Academic Writing

Europe has just hit Google with a record $5 billion fine. Expect fireworks.

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
July 18, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

The European Commission, which administers antitrust policy in the European Union, has just hit Google with a record fine of 4.34 billion euros ($5 billion U.S.). This fine is intended to punish Google for the way in which it has structured the market for its operating system. Here’s what you need to know.

The massive fine is for “tying” the operating system to specific applications.

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.

Amazon Needs to Stop Providing Facial Recognition Tech for the Government

Author(s): 
Woodrow Hartzog
Publication Date: 
June 21, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Imagine a technology that is potently, uniquely dangerous — something so inherently toxic that it deserves to be completely rejected, banned, and stigmatized. Something so pernicious that regulation cannot adequately protect citizens from its effects.

That technology is already here. It is facial recognition technology, and its dangers are so great that it must be rejected entirely.

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.

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.

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