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Daily Archives: May 2, 2018

Text Messages Are Property: Why You Don’t Own Your Text Messages, But It’d Be a Lot Cooler If You Did

Howden, Spence, Text Messages Are Property: Why You Don’t Own Your Text Messages, But It’d Be a Lot Cooler If You Did (March 2, 2018). Washington & Lee Law Review, 2019, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

“Courts have yet to consider whether text messages are property, but they will soon. As our lives become more and more centered around our smartphones, text messages will displace e-mails as the primary means of electronic communication (if that hasn’t already happened). We currently don’t have an effective means of recourse available should our cellular providers purposefully block or delete our text messages. The answer lies in property law. This Note argues that text messages are intangible personal property, which leads to two practical outcomes. First, text message “owners” can successfully sue using property‑based causes of action (e.g., trespass to chattels and conversion) when their ownership rights over their text messages are disturbed by the service provider or cell phone manufacturer. Although there have been few legal challenges brought by aggrieved text message owners, they have been universally unsuccessful in causing cellular providers to change their ways. Had these aggrieved text message owners sued under a property-based cause of action, they would have successfully enjoined the cellular providers from continuing to mess with their text messages. Second, a judicial determination that text messages constitute intangible personal property will close the third-party loophole. As it stands, the government is free to search the contents of our text messages because we have voluntarily conveyed the information to our cellular service providers. However, if courts find that text messages constitute a form of property, an encrypted text message starts to look more and more like a sealed letter than public information. The framers designed the Fourth Amendment to prevent unwarranted searches and seizures of the dominant form of communication of their day: sealed letters. Consequently, it only makes sense to extend the Fourth Amendment’s protection to the dominant form of communication today: encrypted text messages.’

Paper – A Value-Added Ranking of Law Schools

Ryan, CJ, A Value-Added Ranking of Law Schools (March 20, 2018). AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 18-05. Available at SSRN: or “Before and since the first publication of the U.S. News & World Report (hereinafter “U.S. News”) rankings of law schools, legal education has been characterized by competition. As the first mover in… Continue Reading

CEC Launches Global Open-sourced Circular Economy Database

Circular economy: An Alternative for the “Take, Make, Consume and Dispose” Mindset “The database is designed to help circular economy advocates learn what is already being done and better coordinate efforts on a global scale while showcasing more than 3,000 circular economy-related initiatives around the globe from more than 100 cities and 60 countries. The… Continue Reading

Encryption Policy And Its International Impacts: A Framework For Understanding Extraterritorial Ripple Effects

Encryption Policy And Its International Impacts: A Framework For Understanding Extraterritorial Ripple Effects by Ryan Budish, Herbert Burkert. Urs Gasser. March 2, 2018. “This paper explores the potential international ripple effects that can occur following changes to domestic encryption policies. Whether these changes take the form of a single coherent national policy or a collection… Continue Reading

Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digital life

“Millennials have often led older Americans in their adoption and use of technology, and this largely holds true today. But there has also been significant growth in tech adoption in recent years among older generations – particularly Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. More than nine-in-ten Millennials (92%) own smartphones, compared with 85% of Gen Xers… Continue Reading

Consumers Union Testimony to House Subcommittee on Robocalls

“Consumers Union testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection on combating robocalls and caller ID spoofing. Despite some progress made by regulators and phone companies to limit robocalls, complaints continue to skyrocket, with consumers filing at least seven million complaints about violations of the Do Not Call list in… Continue Reading

American Libraries – Library Systems Report 2018

New technologies enable an expanded vision of library services “Technologies that focus on supporting traditional library services no longer meet the needs of libraries that wish to strengthen their involvement in new service areas. Academic libraries are looking beyond efficiencies in collection management or improvements in library-provided discovery services. Instead, they are addressing broader education… Continue Reading

Cambridge Analytica closes operations after Facebook scandal

News release – Cambridge Analytica and Scl Elections Commence Insolvency Proceedings and Release Results of Independent Investigation into Recent Allegations: “Earlier today, SCL Elections Ltd., as well as certain of its and Cambridge Analytica LLC’s U.K. affiliates (collectively, the “Company” or “Cambridge Analytica”) filed applications to commence insolvency proceedings in the U.K.  The Company is… Continue Reading

Mindfulness as a Management Technique Goes Back to at Least the 1970s

Jim Butcher – Harvard Business Review: “Mindfulness is now seen as a crucial skill in business. Meditation practices have the capacity to calm the mind, relax the body, boost resilience, and even increase situational awareness. The study of mindfulness — often defined as paying attention, nonjudgmentally and on purpose — is a regular part of… Continue Reading

Art Impact International – Gallery Showing and Opening Reception May 3, 2018

“Art Impact™ International is pleased to announce our Third Annual Juried Exhibition “GOLDEN”. “This beautiful show is scheduled for National American Elders Month, May 2018. As Art Impact advocates global citizenship, this month-long exhibition features 81 Artists from 14 countries including Canada, Ethiopia, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa. [This link includes photos and bios… Continue Reading