How the Open Data Movement Can Realize Its Potential

How the Open Data Movement Can Realize Its Potential

The last decade has seen a lot of discussion and activity around the democratic and economic potential in government standardizing or publishing its information as open data. Politicians from across the spectrum have extolled the accountability benefits of open data, passing legislation and issuing executive orders. And organizations have pushed the benefits of open data as a key ingredient for government to innovate in performing its missions. While the open data movement has achieved some significant successes – from the DATA Actto data.gov – we have not come close to living up to the potential or even the current rhetoric. 

An IP Framework for 3D Bio-Printing: Problems and Opportunities

An IP Framework for 3D Bio-Printing: Problems and Opportunities

Jason Goldfarb
Georgetown Law, Class of 2017

3D printing presents myriad opportunities across many industries to produce goods quickly and efficiently. The biomedical industry in particular presents enormous potential. Companies in the field have already demonstrated that they are capable of using bio-ink to produce biological implants and tissues. In the future, they will likely be able to print fully functional organs.

The benefits of such technology are obvious: those in need of new organs will not have to spend eons on a waiting list until a matching organ is available for transplant; those with weak organs could have specific components repaired or replaced without having to undergo a full transplant or extensive drug therapy; research can be more widespread as access to biological material expands. 

The companies pioneering the space in the United States rely heavily on the existing intellectual property (IP) law framework to safeguard their technology. However, there are a number of potential problems that could make it difficult for the existing framework to safeguard the proprietary elements of the technology while still enabling the industry to grow.

Anonymizing Technology Forces An Upgrade of The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

Anonymizing Technology Forces An Upgrade of The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

Edward J. George
Georgetown Law, Class of 2017

On December 1, 2016, the amended Rule 41(b), the venue provision for federal warrants, of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure went into effect. Google and civil liberties groups, including the ACLU and Center for Democracy and Technology, have widely panned the amendment, arguing that it is a dangerous expansion of the government’s surveillance capabilities. However, these critiques are aimed at the policy issues surrounding venue, and fail to address where a warrant should be sought when anonymizing technology masks a computer’s location. For that question, the Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure found the right answer.

Elon Musk's Neuralink: Privacy Protections for Merged Biological & Machine Intelligence?

Elon Musk's Neuralink: Privacy Protections for Merged Biological & Machine Intelligence?

John W. Christie
Georgetown Law, Class of 2017

This spring, Elon musk announced that he was starting his newest venture, Neuralink Corporation, in an effort to develop what he calls “neural lace” technology. This company would be dedicated to the idea of merging humans with computing technology through the implementation of mini electrodes that interface directly with the brain. Mr. Musk has spoken at length about his fears of Silicon Valley’s rush to develop artificial intelligence and believes that Neuralink will help us “escape human obsolescence.”

Aside from the initial “installation” of the Neuralink technology, the company would likely act, in part, as a health care provider delivering routine care, diagnosing and treating problems, and managing the evolution of the technology. Although a large part of this technology would increase the transfer of information between consenting individuals, it is critical that a company like Neuralink be classified as HIPAA “covered entity” in order to help protect the medical privacy of its users.

Amazon’s Alexa: Convenience, for the Price of Privacy

Amazon’s Alexa: Convenience, for the Price of Privacy

Apeksha Vora
Georgetown Law, Class of 2017

The right to privacy is enshrined in the Fourth Amendment and protects individuals, their houses, papers and effects from unreasonable government intrusion. Recent technological developments, however, are fast outpacing Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, blurring the previously clear lines of what actions constitute violations and of what areas are protected. 

Amazon’s Alexa poses a serious conundrum with respect to all of these dichotomies, and by doing so, makes the normalization of intrusion possible. By sitting in the user’s home, “listening” to conversations and questions, Alexa vitiates the private/public dichotomy. Suddenly, all activities inside the home are privy to a third-party. A home is no longer “one’s home,” but rather, a place where one lives in conjunction with technology. Technology that, depending on use, frequently collects, records, and stores one’s voice communications and commands.