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Faculty News and Scholarship

  • - Wallet Hub But much like tax rates themselves, the accessibility, affordability and effectiveness of tax help differs significantly from state to state.  In order to determine where the relative sweet spots happen to be, WalletHub compared the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia in terms of seven key metrics – ranging from the number of accountants per 1,000 jobs to their average workload and mean hourly compensation. (4/10/14)
  • - Ars Technica
    As such, robots are also affecting our society, law, and culture. At the 2014 “We Robot” Conference at the University of Miami that just wrapped up (April 4 to 5, 2014), scholars gathered to discuss a number of legal, ethical, and moral questions related to emerging robotic technologies. Conference topics ranged from considerations of regulatory schemes for domestic drone oversight to an ethical guide to human/robot interactions.
    At the conference, cyberlaw professor Ryan Calo discussed his forthcoming paper "Robotics and the New Cyberlaw." Internet law defined the vanguard of cyberlaw issues in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but Calo argues that the next wave of legal showdowns will relate to robotics, which have an altogether different set of essential qualities when compared with the Internet.
  • - NBC News
    In the United States, someone injured by a small drone would have a strong case against the person remotely flying it, even if the injured party was simply startled by the drone and fell down, Ryan Calo, an assistant professor of law at the University of Washington, told NBC News.
    It’s not that different from lawsuits involving any other product. The story might be different, however, if the drone was hacked.
    “Then the person who hacked the drone would be responsible, not the operator,” Calo said. “The person flying it could be off the hook then. But it would be the operator’s obligation to prove it.”
  • - Seattle Times Washington residents of all political persuasions have become increasingly concerned about the potential use of aerial drones to invade their privacy, according to guest columnists William Covington and Mike Koss. (3/28/14)
  • - Reuters
    Dozens of detainees at an immigration holding center in Washington state have begun refusing meals, renewing a hunger strike launched by hundreds of inmates earlier this month, attorneys and activists supporting the group said on Tuesday.
    The protesters have been demanding improved conditions for the 1,300 inmates held at the privately run Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma and an end to routine U.S. deportations of immigrants who have entered the United States illegally.
    Participation in the original hunger strike dwindled as the fasting wore on, with several holdouts segregated from the general population and placed under medical observation in a move protesters said was a tactic facility managers aimed at weakening their resolve.
    But Angelica Chazaro, an immigration attorney and University of Washington law professor who represents several of the inmates, said about 70 detainees began refusing food again on Monday after managers failed to improve conditions as promised
  • - Justicia As newspaper headlines continue to mention the controversial “cryptocurrency” Bitcoin, new competitors are entering the scene. In the past few months, newcomers PotCoin and DopeCoin have emerged—billing themselves as alternative currencies for the buying and selling of marijuana. Both business ventures have an eye on the growing global marijuana market. So while Bitcoin is meant to be a universal alternative to government-issued money, new competitors are trying to cash in on niche markets. (3/25/14)
  • - The World Today
    A court has sentenced more than 500 people to death for their involvement in riots which killed a police officer. The defendants are supporters of the former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military late last year. Defence lawyers say it's the largest mass death sentence in the country's modern history.
    Professor Clark Lombardi is a specialist on law in the Muslim world at the University of Washington Law School and says this ruling is one of many harsh responses by Egypt's interim military government to supporters of the former president.
  • - Los Angeles Times The Federal Trade Commission and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris say that Facebook is misinterpreting how a children’s privacy law applies to teen privacy in a move that could undercut the giant social network in a federal court case in California. University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo said it was unclear what effect the FTC and the attorney general weighing in would have on the case. (3/24/14)
  • - Seattle Times More than 700 people detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma began a hunger strike on March 7 in protest of their conditions. Those still reported to be on hunger strike are on medical watch and have been threatened with force-feeding if they continue to refuse food. According to their attorneys, participants have experienced other reprisals for the strike, including solitary confinement and threats to their asylum efforts. (3/21/14)
  • - NPR All Things Considered
    Imagine using image recognition when a drone is flying in the air and matching faces against faces on a kill list, he suggests. If a robot like that made a mistake, who would be responsible? The programmer? The manufacturer? The military commander who launched it on its mission?
    "It forces us to confront whether we really control machines," says Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington. Calo says these tensions won't just play out in the military, but will crop up whenever we are tempted to allow robots to make decisions on their own.
  • - Los Angeles Times “If you want to surreptitiously record someone, there are much better things than Glass,” University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo said. “The reason that this is elevated to a national conversation is precisely because we are moving from handheld to wearable devices, and this is part of the growing pains we are seeing around that.” (3/18/14)
  • - Forbes “The judge noted in passing that the FAA’s public communication around defining UAS [unmanned air systems] was technically defective. He didn’t rely on this alleged defect—rather, he said even in talking about UAS, the FAA excluded modelers like Pirker again,” says drone law expert Ryan Calo. “Obviously some drones are subject to FAA regulation. Delta wouldn’t be able to remove pilots from its 747 and suddenly be free of FAA regulation. I imagine something like a Predator B would also clearly qualify as an aircraft without additional FAA regulation. The question is where the line is. I think would-be commercial operators like Amazon or Tacocopter should hold off both because the law is uncertain.” (3/17/14)
  • - KIRO
    Amazon announced the price of their Prime membership will soon increase to $99, just as at least two lawsuits were filed over their Prime pricing practices. The current price of $79 for Prime membership allows a customer to get unlimited free, two-day shipping on eligible items, unlimited streaming of more than 40,000 movies and TV shows and access to more than 500,000 Kindle books.
    In some cases, the same item was advertised at the same price, with the same offer for free, two-day shipping, even though one was through a Prime account and the other was not. Proving there was somehow fraud or deception involved is difficult, according to University of Washington law professor Anita Ramasastry.
    “That’s a hard claim to make, because there are so many different business models and so many ways in which pricing occurs in terms of what the components are that are in there. Yes, you could say shipping shouldn’t be in there, but there are many different kinds of shipping,” Ramasastry said.
  • - CNN Visiting Professor Angelica Chazaro speaks to CNN about her clients, detained immigrants, who are on a hunger strike at a Washington State detention center (3/11/14)
  • - NPR All Things Considered
    Social media monitoring started in the world of marketing, allowing companies to track what people were saying about their brands. But now, with software that allows users to scan huge volumes of public postings on social media, police are starting to embrace it as well. Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington law school who specializes in privacy issues, says police could run into trouble searching on the Internet.
    "If officers were [scanning social media] on the basis of gender and then making decisions on that basis, you could run into constitutional scrutiny," Calo says. "And you'd be almost sure to if your keyword involved the word 'Muslim.' "
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