Author Archive | David Ardia

Center’s Research Fellow Co-Authors Article on OnionDNS in Information Security Journal

Rachael Jones, the Center for Media Law and Policy’s new Research Fellow, is the co-author of an article published this month in the International Journal of Information Security. Congratulations, Rachael!

The article is titled “OnionDNS: a seizure resistant top-level domain.” It addresses the growing issue of Internet domain name seizures, noting the significant due process concerns that flow from this government practice. The authors propose a type of domain system, OnionDNS, that would provide a method of curtailing improper seizures by implementing safeguards in the design of the domain name system. First, the OnionDNS root services exists as a hidden service on the Tor network. Second, the proposed system is designed to protect its users by housing operations entirely outside of the United States, requiring any government seizure to pass through several hurdles—including foreign government cooperation. Thus, OnionDNS would not only curtail improper domain seizures as a tool of censorship, but also impose due process safeguards for domain name registrants.

From the abstract:

The Domain Name System (DNS) provides the critical service of mapping canonical names to IP addresses. Recognizing this, a number of parties have increasingly attempted to perform “domain seizures” on targets by having them delisted from DNS. Such operations often occur without providing due process to the owners of these domains, a practice made potentially worse by recent legislative proposals. We address this problem by creating OnionDNS, an anonymous top-level domain and resolution service for the Internet. Our solution relies on the establishment of a hidden service running DNS within Tor and uses a variety of mechanisms to ensure a high-performance architecture with strong integrity guarantees for resolved records. We then present our anonymous domain registrar and detail the protocol for securely transferring the service to another party. Finally, we also conduct both performance and legal analyses to further demonstrate the robustness of this approach. In so doing, we show that the delisting of domains from DNS can be mitigated in an efficient and secure manner.

The citation for the online version of the article is Scaife, N., Carter, H., Lidsky, L. et al. Int. J. Inf. Secur. (2017), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10207-017-0391-z.

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A UNC Student’s Summer Experience at the FTC

From Amber Lee, a 3L at UNC School of Law, who interned at the Federal Trade Commission:

This past summer, I interned for the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices to enhance and inform consumer choices and public understanding of the competitive process. Specifically, the Bureau of Consumer Protection works to regulate and prevent unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices by developing rules to maintain a fair marketplace, educating consumers and businesses on their rights and responsibilities, collect consumer complaints and conduct investigations, and sue companies or individuals that break the law. Over the course of the summer, interns had the unique opportunity to research the First Amendment issues of several cases the Bureau was considering pursuing, conduct our own investigations of company’s suspected of false advertising, collect consumer complaints and draft affidavits, and participate in both consumer and business education efforts.

During my time at the Bureau of Consumer Protection, I worked on projects with all five of the Bureau’s litigating divisions, including Advertising Practices, Marketing Practices, Enforcement, Financial Services, and Privacy & Identity Protection. I spent most of my summer researching and drafting memoranda on a wide variety of issues to either assist with pending litigation or assess the likely success or weaknesses of legal arguments for cases the Bureau was considering pursuing in the future. Some of my favorite projects included conducting my own independent investigation of a nutritional supplement company suspected of false advertising, assessing the legal strengths and weaknesses of a potential fraud case, researching emerging trends in the courts’ treatment of CDA immunity, and assisting an attorney with a presentation at a local senior center to educate residents about frauds and scams targeting  senior citizens.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection did a fantastic job of integrating the eight legal interns into their cases and into the agency. The internship coordinator hosted weekly meeting with the interns where we would either learn important legal skills or learn more about a division within the Bureau. We also had a mock deposition exercise with some of the best litigators in the Bureau acting as opposing counsel.  Each intern received an attorney mentor and every litigating division hosted a social gathering throughout the summer to give us a chance to meet all of the attorneys in the Bureau. Also, we were able to tour the Supreme Court and Library of Congress as a group during the summer, attend a Nationals baseball game, and attend a variety of ABA or other legal organization events focused on consumer protection or advertising law issues and interact with attorneys in private practice.

I would strongly recommend students to apply the FTC Consumer Protection internship program, especially if they are interested media law, advertising law, or emerging legal issues involving social media. The people I worked with were amazing and I could truly tell they wanted all of the interns to learn new skills and gain something from their experience at the FTC.

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Announcing the Center for Media Law and Policy’s 2017-18 Affiliated Faculty

We are excited to announce the Center’s 2017-18 faculty affiliates. This year, the Center added six scholars to our returning group of affiliated faculty, and we are thrilled to have them join our community. Our newest faculty affiliates are:

  • Frayda Bluestein, David M. Lawrence Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government, UNC School of Government
  • Deen Freelon, Associate Professor, UNC School of Media and Journalism
  • William Marshall, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, UNC School of Law
  • Alice Marwick, Assistant Professor, UNC Department of Communication
  • Torin Monahan, Professor, UNC Department of Communication
  • Zeynep Tufecki, Associate Professor, UNC School of Information and Library Science

They will be joining our returning faculty affiliates: Penny Abernathy, Victoria Smith Ekstrand, Deborah Gerhardt, Anne Gilliland, Ferrel GuilloryDave Hansen, Michael Hoefges, Paul Jones, Anne Klinefelter, Daniel Kreiss, Cal Lee, Gary Marchionini, Mary-Rose Papandrea, and Ryan Thornburg. You can read about each of these amazing scholars on our Affiliated Faculty page.

Affiliates of the Center are a community of scholars interested in the interdisciplinary exploration of issues related to media law and policy. Faculty affiliates play an active role in the life of the Center by participating in the Center’s activities and identifying opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations.

Image by Martin Grandjean licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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UNC Media Law Student Part of Winning Research Group

UNC media law student Mariam Turner is among a group of faculty and graduate students who have won a $10,000 research award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications’ Mass Communication and Society Division. The award, which was announced over the summer, was given to Dr. Daniel Riffe and Dr. Adam Saffer from the UNC School of Media and Journalism.  However, students were the forces behind the grant application.

The study will look at the interlocking of U.S. media company boards of directors, and how much this influences media content. The idea arose in Dr. Riffe’s Theories of Media Processes & Procedures course last spring. Mariam, who was a student in that class, plans to help with data collection, the literature review, and creation of the survey.

Mariam is in the third year of UNC’s four-year dual-degree program. In this program, which is administered by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, she’ll earn both a J.D. and a master’s degree in mass communication.

Go, Mariam!

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Welcome Our New Research Fellow, Rachael Jones

The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy is proud to announce that it has hired its first research fellow, Rachael Jones.  Rachael, who started this week, will oversee the Center’s research initiatives, with a particular focus on government transparency.

Prior to joining the Center, Rachael served as the Jack Nelson/Dow Jones Legal Fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (“RCFP”). At RCFP, Rachael assisted journalists daily, and primarily focused on state and federal public records act matters. She has presented her research on free speech issues at the Yale Information and Society Project’s Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference for the past two years and served as a panelist for freedom of information topics for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Law and Policy Division. Rachael earned her J.D. with honors from the University of Florida in 2016, where she was a research editor for the Florida Journal of International Law. While at UF Law, Rachael served as a research assistant to Dean Lyrissa Lidsky and as an extern-clerk to the Honorable Stephanie Ray of the First District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida. In addition, Rachael has studied comparative constitutional law and dispute resolution at the University of Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. Rachael received her Bachelor in Fine Arts degree from the University of Florida in 2011 and hails from the Destin, Florida, area.

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