Algorithms: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

From Smoke-Filled Rooms to Computer Algorithms – The Evolution of Collusion – Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke at The CLS Blue Sky Blog

When Bots Collude – The New Yorker

The FTC is Worried about Algorithmic Transparency, and You Should be Too – PCWorld

Academic Papers:

Artificial Intelligence & Collusion: When Computers Inhibit Competition – Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke (pdf available at the link; 38 pages)

Antitrust and the Robo-Seller: Competition in the Time of Algorithms – Salil K. Mehra (pdf available at the link; 60 pages)

Recent DOJ Action:

Former E-Commerce Executive Charged with Price Fixing in the Antitrust Division’s First Online Marketplace Prosecution – Department of Justice Press Release. The Topkins DOJ charges: – pdf (5 pages)


Recording the Police

What to Say When the Police Tell You to Stop Filming Them – The Atlantic

Legal Background:

A Due Process Right to Record the Police – Glenn Reynolds and John Steakley (pdf download at the link)

Citizen Recordings of Police in Public Places — First Amendment Protection? – A very good legal roundup at Concurring Opinion

Helpful Apps:

It’s Your Right to Film the Police; These Apps Can Help – Wired

New ACLU Mobile Justice App Empowers Public to Safeguard Rights – ACLU of Northern California

FCC’s Net Neutrality Proposal (link roundup; updated to reflect release of the FCC Order)

Release of the Net Neutrality Order (March 12, 2015):

FCC Webpages Regarding the Release of the Open Internet Order: main page and webpage with links to the Commissioners’ statements and the FCC Order itself (direct link to pdf of the FCC Order – 400 pages)

But will the FCC Order survive court challenges? – On Net Neutrality, Six Ways The FCC’s Public Utility Order Will Lose In Court – Larry Downes in Forbes

Passage of the FCC Proposal (February 26, 2015):

FCC Press Release Regarding Passage of the Net Neutrality Rules.

The FCC Approves Strong Net Neutrality Rules – Washington Post

Why Everyone was Wrong about Net Neutrality – Tim Wu in The New Yorker

It’s Not Really Net Neutrality – Michael Wolff in USA Today

The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules: Five Things You Need to Know – PCWorld

FCC’s Original Proposal (February 4, 2015):

FCC Fact Sheet (four pages) – Chairman Wheeler Proposes New Rules for Protecting the Open Internet

This is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality – FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s OpEd in Wired

The Head of the FCC Just Proposed the Strongest Net Neutrality Rules Ever – The Washington Post

Don’t Call Them ‘Utility’ Rules: The FCC’s Net Neutrality Regime, Explained – ArsTechnica explainer

AT&T Previews Lawsuit it Plans to File Against FCC Over Net Neutrality – ArsTechnica

GOP, Tech Industry Mostly Out of Step Over Net Neutrality Issue – Los Angeles Times


Net Neutrality: President Obama’s Plan for a Free and Open Internet – President Obama Statement (November 2014)

Net Neutrality: A Guide to (and History of) a Contested Idea – The Atlantic (April 2014)

The Problem with Net Neutrality – Law Professor Richard Epstein (January 2014)


California’s New Law Regarding Consumer Reviews

“Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2365 into law, to be codified as California Civil Code Sec. 1670.8. The law is a first-in-the-nation statute to stop businesses from contractually gagging their consumers. The new law says that a consumer contract ‘may not include a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services.’ . . . The penalties may be financially modest, but any California business foolish enough to take an anti-review contract to court will end up writing a check to their customers.” – Professor Eric Goldman: California Tells Businesses Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews


Privilege Versus Law

“The word [‘privilege’], which means ‘private law’ in old French, originally referred to a system in which different groups of people had different rights under the law . . . If there’s one political idea most people agree on these days, it’s the rule of law. We argue endlessly about income inequality, wealth inequality, or inequality of opportunity, but we take it as given that equality under the law is a prerequisite for a just society . . . Now here’s the problem: The U.S. is looking more and more like it has a real privilege system . . . The U.S. is slowly becoming a country where income and race determine the degree to which a citizen is bound by the law of the land. That’s true privilege. That’s the dangerous kind. Dangerous for those on the bottom of the privilege system, but ultimately dangerous for those on the top as well.”

– Professor Noah Smith on Nation of Privilege Versus Rule of Law at BloombergView

Intriguing Idea for Board of Directors Reform

“Boards are almost exactly as they were a hundred years ago: a collection of grey eminences who meet for a few days a year to offer their wisdom. They may now include a few women and minorities. There may be a few outsiders. But the fundamentals remain the same. Board members are part-timers with neither the knowledge nor the incentives to monitor companies effectively. And they are beholden to the people they are supposed to monitor. Boards are thus showcases for capitalism’s most serious problems: they are run by insiders at a time when capitalism needs to be more inclusive and are dominated by part-timers at a time when it needs to be more vigilant about avoiding future crises. In the May edition of the Stanford Law Review Stephen Bainbridge of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Todd Henderson of the University of Chicago offer a proposal for fixing boards that goes beyond tinkering: replace individual directors with professional-services firms.” – The Economist

Professors Bainbridge and Henderson’s paper (pdf): Boards-R-Us: Reconceptualizing Corporate Boards


A lot of people assume that the police are required to read a suspect his Miranda rights upon arrest. That is, they assume that one of a person’s rights is the right to be read their rights. It often happens that way on Law & Order, but that’s not what the law actually requires. The police aren’t required to follow Miranda. Miranda is a set of rules the government can chose to follow if they want to admit a person’s statements in a criminal case in court, not a set of rules they have to follow in every case.

—   Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy

There’s been a fair amount of misinformation circulated over the past week about Miranda warnings. Lawprof Orin Kerr’s short piece at The Volokh Conspiracy presents a nice summary of the basics, including the effects of not giving the Miranda warning to a suspect.

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