Is Facebook on the Wrong Side of Civil Rights?

Introduction Today, over 50 years since the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was enacted into law, the rise of sophisticated targeted digital advertising presents nuanced housing discrimination issues for our country and our tech giants like Facebook. In 2011, Facebook settled with the FTC on charges that it deceived its consumers and shared its users’ personal data with advertisers. Just last month, in March 2019, Facebook settled with the ACLU and other civil rights groups, to make “meaningful” changes to […] (More →)

The Warren Proposal to Break Up Big Tech

In March 2019, Senator Warren unveiled an ambitious antitrust proposal: breaking up Amazon, Google, and Facebook.[1] She focused on the most controversial mergers such as Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google’s purchase of Waze and DoubleClick. This post will analyze separately the two prongs of Senator Warren’s proposal: (1) designating large tech platforms as “Platform Utilities” and (2) appointing regulators to unwind mergers. Platform Utilities as a Firewall Senator Warren’s proposal to designate […] (More →)

Buybacks or Big Bets: How Should Companies Spend Excess Cash?

S&P 500 companies spent more than $800 billion on share repurchases in 2018. A 50% increase from 2017 and an all-time high in terms of dollars spent on buybacks, these statistics have intensified the debate among economists, politicians, businesspeople, and the like on the validity of this use of cash as a rational business expense and their effect on the US economy, innovation, and workers. Share buybacks began their rise to popularity in the 1980s after the SEC’s adoption of […] (More →)

Contemplating the Future of ICO Regulation

Initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) have served as an attractive method of start-up fundraising for a long time, but recent statistics show that investors are increasingly turning their backs on the ICO market. In 2018, ICO projects have raised $12.2 billion, but most funding was achieved during the first five months of the year. Since May of 2018, ICO funding is reported to have consistently declined, in large part due to ongoing regulatory uncertainty. Where ICOs Fall in the context of […] (More →)

Is Mutual Insurance the Answer to Conflicts of Interest and Related Party Investments?

There are two ways that insurance companies today earn revenue. The first way is the most well known. The insurance company charges clients a premium and uses skilled actuaries to accurately estimate the likelihood, timing, and value of claims. By charging a premium greater than the expected value of claims, the company expects to make a profit. The second way an insurance company can make money is by taking advantage of their unusual position by investing what’s referred to as […] (More →)

SEC v. Dorozhko: Alternative Data, Web Scraping, and 10(b) Fraud

“Alternative data” describes forms of data relevant to the investing process that are not “traditional” types of information. While traditional information (such as company disclosures in SEC filings or other formal public statements) has long been the focus of investing professionals, recent years have brought an explosion of interest in alternative data sources such as web scraping, credit card panel data, and satellite imagery. A 2017 report from Deloitte, for example, predicted that alternative data would “transform active investment management” […] (More →)

Examining The Relationship Between Chapter 15 And Section 109(a) of the United States Bankruptcy Code: Why Applying Section 109(a) Is Problematic

Mt. Gox, formerly one of the world’s leading digital currency exchanges headquartered in Japan, shut its website in 2014 after asserting that it lost approximately 860,000 bitcoins due to an unidentified hacker’s attack. At that time, this amount was worth more than $500 million. Although it subsequently reported that it found 200,000 bitcoins, the company was clearly in financial distress. Indeed, Mt. Gox filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy proceeding in March 2014, to prevent U.S. customers from seizing its U.S. […] (More →)

Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program

In December of 2018, New York State Department of Financial Services completed an investigation involving Barclays’ Chief Executive James E. Staley. The Empire State’s primary regulator of banking and insurance companies fined Barclays $15 million over Mr. Staley’s attempt to uncover the author(s) of two letters from a whistleblower claiming to be a shareholder. The letters concerned the hiring of a new executive, Tim Main, who was a “friend and colleague” to Mr. Staley. While the $15 million fine was […] (More →)

FTC Follows NYDFS Toward More Rules-Based Cybersecurity Regulation

As the FTC has stepped into a role of regulating cybersecurity, there has been much debate about the relative effectiveness of standards-based versus rules-based regulation. Initially, the FTC adopted broad standards, but appears to be moving toward a more rules-based approach. Proponents of standards argue they are more flexible. They can apply to different sized companies and maintain relevance as technology and threats change. A regulation requiring “reasonable” or “industry standard” measures does not require frequent updates or tailoring. However, […] (More →)

In Antitrust We Trust: How Progressive Politics and Antitrust Should Revitalize Each Other

We live in an era of big business that rivals or even surpasses the Gilded Age. Our president—our wealthiest ever—is a billionaire, as are his Secretaries of Commerce and Education. Meanwhile, Amazon and Apple both claimed valuations greater than $1 trillion in 2018. There is little doubt that big business is getting bigger and politics is getting richer. It should be no surprise, then, that the long-standing American tradition of antitrust action is reawakening in popular politics. Senators Sanders, Warren, […] (More →)

About CBLR

Columbia Business Law Review is the first legal periodical at a national law school to be devoted solely to the publication of articles focusing on the interaction of the legal profession and the business community. The review publishes three issues yearly, which involve students in the editing of leading articles in business law, as well as the production of student-written notes.