🗞️ Policing The End of Roe, Terra's Fallout, & Ads that Divide
While the news of yesterday’s tragedy loom, we’d like to recognize that current business and legal news pale in importance to such events. We’re sending our hearts and thoughts to the community of Uvalde, Texas, and all the students, families, and faculty impacted.
This week: how a possible overturning of Roe v. Wade will be enforced, the continued fallout of Terra's implosion, and Congress comes for online ads. Plus, a new Ginni Thomas revelation, and the DOJ goes easy on White Hat hackers.
🤰 Enforcing A Ban
You've no doubt heard by now the US Supreme Court is positioning itself to overturn at least some (if not all) of Roe v. Wade, effectively leaving the legality of abortions up to each state to decide. Several states are awaiting the formal verdict to enact their own restrictions on abortions, but NPR asked how enforcing such bans would actually work.
“It would be very hard for states to say that they're just going to open up everybody's medical records, right?,” Kim Mutcherson, dean and professor of law at Rutgers University, told NPR. “This is actually a moment where HIPAA does apply. And one way in which HIPAA is not relevant is if the person who has your private medical information is not a health care provider.”
Mutcherson notes that many states may not want to follow the model of Texas's SB-8, which effectively deputizes citizens to enforce the abortion ban, rather, “they might want to incentivize people, you know, to turn in their neighbors and friends or whomever for going over state lines to get an abortion and then coming back home.” Of course, this does turn this issue into an interstate (and thus federal) matter, which could send the law back to the Supreme Court.
Not only is overturning Roe v. Wade widely unpopular among Americans but enforcing it without getting into interstate law is deeply complicated if not outright fruitless. In summation, this is going to be a very (very tragic) big mess.
🎧 What We’re Listening To
This week, we’re listening to Clarice Jensen, a cellist and composer out of Brooklyn, and artistic director of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME). After attending Julliard, Clarice took to solo work and started toying with a synth to distort the sound of her cello. And in 2018, Clarice debuted her first album, For This From That Will Be Filled. It explores the distinction between acoustic and electronic sound by incorporating a mixture of natural and simulated tracks.
For This From That Will Be Filled - Clarice Jensen
Apple Music / Spotify / YouTube Music / Amazon Music
🏦 A Most Stable Implosion
As we covered last week, the implosion of the so-called "stable coin" Terra and its sister token, Luna, not only wiped out significant money for crypto investors over the last month but has intensified calls for regulating the cryptocurrency market both in the US and globally. Well, enter into that conversation South Korea. Prosecutors for the Seoul Southern District have begun investigating Terra coin's creator Do Kwon and his organization Terraform Labs for fraud and other violations of financial regulations.
The investigation has been reportedly reaching out to crypto exchanges “to share information on transactions linked to UST and Luna, including their trading volumes and the number of relevant investors,” reports The Block.
Terraform's in-house legal team resigned after Terra imploded, reports The Block.
“The design and issuance of Luna and Terra [was to] to attract investors, but the failure to properly inform them about the flaws, and the unlimited expansion of Luna’s issuance amounted to defrauding investors,” LKB & Partners, a firm hired to represent five investors bringing charges against Terra Labs, said, reports TechCrunch.
Kwon has been in a tweeting fury since Terra's collapse and is now proposing "forking" the currency to a new blockchain — effectively restarting the currency. “$UST peg failure is Terra’s DAO hack moment … a chance to rise up anew from the ashes,” Kwon tweeted. But calls for a "Terra 2.0" do not seem to be enticing investors.
Kwon can tweet all he wants about Terra's collapse and spin the narrative to his benefit as he awaits a likely trial. The one silver lining about all this, though, is that the prosecution and conviction of Kwon may create some legal precedent in the nascent field of Crypto law.
⏳ The Countdown Is On
Will you be joining us this Thursday for How Non-JDs Can Save You Time & Money?
Our own Lauren O’Neill will be moderating a discussion with Trina Walker (Director, Legal Change, Trinet), Kelsey Copeland (Sr Corporate Counsel, NASCAR), and Eric Lentell (Deputy General Counsel, Archer) on which non-attorney roles are best for your legal team, and how to get the buy-in for them. Not to mention, you’ll have the chance to ask them your biggest questions at the networking session following the show.
🖥️ Breaking The Digital Ad Market
Look out Google and Facebook, the US Senate is coming for your ad business. The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act (CTDAA), which has recently been introduced to the Senate and has rare bipartisan support, seeks to uncouple companies that process more than $20 billion in digital ad revenue from “participating in more than one part of the digital advertising ecosystem,” notes the Wall Street Journal. While Alphabet and Meta are clearly targeted by this bill, smaller firms may feel some effects too.
As Engadget says, companies that process at least $5 billion in digital ads per year may “be required to provide transparent pricing and act in their customers' best interest. Customers would have the option to sue over breaches of those.”
“Advertising tools from Google and many competitors help American websites and apps fund their content, help businesses grow, and help protect users from privacy risks and misleading ads,” a Google rep told Engadget. “The real issue is low-quality data brokers who threaten Americans’ privacy and flood them with spammy ads.”
The Antitrust Drum Beat
The call to break up the monopolies in Silicon Valley is so widespread that it has become an unlikely bipartisan issue in Washington. Beyond the CTDAA, Senate Democrat Amy Klobuchar has introduced the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, while Senate Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Richard Blumenthal have introduced the Open App Markets Act.
Creating a more transparent digital ad market online just makes sense, even if Alphabet wants to go on about "low-quality brokers". The web cannot be run by two main companies, and Silicon Valley is aware of that too, but Alphabet and Meta won't go quietly over attacks on their core revenue source.
📤 What Else We're Forwarding
Justice's Wife: Ginni Thomas, wife of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, urged Arizona lawmakers to break with their state's voters in the 2020 election to help "reverse Trump's loss," reports the Washington Post. This revelation comes after it was reported that Ginni Thomas also urged Trump's White House Chief of Staff to overturn his election loss formalized on January 6th.
White Hat: The DOJ is revising its policy on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) stating that it won't go after "good faith" or White Hat hackers, notes CNET. The policy change hopes to take pressure off cybersecurity researchers working to strengthen privacy and security technologies.
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