The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
The directors of Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” say they wanted to create a movie that reflects some of the ambiguities of real-world politics. The movie is very good and highly entertaining. However, its understanding of politics ducks the real political issues that superheroes would pose.
Nobody elected the superheroes
In 1947, French statesman and novelist André Malraux, famously wrote about the concept of a “museum without walls.” The idea was simple, radical and beautiful: Reproduction, he wrote, had made it possible to liberate art from its historical location and origin, allowing the viewer to see art in completely new combinations and contexts.
Few things represent the age of social media better than posting a selfie. We share these ubiquitous self-portraits with such an urgency you’d think we’d cease to exist if we stopped producing them at a rapid and ongoing rate. Think about taking a trip to a gorgeous location. If you exercise “selfie-control” and don’t post a picture of yourself at a place like the beach, did the exquisite voyage really happen?
For some crimes the entire law enforcement process can now be automated. No humans are needed to detect the crime, identify the perpetrator, or impose punishment. While automated systems are cheap and efficient, governments and citizens must look beyond these obvious savings as manual labor is replaced by robots and computers.
Years ago, Justice Frankfurter observed, “the protection of trademarks is the law's recognition of the psychological function of symbols,” noting, further, “if it is true that we live by symbols, it is no less true that we purchase goods by them.”
In the name of saving cybersecurity, a new bill before Congress would kill cybersecurity. On April 13, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released an official draft of their long-awaited anti-encryption bill. The sponsors of the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016” (CCOA) call it an innocuous law-and-order measure to ensure that American companies comply with court orders. In truth, it is a technologically tone-deaf and downright dangerous piece of legislation.
I am a law professor who writes about robotics. I’m also a big Paolo Bacigalupi fan, particularly his breakout novel The Windup Girl involving an artificial girl. So for me, “Mika Model” was not entirely new territory. For all my familiarity with its themes, however, Bacigalupi’s story revealed an important connection in robotics law that had never before occurred to me.
In a concession to regulators, Google is . . . using “geo-blocking” technology to control what European users can see. Under the new system, Google will not only remove links on, say, google.fr, but it will block users in France from seeing those links on any other Google country site, or google.com itself. Unless they use tools like virtual private networks to disguise their locations, users in those countries will see pruned search results.
Jon A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Jr. are the authors of Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in The Progressive University, a new book from Oxford University Press on what life is like for conservatives in the academy.