Here We Go Again 5 Key Questions for Patent Reform in 2015

from Gigaom Will the third time be the charm? In the last five years, Congress has twice tried to fix the country’s dysfunctional patent laws only to see those efforts founder at the hands of shrewd lobbying by reform opponents. Now, lawmakers are at it again, vowing to cut down the patent trolls who have made a mockery of a system that is supposed to promote innovation by instead turning it into a tool for economic extortion. Here’s a short look at the story so far, plus five factors that will determine if this year’s patent reform effort will fare […]

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Is Public Broadband a Threat to Taxpayers? Let Towns Decide.

from Gigaom A casual observer might think towns across the country are contemplating Communism, rather than construction projects. Such is the state of the national debate over how to build more high speed internet, which is becoming as indispensable to modern life as hot water or electricity. The crux of the debate is over how small cities, especially those where fast internet is in short supply, can get better broadband networks. The right answer, however, should not be a matter of partisan politics — but in looking at the competence of individual towns, and ensuring that their populations can have […]

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On Privacy, Free Speech, & Related Matters – Richard Posner vs David Cole & Others

from Concurring Opinions I’m exaggerating a little, but I think privacy is primarily wanted by people because they want to conceal information to fool others. – Richard Posner Privacy is overrated – Richard Posner (2013)  Much of what passes for the name of privacy is really just trying to conceal the disreputable parts of your conduct. Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you. – Richard Posner (2014) More here.

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Legal Tech Startups Have A Short History And A Bright Future

from Tech Crunch Legal technology is booming, with companies attempting to disrupt the legal space at every level and from every angle. And with good reason. Some estimates value the market size at as much as $400 billion. While legal still hasn’t caught up with other industries — either in terms of funding or widespread adoption, the future is bright and coming at us fast. Legal has been a tough nut to crack because there is significant non-uniform regulation and risk-averse, disaggregated stakeholders. These factors have slowed disruption. But change is nigh: consumers are demanding more efficient, transparent and affordable legal services, and lawyers are looking for cutting-edge ways to compete in an […]

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How I Defend The Rule Of Law

from TED Every human deserves protection under their country’s laws — even when that law is forgotten or ignored. Sharing three cases from her international legal practice, Kimberley Motley, an American litigator practicing in Afghanistan and elsewhere, shows how a country’s own laws can bring both justice and “justness”: using the law for its intended purpose, to protect. More here.

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Online Education Run Amok?

from Politico Massive open online courses, first envisioned as a way to democratize higher education, have made their way into high schools, but Washington is powerless to stop the flood of personal data about teenage students from flowing to private companies, thanks to loopholes in federal privacy laws. Universities and private companies this fall unveiled a slew of free, open-access online courses to high school students, marketing them as a way for kids to supplement their Advanced Placement coursework or earn a certificate of completion for a college-level class. But when middle and high school students participate in classes with […]

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Hacked vs. Hackers: Game On

from NYTs Paul Kocher, one of the country’s leading cryptographers, says he thinks the explanation for the world’s dismal state of digital security may lie in two charts. One shows the number of airplane deaths per miles flown, which decreased to one-thousandth of what it was in 1945 with the advent of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1958 and stricter security and maintenance protocols. The other, which details the number of new computer security threats, shows the opposite. There has been more than a 10,000-fold increase in the number of new digital threats over the last 12 years. The problem, […]

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