How Open Market Competition is Addressing Privacy Concerns: A Look at the Direct-to-Consumer Gene Sequencing Market


By: Samy Danesh

Most people know someone who received a genetic testing kit for the holidays. In exchange for a vile of saliva, and sometimes a fee, companies sequence genomes and provide consumers with ancestral and genetic disease related information. But who owns the data, and how does that affect consumer privacy?

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Pay More, Watch Less: The Evolution of Streaming Platforms


By: Ben Cashdollar

Today’s online streaming services are a marvel of technological and legal innovation. Much like how Google became an irreplaceable verb in society’s lexicon in the early 2000s, Netflix has achieved the status of a household term. But while the Netflix of today is viewed as a repository of streaming content from a variety of studios and distributors, the Netflix of the future will look dramatically different.  The very legal foundation upon which Netflix was built to serve will drastically alter the amount and variety of content that it can provide customers in the coming future. Understanding why this change is coming requires some knowledge of copyright law.

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Data Bunglers: How One State is Leading the Charge in Reining in Data Brokers


By: Matthew Jurgensmeier

As the modern era of automated systems and the ubiquity of the internet grows, increasingly more consumer data is collected and stored online. Collected by companies with whom customers interact and scraped from across the internet, this data provides a roadmap for who customers are, what they’ve done online, and what they are likely to do in the future. Some companies use this data to advertise to consumers, while other companies sell it. The companies that scrape and sell data are called data brokers, and the information that they collect is for sale to anyone who is willing to pay. Examples of data brokers include Datalogix, Intelius, and DSA Direct. [For more WJLTA coverage on data brokers, see here.]

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Washington Should Protect Renters Through Payment Method Laws


By: Jack Miller

Driven by reduced costs relative to accepting checks, delivering cash, and sending letters to ask for payment after payment is due, many landlords have switched to requiring electronic payment. Although online payment methods offer significant benefits and several companies have reduced the downsides to electronic payment, landlords may require tenants to pay rent through an online portal in Washington. The California legislature addressed this issue because restricting tenant payment methods can lead to significant inequities impacting marginalized groups. Washington should enact similar regulations to protect renters.

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How Ring & Rekognition Set the Stage for Consumer Generated Mass Surveillance


By: Jevan Hutson

If every home on a street, in a neighborhood, or in a town had a Ring surveillance system, the individual cameras, taken together, could construct an extremely intimate picture of daily public life. By integrating facial recognition and contracting with local and federal law enforcement agencies, Amazon supercharges the potential for its massive network of surveillant consumers to comprehensively track the movements of individuals over time, even when the individual has not broken any law. Fully realized, these technologies set the stage for consumer generated mass surveillance.

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