Open Journal Systems

Biden Flashes Warning to Big Tech as Antitrust Team Takes Shape

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Lina Khan, an antitrust legal scholar and professor at Columbia Law, to serve as a member of the Federal Trade Commission. Last week, Biden named Timothy Wu, another Columbia Law professor, to join the National Economic Council as a special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy. Both Khan and Wu have been outspoken advocates for enforcing antitrust regulations against U.S. tech companies. The selection of these two major critics of Big Tech for key roles in the new administration signals their aggressive approach to combating the monopoly power of technology giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

Twitter Accuses Texas AG of Retaliating Against It over Trump Ban

Attorneys from WilmerHale are representing Twitter against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, accusing him of retaliation for suspending Trump on the platform. The lawsuit is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and asserts that Paxton issued a civil investigative demand just five days after announcing Trump’s ban. The AG’s office demanded numerous highly confidential documents, the disclosure of which would compromise Twitter’s ability to moderate its content. Twitter alleges Paxton violated the First Amendment and is seeking an order declaring Paxton violated the firm’s free speech rights and a temporary restraining order enjoining the office from the investigation.

State legislatures across the country are targeting app stores

Companies such as Spotify, Match Group, and Epic have banded together against phone makers alleging the commissions they receive from in-app purchases violate anti-competitive laws. The Arizona House of Representatives passed a measure that would allow app makers to use their own payment software (instead of going through, for example, the iOS app store). The legislation will move to the Arizona state Senate before becoming law. If this bill becomes law, other states, and perhaps even Washington, could follow suit.

How One State Managed to Actually Write Rules on Facial Recognition

So far, there has been an all-or-nothing approach to whether the police is allowed to use facial recognition technology. Cities such as Oakland, Portland, San Francisco, and Minneapolis have banned the police use of this technology as the algorithms are most accurate for white men, but less so for other races. However, facial recognition technology remains a powerful investigative tool in identifying criminals, such as those who participated in the Jan. 6 Capital riot. The new police reform bill in Massachusetts has a different approach – the police must first obtain a judge’s permission before running a facial recognition search, and then a member of the state police, FBI, or Registry of Motor Vehicles perform the search. This bypasses the all-or-nothing approach and strikes a balance on the use and regulation of facial recognition technology.

No Going Back: Virtual Mediations Are on the Rise. But what’s the Gold Standard?

Attorneys are predicting that virtual alternative dispute resolutions will likely to stay even after the pandemic ends. The main advantages of virtual mediation is saving costs from travel-related expenses. Even if the courts returns to full time in-person sessions, mediators will still likely be using Zoom as an alternative. In person mediations would continue to remain the gold standard, but in cases with lower stakes or geographic inconvenience, virtual mediations will remain forever.