Icts, Social Media, & The Future of Human Rights

By: Nikita Mehandru and Alexa Koenig

As communication increasingly shifts to digital platforms, information derived from online open sources is starting to become critical in creating an evidentiary basis for international crimes. While journalists have led the development of many newly emerging open source investigation methodologies, courts have heightened the requirements for verifying and preserving a chain of custody—information linking all of the individuals who possessed the content and indicating the duration of their custody—creating a need for standards that are just now beginning to be identified, articulated, and accepted by the international legal community. In this article, we discuss the impact of internet-based open source investigations on international criminal legal processes, as well as challenges related to their use. We also offer best practices for lawyers, activists, and other individuals seeking to admit open source information—including content derived from social media—into courts.
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Cite: 17 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 129

Online Terrorist Speech, Direct Government Regulation, and the Communications Decency Act

By: Steven Beale

The Communications Decency Act (CDA) provides Internet platforms complete liability protection from user-generated content. This Article discusses the costs of this current legal framework and several potential solutions. It proposes three modifications to the CDA that would use a carrot and stick to incentivize companies to take a more active role in addressing some of the most blatant downsides of user-generated content on the Internet. Despite the modest nature of these proposed changes, they would have a significant impact.
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Cite: 16 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 333

The NLRB’s Purple Communications Decision: Email, Property, and the Changing Patterns of Industrial Life

By: Josh Carroll

On December 11th, 2014, in a much-anticipated case, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) held in a 3-2 decision that employees with access to an employer’s email system had a presumptive right to use that email system during non-working time under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). In an attempt to adapt to the “changing patterns of industrial life,” the NLRB reversed a seven-year precedent by overturning In re Guard Publ’g Co., 351 N.L.R.B. 1110 (2007), and thereby gave employees the statutory right to use employer email systems for non-business purposes.

This issue brief argues that the majority opinion in Purple Commc’ns, Inc., 361 N.L.R.B. No. 126 (2014) erroneously presumed that a ban on employer email systems interfered with employees’ rights to engage in concerted activities under Section 7. In reality, the influx of alternative avenues of communication, such as smartphones, social media, and tablets, have substantially grown for employees over the past several years, thus strengthening employees’ Section 7 rights. The new framework set forth in Purple Communications not only exaggerates the need for employees to exercise their Section 7 rights by using a company’s email system,