' MTTLR | Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review

Recent Articles

The 'License as Tax' Fallacy

By  Jonathan M. Barnett
Article, Spring 2022
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Unreasonable: A Strict Liability Solution to the FTC's Data Security Problem

By  James C. Cooper & Bruce H. Kobayashi
Article, Spring 2022
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The Ping-Pong Olympics of Antisuit Injunction in FRAND Litigation

By King Fung Tsang & Jyh-An Lee
Article, Spring 2022
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Content Moderation Remedies

By  Eric Goldman
Article, Fall 2021
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An Empirical Study: Willful Infringement & Enhanced Damages in Patent Law After Halo

By  Karen E. Sandrik
Article, Fall 2021
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Recent Notes

The Best Data Plan Is to Have a Game Plan: Obstacles and Solutions to Reaching International Data Privacy Agreements

By  James Wang
Note, Spring 2022
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Mental Health Mobile Apps and the Need to Update Federal Regulations to Protect Users

By  Kewa Jiang
Note, Spring 2022
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Blog Posts

Familial DNA Searches and Criminal Investigations

From 1975-1986 the notorious Golden State Killer committed 12 murders, 45 rapes, and 120 burglaries across 6 California counties. These crimes remained unsolved until 2018 when police arrested Joseph DeAngelo, a 73 year old United States Navy Veteran and police officer, in his home in Citrus Heights, California. DeAngelo’s crimes were finally solved after all of these years through the use of a novel forensic technology: familial DNA search (FDS). In a traditional DNA search, law enforcement gather DNA material left at a crime scene. They then test that sample to see if it matches the DNA of anyone in a vast database of known offenders, like the FBI’s combined DNA Index System (CODIS), who have previously provided a DNA sample. This type of search couldn’t help solve DeAngelo’s murders though. The traditional search requires a perfect match between the sample DNA taken from the crime scene and someone’s DNA from the database. Since DeAngelo had never been convicted of a crime, he had never given a sample to be entered into CODIS so there was no perfect match for the DNA he left at the scene. In contrast, FDS allows law enforcement officers to analyze DNA samples from a crime scene for imperfect matches of family members from within a DNA database. Here is a simplified explanation of the process. Since DNA is inherited, family members will contain more shared genetic markers than non-related individuals do. As such, if law enforcement finds two sufficiently similar matches, they can, with a reasonable degree of probabilistic certainty, conclude that the two individuals are related. So, using FDS, if law enforcement... read more

Shedding Light on the Data Ecosystem

Introduction The worldwide market for personal data is large and growing, but not widely understood by the average consumer. Consumers are generally unaware of how valuable their data is and there is no comprehensive set of tools to give people an idea of how much of their personal information is being actively traded by various companies. Recent scandals like the Equifax data breach and settlement have brought more scrutiny to the security practices of publicly traded companies that handle consumer data. However, there is an entire industry that is little understood and less regulated that trades exclusively in consumer data.   Third-Party Data Aggregators The consumer data broker industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. Every year companies spend billions looking for insight into consumer behavior and marketing techniques by analyzing user data for spending and browsing habits. There are few laws governing the sale and collection of personal data. While most of the value to companies is in the aggregation of all of this data, there is potential for misuse on a personal level through release of information that can lead to doxxing or stalking. One of these third-party data aggregators came to national attention during the Russian election interference scandals after the 2016 US Presidential Election. A consulting company, Cambridge Analytica, was charged misusing consumer data purchased from Facebook to target likely voters for misinformation campaigns. People rightly questioned why a shady UK consulting company so easily had access to Facebook user data, but the story largely died down without much further discussion of the implications of such a marketplace. Cambridge Analytica shut its doors, but, unsurprisingly, reformulated a... read more

§2G1.3(b)(3): Why is Criminal Sentencing Punishing the Use of Technology?

In recent years criminal sentencing has become the subject of criminal justice reform. After decades of politicians from both sides of the political aisle embracing tough on crime agendas, which included high incarceration rates and lengthy prison sentences, Americans are demanding change.  In 2015, a bipartisan group of senators introduced The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA), with the goal of reforming criminal sentencing by reducing prison sentences and mandatory minimums for certain drug related offenses. As SRCA makes clear, efforts to reform criminal sentencing have largely centered around reducing mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders. The public, and in turn their elected representatives, have not been nearly as eager to give other federal crimes, which also carry lengthy prison sentences, the same attention in the crusade to reform the criminal justice system. This discussion will focus on sentencing in federal sex trafficking cases and §2G1.3(b)(3), the sentencing enhancement that penalizes sex trafficking defendants for their use of technology. Federal sex trafficking punishes sex trafficking of adults by force, fraud or coercion, and sex trafficking of minors by any means (18 U.S.C. § 1591). Sentencing for § 1591 varies depending on the age of the victim. If the offenses involved the use of force, fraud, coercion, or a minor under the age of fourteen years old, the mandatory minimum is fifteen years with up to life in prison available. If the offenses involved a minor between the ages of fourteen and eighteen years old then the mandatory minimum is ten years with up to life in prison available. After homicides, sex trafficking carries some of the highest federal sentencing... read more

Artificial Intelligence in Health Law

Introduction   Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in many different ways to improve the U.S. healthcare system. Many providers have already started implementing such technology into modern medical practice, and many more are expected to follow suit, as AI in medical imaging is expected to reach $2 billion by 2023. The potential benefits that AI can provide in healthcare are exponential and generally fall into four main categories.   The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare   First, AI can push frontiers in healthcare by doing things that aren’t possible for humans to do. For example, researchers have used 18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) technology to train a deep learning algorithm to predict Alzheimer’s years before a conventional diagnosis could be made. AI has helped with early diagnosis with other illness as well, such as kidney failure, ALS, and cancer. Therefore, by helping physicians recognize health issues and start treatment earlier, AI can increase patients’ life expectancy and chances of survival by catching conditions much earlier on.   Second, AI can democratize expertise by making specialized care more available. For example, some specialists, such as dermatologists, are in great demand and short supply due to their expertise and the complexities of their patients’ health conditions. As a result, specialists don’t have time to keep track of current research, let alone implement it into their practice. The demands of such medical specialists also make it hard for them to take on more patients, and thus not all those who seek care are able to get it. AI networks can help by assimilating large amounts of medical research data and use cognitive computing systems to search for... read more

Public Private Partnerships in National Cybersecurity

Introduction Our national infrastructure is undergoing a major digital migration. Physical infrastructure assets are merging with the digital world via the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies. 4IR technologies have the potential to make our infrastructure more sustainable, efficient, and connected while enabling once-futuristic ideas such as “Smart Cities” and autonomous transportations. However, such technological developments pose a grave threat to our national security. When the physical world and the digital world are integrated, repercussions from a cyberattack can materialize in the real world. This means a hacker can take control of a nation’s critical infrastructure digitally and extend his or her control to the physical world. A cyberattack debilitating an entire nation by digitally attacking its critical infrastructure is not entirely hypothetical anymore. Despite the national interest in bolstering our cybersecurity, deficiencies in our national cybersecurity continue to grow. An expansion of public-private partnerships (P3s) can be an efficient way to narrow the gaps in our national cybersecurity despite concerns raised by cyber legal scholars. The Fourth Industrial Revolution The rapid convergence of the physical world and the digital world is driving the world economy into another major industrial revolution. The World Economic Forum has coined this significant shift the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” 4IR technologies have the potential to create more connected, efficient, and sustainable infrastructure by allowing physical infrastructure assets to integrate with the digital world. With the emergence of technologies such as autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT), the speed of the digitalization of such assets is likely to only increase. The European Union Agency for Cyber Security identified recent trends of deploying IoT in... read more

Privacy Considerations in the Implementation of Dodd Frank’s Section 1033

The Dodd Frank Act was enacted in 2010 in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Among the protections that it sought to create was Section 1033, which provides consumers increased access to – and control of – the personal data held by financial institutions.[1] Specifically, 1033 requires that financial institutions provide consumers with copies of their data upon request. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) started gathering stakeholder opinions on Section 1033 several years after its passage and, in November of 2020, issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). FinTech companies and industry groups wrote comments in response to the ANPR in support of promulgating rules for Section 1033. They are eager for consumers to have the opportunity to pipe personal financial data from banks to their platforms. There are benefits to this system: with enhanced data portability, smaller companies have a greater chance of accessing the data they need to build innovative products that improve competition and are useful to the public. New toolscould aid in overdraft fee protection, credit score improvement, financial inclusivity, small business loans, fraud mitigation, and much more. However, there are potentially negative privacy implications if the CFPB implements Section 1033 without thoughtful consumer protection. CapitalOne’s comment on the Section 1033 ANPR voices concerns about “lightly regulated non-bank companies, particularly Data Aggregators and Data Users” gaining access to data that would otherwise be subject to the banking industry’s heightened data-handling rules. CapitalOne recommends that, for example, third parties who gain access to consumer data under Section 1033 become subject to the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, which governs the management of individuals’ data by financial... read more

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