' Sara Prendergast | MTTLR

It Must be True, I Read it on the Internet: Regulating Fake News in the Digital Age

The 2016 presidential election gave way to the rise of so-called “fake news” from both domestic and foreign sources. This development led to extensive and ongoing congressional investigations of the candidates involved and indictments of many of the people around them. House and Senate intelligence committees took long testimonies from the executives of digital information giants Facebook, Google, and Twitter to learn about their investigations into these 2016 misinformation campaigns. Even within the last couple of months new reports have come out, including a scathing profile by the New York Times showing the broad failures of the private sector to regulate the rapid spread of misinformation. In response to this rapid dissemination of misinformation, regulators in the U.S. and around the world have hastily drawn up new legislation to identify and combat fake news. These anti-fake news laws have already passed in the last year in many European and Asian countries, such as Germany, France, Thailand, and Malaysia. The farthest the United States has gone in legislating against fake news is by introducing the Honest Ads Act (S.1989) in the US Senate. This bill would require digital platforms that have more than 50 million unique monthly visitors to maintain a record of advertisers who have spent more than $500 on advertisements in the previous year. This record would be required to be made public and include a copy of the advertisement itself. The Honest Ads Act has bipartisan support in Congress and widespread support from industry leaders such as Facebook and Twitter. Given the support for these smaller initiatives and the broad scale of anti-fake news legislation around the...

Drones, Damages, and Risk Allocation

The concept of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has been a traditional favorite of science fiction art and literature, but the prevalence of these vehicles is quickly becoming our modern reality. From photography, to delivering packages, and even assisting in disaster relief, UAVs present an opportunity for a wide array of beneficial uses. However, as the uses and sophistication of UAVs continue to rapidly advance, the insurance and legal markets struggle to keep up. And this is not an industry to be ignored. According to Teal Group, an aerospace and defense consulting company, annual spending on UAVs is set to reach over $11.6 billion by 2023. There are many areas where the regulation of drones still needs to be worked out, but one of the largest problems is with the insurance market—or lack thereof—for drone technology. Much like automobiles, UAVs have the potential to get into accidents, cause property damage, and commit torts, particularly in the areas of trespassing and privacy invasion. Unlike automobiles, though, there are very limited laws on UAV insurance requirements.  This means that if a UAV were to cause large property damage, there is no guarantee that the owner would have the ability to pay for it. This has only resulted in minor issues in the past, where most UAVs are relatively small and are flown by hobbyists. However, as the commercial UAV market expands, these vehicles will almost certainly become bigger, more complicated, and more widely used, which creates a need for standardized nationwide insurance requirements for these aircraft. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, commercial UAVs would likely need liability, property, personal...