Just over five years ago, a group of lawyers and law students decided to start a wiki dedicated to IT law. The goal was to post 20,000 articles within the first five years. It was thought that the wiki would be fairly complete by that milestone.
Just a few days after the fifth anniversary of the wiki (on October 15, 2010), the 20,000th article was posted. While the group is pleased at reaching this milestone, and while the wiki is quite rich with content, it is clear to all involved that the growth of IT law globally means that the wiki still has a long way to go to be “complete.” Of course, no project of this sort can ever be considered finished, since there are new developments every day. And not just new case decisions and statutes, but entirely new fields of IT law. No one could have predicted the enormous growth in such cutting edge areas as the “smart grid” (Internet-based controls of the power grid) (80 articles), biometrics (287 articles), and cybercrimes (392 articles), or the impact that social media (in its “infant” stage five years ago) would have on all areas of the law (103 articles).
One of the attractive features of the wiki format is that it allows anyone to post materials or edit existing articles. We have had lawyers, law professors, law students and others contribute to the wiki. And we are gratified in having over 6,000 daily visitors to the site.
Our next goal is to reach 25,000 articles by the end of 2013. We welcome anyone who would like to be a part of this project to join us. We are particularly interested in expanding our non-U.S. coverage.
The IT Law wiki is located here.
Starting in the mid-1990s, American companies took advantage of the growth of global telecommunications and computerization to send not only manufacturing but also service jobs overseas. It became known as outsourcing, and has been a bone of contention with politicians ever since. Many cite outsourcing as a major cause of the recession in the U.S., Europe and much of the rest of the world, and the slow economic recovery we have experienced. Outsourcing has created enormous political and legal issues.
Outsourcing has shifted jobs from countries with high standards of living to those with lower standards of living (and lower wages and costs of doing business). However, economists have long argued that outsourcing, while disruptive, arguably results in a net increase in the total number of jobs. This election has seen outsourcing as an important issue. But are we looking in the wrong direction?
More troubling for politicians is the growth of what is now being referred to as “desourcing.” Read more
We are in the middle of the campaign season. A time when candidates from both parties (as well as a few independents) try to get the attention of voters and garner their support. Something definitely missing from this race is ANY discussion of those issues that are near and dear to those of us concerned about the future of the Internet and cyberspace. Read more
The Obama Administration, with the support of the military and a long list of defense contractors, has asked Congress for massive increases in funding for cyberwarfare activities. As stated in an article by William J. Lynn III, formerly deputy defense secretary, cyberwar is “just as critical to military operations as land, sea, air, and space.” Earlier this year, the Defense Department vowed to equip all U.S. armed forces for “conducting a combined arms campaign across all domains — land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace.”
While there have been numerous reported cyberattacks against various government entities (including a widely discussed cyberattack by Russian activists against the Estonia government in retaliation for its decision to relocate a Russian war memorial), there is little evidence of the ability of even the most sophisticated governments to engage in even limited-scale cyberwarfare. Read more
I bought an iPad for my granddaughter when she was 6 months old. Everyone thought I was crazy. She couldn’t talk yet and had trouble sitting up on her own. Yet, she took to that iPad like a duck to water. She already knew how to swipe it to turn it on from playing with my iPhone, and the children’s apps we downloaded from the Apple App Store had very intuitive interfaces. Within days she was watching movie, learning her ABCs, and trying to figure out how to add simple numbers.
Flash forward to today. Read more
This year seems to have been one of the busiest, if not the busiest yet, in the field of cyber law. Much of this activity did not result in any concrete outcomes (yet), so many of the issues that we were hoping to get resolved in 2011 will be around again next year.
There are so many “hot button” issues, it is hard to decide which ones to mention. So I’ll just mention the three that I find extremely interesting: Read more
On September 15, 2011, the FTC announced that it is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, which govern the collection and use of personal information from children under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The law was enacted in 1998 and the Rule was originally promulgated in 2000 – in the early days of the Internet. Read more
Nowadays it seems like every time you turn around, something is invading your privacy. Google and others are watching you as you surf the Web. Apple iPhones are storing information on the locations you visit while carrying your phone. And now word comes that even driving your car may endanger your privacy.
What many people do not realize is that many newer cars (particularly those manufactured by GM and Ford) contain an “event data recorder” (a so-called “black box”) that is similar to those on airplanes. These devices generally are triggered by electronically-sensed problems in the engine (often called faults), a sudden change in wheel speed or airbag deployment, and store a variety of data, such as which seat belts were being worn at the time of the event and the vehicle’s speed, direction and location. The information contained in the black box can be invaluable in determining the cause of an accident. Read more
During the first few years after the emergence of the commercial Internet in 1993 (or so), the U.S. government took a hands-off approach to regulation of the ‘net. The Clinton Administration, in particular, realized that over-regulation of the Internet in its infancy could have a serious, negative impact on its growth. The thought at that time was to allow the Internet to grow organically, go in whichever direction developers, investors and the public wanted it to grow, and regulate with a light hand – and often with no hand at all. Read more
As a long-time fan of Apple products (starting with the Apple II in the late 1970s up to today’s latest Mac Pro and iPhone), I was wary of getting an iPad, since I didn’t like the idea of Apple being able to dictate what software I could and could not use on my computer. While an “app store” might make sense for a cell phone, since software has to be written carefully to run properly on the small screen, small processor device, I felt uneasy about giving one company control of how I used a device that I had bought and paid for and on which I should be able to run any software that I chose.
However, after pressure from my friends and family (all of whom are devoted iPad users), I purchased an iPad for myself last Christmas. While I don’t use it as much as my kids do, or as some of my students do, I have warmed up to the device and have become a regular purchaser from the iPad app store. I use it mainly to do email and read ebooks. That is why I was very distressed to read about an emerging battle between Apple and the e-reader companies (Sony, Amazon and Google) over the nature of the e-reader apps they will be allowed to distribute through the app store in the future. See, e.g., Yukari Iwatani Kane and Stu Woo, “Apple Rejects Sony E-Book App,” Wall. St. j. (Feb. 2 2011). Read more