Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Cisco and other industry leaders estimate that the Internet of Things (the “IoT”) has the potential to inject trillions of dollars of value over the next decade into both the public and private sectors. It holds tremendous promise to transform and improve our lives, generating unprecedented opportunities in the way we govern and are governed, the way we do business, and the way we manage our daily activities. We stand at the cusp of an era in which everything from cars to cows can be given an Internet address and connected to the IoT network.
This rapid expansion of new technologies and capabilities brings new technical, legal, and policy challenges to the forefront. The IoT has undoubtedly caught the attention of federal policy makers, as demonstrated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (“NTIA”) recent request for comments. There are many potential touchpoints in the IoT ecosystem for regulators and policymakers, from addressing spectrum requirements to ensuring the security of systems to establishing data protection frameworks. Unfortunately, the risk of overregulating or promulgating inconsistent regulations runs high.
Our experts discussed the current and future regulatory landscape of the IoT. Is the NTIA’s proceeding a harbinger for more regulation in this nascent space? What is the correct framework to ensure the successful deployment of the IoT? Is there any role for government? What policy decisions could make or break the evolution of the IoT?
- Neil Chilson, Attorney-Advisor to Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen, Federal Trade Commission
- Jamie Susskind, Legislative Counsel, Senator Deb Fischer
- Moderator: Kelly A. Donohue, Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP
Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Cell-site simulators are devices used by law enforcement. In response to the signals emitted by a cell-site simulator, cellular devices in the proximity identify the simulator as the most attractive cell tower in the area and transmit signals to the simulator that identify the device. Using these simulators, investigators can locate cellular devices whose unique identifiers are already known to law enforcement, or determine the unique identifiers of an unknown device by collecting limited signaling information from devices in the simulator user’s vicinity.
It has been a subject of debate whether the use of cell-site simulators by the government requires a warrant supported by probable cause. In September 2015, the Justice Department released a policy requiring federal investigators to obtain a warrant prior to employing a simulator, except under exceptional circumstances.
Is there a Fourth Amendment reasonable expectation of privacy in the data collected by cell-site simulators? Who is in the best position to establish limits in this area (if any), Congress or the courts? Should investigators be permitted to use simulators, even with a warrant?
- Howard W. Cox, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University
- Prof. Brian L. Owsley, Assistant Professor of Law, UNT Dallas College of Law
Litigation Practice Group Podcast
On June 10, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Orrin Hatch, James Lankford, and Mike Lee introduced the Stop Settlements Slush Fund Act. The Act would prohibit the Department of Justice from enforcing settlements that allow parties to give money to outside parties chosen by the administration instead of the Treasury. Many of these outside parties have been non-profits that Congress had recently removed from federal funding.
- Paul J. Larkin Jr., Senior Legal Research Fellow, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation
- Prof. David Min, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law
SCOTUScast 7-19-16 featuring Orin Kerr
On June 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Utah v. Strieff. A police officer detained Edward Strieff after seeing him leave a residence that the officer believed, based on an anonymous tip and his own surveillance, was a base for drug dealing. A relay of Strieff’s identification to a police dispatcher revealed an outstanding warrant for a traffic violation. The officer then arrested Strieff and searched him, discovering methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Strieff ultimately persuaded the Utah Supreme Court to order that evidence suppressed as the fruit of an unlawful stop.
By a vote of 5-3, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Utah Supreme Court. Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court, which held that the evidence the officer seized as part of the search incident to arrest was admissible because the officer’s discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized incident to arrest. Justice Thomas’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined as to Parts I, II, and III. Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg joined.
To discuss the case, we have Orin S. Kerr, who is Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School.
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
On June 1, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation prohibiting local and municipal governments from banning Internet-based “sharing economy” rental services like Airbnb and VRBO, which connect travelers with short-term vacation rentals. Property rights advocates have applauded the legislation, claiming that cities across the country have been banning private short-term rentals without legitimate justification, turning responsible property owners into outlaws simply because they allow guests to stay in their homes. Opponents assert that allowing commercial sharing-economy hosts to operate what they characterize as “illegal hotels” is unfair to conventional hotel operators who are forced to compete on an uneven playing field, as well as to property owners who may suddenly find their buildings and neighborhoods filled with busy rental properties. Our experts discussed the legislation and broader issues relating to property rights and the sharing economy.
- Grady Gammage, Jr., Founding Member, Gammage & Burnham PLC
- Christina Sandefur, Executive Vice President, Goldwater Institute