Apple Encryption Under Fire: Judge Says FBI Can Force Apple to Hack its Own Encryption Systems

passcodeBy Brennen Johnson

The fight is back on between Apple and the FBI over encryption technology. In June 2014, we first covered Apple’s move to encrypt iOS 8 phones that could stump even the FBI. But the FBI wasn’t happy about it. Last November, we covered how the FBI sought a court order to force Apple to develop a method for breaking the encryption on these phones with “brute force.” However, the phone in that case ran older software that Apple could simply unlock, iOS 5, so the FBI wasn’t able to use the case as a stepping-stone to win the fight over encryption.

But as of last Tuesday, February 16, the heat turned up when a Federal Magistrate Judge ordered Apple to provide the FBI with software and technical support to help crack an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Authorities recovered the iOS 9 phone after a married couple, Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people and wounded 22 others last December. After the judge issued the order, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the order a “dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties,” while other tech giants, like Google, stated their own support for Apple: Continue reading

California Hits the Brakes on Google’s Driverless Cars

car.jpgBy Yayi Ding

On December 16th, California’s DMV released a set of proposed regulations that could potentially delay or curtail the development of autonomous, driverless cars. Car developers, including Google, Tesla, and BMW, have quickly expressed their disappointment in these legal proposals. Nonetheless, the proposed rules will go through months of comment and review before finalization, and two relevant public consultations will be held in California in early 2016. Continue reading

Is Google the New Cookie Monster? Third Circuit Google Case Gives Californians Something to Complain About

cookie monsterBy Samuel Daheim

On Tuesday, November 10th, the Third Circuit vacated a district court’s dismissal of freestanding privacy claims against Google Inc. (Google) under California law. Plaintiffs alleged that Google’s actions constituted a breach of privacy, under both California Tort law and the California State constitution, when it deceitfully bypassed internet privacy settings in order to track internet usage. The Third Circuit rejected the district court’s ruling that the alleged intrusive practices of the company did not amount to an “egregious breach of social norms” – the standard under the California constitution. Continue reading

Internet Pirates Need Not Fear the ITC—For Now

Untitled1By Mackenzie Olson

Imagine that you are the CEO of an entertainment company such as TimeWarner or Disney, and illegal downloading costs your company millions in lost revenue each year. How do you solve this problem? Do you change your business model? HBO is the creator of Game of Thrones, the most pirated TV show in the world. Some viewers who download the show illegally have explained that they pirate the program because they do not want to pay for a full cable subscription to watch one show. This year, HBO debuted a stand-alone streaming service that does not require a cable subscription. Currently, this may be HBO’s best option for reducing the rate of piracy of its programs in the United States; the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) does not have the authority to prosecute foreign websites that contain pirated content in ClearCorrect Operating, LLC v. ITC. Continue reading

Harvard Law School and Ravel Law Collaborate to Improve Access to the Common Law

printerBy Carlie Bacon

The technological age has transformed the once-useful volumes lining the walls of law firms and libraries into decorative dust-collectors. Just like this blog post, the information in those books can be accessed from anywhere that you can check your email. Law is widely regarded as a conservative profession, but even so, modern attorneys and law students conduct legal research online. Why turn page after page at a desk somewhere, when you can scroll through seamless documents from the comfort of, well, anywhere?

Companies like Westlaw and LexisNexis offer access to enormous electronic databases and handy research tools, but at a cost. Subscription fees can total millions of dollars annually for large firms. Like those shelves full of books, commercial databases’ days may be numbered too. Continue reading