Most recent update: 2019/01/02
SB 64, Senator Nelson:
Current Status - Filed
SB 64 mostly amends the Texas Government Code, with some amendments to the Education Code, the Business and Commerce Code, and the Utilities Code. You can find the entire text in the link above.
Some of the meatier portions of the bill involve incentivizing cybersecurity education in colleges, establishing a cybersecurity information sharing program among government and private entities, and routinely assessing the cyber preparedness of various state entities.
Most recent update: 2019/01/02
SB 59, Senator Zaffirini:
Current Status - Filed
This bill amends Section 423.002(a) of the Texas Government Code to expand the number of situations in which capturing images with drones is legal.
(22) if the image is:
(A) captured for the purpose of delivering
consumer goods that were ordered through an Internet website or
mobile application and the operator of the unmanned aircraft is
authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct
operations within the airspace from which the image is captured;
(B) directly related to the purpose described by
Paragraph (A), including images captured for purposes of navigation
or ensuring public safety.
This bill looks like it's seeking to help out companies like Amazon who are planning on making deliveries by drone.
In order for the imaging to be legal, the company capturing the image by drone must first get approval through the FAA. It's interesting that the bill requires FAA approval but only addresses images taken by drone. One would think that a bill requiring FAA approval would address the legality of flying rather than image capturing.
I was trying to think of a good seasonal post, and I realized there’s a topic that has been missed time and time again. You’re familiar with Santa Claus? Big jolly guy? Delivers presents to good little boys and girls each year?
Well, he’s actually a criminal.
Think about it: where does this Santa Claus guy get off just strolling into my house, eating my food, and drinking my milk? Why isn’t this a crime?
The answer to that question, dear reader, is that it’s absolutely illegal, and with your help, we can convince the attorney general to prosecute him.
You might think that Santa can be prosecuted under burglary, sometimes colloquially known as breaking and entering. Unfortunately, Big Red does not enter people’s homes seeking to commit a felony. Without the requisite intent, Santa Claus’s crimes do not rise to the level of burglary. There is another crime more suited to the transgressions of the serial intruder: criminal mischief.
“A person commits the offense of criminal mischief if, without the effective consent of the owner, the person intentionally or knowingly… tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person.”
Translation: Santa Claus, keep your grubby mitts off of my cookies and milk. Also, stop dumping coal all over my house, it’s not easy to keep it clean.
Vandalism is a crime (tampering with tangible property), regardless of “how little vandalism” was done. Whether I throw one piece or 1,000 pieces of coal on your floor, I’m still a dirty vandal. To the same point — who told Santa that he can eat our cookies and milk? Maybe parents set out cookies and milk looking forward to a late night snack. Maybe parents are trying to put their little ones to bed, and the kids say something like, “Wait, if we don’t leave out cookies and milk, Santa might pass our house by!” It might sound like they are then inviting Santa in, but wait! What’s this? The kids are afraid of what Santa might do? Incidentally, that’s a nail in the coffin under the legal theory of coercion.
Coercion is the use of undue influence to gain the consent of the individual. Consent like that doesn’t count as real consent. In fact, I would even argue that in this case the level of coercion rises to extortion. Extortion has been encompassed by the offense of theft in the state of Texas, and it involves gaining the permission of an individual to take their property through coercion.
I don’t know if y’all have heard, but Santa keeps a list of the dirt on everybody, and he obsessively checks the list over and over again. If he determines that you are “naughty,” he leaves you a lump of coal, effectively notifying the world that you were not a good person. He threatens to tell the world the severity of your transgressions if you do not do his bidding, and vandalizes your property with his coal-dusty calling cards. That is coercion, and the benefit he gains is your good behavior throughout the year— that’s a lot of value he’s getting through his vile tactics.
You might ask — is leaving coal behind really vandalism? I’ll answer that question with another question — if I break into your house tonight and leave a bunch of coal around, would you call me a vandal? You’re darn right you would.
Mr. Attorney General, we ask you to fulfill your duties and protect us from this perennial villain.
Alex Shahrestani and the undersigned (click here to sign the petition).
This paper took a theoretical look at the legal personhood of AI. It was written in collaboration with Ritika Gopal, Associate Counsel at SXSW. You can find her at ritikagopal.com.
Technology is being sophisticated at incredible rates. There are people who have lived through the invention of flight, landing on the moon, iPhones, and DeepMind.[i] Technology has moved on from tools of human advancement to full-on integration with the human body.[ii] The potential for body modifications to surpass the abilities of the natural human state are here.[iii] Likewise, artificial intelligence is advancing at an incredible rate[iv] and is getting closer to modeling the human learning process.[v] There has not been much thought given to whether or how a conglomeration of these advancing technologies would accumulate rights, or if rights can already be conferred under existing legal theories (largely because of the unanticipated rate of development). This memo explores legal theories establishing possible rights of robots.
Here's a quick disclaimer. This is not specific legal advice, this article serves as an educational resource only. You should always speak to an attorney about your specific situation to get the best advice for you. If you're looking for representation you can contact me here.
Social media and influencer campaigns can be a great way to get your product or service noticed. You might try to make a post go viral by having some sort of contest where people share the content. These methods can be fantastic for the growth of your brand. However, it's important to remember that such action is regulated by the FTC, and you should strive to be in compliance with their rules.