Saving “Face”: Pushback against Facebook’s Facial Recognition Survives in Court

 

Facebook-face-recognition-2By Julie Liu

Facebook’s facial recognition technology has evolved to a point where it is as disturbing to many users as it is helpful. Earlier this month, the District Court for the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss a class action alleging that Facebook had unlawfully collected biometric data. In particular, plaintiffs took issue with Facebook’s “tags suggestion” feature, which identifies subjects in users’ photos and suggests names for users to tag faces in photos with.

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Everything New Is Old and Unprofitable

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Image: Uber circa 1802

By Jessy Nations

With the advent of the smartphone, people have gained unfettered access to technology and services previous generations never could have imagined. With a few taps on your touchscreen, you can have someone pick you up and drive you anywhere in the city. Going on a trip? You can find lodging nearly anywhere at an ostensibly reasonable price. Hungry? Through the miracle of technology, you can have groceries or meals from your favorite restaurant delivered right to your doorstep. It’s all thanks to the wonders of the exciting new “sharing economy.”

Of course, none of this is actually new. Uber is a taxi service that forces its drivers to provide their own cars. Airbnb allows you to rent a hotel room in some stranger’s house. There is an entire field of law that is older than the United States that regulates common carriers, such as taxis, and another field regulating hotels called hospitality law. But Uber isn’t considered a common carrier; it’s “ride sharing.” Airbnb isn’t a hotel service; it’s a “home sharing” platform.

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Skechers’ Sketchy Designs

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By Talia Loucks

Remember when Skechers shoes were cool in the 90s? Well, now that the Spice Girls era of chunky platforms are no longer in style, and people opt for more conventional shoes, the modern shoe market has forced Skechers to expand into other shoe types. Unfortunately for Skechers, this expansion has resulted in trademark infringement claims against it, especially from Adidas.

This past September, Adidas filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Skechers in federal court for the District of Oregon. And, on February 12, 2016, Adidas had its first victory when Judge Marco A. Hernandez issued a preliminary injunction against Skechers, prohibiting it from selling its Onix, Relaxed Fit Cross Court TR, and women’s Supernova shoes as they are “confusingly similar” to three Adidas designs.

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Exit Smartphones, Enter Smart Contact Lenses

contact lenseBy Tyler Quillin

Remember Google Glass? The spectacles Google

developed that allowed users to have hands-free, smart technology integrated into their eyewear.

Well, Google Glass did not do as well as projected, and Google ceased production in 2015. However, Google and Samsung are now rumored to be taking “wearable technology,” like Google Glass, to another level.

Both Google and Samsung are reportedly developing similar “smart” contact lenses. News surfaced on April 5, 2016 that Samsung submitted a patent application  for contact lenses with built-in cameras and other features. And both companies’ patent applications describe contact lenses containing a camera, sensors to detect movement, and antennae to interface with smart devices. Some speculate that blinking could control the lenses, which poses potential concerns over accidental commands.  However, by placing the device directly on the eye, the companies hope to improve clarity and accuracy, features that Google Glass lacked. Continue reading

Prove It or Lose It: The FTC’s Standard for Scientific Support of Medical App Claims

Medical-Apps-in-HealthcareBy Julie Liu

Among the countless mobile applications that allow us to control much of our lives, the growing wave of medical apps allows us to manage and improve our health with the convenience of a phone or tablet. But, as illustrated by the Federal Trade Commission’s approval of its final order against the maker of the UltimEyes app, this possibility comes with important limitations. Continue reading