' MTTLR | Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review

Recent Articles

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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Individuals as Gatekeepers Against Data Misuse

By  Ying Hu Article, Fall 2021
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How Can I Tell if My Algorithm Was Reasonable?

By  Karni A. Chargal-Feferkorn Article, Spring 2021
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Taking it With You: Platform Barriers to Entry and the Limits of Data Portability?

By  Gabriel Nicholas Article, Spring 2021
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Recent Notes

NHTSA Up in the Clouds: The Formal Recall Process & Over-the-Air Software Updates

By  Emma Himes Note, Fall 2021
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Arms Control 2.0: Updating the Cyberweapon Arms Control Framework

By  Evan Mulbry Note, Fall 2021
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Blog Posts

Do We Need to Reconceptualize the Threat to Free Speech?

In the era of constitutional ratification, the Founders of the United States faced the task of creating a system of government that would not allow for potential tyranny. At this time, the world had seen widespread persecution and abuses by governments toward its citizens. The US Constitution was designed under the belief that the biggest threat to liberty was the government. As Thomas Jefferson said, “a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth.” Albeit with some limitations, the First Amendment protects the liberty of individuals by guaranteeing their right to speak freely without fear of government censorship. This made sense during an era when the medium of speech consisted primarily of the public square and the press, and the threat of censorship stemmed largely from the government. There is little doubt that those living at the time of ratification – still in the early years of the Industrial Age – would have had no way of conceptualizing the monumental advances made in communications technology leading up to the 21st century. In those early years, the primary methods of communication involved verbal and written correspondence. The notion of instant communication and the ability to share information between groups of people around the world on an invisible medium would have simply been unimaginable at the time. It stands to reason then that the issues stemming from such advancements that we now face would not have been adequately foreseen. The advent of social media in the early 2000s revolutionized the way we communicate and absorb information. Instead of having information fed to the public... read more

Sony and Microsoft: An Arms race for Domination of the Video Game Industry and its Relevant Antitrust Concerns

It’s no secret that both Sony and Microsoft have been rivals in the video game industry for decades. This arms race between the two competitors has resulted in independent gaming studios releasing timed exclusive content on either Playstation or Xbox consoles. However, over the last decade, this competition has evolved. Instead of lobbying for platform-exclusive games, both Sony and Microsoft have made the leap to acquiring independent game studios they believe have promising new and legacy IPs. Microsoft’s latest acquisition of Activision for $68.7 billion brings global titles like “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” and “Call of Duty” to their side of the gaming isle. On the heels of this acquisition, Sony announced its own acquisition of Bungie Studios. However, these two deals are just the latest in a long list of acquisitions for both gaming giants. Sony has developed or acquired numerous studios over the past decade including Bluepoint, Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, Santa Monica, and Sucker Punch studios just to name a few. Likewise, Microsoft now boasts big name studios like 343 Industries, Ninja Theory, Obsidian Entertainment, and Bethesda entertainment. These recent moves by both Sony and Microsoft are an indication that both companies see the future of their respective platforms to be determined by first-party games. Interestingly, the third gaming giant, Nintendo, has long been employing this strategy. As of the end of 2021, Nintendo’s top 10 games on the Nintendo Switch comprise of well-known series such as Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Super Smash Bros., Zelda, and Pokemon. Without exception, every single game is either directly published by Nintendo or exclusive to the Nintendo Switch system. When comparing... read more

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

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