On August 27, 2021, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Media Law Resource Center, and the MuckRock Foundation in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The case, ACLU v. ICE (Second Circuit No. 21-1233), raises questions about how database design choices affect the availability of public information under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The amicus brief argues that technical, legal, and public policy factors all weigh in favor of using databases to facilitate, rather than hinder, the public right of access to government records.
As we gear up for the fall semester, the Cyberlaw Clinic could not be more excited to welcome Alejandra Caraballo to the Clinic’s teaching team! Alejandra is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and has been a staff attorney at both the New York Legal Assistance Group and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. Alejandra brings to the Clinic deep expertise as a civil rights and civil liberties attorney, with extensive practice experience focused on advancing the rights of LGBTQ people in a variety of legal contexts. Alejandra has a passion for all manner of tech law and policy issues (including intellectual property, encryption, and quantum computing). We expect that she will support projects in many of the Clinic’s existing practice areas while also taking us in some new and exciting directions. We are thrilled to be starting up the new academic year with Alejandra on board!
Last week, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in Sanchez v. Los Angeles Department of Transportation, a Ninth Circuit case about the reasonableness of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT)’s requirement that rental scooter companies like Uber and Lime provide their mobility data–which includes location information–to the city. The Clinic’s amicus brief, filed on behalf of seven individual technologists, urban planning experts, and geoprivacy researchers, argues that the lower court erred in its finding that the mobility data specification (MDS) data was anonymous, and that at the very least, the court should have allowed discovery so that any decision as to the reasonableness of the search could be based upon a full understanding of the data collected and the city’s needs.
Update 8/9/2021: We have set up a permanent page where you can always find the latest version of the How to Read a Docket guide.
As the Cyberlaw Clinic continues to expand our amicus brief and direct representation practices, we’re finding that many students encounter court dockets for the first time in their clinical work. Looking back at our own experiences, we realized that many of us learned the ins and outs of dockets at clinics or on the job. Given how convoluted long-running dockets can get–and how essential good docket management is to litigation–we decided to compile the basics of docket use into a living document.
As the 2020-21 term at the Supreme Court winds to a close over the coming weeks, we are awaiting a decision in the case, Minerva v. Hologic (Supreme Court Case No. 20-440). The Court heard oral argument in the case on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, and a decision is expected by the end of June. The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Engine Advocacy, challenging the application of assignor estoppel doctrine in patent litigation. This brief expands on arguments made in an earlier brief submitted by Engine and the Clinic, supporting a petition for certiorari in the case.
Harvard Law School students will soon have the opportunity to enroll in clinics for the 2021-22 academic year. We urge students to consider all of the extraordinary clinical programs at HLS, which cover a huge range of substantive issue areas, offer different types of practice opportunities, and take a variety of approaches to learning and pedagogy. And, we particularly hope that they will consider joining us here in the Cyberlaw Clinic.
We wanted to collect in one place some general information about the Clinic and offer resources to HLS 1Ls and 2Ls thinking about enrollment next fall or spring. We hope you will find this helpful and informative, and you can of course reach out (as described below) to get any additional information that might be useful as you make your decision.
This spring, the Cyberlaw Clinic is returning to the eighth triennial rulemaking proceeding under 17 U.S.C. 1201, which considers exemptions to the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Section 1201 of the DMCA outlaws the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs) that prevent the unauthorized copying of digital materials. The blanket ban on TPM circumvention, however, applies regardless of whether the underlying use of materials is infringing or fair. Therefore, every three years the Copyright Office holds hearings to determine appropriate exemptions to 1201 restrictions, and make a recommendation to the Librarian of Congress, who ultimately decides which uses are exempted from 1201. This year, the Cyberlaw Clinic, on behalf of the Software Preservation Network and Library Copyright Alliance, seeks to expand the exempted uses to allow eligible memory institutions to access out-of-commerce software and video games remotely for qualifying preservation, research, and teaching purposes.
On February 15, the Technology and Social Change Team at the Harvard Shorenstein Center (TaSC) submitted a comment drafted by the Cyberlaw Clinic to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan. The call for comments was issued in anticipation of the Special Rapporteur’s upcoming report on the relationship between disinformation and freedom of expression that will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2021. The Special Rapporteur welcomed contributions that addressed how human rights law applies to disinformation, what impact of measures already taken to address disinformation has had on human rights, and any recommendations on how to protect human rights while addressing disinformation.
A recent decision by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division held that the proprietary source code underlying DNA analysis software TrueAllele may be examined by an independent expert in advance of a hearing on admissibility. The opinion aligns with the position advocated by the Clinic in its October amicus brief on behalf of Upturn, Inc., a DC-based nonprofit organization promoting technology equity. The decision is a victory for defendants’ rights and due process in a developing area of criminal law.
Lockdown and Shutdown: New White Paper Exposes the Impacts of Recent Recent Network Disruptions in Myanmar and Bangladesh
The Cyberlaw Clinic and International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School were proud to co-author a new white paper, Lockdown and Shutdown: Exposing the Impacts of Recent Network Disruptions in Myanmar and Bangladesh, in collaboration with Athan, the Kintha Peace and Development Initiative, and Rohingya Youth Association. The report exposes the impacts of internet shutdowns in Myanmar and Bangladesh, highlighting the voices of ethnic minority internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who describe the shutdowns’ impacts in their own words. The co-authors joined to present a webinar to launch the report on January 19, 2021.