This week: Apple’s makeover could harm other tech companies and SCOTUS says it will take on the Second Amendment. Plus: State legislatures get crazy with anti-protest bills.
This is the week that everything changes for the iPhone. A new software released Monday lets users explicitly choose whether they want their actions followed by app owners when they engage with other apps.
And Facebook couldn’t be less excited.
Previous iPhone technology made it harder to stop tracking: Users had to opt-out of sharing data. So various companies, notably Facebook, could pick up on customer habits even when they weren’t using the Facebook app and then package the information for targeted advertising. With the new software, apps will have to ask iPhone users for permission.
This is part of a new-look Apple: The company wants to highlight its privacy offerings and, in many cases, entice customers to pay a premium for the walled-off experience. Its decision could force companies like Facebook to charge for usage if their ad revenues fall too far.
Apple holds all the cards
It had already bothered Facebook with delays on app updates and in 2018 released a feature that let iPhone users time how long they used certain apps, something that clashed with Facebook’s desire to keep people engaged as long as possible.
“It really spoke to the power of Apple controlling the system,” an ad firm executive told the NYT. “Facebook isn’t in control of its own destiny.”
Apple’s upper hand is apparent when you consider their CEOs’ comments about each other. Mark Zuckerberg has called Apple one of Facebook’s biggest competitors. Meanwhile, Tim Cook said, “I’m not focused on Facebook.”
A Second Amendment case that could be one of the most influential in years is headed for the Supreme Court.
It’s about a New York law: After the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, the state created a law that allowed concealed carry only for people with “good moral character” who provide “proper cause.”
The NRA attacked the law as too vague and arbitrary: But two federal courts have ruled the law should stand. In accepting the case, the Supreme Court said it would decide on the steps the government can take in prohibiting the use of firearms outside the home.
Conservative justices have been waiting for a case like this
The last big rulings on the Second Amendment were in 2008 and 2010, and they essentially upheld the rights to hold firearms at home. Yet Clarence Thomas complained in 2018 his fellow justices had made the Second Amendment a “constitutional orphan.” Last year, Brett Kavanaugh said he wanted the court to take up gun rights.
Oral arguments are slated for the fall. Expect it to be one of the highest-profile cases of the year.
Speaking of laws that could one day make it to the Supreme Court…
A bunch of states are proposing legal protections for drivers who hit protesters with their cars.
Seriously, Oklahoma’s governor just signed a major bill about this: It says a driver is not liable if they strike and even kill someone if they are “fleeing from a riot” if there was a reasonable belief they had to flee to avoid injury or death.
Other states are going the civil route: Florida and Iowa have passed bills that shelter drivers who hit protesters from lawsuits.
The backdrop for the bills
All this is happening a year after millions of people engaged in protests after the death of George Floyd, the vast majority of which were peaceful and featured few injuries. The bills are also coming out just a few years after highly-publicized incidents of drivers striking protesters, most notably in Charlottesville in 2017. And, as Vox points out, there’s even a Wikipedia page for entries of Floyd-related protesters being hit by cars.
There are other wild anti-protest bills circulating in state legislatures this year, many of which have no chance of passing. For example, a Minnesota lawmaker proposed a bill that would make anyone convicted of a crime at a protest ineligible for state forms of assistance like student loans and unemployment.
💌 What else we’re forwarding
Jobs were only slightly harder to get for new law school grads during the pandemic: The share of graduating lawyers who found jobs last year was down, but only by about three percentage points.
A legal analysis between a threat and protected speech online: This is a nifty Q&A with a journalist who has covered these issues for a long time--issues that will be at the forefront of political and legal battles for the next few years.
🎧 Music we’re working to
Today we’re listening to Surprise Chef, a Melbourne-based soul/funk band. The four-piece group plays chilled-out instrumentals with a cheerful beat. We’re playing the first of their two 2020 releases, Daylight Savings. Recorded in the spring of 2019, it is filled with ‘the optimism and hope that comes with long, warm evenings after winter’.
💬 What we’re discussing
Join us this Thursday (April 29) for a live discussion around building a mindful and happy legal culture. Our speakers Michael Marchand (VP Head of Legal, Headspace), Ellen Hochberg (GC, Gympass), Patrick Lytle (GC, Ginger), and Bree Buchanan (President, Institute of Wellbeing in Law) will share best practices on how to stay mentally healthy in our demanding industry during challenging times.
See ya tomorrow,