Technology and the Law
* Content warning: This piece contains references to sexual assault and harassment.
In an article entitled Reality or Fiction, Nina Jane Patel shared her experience with sexual harassment in the Metaverse. She repeatedly asked fellow users to stop and tried to move away, but they followed her, continuing their verbal assault and sexual advances. In part, she writes, “they touched and groped while they took selfies. They were laughing, they were aggressive, and relentless. I froze. It was a nightmare.” As she tried to escape the situation, she could still hear them – “don’t pretend you didn’t love it, this is why you came here.” After the assault, she couldn’t report it to the police, and no suit was filed against the group of four men.
Net neutrality (or network neutrality) is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs), such as Verizon or Comcast, should not be able to block or prioritize different sorts of data. The Ninth Circuit, which is comprised of Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, and Washington state, is the largest Court of Appeals in the United States both in population and land mass. Recently, the Ninth Circuit ruled in a case that net neutrality requirements applied to internet service providers in those states. This decision put to test the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s 2019 decision of Mozilla v. FCC, which ruled that states would be able to create regulations regarding net neutrality.
When you think about what things harm the environment, your mind likely goes to gas-guzzling cars, single-use plastics, and cow farts. But when you’re considering your carbon footprint, the environmental impact of data storage is likely something you’ve left out. While the shows we stream, documents we download, and pictures we upload to social media may not take up storage space on our devices, the data must be stored somewhere, and that storage does not come without a cost.
From Siri to Alexa, to deep learning algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) has now become commonplace in most peoples’ lives. In a business context, AI has become an indispensable tool for businesses to utilize in accomplishing their goals. Due to the complexity of the algorithms required to make quick and complex decisions, a “black box problem” has emerged for those who utilize these increasingly more elaborate forms of AI. The “black box” simply refers to the level of opacity that shrouds the AI decision-making process. While no current regulation explicitly bans or restricts the use of AI in decision making processes, many tech experts argue that the black box of AI needs to be opened in order to deconstruct not only the technically intricate decision-making capabilities of AI, but the possible compliance-related problems this type of technology may cause.
In a world where our reliance on technology and the cloud is increasing exponentially, data security’s growth has stagnated. The European Union (EU) passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in hopes of ensuring that consumer data is protected and not harbored by businesses. The effects of the GDPR, however, have passed the borders of the European Union. In a world where our actions extend internationally with just the click of a button, the GDPR’s impact circles the globe as well. The GDPR has pushed for a shift in data privacy and regulation for companies within and outside of the EU as it holds to protect European citizens, no matter where they are in the world. This international reach has not only created forces to drive U.S. companies to comply, but states within the U.S. are now creating GDPR-inspired laws to protect their own citizens. The GDPR has started a trend that will soon become the norm and finally push compliance to keep up with the exponential growth of technology.