You’re Blocked! Should Public Officials Be Allowed to Stifle Speech On Social Media?

By Peter Kourkouvis

I. Introduction

Last May, the Southern District of New York ruled in Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University v. Trump (Knight Institute) that President Trump violated the First Amendment rights of seven individuals when he blocked them from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account because of their critical comments.[1] Merely the highest-profile instance of a burgeoning phenomenon, people across the U.S. have complained about elected officials blocking them from their social media pages.[2] Since the Knight Institute decision, the Fourth Circuit became the first court of appeals to decide that such exclusion violates the First Amendment.[3] Lawmakers have been put on notice.[4]

However, the issue remains unsettled. Central to determining whether public officials’ blocking of the public from their social media pages violates the First Amendment is determining whether a social media page can constitute a public forum. This Article examines this controversial issue by first discussing the Supreme Court’s public forum doctrine in Part II. Then, Part III discusses how courts have applied forum analysis to public officials’ social media pages. In Part IV, I argue that the approach taken by the Southern District of New York and the Fourth Circuit conforms with public forum analysis, makes sense given popular usage of social media, and best serves the policy of promoting robust discussion on social media, while also providing government officials guidance as to how to avoid violating the public’s First Amendment rights.

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Privacy Breaches and Big Data: Solutions and Suggestions in India’s Context

By: Navreet Kaur[+]

This article discusses the unprecedented rate at which data is growing and the various possibilities of privacy infringements.  It views the problem in the context of a developing nation, India, because India has formed a committee last year to devise and regulate regulations for data protection.  The article also discusses the approaches adopted by various other countries so that India can meet global standard when formulating policies for data protection.  The features of the Data Protection Bill that the committee has recently submitted to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India are also discussed.

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Automobile Accidents Without a Driver?: The Insurance Liability of Highly Automated Vehicles

By: Ashley Mitchell

I. Introduction

In March 2018, an Uber fatally struck Elaine Herzberg.[1]  This accident was extraordinary because the driver was not operating the vehicle at the time of the crash; it was in autonomous mode.[2]  This tragedy raises many questions about the future of cars without drivers.  For now, Uber has removed self-driving vehicles from the roads.[3]  But as we look to the future of cars without a driver, we must ask: what is the insurance liability when a crash occurs?

Every 5 seconds there is an automobile accident and ninety-four percent are caused by human error.[4]  Auto accidents can cause property damage that is costly to repair, and bodily injury, which generates medical bills.[5]  Auto insurance covers the cost of property damage and bodily injury and is mandated in forty-nine states.[6]  Highly automated vehicles (HAV) are designed to eliminate drivers and rely on an automation system, subsequently reducing human errors and the number of auto accidents.[7]  Yet, it is unclear if insurance will cover the cost of damages or if the manufacturer will be held liable when a highly automated vehicle is involved in an accident.  Legal liability is one of the biggest obstacles to widespread utilization of HAV technology.[8]
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