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Telecommunications

Should the government be able to read your emails?

Short Video on Private Servers and the 4th Amendment in the Information Age featuring Amy Peikoff
Amy Peikoff February 10, 2016

Southwestern Law School’s Visiting Associate Professor Amy Peikoff explains the Third Party Doctrine of the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment Doctrine. Under the Third Party Doctrine, the government does not need a warrant in order to obtain information entrusted to a third party, such as a bank, cell phone company, or email server. Thus, individuals who utilize their personal server for email may effectively keep their emails private while those using a commercial email server such as gmail do not have the same privacy.

Telecommunications Transactions and the Public Interest - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Michael J. Copps, William Rinehart, Harold Furchtgott-Roth January 29, 2016

Mergers and other transactions between large telecommunications companies are always the subject of vigorous public debate, and recent developments in the area provide an excellent opportunity to explore many of the big questions in play. What is the future of media and telecom companies in today’s vast changing technology landscape? How important is scale? How should government assess the competition and public interest benefits and threats of proposed deals? What process should be employed by what agencies? How do the principles of net neutrality play into the equation? Our experts discussed these questions and others.

Featuring:

  • Hon. Michael Copps, Special Adviser, Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, Common Cause
  • William Rinehart, Director, Technology and Innovation Policy, American Action Forum
  • Moderator: Hon. Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Director, Center for the Economics of the Internet, Hudson Institute

RESOLVED: The FCC Does Not Have the Legal Authority to Implement Net Neutrality - Event Audio/Video

18th Annual Faculty Conference
Adam Candeub, Justin (Gus) Hurwitz, Geoffrey A. Manne, James A. Speta, Daniel Lyons January 15, 2016

The FCC derives its legal authority almost entirely from statutes that predate the Internet--primarily from the 1934 Communications Act, which was designed for the regulation of a national telephone monopolist, and the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which was designed to incrementally deregulate the communications industry as the vestiges of that national monopoly gave way to competition. Over the past 20 years, the Internet has become the foundation of the communications industry, playing a role similar to that of the monopoly-provided telecommunications services that the FCC has traditionally regulated. There is unquestionably more competition today than there was in 1934, but perhaps not as much as was hoped in 1996.  The FCC’s Open Internet Order, in which the FCC brought Internet Service Providers within the regulatory framework initially created in 1934, presents a compelling example of an agency struggling to find a new role in a changed industry – struggling to imbue old statutes with broad grants of power to govern what the FCC, but perhaps not Congress, believes are issues properly within its ambit. In doing so, the Order thrusts the FCC into current debates about the scope of the administrative state, the potential revival of the major questions doctrine, and the potential demise of Chevron.  Framed by these issues, this debate will consider whether the FCC’s Open Internet Order fits within the agency’s statutory authority.

This debate took place during the 18th Annual Faculty Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, NY on January 8, 2016.

Luncheon Debate: Resolved: The FCC does not have the legal authority to implement net neutrality
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Prof. Adam Candeub, Michigan State University School of Law
  • Prof. Justin (Gus) Hurwitz, Nebraska College of Law
  • Mr. Geoffrey Manne, International Center for Law and Economics
  • Prof. James Speta, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Moderator: Prof. Daniel Lyons, Boston College Law School

Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel
New York, NY

Regulating a World Wide Web - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Paul Brigner, Roslyn Layton, Robert M. McDowell, David Redl, Patricia J. Paoletta December 22, 2015

Net Neutrality has been the subject of intense policy discussion in recent years, but the dramatic international implications of a shift in internet regulation remain unappreciated. To date, U.S. regulators have utilized a light-touch form of regulation. Much has been said about the Federal Communication Commission’s new regulatory approach, but left largely undiscussed is how it will affect the global internet, American competitiveness, and more. Our panelists provided an in-depth discussion of the global ripples the FCC’s Open Internet Order may create.

Featuring:

  • Paul Brigner, Director, North America Regional Bureau, Internet Society
  • Roslyn Layton, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
  • Hon. Robert M. McDowell, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
  • David Redl, Chief Counsel for Communications and Technology, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Moderator: Patricia J. Paoletta, Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

DIRECTV v. Imburgia - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 12-15-15 featuring Cory Andrews
Cory L. Andrews December 17, 2015

On December 14, 2015, the Supreme Court decided DIRECTV v. Imburgia. This case involves a class action lawsuit against DIRECTV by various California customers.  Among other things, the agreement between DIRECTV and its customers contained a waiver of any right by either party to undertake class arbitration, unless “the law of your state” made such waivers unenforceable.  At that time class arbitration waivers were unenforceable under California law, but in a subsequent case the United States Supreme Court held that this California rule was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).  Concluding that the parties had intended to apply the rule as it existed prior to the Supreme Court decision, California trial and appellate courts refused to enforce the arbitration provision.  The question before the Supreme Court was whether the FAA permitted this outcome; namely, the application of state law that had since been preempted by the FAA.

By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the California Court of Appeals and remanded the case. Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court, holding that the arbitration provision must be enforced because the California appellate court’s interpretation was preempted by the FAA.

Justice Breyer’s opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Sotomayor joined.

To discuss the case, we have Cory Andrews, who is Senior Litigation Counsel at the Washington Legal Foundation.