Academic Writing

Exigent Circumstances: iOS 12’s USB Restricted Mode and Warrantless iPhone Access

Author(s): 
Riana Pfefferkorn
Publication Date: 
June 22, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Apple recently confirmed the introduction of a new feature called “USB Restricted Mode” in the latest version of the iPhone’s mobile operating system, iOS 12. If enabled in the user’s settings, USB Restricted Mode will disable data transfer from the iPhone over the Lightning cable once the phone has been locked for an hour unless the phone’s password is entered.

How Facebook Programmed Our Relatives

Author(s): 
Brett Frischmann
Publication Date: 
June 21, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Three years ago, on his birthday, a law professor watched his e-mail inbox fill with Facebook notifications indicating that friends had posted messages on his wall. The messages made him sad. The clogged inbox was annoying, but what really upset him was having disclosed his birth date to Facebook in the first place. It’s not necessary for social networking or to comply with privacy laws, as some people mistakenly believe. He hadn't paid much attention when he signed up—as with most electronic contracts, there was no room for negotiation or deliberation about terms.

Internet Platforms: Observations on Speech, Danger, and Money

Author(s): 
Daphne Keller
Publication Date: 
June 15, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Public demands for internet platforms to intervene more aggressively in online content are steadily mounting. Calls for companies like YouTube and Facebook to fight problems ranging from “fake news” to virulent misogyny to online radicalization seem to make daily headlines. British prime minister Theresa May echoed the politically prevailing sentiment in Europe when she urged platforms to “go further and faster” in removing prohibited content, including through use of automated filters.

User Agreements Are Betraying You

Author(s): 
Woodrow Hartzog
Publication Date: 
June 5, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

The user agreement has become a potent symbol of our asymmetric relationship with technology firms. For most of us, it’s our first interaction with a given company. We sign up and are asked to read the dreaded user agreement — a process that we know signifies some complex and inconveniently detrimental implications of using the service, but one that we choose to ignore.

The FBI blunder on phone encryption, explained

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 30, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

The FBI has been arguing for years that the approach of Apple and other companies that strongly encrypt phones is a big problem for law enforcement, which cannot get access to information it needs to catch criminals. Some days ago, these claims led to a big controversy when it turned out the FBI had been accidentally exaggerating the number of phones it couldn’t open for years.

The exit polls say Ireland has voted to legalize abortion with a smashing majority

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 25, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

An Irish Times exit poll says Ireland has voted to repeal the constitutional provision banning abortion with a crushing majority. The poll says that 68 percent voted yes and 32 percent voted against. People on both sides had expected a yes vote over the past couple of days; few had expected that the margin would be so decisive.

Here’s how Europe’s data privacy law could take down Facebook

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 25, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

On Friday, the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) privacy regulation goes into effect. Many articles have been written complaining that the regulation is ambiguous, confusing and difficult to implement.

The Constitution requires a census and State of the Union. Steve Ballmer wants to bring them up to date.

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 23, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft and the creator of USAFacts, an organization dedicated to making government data sources more publicly accessible and easier to use. In an interview (which has been edited for length and style), I asked him about what USAFacts is doing and how it is trying to help people understand how the government spends its money.

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