Tag: Samuel Blackington

Fixing the Fourth Amendment: Software, Surveillance, and Satire

by Samuel Blackington

If the old adage that “knowledge is power” is true, then one’s personal information is a priceless commodity in the highly-digital age we currently live in. To clarify what I mean by personal information, this includes data such as an individual’s fingerprint and even a person’s own face that can all be collected through smart devices that utilize either fingerprint or facial recognition software. Although it is an issue that seems shallow at face value, it encompasses a broader discussion over the surveillance of a person’s devices or even the collection of private data which is contained online.

The Peculiar Case of Lucy v. Zehmer

by Samuel Blackington

There are two certainties in life which we can hardly debate: that common law is the result of an ever-growing web of statutes and precedents and that getting intoxicated with friends inevitably leads to questionable decisions. However, in the rare instance where these two facts interact, we cannot help but be extremely curious. This rare interaction is what makes the case of ​Lucy v. Zehmer​, a case before the Virginia Supreme Court, so interesting. The case itself revolved around a simple appeal to enforce specific performance, but upon further examination of the facts, it becomes a story about the dangers of alcohol and the standing of napkins as valid contracts in a court of law.

Algeria: Abdelaziz Bouteflika, April Elections, and the Arab Spring

by Samuel Blackington

In the shadow of the Notre Dame d’Afrique, flags and banners fly above protesters who have flooded the city of Algiers, the Mediterranean capital of Algeria. It has been nearly fifty-seven years since Algeria broke free from the Third French Republic, but there remains much in the way of freedom for her people. For years, the non-profit watchdog Freedom House has labelled Algeria as ‘not free.’ The current President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has retained his position as head of state since 1999 and remains the longest sitting Algerian president. In recent years, he has suffered from a myriad of debilitating illnesses such as a recent stroke that The Economist said had left him “confined to a wheelchair” with his staunchest critics branding him as “the living dead.” Despite this and allegations of election fraud in the previous campaign, Bouteflika has sought a fifth term in office; but the timing is indeed rough.