Higher Education Webinars

Law, Policy -- and IT?

Tracy Mitrano explores the intersection where higher education, the Internet and the world meet (and sometimes collide).

January 4, 2013 - 12:23pm
In Commissioner Jon Leibowitz NYT quote is the salient point:  “While not everything Google did was beneficial, on balance we did not believe that the evidence supported an F.T.C. challenge to this aspect of Google’s business under American law.”  "Under American Law …"
January 3, 2013 - 8:58am
1. Copyright Reform balancing innovation with incentive. 2. Electronic Communications Privacy Act reform updating legislation technologically while retaining Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.
December 19, 2012 - 9:39pm
Most folks don't pay much attention to administrative law.  It is not an area of law taught at any level of school except law; it is hardly mentioned in 7th grade civics, for example, too busy with the tripartite form of republican democracy.  If you take American history as an undergraduate it shows up most prominently in a discussion of the New Deal and the alphabet soup of federal agencies that emerged with Roosevelt's social policy from the first 100 days through to the establishment of the Social Security Administration and National Labor Relations Board in the second administration.  Its history began much earlier, however, with the Interstate Commerce Commission of 1887 formed to regulate railroads.  In 1914, Congress passed the Federal Trade Commission Act, which was the statutory basis of the Federal Trade Commission.    
December 15, 2012 - 5:41pm
The United States, which in the negotiation got just about everything that it wanted, refused to sign the agreement that speaks to global Internet governance.  Why?  Because the United States does not want to recognize any shared governance of that which it largely controls, namely, the root domain servers that assigns names and numbers on the Internet.  ICANN is an arm of the Department of Commerce, which is the government agency still in charge of those servers.  The very process of this treaty poses a challenge to the United State's singular control over the technical foundation of the Internet as it operates internationally today.
December 12, 2012 - 9:29am
Dan Goldstein, attorney for National Federation of the Blind, has recently published the clearest articulation to date of the relationship between disability law and web accessibility.  In short, while the Americans Disability Act, promulgated in 1990, did not explicitly speak to cyberspace, it nonetheless is the legal foundation upon which accommodations to it are required of those entities that fall under its scope, including higher education.  This point is an important one to make.  For some years, institutional attorneys and disability advocates have gotten tangled in discussions about whether section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which outlines a baseline of technical standards for web accessibility and is required for all federal agencies, is required of colleges and universities.
December 6, 2012 - 10:48am
Access to medical journals so that inventors, including high school students, can innovate to save lives. Access to copyright materials for the purposes of not-for-profit education as an expanded understanding of the fair use exception in statutory law and further embellished in the doctrine of transformative use in current case law.
December 4, 2012 - 9:24pm
In higher education there is no more well-known privacy law than the Family Education Rights Privacy Act, or "FERPA." Established in the 1970s to protect against abuses law enforcement made against students involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements, this early public privacy law fits into type 3 of the five categories I established in earlier blogs.
November 30, 2012 - 2:18pm
Remember the movie "Sex, Lies and Videotape"?  I invoke its poetic meter to frame a discussion of civil action privacy law.  Type 4, you will recall, involves civil actions, individuals against individuals, in state court actions known as "torts."  These laws, famously framed out of a 1890 law review article, were the first time the term "privacy" came directly into named U.S. laws.  Putting on my historian's hat, I have argued that this occurrence was not the result of a notion of privacy being "discovered" -- notions of privacy date back to ancient times in Western Culture, and the term itself is derived from Latin -- but because modern, urban, industrial society at the turn of the last century, driven largely by technological developments, not the least of which was photography, encroached so significantly on cultural mores that the law was called upon as a defense to shore up those norms.
November 29, 2012 - 12:47pm
Yesterday the World Wide Web Consortium named privacy expert and the Ohio State University Law Professor Peter Swire Co-Chair of its Tracking Protection Working Group. With a stellar reputation and a mountain of integrity, Swire's appointment is as good a move as anyone can hope for in what is a technically complicated and politically contentious situation.
November 28, 2012 - 11:33am
This week the Senate Judiciary Committee will work on amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, commonly referred to as "ECPA."  When passed in 1986 it updated the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, the first "wiretap" federal law.  This law codified procedures for the rule the Supreme Court established in the landmark Katz v. U.S. case that created a Fourth Amendment privacy right in electronic communications, telephony principally in that day.  In my cheat sheet on different kinds of privacy law outlined in the last couple of previous blogs, this would be type 2 privacy law.


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