A Fresh Start: Surveillance Tech and the Modern Law Firm

By: Titus R. Willis The legal community is rapidly evolving: firms are more beholden to clients than ever, associates are growing more competitive with one another, and younger firm employees are more willing than ever to subject themselves to surveillance from their employers. These evolutions come alongside a boom in surveillance technology. Tech companies now provide services that can track every keystroke a lawyer makes on a company computer, analyze the content of their computer screens, or even develop algorithms to measure employee productivity. How does the modern law firm respond to these new technologies? How do they weigh their obligations to clients with the privacy considerations of their employees? This Note examines these key questions and makes a comment about the honor of the legal profession along the way. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 19 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 75

Crashed Software: Assessing Product Liability for Software Defects in Automated Vehicles

By: Sunghyo Kim Automated vehicles will not only redefine the role of drivers, but also present new challenges in assessing product liability. In light of the increased risks of software defects in automated vehicles, this Note will review the current legal and regulatory framework related to product liability and assess the challenges in addressing on-board software defects and cybersecurity breaches from both the consumer and manufacturer perspective. While manufacturers are expected to assume more responsibility for accidents as vehicles become fully automated, it can be difficult to determine the scope of liability regarding unexpected software defects. On the other hand, consumers face new challenges in bringing product liability claims against manufacturers and developers. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 16 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 300

These Walls Can Talk! Securing Digital Privacy in the Smart Home Under the Fourth Amendment

By: Stefan Ducich Privacy law in the United States has not kept pace with the realities of technological development, nor the growing reliance on the Internet of Things (IoT). As of now, the law has not adequately secured the “smart” home from intrusion by the state, and the Supreme Court further eroded digital privacy by conflating the common law concepts of trespass and exclusion in United States v. Jones. This article argues that the Court must correct this misstep by explicitly recognizing the method by which the Founding Fathers sought to “secure” houses and effects under the Fourth Amendment. Namely, the Court must reject its overly narrow trespass approach in lieu of the more appropriate right to exclude. This will better account for twenty-first century surveillance capabilities and properly constrain the state. Moreover, an exclusion framework will bolster the reasonable expectation of digital privacy by presuming an objective unreasonableness in any warrantless penetration by the state into the smart home. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 16 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 278

Live Sports Virtual Reality Broadcasts: Copyright and Other Protections

By: Marie Hopkins As virtual reality rapidly progresses, broadcasts are able to increasingly mimic the experience of actually attending a game. As the technology advances and the viewer can freely move about the game and virtual reality can simulate the in-stadium attendance, the virtual reality broadcast nears the point where the broadcast is indistinguishable from the underlying game. Thus, novel copyright protection issues arise regarding the ability to protect the experience through copyright. Although normal broadcasts may be copyrighted, virtual reality broadcasts of live sports could lack protection under the Copyright Act because the elements of originality, authorship, and fixation are harder to satisfy for this type of work. If the elements that formerly protected broadcasts through copyright no longer apply, the virtual reality broadcast of the game will lose copyright protection. The virtual reality broadcaster can receive protection for the work in several ways, such as (1) by broadcaster-made modifications to the transmitted broadcast, (2) through misappropriation claims, or (3) by inserting contract terms. These additional steps maintain the ability of virtual reality broadcasters to disseminate works without fear the work will not be protectable by the law. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 16 Duke L. & Tech. Rev.

Peeling Back the Student Privacy Pledge

By: Alexi Pfeffer-Gillett Education software is a multi-billion dollar industry that is rapidly growing. The federal government has encouraged this growth through a series of initiatives that reward schools for tracking and aggregating student data. Amid this increasingly digitized education landscape, parents and educators have begun to raise concerns about the scope and security of student data collection. Industry players, rather than policymakers, have so far led efforts to protect student data. Central to these efforts is the Student Privacy Pledge, a set of standards that providers of digital education services have voluntarily adopted. By many accounts, the Pledge has been a success. Since its introduction in 2014, over 300 companies have signed on, indicating widespread commitment to the Pledge’s seemingly broad protections for student privacy. This industry participation is encouraging, but the Pledge does not contain any meaningful oversight or enforcement provisions. This Article analyzes whether signatory companies are actually complying with the Pledge rather than just paying lip service to its goals. By looking to the privacy policies and terms of service of a sample of the Pledge’s signatories, I conclude that noncompliance may be a significant and prevalent issue. Consumers of education software have some power to

Artificial Intelligence: Application Today and Implications Tomorrow

By: Sean Semmler & Zeeve Rose This paper analyzes the applications of artificial intelligence to the legal industry, specifically in the fields of legal research and contract drafting. First, it will look at the implications of artificial intelligence (A.I.) for the current practice of law. Second, it will delve into the future implications of A.I. on law firms and the possible regulatory challenges that come with A.I. The proliferation of A.I. in the legal sphere will give laymen (clients) access to the information and services traditionally provided exclusively by attorneys. With an increase in access to these services will come a change in the role that lawyers must play. A.I. is a tool that will increase access to cheaper and more efficient services, but non-lawyers lack the training to analyze and understand information it puts out. The role of lawyers will change to fill this role, namely utilizing these tools to create a better work product with greater efficiency for their clients. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 16 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 85

Outer Space: The Final Frontier or the Final Battlefield?

By: Emily Taft Current law concerning the militarization and weaponization of outer space is inadequate for present times. The increased implementation of “dual-use” space technologies poses obstacles for the demilitarization of space. This paper examines how far the militarization of space should be taken and also whether weapons of any kind should be placed in space. Further steps must be taken in international space law to attempt to keep the militarization and weaponization of space under control in order to promote and maintain a free outer space for research and exploration. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 15 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 362

Embryos as Patients? Medical Provider Duties in the Age of CRISPR/Cas9

By: G. Edward Powell III The CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering platform is the first method of gene editing that could potentially be used to treat genetic disorders in human embryos. No past therapies, genetic or otherwise, have been intended or used to treat disorders in existent embryos. Past procedures performed on embryos have exclusively involved creation and implantation (e.g., in-vitro fertilization) or screening and selection of already-healthy embryos (e.g., preimplantation genetic diagnosis). A CRISPR/Cas9 treatment would evade medical malpractice law due to the early stage of the intervention and the fact that it is not a treatment for the mother. In most jurisdictions, medical professionals owe no duty to pre-viable fetuses or embryos as such, but will be held liable for negligent treatment of the mother if the treatment causes injury to a born-alive child. This issue brief discusses the science of CRISPR/Cas9, the background legal status of human embryos, and the case for considering genetically engineered embryos as patients for purposes of medical malpractice law. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 15 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 344

The Dawn of Fully Automated Contract Drafting: Machine Learning Breathes New Life Into a Decades-Old Promise

By: Kathryn D. Betts and Kyle R. Jaep Technological advances within contract drafting software have seemingly plateaued. Despite the decades-long hopes and promises of many commentators, critics doubt this technology will ever fully automate the drafting process. But, while there has been a lack of innovation in contract drafting software, technological advances have continued to improve contract review and analysis programs. “Machine learning,” the leading innovative force in these areas, has proven incredibly efficient, performing in mere minutes tasks that would otherwise take a team of lawyers tens of hours. Some contract drafting programs have already experimented with machine learning capabilities, and this technology may pave the way for the full automation of contract drafting. Although intellectual property, data access, and ethical obstacles may delay complete integration of machine learning into contract drafting, full automation is likely still viable. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 15 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 216

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy and the Regulation of Reproductive Genetic Technologies in the United States

By: Bob Zhao The ability to alter the genes of future generations no longer belongs in the realm of science fiction. The genetic modification capabilities of modern science are advancing rapidly. Mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) represents the first crossing of the germline barrier in humans, and as of February 2015, it is the first procedure of its kind to be legalized in the Western world. How Congress decides to regulate MRT will influence future regulation of all genetic manipulation technologies. This brief argues that the current patchwork regulatory framework established in the United States is insufficient to deal with the complex issues MRT presents. As such, the creation of a new regulatory agency specifically focused on the oversight of reproductive and genetic biotechnologies may be necessary to balance the goals of ensuring the safety of research participants, promoting public debate, and stimulating continued scientific progress. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 15 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 121