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Category Archives: Technology

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Apple X’s Face ID Feature Places Spotlight on Facial Recognition Technology, Raising Numerous Mobile Privacy and Data Usage Issues

This week’s Apple X announcement was not more than a few hours old, and the questions began to come in. Apple’s introduction of Face ID facial recognition on its new phone – although already available in some form on several Android phones – generated curiosity, concerns and creativity.  Unfortunately, the details about specifically how the … Continue Reading

SEC on Initial Coin Offerings: Tokens May Be Securities

No blockchain phenomenon has garnered more attention lately than Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), which have exploded in value and raised more than $1.2 billion thus far this year. In a typical ICO, a blockchain-based product or service provider offers proprietary digital assets (“tokens”) – rather than traditional forms of debt or equity – in exchange … Continue Reading

Arizona Passes Groundbreaking Blockchain and Smart Contract Law – State Blockchain Laws on the Rise

The blockchain or “distributed ledger network” was originally conceived as the peer-to-peer technology platform that allows for the transfer of Bitcoin without the need for a trusted intermediary.  However, the blockchain protocol is being implemented across many industries and in many applications beyond digital currencies. Of course, there are questions about the enforceability of blockchain-based … Continue Reading

The Cross-Industry Promise of Blockchain

The blockchain protocol (a form of a ‘distributed ledger system’) was originally designed as a platform to process Bitcoin transactions.  The protocol enables peer-to-peer transactions and eliminates the need for a trusted intermediary to verify and process the transactions. The blockchain protocol as a platform is actually independent of Bitcoin, and is therefore transferable to … Continue Reading

Facebook Seeks Dismissal in Illinois Facial Recognition Biometric Privacy Suit

As we have previously noted, Facebook has been named as a defendant in a number of lawsuits claiming that its facial recognition-based system of photo tagging violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).  In a separate putative class action filed in Illinois federal court that involves the tagging of an “unwilling” non-user without his … Continue Reading

Biometrics: Facebook Files Motion to Dismiss Privacy Suit over Facial Recognition Technology

As discussed in a previous post on facial recognition technology, a putative class action has been filed against Facebook over the collection of “faceprints” for its online photo tagging function, Tag Suggestions.  (See e.g., Licata v. Facebook, Inc., No. 2015CH05427 (Ill. Cir. Ct. Cook Cty. filed Apr. 1, 2015) (the case has been transferred to a … Continue Reading

Facial Recognition Technology: Social Media and Beyond, an Emerging Concern

This week, a major self-regulatory initiative intended to address privacy concerns associated with facial recognition technology hit a significant stumbling block.  Nine consumer advocacy groups withdrew from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)-initiative due to a lack of consensus on a minimum standard of consent.  The NTIA initiative had been ongoing since early 2014.  … Continue Reading

Virginia Court Dismisses Webcaster’s Suit Concerning Geofencing Workaround to Copyright Royalty Obligations

We previously wrote about a Virginia federal magistrate judge’s report recommending dismissal of a declaratory judgment action brought by several radio stations asking the court to rule that webcasts limited in scope via geofencing technology to 150 miles from the site of the transmitter should be exempt from liability for copyright royalties under section 114 of the … Continue Reading

FinCEN Releases Two Rulings Classifying a Bitcoin Payment System and Virtual Currency Trading Platform as MSBs

In its opening salvo bringing bitcoin under the watchful eye of the federal government, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a Guidance (FIN-2013-G001) in March 2013 clarifying that anti-money laundering regulations concerning record keeping and recording apply to digital currency exchanges.  Under this initial guidance, a bitcoin exchange that allows users to buy bitcoin … Continue Reading

Proposed “Bitlicense” Regulations Published to the New York Register

Today’s New York State Register includes a Notice of Proposed Rule Making from the New York State Department of Financial Services (the “NYSDFS”) regarding the regulation of virtual currency (“Regulation of the Conduct of Virtual Currency Businesses,” No. DFS-29-14-00015-P).  The proposed rule calls for the creation of the “bitlicense” which the NYSDFS has hinted at … Continue Reading

FINRA Issues Investor Alert Concerning Bitcoin Trading and Speculation

Bitcoin remains fixed on the front pages of the business and technology news for both the salacious and the positive. Much attention has been paid to the collapse of the former top bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, stemming from the purported theft of nearly $500 million in bitcoins.  The temporary suspension of trading in the securities … Continue Reading

Bitcoins: Legal and Business Issues

On Monday, the Senate Committee On Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held the first of two days of hearings on Bitcoin and digital currencies — Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies.  During the “surprisingly friendly” hearings, the price of bitcoin soared as regulators, officials, and academics offered cautious, but positive … Continue Reading

Trade Dress Can Be Viable Means of Protecting Websites from Competitor’s Look-Alike Sites

Somewhere between a well-recognized website design like Google’s home page and a fledgling e-commerce venture built with free web building software lives most other websites.  Depending on the investment in the development and the operator’s design ethic, some websites may display unique, distinctive portals that are key to attracting and retaining customers.  For those with … Continue Reading

SEC Has Conditional “Like” for Social Media Disclosures by Securities Issuers—A Reason to Reevaluate Electronic Communications Policies and Practices

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission gave disclosures made through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter a conditional “thumbs up” in a Report of Investigation it released on April 2, 2013.  Issuers of securities, the SEC stated, can use social media to disseminate material, nonpublic information without having to make any other disclosures … Continue Reading

U. S. Supreme Court Unanimously Rule that GPS Installation and Tracking of a Vehicle Constitutes a Search, But The Justices Disagree on Rationale – Are Lines Being Drawn on Privacy Rights and New Technology?

In a narrowly-drawn majority opinion, the United States Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Antoine Jones that the Government’s attachment of a GPS-tracking device to a vehicle, and the subsequent monitoring of the movements of that vehicle on public streets, constitutes a search. Because the Government conceded in the case that it did not … Continue Reading
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