Apr 132014

From the nice article in today’s WaPo: “Google is working to preserve its rights to collect consumer data — and shield it from the government — amid a backlash over revelations that the National Security Agency tapped Internet companies as part of its surveillance programs. And it markets cloud storage and other services to federal departments, including intelligence agencies and the Pentagon.” The article illustrates just the surface of all the sorts of things which go into an effective lobbying effort. Be sure to take note of the public information act request which was needed to get documentation (through government offices) which Goggle declined to provide (being immune to FOIA as a corporation.) Also note the care with which Google’s spokesman parses words: “We will not collaborate with the NSA.” Each may have its own employees embedded at the other site, but hey, that is just where they work, they’re not “collaborating.”

In perspective, none of that lobbying effort is cheap, and nobody would be fighting so hard in Washington if the information you give Google for free was not worth a lot to them, and to government.

 Posted by at 6:02 am on April 13, 2014
Apr 082014

During our most written assignment I spent a fair amount of time researching articles trying to figure out how much my personal data is worth. I mostly came across articles with figures cited by academic research studies, but those studies only gave a vague range of figures and wasn’t very specific. Different than those studies, however, was a website, Financial Times, that provides a short quiz to give the Internet user an idea of how much their personal data is worth. I have the link provided below:


It is interesting how certain answers over others are deemed more valuable. For example, if you have health issues or are expecting a child you are much more valuable to a company than if you are not.

 Posted by at 8:05 pm on April 8, 2014
Mar 312014

Today’s WaPo carries a nice summary of the history of protecting an odd intellectual property that doesn’t fit nicely inside either patents or copyrights – it is software. There is a lot at stake in a Supreme Court case being considered now, and its outcome will affect market interests – and students who soon graduate from our program.

 Posted by at 11:57 am on March 31, 2014
Mar 072014

For the moment, commercial drones are, unequivocally, legal in American skies after a federal judge has ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration has notmade any legally binding rules against it.

The judge dismissed the FAA’s case against Raphael Pirker, the first (and only) person the agency has tried to fine for flying a drone commercially. The agency has repeatedly claimed that flying a drone for commercial purposes is illegal and has said that there’s “no gray area” in the law. The latter now appears to be true, but it hasn’t gone the way the FAA would have hoped. Patrick Geraghty, a judge with the National Transportation Safety Board, ruled that there are no laws against flying a drone commercially.

 Posted by at 4:55 pm on March 7, 2014