Monthly Archives: June 2015

Drone Shooting in the News

Looks like my article, Self-Defense Against Robots and Drones (written with Zak Colangelo) isn’t a minute too early. ArsTechnica reports Man shoots downs neighbor’s hexacopter in rural drone shotgun battle.

The parties in Joe v McBay differ as to where the drone actually was when it got shot. Plaintiff says it was on his land, defendant says the GPS data shows it wasn’t. The Judge from the Stanislaus County Court Small Claims Division didn’t care:

Court finds that Mr. McBay acted unreasonably in having his son shoot the drone down regardless of whether it was over his property or not

We don’t agree in our article that the drone’s location is irrelevant. If the drone was not on the defendant-shooter’s land, then he ought to be liable for the damages. But whether he should be liable if the drone was trespassing is a surprisingly complicated question that we address at some length in our article. It depends in large part on what the shooter reasonably thought the drone was doing, and whether the act of shooting the weapon, or any subsequent drone crash, would put anyone else at risk.

Basically, in an urban area it will almost never be reasonable to shoot down even a trespassing drone unless it clearly threatens physical harm to a person or perhaps very major property damage. In a rural area where the dangers of errant shots and crashing drones may be much less, many other factors come into the calculus of reasonableness, including whether it reasonably appears that the drone may be on a spying run, and how valuable the drone looks.

Posted in Robots, Tort | 3 Comments

I Did

Andrew Rudalevige, writing in the Monkey Cage, asks King v. Burwell: Who knew administrative law could be so much fun?

As a long-time teacher of Administrative Law I’m continually amazed that people say Ad Law is dull. It may be complicated and sometimes verging on incoherent, but it’s not dull. And it really matters.

Only about 50% of law students nationally take Administrative Law (it is not on the bar exam in most states, although New York just added it), yet Administrative Law (and Accounting) are routinely among the courses that lawyers later say they regret not taking. Somehow this never comes up in ABA reform movements, perhaps because they are so dominated by litigators.

Posted in Law: Administrative Law, Law: Practice | 7 Comments

ICANN Is Up to Its Old Tricks

Must read: Kieren McCarthy, ICANN’s leaving the nest, so when will it grow up? The org that will run the internet still acts like a teenager.

Protected by its important father, the US government, ICANN has become a surly, entitled, and vain figure. It will want for nothing. It will listen to no one. It is always right. …

Unfortunately, the real ICANN has a visceral loathing of anything decided by its “community” – the people it is supposed to be serving. …

Despite ostensibly being a community organization, at its thrice-yearly conferences ICANN corporate tightly controls the agenda. There are no “unconferences” or even community-led sessions. All sessions – and frequently panelists – are chosen and controlled by the staff. Sessions are added and removed according to whim.

Just as ICANN was showing real signs of maturity, it lapsed. Rather than using its greater autonomy to step up to the plate, the prevailing atmosphere within the organization was that it couldn’t believe its luck. And then, with the arrival of a new CEO and the approval of the money-minting new gTLD program, ICANN more than quadrupled its own budget. It’s now a child with both fewer constraints and more money to spend.

Now in 2016, with the transitioning of the IANA contract, ICANN is finally coming of age and the US government can no longer expect to keep it in its house. Rather than sending forth a well-prepared and mature young adult, however, we’re letting loose a know-it-all teenager with a chip on its shoulder and a determined belief that it doesn’t have to listen to anyone.

Milton Mueller’s ICANN Accountability – Present, Future and Past is good too, but more polite. (Which, if you know Milton, is quite an amazing thing to be writing!)

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Posted in Econ & Money | Leave a comment

Take That!

A Judge got mad. Something good (and, sadly, unusual) resulted:

The Court would have granted Petitioners a stay of removal, but was informed that Petitioners were removed earlier today. The government is hereby ordered to use its best efforts to intercept Petitioners when they land tonight in Guatemala City and to return Petitioners to the United States immediately. If the government is unable to intercept Petitioners at the airport, they must locate Petitioners in Guatemala and return them to the United States as quickly as possible. Upon their return, Petitioners are granted a stay of removal pending disposition of their petition for review. If, upon contact, Petitioners inform the government that they do not want to return to the United States, the government shall secure a written memorialization to that effect — even if that writing is in Spanish.

Too often, spiriting the petitioner out of the country is held to moot the case. I like this outcome better. Full text of Chief Judge Theodore McKee’s order for the Third Circuit.)

(spotted via SDFLA Blog)

Posted in Law: Everything Else | Leave a comment

Only Disconnect

As a public service,
This QR code will invite your Android phone to install Disconnect, a privacy app that Google has banned from its ‘play store’. (More info here.)

To install the app you will need to navigate to your device’s Settings, select Security or Applications (depending on device) and check the Unknown Sources box.

There is also an iOS version.

Posted in Android | 1 Comment