Hands Off the Wheel: An Analysis of Ethical and Legal Issues Facing Autonomous Automobiles

By George Cortina

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The days of having our hands on the wheel while cruising along a highway will soon be over. The advent of autonomous and semi-autonomous automobiles presents many new opportunities to enhance safety and comfort in one’s daily commute. However, this does not come without its challenges. Many ethical and legal questions remain unanswered as car manufacturers and automators continue to develop their autonomous driving technologies. As a result, further cooperation between stakeholders, legislators, and businesses is necessary to find answers to these questions and ensure a viable future for autonomous cars.… Read the rest

Legislating Low-Wage Non-Competes: Reconciling Policy Interests with Common Law

By Derek Franklin

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In August 2016, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, which prohibits non-compete agreements with private sector employees making less than $13 per hour altogether.   Although there are legitimate policy reasons for invoking the Act, banning these agreements with low-wage workers without any room for exception runs the risk of unnecessarily nullifying some agreements that actually are backed by a “legitimate business interest” and do not impose unreasonably restrictive restraints.  One possible solution to this would be to amend the statute to allow for a small set of narrowly-defined exceptions when a non-compete agreement with a low-wage worker may be enforceable.  Incorporating a narrow set of highly specific exceptions when employers could enter into enforceable non-compete agreements with low-wage employees would prevent the statute from being overly broad and divergent from the Illinois common-law approach without sapping its ability … Read the rest

To Infinity & Beyond: Legal Implications for Space Tourism

By Colin Mummery

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The drastic rise of numerous space tourism companies suggests that the prospects of viable and even cost-conscious space tourism may be in reach. This entirely new frontier promises immense rewards in terms of financial remuneration for the companies involved, but there are significant legal issues that remain entirely unanswered. This note investigates the existing legal and regulatory framework including a discussion of the legal requirements for a company involved in space travel in the United States. Further analysis includes a look at the legal liabilities for private space tourism companies. This note argues that the FAA needs to immediately clarify certain definitions and classifications for the space tourism industry. More importantly, the proper allocation of risk and liability is of central importance for the growth and long term viability of the industry. As such, a hybrid risk sharing solution should be maintained via … Read the rest

Leaving NAFTA: The Insurmountable Legal and Economic Challenges Facing the Trump Administration

By Sophie Park

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The fate of NAFTA is up in the air as negotiators from the United States, Canada, and Mexico try to find agreeable terms. This note examines the brief history of NAFTA and what formidable legal challenges the United States would face if it arbitrarily exits the agreement. The plain text of NAFTA does not allow clear and legally effective withdrawal from it, and the Foreign Affairs Power under the United States Constitution mandates the participation of Congress on the issue.… Read the rest

Sharing is not Caring: Internet Service Providers Selling Customer Data Without Consent

By Stuart Walker

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Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have the ability to sell or share customer data without consent and internet users have few broadband alternatives. Based on an analysis of preemption cases involving the FCC, it is likely that states’ efforts to regulate ISPs with their own privacy laws would be preempted by the FCC. The best solution for meaningful change is broad federal privacy legislation that addresses ISPs and internet companies that has a customizable balance between business and user privacy interests.… Read the rest

Keeping Information Secure: The Federal Trade Commission’s Role in Data Security

By Brittany Wiegand

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Cybercrime damages are expected to be in the trillions by 2021. Law firms’ data security is only becoming more relevant and important, yet technological advancements far outpace governmental standards and frameworks to assist businesses in protecting clients’ security. This note argues that the Federal Trade Commission stands in a position to take the lead in regulation and security enforcement and that the FTC should promulgate regulations to prevent future security breaches.… Read the rest

Monsanto: The Death of American Farming

By Victoria Wojciechowski

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This Note explores the effect of Monsanto’s licensing agreement on American farming. Monsanto controls 93% of U.S. soybean seeds and 80% of U.S. corn seeds, leaving American farmers little to no choice when it comes to buying their seeds. These seeds require the farmers to consent to a strict licensing agreement. This Note provides background information on cases against American farmers based on Monsanto’s licensing agreement.… Read the rest

Net Neutrality: Individual Privacy at Risk

By Jason Shultz

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Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have gained power to limit people’s access to the internet. In March 2017, Congress reversed regulations imposed on ISPs under the Obama Administration. These regulations protected internet consumers from having their access to the internet restricted by ISPs. This note examines the history of net neutrality and why removing regulations on ISPs is dangerous for internet consumers. People are now at risk of having their data sold and being limited in which websites are available through their ISP.… Read the rest

Specters of the Privatized Punishment: Erosions of Civil Liberties in Juvenile Prisons

By Kelly Chen

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As juvenile offenders have been increasingly incarcerated in private prisons in the United States, issues have emerged regarding the material and legal impacts of the new privatized settings. In similar vein, this Note considers the pressing issue of how infringement on the civil rights of juvenile offenders are troubling collateral consequences of private juvenile correctional and detention centers that primarily strive to meet certain business goals. By examining the historical trajectory of private juvenile facilities and detailing their longstanding precarious living conditions and institutional practices and analyzing the constitutionality of the privatized penal state, this Note argues that private juvenile prisons, as they operate today, should conclude. In favor of structural changes that instill principles of rehabilitative or restorative justice, this Note asserts that community-based, progressive models of juvenile imprisonment should become the new alternative.… Read the rest

Equating Cybertravel with Physical Travel: the Key to Preserving a Borderless Internet Without Violating U.S. Copyright Law

By Michal Nowicki

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This Note explores the legality of cybertravel— the use of technological measures to trick a website into believing that the user is accessing it from a different location — under § 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to access territorially-restricted, copyright-protected digital content not available in the user’s physical location. Internet users cybertravel to bypass territorial restrictions for several reasons, including to access television shows and movies before they lawfully become available in their home country, and to access otherwise unavailable live streams of live events with less commercial interruptions. Although this Note concedes that the plain language of the DMCA seems to outlaw copyright-infringing cybertravel, it encourages courts to exclude such cybertravel from DMCA coverage by equating it with physical travel. If adopted, this approach would shield cybertravelers from civil liability because they would be legally deemed within the authorized … Read the rest