Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

A good day for good law

Two interesting articles in Ars today, both on the subject of fixing some of the current problems at the junction of law and technology:

First, a significant defeat for gene patents. Basically, a judge has ruled that a major patent on breast-cancer genes is invalid. The decision will be appealed, of course, but if upheld it's really big: as I understand it, it pretty much nullifies the idea of patenting a human gene. It doesn't touch on patents for drugs to cure genetic diseases (nor should it), but shooting down the notion that a company can essentially patent breast cancer is a fine win for common sense, and likely to improve competition and innovation.

Second, the Digital Due Process initiative brings together quite a remarkable collection of heavy hitters: when you can get the EFF and ACLU to team up with Microsoft and Google, you've really got something. The purpose of the campaign is to take the current privacy laws and make them make sense for modern technology. The laws are currently not just antiquated but rather arbitrary, and have the effect that any data you have in the cloud (for example, your Gmail inbox) has little-to-no legal protection. It's obvious why the personal-rights groups want this; what makes this movement impressive is that they've pulled a bunch of major corporations on-board, on the grounds that they want clearer rules to work with. It's going to take some time to get anywhere, but smells like the kind of group that will eventually get results.
Tags: law, technology
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