Archive | Privacy

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.

0

UNC Media Law Students Graduating and Launching Careers

Two UNC media law students are graduating this spring and summer and moving on to great jobs in their fields. Both of them defended important research projects to earn their degrees.

Brooks Fuller earned a Ph.D. from the UNC School of Media and Journalism in May and will begin work as an assistant professor in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University this fall.

Chanda Marlowe, a student in the dual-degree program administered by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy,  earned both a master’s degree from the School of Media and Journalism and a J.D. from the UNC School of Law. In August, Chanda will head to Washington, D.C., to begin work at the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) as the Christopher Wolf Fellow. Her work at FPF will focus on consumer and commercial privacy issues, including projects involving privacy and non-discrimination.

Brooks’s dissertation used legal analysis and ethnographic field methods to better understand the role context plays in both courts’ and protest participants’ determinations of when speech causes harms during high-conflict political protests. The dissertation is titled “Words, Wounds, and Relationships: A Mixed-Method Study of Free Speech and Harm in High-Conflict Environments.”

According to Brooks, abortion clinic protests are quintessential high-conflict speech environments where the limits of free expression are continuously tested by protestors, making such protests ideal places to study free expression and to test long-held assumptions about how speech causes harm. Over an 18-month period, Brooks spent more than 500 hours observing protests at a North Carolina abortion clinic. Brooks also conducted dozens of in-depth interviews with pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates, police, and abortion clinic volunteers, and analyzed the social media and YouTube posts of various individual advocates and organizations.

Brooks’s key finding was that the harms that stem from speech have little to do with protest language. Instead, harms depend largely on the social relationships between the speaker and the listener and whether the speakers adhere to social norms that have developed in their particular protest environment. Brooks found that the world of abortion clinic protesting is carefully choreographed and routine. Through day-to-day routines, protestors develop social bonds with their adversaries that lessen the sting of the harsh rhetoric that characterizes abortion clinic protests. Brooks suggested that these findings reinforce the importance of understanding social relationships in order to better understand speech-related harms.

Brooks’s dissertation also points toward opportunities to advance the understanding of the First Amendment in American society through interdisciplinary scholarship. It is perhaps the first project of its kind to address traditional doctrinal First Amendment questions through a blend of legal and sociological research methods.

Chanda successfully defended a thesis that provides a full landscape of the legal issues surrounding the video surveillance of students in public schools and on public school buses. Her thesis explicated legislation and court decisions regarding the rights of students to challenge school video surveillance and the rights of others to access school surveillance videos once they have been recorded.  It concluded with a set of best practices to help schools strike the proper balance between protecting students’ privacy and keeping schools safe.

Congratulations, Tar Heel graduates!

 

0

Center to Hire Media Law and Policy Fellow

UNCI’m excited to announce that the Center will be hiring a Media Law and Policy Fellow!  The fellow will play a critical role in supporting a major research initiative at the Center focused on examining various legal and policy issues related to improving government transparency, including the impact government transparency can have on privacy, cybersecurity, equality, and other important interests.

This is a two-year position with a possible renewal for a third year. The salary is $47,476 annually and is accompanied by the standard UNC benefits package and health care insurance for postdoctoral research scholars.

Applicants must hold a J.D. or a Ph.D. We will give preference to applicants with demonstrated interest in the Center’s areas of focus, including journalism, First Amendment, government transparency, and privacy. Applicants should also have experience working with students, organizing events, and managing complex projects. 

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A J.D. and Ph.D.;
  • Knowledge of and interest in the Center’s work;
  • Excellent research, writing, editing, and analytical skills, including empirical legal research experience;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Experience with program planning, administration, and fundraising; and
  • Experience with website, blog, and social media design and content creation.

Applications will be reviewed beginning immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The successful candidate should be prepared to start no later than July 1, 2017, with a potential commencement date as early as January 1, 2017.  

For more information on the position as well as instructions on how to apply, please visit the official position posting on the University of North Carolina’s human resources site, available at: https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/108165. You can download a PDF version of the job posting here.

Questions about the position should be directed to medialaw[at]unc.edu.

0

Dual-Degree Spent Summer at the ACLU and FPF

img_0598This summer, I interned at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) in San Francisco and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) in Washington, DC. Both internships provided great opportunities to work on assignments related to my research interest – student privacy – and to be exposed to new areas of law.

The ACLU-NC’s mission is “to protect and advance civil liberties for all Californians” and includes issues related to both consumer privacy and government surveillance. At the ACLU-NC, I worked on a variety of projects related to protecting students’ privacy, including drafting a memo on school video surveillance, creating a handout on the impact of cell phone searches, and providing research for an amicus brief on warrantless electronic searches of young people.

At the ACLU-NC, there were also many opportunities to learn outside of the office. Just a few weeks after I arrived, I took a tour of the San Joaquin Valley with nine other ACLU-NC interns who were from across the nation. The tour is a foundational part of the ACLU-NC’s Law and Policy Internship Program. It helped me gain a better understanding of issues that are relevant to Californians and the ACLU-NC’s work supporting local organizations, which has been extremely effective. Later in the internship program, I interviewed homeless individuals to help challenge the seizure of their property by a local municipality and participated in the ACLU-NC’s campaign to stop Fresno County from allowing Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents inside the county jail. It was an incredible two months on the West Coast!

FPF is a non-profit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership and scholarship, advancing principled data practices in support of emerging technologies. It’s known for its centrist voice in the privacy world. I applied to work there because of the Student Privacy Pledge, which was introduced by FPF and the Software & Information Industry Association in 2014 and endorsed by President Obama in 2015. It’s a big deal because companies that sign show their commitment to protecting student data privacy and it’s legally enforceable under Section 5 of the Consumer Protection Act. I had the opportunity to review ed tech companies’ privacy policies to ensure that they met the requirements of the Pledge before they were listed as a signatory.

My time in Washington, DC at FPF was just as exciting as my time in San Francisco. I quickly learned to keep a blazer in the office because I never knew when there would be an opportunity to attend a meeting on the Hill or venture off on my own to a tech conference. It was also not uncommon for FPF to host meetings with leading figures from industry, academia, law, and advocacy groups in order to advance the privacy dialogue and for the FPF staff to demonstrate how the latest technology companies are addressing privacy concerns by introducing new forms of notice and choice. At FPF, I had an opportunity to highlight the benefits as well as the challenges of these emerging technologies as a co-author of FPF’s comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Association on the Internet of Things.

Altogether, it was an amazing summer! I’ve returned to UNC with new research ideas and memories that will last a lifetime.

Chanda Marlowe

Dual-degree student, earning a master’s in mass communication and a J.D. degree

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

0

Scholarship Winners 2016

unc_medialawThe UNC Center for Media Law and Policy has awarded $6,000 in scholarships to three law students working in unpaid or underpaid internships in the field of media law and policy this summer.

These are the scholarship winners and where they are working:

Varsha Mangal is a legal intern in the Office of General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C.

Chanda Marlowe is spending half of her summer working for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in San Francisco and the other half working for the Future of Privacy Forum in Washington, D.C.

Rachel M. Rice is working in the business affairs office of Broadway Video, a global entertainment and media company.  She is located in Los Angeles.

Congratulations to our wonderful students!

0