As Smart Speaker Adoption Grows; Privacy Policies Diverge

In just three years, 16% of the U.S. population has adopted smart speaker technology. As of December 2017, a study indicates that one in six adults in the U.S. own smart speakers. This is around 39 million people, an increase of about 128% from January 2017. The recent release of Apple’s HomePod (February 9, 2018)

Twitter Not Liable for ISIS Use of Site

On January 31st, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Twitter can’t be held liable for allegedly allowing the Islamic State (ISIS) to use its social network to spread propaganda. The case, Fields v. Twitter, Inc., is brought by a pair of plaintiffs whose family members were killed in 2015 in

Challenges to Uber’s Plans for a Flying Car Service?

While one day requesting air travel with the convenience of a ride sharing app may seem like a luxury reserved for the ultra-wealthy, Uber already has plans to deliver this service to consumers at an affordable rate. The idea is that destinations could be entered via an app that would inform of where the closest

Graffiti Gains Legitimacy: Judge Awards Graffiti Artists $6.7M

5Pointz complex in Long Island City, Queens, was a frequent site of photo shoots and music videos as its walls were adorned with visual works of art since the 1990s—back when the owner of the building agreed to allow graffiti artists work on the walls of the building. 5Pointz became not only a hotspot and

Mission Impossible?

In the Mission Impossible series Tom Cruise receives self-destructing assignments before embarking on a theatrical, mostly death defying, stunt filled mission. Interestingly enough, minus the explosive part, those messages are now no longer just for the movies. There is an app, Confide, that provides the same security without all the cleanup. Confide provides users “ith

“Deepfakes” Technology and Pornography Laws

“Deepfakes technology” uses machine learning to doctor film and replace the face of one person with the face of another. It does so by condensing the film editing task into three, easy steps: (1) “gather a photoset of a person;” (2) “choose a video to manipulate;” (3) wait for your computer to do the rest.

Defense Contractors Beware: Russia is Lurking

Readers of the North Carolina JOLT Blog may recall that back in October, I published a piece on the Russian use of Kaspersky—a Russian antivirus program—to search for sensitive American cybersecurity programs and methods from a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor. Despite the known risk posed by Kaspersky (the NSA did not allow the program

Are Internet Companies Growing too Big?

A recent piece in WIRED articulated a growing sentiment about big tech companies and antitrust. It depicts tech companies as rocketing to the top of the economy in a free-wheeling environment free of regulation. But today, two companies, Google and Facebook control 90% of advertising spending. Antitrust concerns targeting large internet companies are growing. Last

Climate Change in California Produces Drought and Periods of Extreme Flooding Indicated by Oroville Dam Spill

Much of the focus of climate change in California has revolved around the impacts of drought and the probability of water shortages affecting the agriculture industry. Such hysteria has led to mandated water curtailment by private citizens as well as large-scale regulatory overhaul of groundwater in California under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Conversely, climate

Ford Proposes Autonomous Police Cars

Ford has filed a patent application with the federal government in which it proposes plans for autonomous police squad cars that can monitor traffic and issue tickets and warnings for traffic violations. The autonomous squad cars could add an interesting facet to the legal gray area regarding the legality of tickets issued by red light