to the text of the law, if not the spirit. “Clearly California and Nevada [which has similar rules] wanted to build a regime of trust,” says Bryant Walker Smith, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law who studies self-driving vehicles. Those states wanted to encourage companies to test, keep the public in the know, and share information that helps everyone move forward."

  • DMV to Uber: Yank your self-driving cars — or else

    Date published: 
    December 14, 2016

    "“Roll back a few years, and public service commissions, taxicab (regulators), police and airport authorities were saying to Uber: ‘Stop doing what you’re doing; it’s unlawful,’” said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and expert on self-driving cars. “Sometimes it complied but often it did not.” Ultimately many jurisdictions ended up legalizing ride-hailing services.

  • State regulators demand Uber halt self-driving car program, threaten legal action

    Date published: 
    December 14, 2016

    "Uber’s argument takes the DMV’s rules literally, but goes against the spirit of the regulations, said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and scholar with Stanford Law School who specializes in autonomous driving.

    “You can make this argument, but it’s not one that’s going to make you friends,” he said."

  • Self-driving Ubers arrive in San Francisco

    Date published: 
    December 14, 2016

    "The law can be read that way, but doing so might cause tension between Uber and state regulators, according to Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and scholar with Stanford Law School who specializes in autonomous driving. He acknowledged that risk is unlikely to deter the company that built its entire ride-hailing business model by operating in a similar legal gray area.

  • Uber self-driving cars hit the streets of San Francisco

    Date published: 
    December 14, 2016

    "Uber's stance seems likely to upset both state officials and competitors, said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina who tracked California's law as it was drafted in 2012. While an attorney could argue that Uber is reading the letter of California law correctly, Smith said, testing permits were "envisioned as a gateway, as an interim step" to launching self-driving cars on public roads.

  • FCC taking hard look at ‘free’ data for video services

    Date published: 
    December 14, 2016

    "Earlier this year, Stanford Law Professor Barbara van Schewick wrote a report examining T-Mobile’s Binge On zero-rated program, which offers “unlimited” streaming of content from certain providers, like Netflix, Hulu and HBO.

    In the report, van Schewick concluded that despite T-Mobile’s assurances that Binge On is open to any legal streaming provider at no cost, significant technical barriers to entry still work to discriminate against smaller streaming services.

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