The Justice Tech Download: Trade Secrets

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In Class
This week we're talking about trade secrets and how they affect due process. Companies and governments behind bail risk assessments, remote hacking techniques, and probabilistic genotyping tools have all used trade secret protections to hide their function from defendants.

Our students read Rebecca Wexler's recent Stanford Law Review article, Life, Liberty, & Trade Secrets: Intellectual Property in the Criminal Justice System. It makes a compelling argument against the use of trade secret privilege in criminal trials.

We also introduce probabilistic genotyping through People v. Chubbs from a California Court of Appeal and U.S. v. Johnson out of the SDNY (2016). In the former, the court found that trade secret protections supersede the due process concerns of the defendant. The judge for the latter case required the state of New York to release the source code for its (no-longer-in-use) forensic tool.

In the News
One of our course partners this term, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner, is trying to reinvent the role of the prosecutor and end mass incarceration. (New Yorker)

The FBI is ramping up its requests for "reverse location" orders, which ask for user information of anyone--including innocent people--near the commission of a crime. (Forbes)

Video doorbell company Ring--owned by Amazon--has made grand claims about how it lowers crime. Turns out those claims may be overblown. (MIT Tech Review)

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Georgia cannot copyright their annotated code, a major win for open law advocate Carl Malamud. (ABA Journal)