Category Archives: Emerging Technology

Comparing the Strength of SEP Patent Portfolios: Leadership Intelligence for the Intelligence Community

The next generation of mobile broadband, 5G, is emerging as a major area of competition between the United States and China. 5G technology promises vast improvements not only to the speed of commercial cellular connections, but also to governments’ intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Leadership in the development of 5G technology has thus been deemed critical to U.S. national security and global economic competitiveness.

5G competition is often judged by the number of patents in a given country’s standard essential patent (“SEP”) portfolio. This metric, David J. Kappos argues, is a misleading and unreliable guide to assessing the state of global 5G competition. Rather than focusing on the quantity of 5G patents in an SEP portfolio, it would be more useful to examine the quality of SEP portfolios. These assessments must be made by trained professionals capable of discerning the strength of each individual patent by comparing patent claims to the required specifications of the 5G standard. Developing reliably accurate assessments of SEP portfolios will be critical both for future 5G investment and for U.S. national security.

Projecting Power: How States Use Proxies in Cyberspace

How and why do states use cyber proxies to project power? Why do some states lean closer to these proxies than others, and what does this distance reveal about how a state views them? In this article, Syed Hamza Mannan answers these questions in a review of Tim Maurer’s book, Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power.

Mannan explores the demand for cyber proxies, the mechanisms states use to control them, and the implications of cyber state-proxy relationships. Perhaps Maurer’s most prevalent contribution to the research, articulated in Mannan’s review, is in constructing a framework for characterizing different relationships states maintain with cyber proxies: those of delegation, orchestration, and sanctioning. By applying the framework to contemporary examples of cyber proxy proliferation, Mannan’s review illuminates Maurer’s important work.

Sovereign Immunity in Cyber Space: Towards Defining a Cyber-Intrusion Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

In light of recent foreign cyber-assaults that have jeopardized personal privacy in the United States, it is time for individuals to explore opportunities for private suits against foreign governments. In the first attempt to do this, Doe v. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the courts found that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act barred suit under the Wiretap Act’s private cause of action and the common law tort of intrusion upon seclusion. Kurland posits that either a new exception should be added to the FSIA to ameliorate this legal lacuna.