Is Avoiding Student Loan Payments Something One Should Take to Court?

Posted by Vanessa Van Bodegon.

As a college student myself, student debt is something that haunts me in my sleep. The constant worry in the back of my head leaves me wondering if I will make enough money post-graduation to pay my debt in a sufficient period of time.

After reading an article in the ABA Journal titled, “Federal judge tosses decision erasing law grad’s student debt, says issues should be decided at trial”, by Debra Cassens Weiss, I see that Kevin Rosenberg, must not have had this worry. Rosenberg was a law student who graduated from Yeshiva University in 2004. Upon completion of law school, he began to work in a firm for less than three months, before getting fired and becoming practically jobless, apart from working jobs here and there.

Because of his poor financial decisions and the economic recession in 2008, Rosenberg’s debt continued to increase, and he made no effort to pay it off. Instead of lowering his cost of living to pay off his debt, he decided to move to places with higher rent. At a point, his debt increased from its original $116,465 to an astonishing $220,000, with only $3,000 paid off.

Rosenberg decided to take his issue to court, where the judge overturned the decision because Rosenberg did not provide enough evidence to prove that his debt is unpayable. The judge felt that Rosenberg put himself in his predicament, and that is nobody’s problem other than his own… which I would have to agree with. The judge stated that Rosenberg had not submitted enough evidence to satisfy the Brunner test, which is a three-part test that, “considers whether the debtor can maintain a minimal standard of living if forced to repay the loans, whether an inability to maintain the minimal standard is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period, and whether the debtor had made a good faith effort to repay the loans” (Weiss par 8).

Although Rosenberg did have setbacks, such as injuries that required surgeries and the economic recession, his piled-up debt is the result of his own poor decisions. As stated previously, I can only hope I do not make the same mistakes a Rosenberg when trying to pay my own student debt in the future.

Vanessa is a finance major at Seton Hall University, class of 2024.

Article link: https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/federal-judge-tosses-decision-erasing-law-grads-student-debt-says-issues-should-be-decided-at-trial           

Effects of Apple’s Privacy Changes

Posted by Jack Lynch.

Social media companies such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter, rely heavily on their advertising revenue. This revenue is earned by companies paying these social media apps to advertise their products on their platforms. As many of us know, social media companies rely on targeted advertising to increase their revenue. This means that apps such as Facebook have access to your phone in order to analyze what you are searching for and advertise products that you are more likely to have an interest in and possibly buy. However, there have been some recent privacy concerns around the world regarding targeted advertising and legality of the access that companies have to our information. As a result of this concern Apple began modifying its privacy policies in April 2021. The new privacy policy allows iPhone users to choose whether or not they consent to advertisers using their information. Many people have declined this option, and it is having some serious consequences for social media companies.

Since many iPhone users have declined the option to give advertisers access to their personal data, companies such as Facebook, Snap, and Google are losing the advertising revenue that they rely on. Facebook has taken the worst hit because most of the site’s traffic comes from mobile users, and their revenue relies heavily on advertising. This fear of losing revenue is shown when the author explains, “Ahead of Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) financial results on Monday, the social media giant is expected to be hurt more than others in big tech by Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPhone privacy changes, investors fear, after Snap Inc (SNAP.N) missed revenue targets last week” (Balu, Dang 2021). Facebook and other companies are furious with Apple because they knew that making these privacy adjustments would decrease the number of ads and therefore hurt the revenue of social media giants. These companies are making the argument that Apple’s privacy policy is hurting small businesses by restricting their ability to advertise on iOS devices.

In my personal opinion, I believe that Apple has every right to adapt their privacy policies. Apple customers asked for better privacy standards and for stronger protection of their personal information, and Apple delivered on their desires by strengthening the privacy policies. While I support small businesses and the idea that larger corporations should do their part in helping smaller companies, I think that Apple increasing privacy is a good thing in this day and age. Companies such as Facebook are angry that they are going to be losing revenue, but they have failed to consider the benefits of increased privacy. This event has shown to the world that companies such as Facebook have become too dependent on advertising on Apple devices. However, Apple’s intent behind these changes is the true question that needs to be asked. Are they really worried about the privacy of their customers or were they trying to boost their revenue by increasing the use of their own advertising system? Apple has the right to change their own policies, but they could have considered the effect that those changes have on other companies, especially small businesses.

Jack is an accounting major at Seton Hall University, Stillman School of Business, Class of 2024.

Article Link: https://www.reuters.com/technology/facebook-ad-revenue-seen-feeling-brunt-apple-privacy-changes-2021-10-25/

FBI Confirms Brain Laundries Remains Found

Posted by Rebecca Stefan.

Recently, investigators discovered the humans remains of Brain Laundrie who is a person of interest in the death of his financee Gabby Petito. Brain Laundries belongings were also found near the human remains such as his backpack and notebook. The article states, “Investigators earlier this week had found what appeared to be human remains and a backpack and notebook that belonged to Mr. Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve near Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port, Fla.” Dental records had confirmed that the body was in fact Brain Laundrie. 

Gabby Petito and Brain Laundrie were on a cross country road trip together in a van. Gabby was reported missing by her family about a week after Brain returned back home from the trip without her. Gabby’s family had last spoken to her in August when she was with Brain. The article states that “Her body was later found in a remote part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.” It was confirmed that Gabby was killed by being strangled. Brain’s family also had reported him missing and there has been a nationwide manhunt for him. 

The widespread attention on Gabby Petitos case and death has caused debate as advocates and others are saying that missing people of color do not often receive this much of attention. The National Crime Information Center statistics say that there was more than 40,000 missing women in the U.S. at the end of 2020. Statistics also say that “Nearly 21,000 of these missing women were white, which includes both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women. Close to 14,000 missing women were Black, 927 were Asian and 578 were Native American.” However, these statistics do not represent all of the missing person cases because local law-enforcement officials aren’t required to submit missing persons reports for people above the age of 21 to the NCIC database.

Rebecca is a business administration major at Seton Hall University, Stillman School of Business, Class of 2024.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fbi-confirms-brian-laundries-remains-found-in-florida-wildlife-reserve-11634854963

Trump’s Social-Media Platform Joins Crowded Conservative Media Field

Posted by Michael Dembiec.

Donald Trump has been under fire for many things over the course of his presidency, and even after his term ended. One major thing that has happened recently is having his twitter account banned around the time of the start of the Afganistan issues. He was extremely upset because he claimed that while his account had been banned, Twitter was allowing for members of the Taliban to own their own twitter accounts.

This has led Trump, in his frustration, to begin the process of launching his very own social media platform called True Social. Trump can be seen very frustrated within this article, as a quote from him states,  “Everyone asks me why doesn’t someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!”. While he did announce the platform, there are many secrets sourronding when it will launch, what it entails, and much more. He has been extremely frustrated due to his “unfair banning” from the twitter social media platform. The article claims that this new social network platform has gained an extreme popularity amongst the conservative media field. In the article they go on to explain the ampunt of funding behind the project, expected sales, and they even stated that it will be able to compete directly with other popular platforms, such as facebook, instagram, and even twitter. There are many people who disagree with Trump starting his own social network platform, and believe he is disrespectful and incompetant.

In my personal opinion, I believe that Donald Trump is in fact vulgar and rude sometimes, but I also believe that nobody should be silenced in voicing their opinions. This is America and we do have freedom of speech. Whether some disagree with his opinions, or even the manner in which he speaks, at the end of the day he should not be banned from Twitter. Even so, the fact that Taliban members are able to use the platform, but Trump cannot is a little ridiculous in my opinion. So yes, I believe that in creating his own platform, it will allow republicans and conservatives to voice their opinions freely. In all honesty it is a truly good thing and only time will tell if my statements and opinions are valid or can be fact-checked.

Michael is a student at Seton Hall University.

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-social-media-platform-joins-crowded-conservative-media-field-11635010334?mod=Searchresults_pos5&page=1

    

Zuckerberg vs Authorities

Posted by Jillian Greene.

A hot topic recently has been that Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, is getting exposed for privacy and security issues. Originally starting in October of 2018 during the Cambridge issue, this theory of Facebook abusing their privacy policy and invading its users has been investigated for several years. Finally, attorney General Karl Racine has decided to file a motion adding Zuckerberg as a defendant on the case. He had found more evidence that Zuckerberg knew more about this invasion of privacy that prosecutors had believed. Facebook argues that since this was originally filed three years ago, the claims are not relevant. However, Racine stated, “It’s clear Mr. Zuckerberg knowingly and actively participated in each decision that led to Cambridge Analytica’s mass collection of Facebook user data and Facebook’s misrepresentations to users about how secure their data was.” This helps strengthen his accusation for Zuckerberg lying and acting unethically.

This step made by Racine was so important because it had been the first time a US regulator has added the creator in a complaint. Racine explained to the press how this case shows that even the highest CEOs of companies need to act correctly and if not, will get punished for their actions. He wants to prove how everyone, no matter your status, is objected to the law.

When it comes to this case, I completely agree with the Attorney General. Laws are made to be followed by everyone. They are created to represent society as a whole and when people think they are entitled to break these laws, they should be punished. In the past, CEOs have gotten away with plenty of misconduct due to their high status. I believe adding Zuckerberg as a respondent is a step forward in cresting fairness among all. What Facebook was doing with its users was not okay. By using Facebook and sharing private information, users show trust, and these creators are taking advantage of that. This also makes you think, if Facebook is doing this, what other social media platforms are as well? We store important information in these types of resources such as credit card information, addresses, pictures, etc. The idea that this information is not protected now makes all users feel uncomfortable and invaded. All in all, Zuckerberg needed to be reprimanded for privacy and security fraud as an example to all that laws apply to everyone.

Jillian is an undeclared major at Seton Hall University, Class of 2024.

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebooks-zuckerberg-named-in-suit-by-washington-d-c-attorney-general-11634741260

How $200k Turned Into a $58 Million Lawsuit Against Super-Agent Rich Paul

Posted by Elias Burgos.

Big time NBA agent, Rich Paul, represents some of the top NBA athletes which include Lebron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Ben Simmons, 2020 1st overall pick Anthony Edwards, and formerly Nerlens Noel. Paul originally enticed Noel to leave his former agent as Paul promised him that he would be able to obtain Noel more valuable playing contracts. Once Noel agreed to sign Paul as his agent this is where the trouble began.

Paul convinced Noel to decline a four-year, $70 million playing contract from the Dallas Mavericks and take a one-year contract from the Mavericks paying $4.2 million instead. Although this deal was significantly less, the mindset behind this play was that Noel’s value as a player would be a lot higher after this one year and he would not be locked in a long-term contract therefore he would be able to receive better offers the following season. This would have been a great plan if Noel did not injure his thumb during the 2017 season.

Once Noel was seen as injured because of his thumb, Paul and his agency, Klutch Sports, saw no value in Noel and stopped paying attention to him. Once Noel’s one-year contract was done in 2017, Paul did not give Noel any options on how to obtain another contract for the following season.

Eventually, Noel signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder for a two-year contract for $3.75 million. However, this was not Klutch Sports or Paul’s doing. Noel was recruited by the Thunder’s star players. Due to Paul’s continuous lack of interest, the following season Noel was forced to sign another small contract with the Thunder once again. This contract was another one-year deal for a less $1.9 million.

In four seasons, it was estimated Noel had earned about $12 million opposed to the $70 million he would have earned if he had originally signed with the Dallas Mavericks with his former agent. Naturally, Noel was very upset with his situation, but his frustrations grew when he gained the knowledge that Klutch lost interest in clients if they were not the best in the league. In 2020, Klutch Sports took legal actions against Noel because it was said that Noel owed Klutch Sports $200,000 from his 2020 season with the Knicks. Noel responded with his own lawsuit for the missed-out payday he could have received and the negligence he was showed during his time with Klutch Sports. Noel’s lawsuit against Klutch is valued at about $58 million, if not more.

Article Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/08/25/knicks-nerlens-noel-sues-nba-agent-rich-paul-alleging-indifference-cost-him-millions/

Elias is a sports managment major at Seton Hall University, Stillman School of Business, Class of 2024.

Amazon Workers Reject Unionization in Alabama

Posted by Arianna Weling.

Last Friday on April 9th, it was revealed that the Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama rejected the unionization bid. Alabama is currently one of twenty-seven “right-to-work” states in which wokers are not legally required to pay dues to the unions that represent them. The current case had been an ongoing battle for months and ultimately led to almost a 2-1 result of rejecting the union proposal. Of the 3,117 votes casted, about 1,800 warehouse voters rejected the union proposal, where as only about 730 workers voted in favor of it, as per the National Labor Relations Board. Amazon, which is currently one of the largest private employers in the United States has managed to avoid enforcements of unions for over two decades.”The vote Friday, in which the company won over workers at its year-old Bessemer, Ala., warehouse by more than a 2-to-1 margin, was a massive blow for labor organizers who saw the facility — and Amazon broadly — as ripe for organizing,” (Greene, De Vynck 2021). Such an avoidance of the unionization will certainly grant Amazon the power and flexibility or cut workers when they please if there is any contention.

The aftermath of this result is certainly one that setbacks politicians, such as Senator Bernie Sanders and President Biden who advocated for unionization. Since then, there have been videos surfacing in which Sanders stated, “The history of struggle is that you don’t always win the first time out…you may have to come back and do it again,” (Greene, De Vynck 2021). As for the President of AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, he assured that he and his people are not going anywhere and the fight will continue. The union that actively represented the Bessemer, Alabama workers, also known as the Retail Warehouse and Department Store Union has accused Amazon of using scare tactics to intimidate workers. Such intimidation may have swayed voters and influenced the result. Therefore, the union strives to challenge this results in attempts to overturn them and force unionization.

Amazon, however, refuted such claims as Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener stated: “These fabrications are tiresome but expected…you’re going to hear a lot of untruths from the union now because they have to explain the lopsided result and their answer can’t be Amazon pays more than $15 an hour, offers health care from day one, up to 20 weeks of parental leave, and a safe, clean work environment in state-of-the-art fulfillment centers,” (Greene, De Vynck 2021). In the months long battle, Amazon even set up an anti-union website in order to discourage workers. The website, “DoItWithoutDues,” emphasized the cons of unionization. Not only did they establish a website to discourage unionization, but also head mandatory meetings for workers called “captive-audience sessions” to advocate for anti-unionization.

Since the decision, other workers at other Amazon facilities have began considering and acting on organizing their own efforts for unionization. More than 1,000 workers have contact the Retail Warehouse and Department Store Union in attempts to launch campaigns at their own Amazon facilities (Greene, De Vynck 2021). Given the RWDSU is planning to contest the results and argues that the voters were influenced, the decision may be overturned and legal challenges may arise.

Personally, I see the pros and cons of unionization, therefore, the decision is difficult. Of course, unionization will ensure that employees receive higher pay and benefits; however, issues, such as lack of individuality and difficulty to fire workers may be discouraging. From an outsider’s point-of-view, it seems that unionization will be incredibly beneficial. Given Amazon rarely (if ever) ranks within the top twenty-five companies with happiest workers, it seems that they could use some improvements. I think Amazon’s choice to show workers the downfalls of unions and establishing that website may have been misleading. Because of that, I feel that another vote should be considered, seeing that since Amazon had some influence in the decision publically, privately, it may had been more as well.

Arianna is majoring in marketing and English at Seton Hall University, Class of 2023.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/04/09/amazon-union-vote-bessemer/

Supreme Court Sides with Google in Copyright Battle After the Tech Giant’s Decade Long Battle Against Oracle

Posted by Jessica Moran.

On Monday, April 5th, 2021, the Supreme Court, in a 6-2 opinion, ruled in favor of Alphabet Inc.’s Google in a decade-long, eight-billion-dollar copyright dispute with Oracle America Inc. The dispute arose over Google’s usage of parts of Oracle’s Java Advanced Programming Interface (API) code in their Android operating system (OS) on more than two billion Google devices worldwide. Google’s Android OS was released following Google’s creation of millions of lines of computer code, with 11,330 of those lines coming from Oracle’s Java platform. The building of this computer code using some of Oracle’s API code came into question—Oracle believed that Google illegally copied the over 11,000 lines of its Java API code to develop their Android OS. In contrast, Google thought that copying some of the Java API code was “fair use” under copyright law. “Fair use” is any copying of copyrighted material that can be done without permission from the owner because it is done for a “limited” and “transformative” purpose. Thus, the question of the case became the following: Did Google’s copying of the code constitute fair use, or did it violate the copyright law?

Google argued that its behavior is common practice in the industry and allows for technical progress. Furthermore, Google stood firm in its belief that copyright laws do not protect functional, noncreative computer code. In this case, Google believed the lines of the Java API that they copied were purely functional and could not be written any other way. On the other hand, Oracle said that Google’s actions were complete plagiarism—In a statement to the press, Oracle said, “The Google platform just got bigger and market power greater…They stole Java and spent a decade litigating as only a monopolist can. This behavior is exactly why regulatory authorities…are examining Google’s business practices” (Mickle). Decisively ruling in favor of Google, the Supreme Court held that the copying constituted fair use and did not violate the copyright law since the amount of code was relatively small and programmers at Google simply used the language as “building blocks” to develop new applications.

Thus, Google’s use of that code was “fair use” as a matter of law, and Oracle cannot claim copyright because, according to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, “…Google reimplemented a user interface, taking only what was needed to allow users to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program” (Kruzel, and Rodrigo). Breyer’s opinion was joined by Justices Roberts, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, but Justices Thomas and Alito dissented. Thomas and Alito felt that “Oracle’s code…is copyrightable, and Google’s use of that copyrighted code was anything but fair” and believed that “Google decimated Oracle’s market and created a mobile operating system…earning tens of billions of dollars every year” (Mickle). Nevertheless, Google and other tech giants like IBM and Microsoft celebrated the ruling. Google’s Chief Legal Officer, Kent Walker, found the decision to be a victory for “consumers, interoperability, and computer science” (Kruzel, and Rodrigo).

While there is opposition to this decision, the Supreme Court remains confident in its decision, with Justice Breyer stating that this decision does not overturn earlier cases involving fair use, like those relating to ‘knockoff’ products, journalistic writings, parodies, and more. Instead, the Supreme Court’s decision is based, in part, on concern that a ruling against Google would set back future software development and promote costly duplication of code. In other words, ruling in favor of Oracle might have stifled future software development and innovation. The Supreme Court did question Google’s right to copy some of the code, and Google itself did not dispute the fact that its software engineers used over 11,000 lines of the Java software code, but ultimately, the inclusion of such code into their Android OS constituted “fair use” of copyrighted material. Furthermore, the court found that “Google’s copying amounted to just 0.4% of the 2.86 million lines of Java API computer code” (Mickle). Despite the seemingly unfavorable admission to copying the code, Google does provide the Android OS to smartphone manufacturers for free and allows it to be used under an open-source license.

As of this case, the Supreme Court is not yet willing to answer the following legal issue: whether API code is eligible for copyright protection. Given the broad nature of such a question and the rapidly changing business technology environment, the Supreme Court did not wish to answer anything beyond the dispute at hand. In this case, the Supreme Court felt that Google’s fair use argument was the stronger case being that fair use is designed to prevent copyrights from hindering new software and product development.

For more information, the case is Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., 18-956.

Jessica is majoring in accounting and management at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2023.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-court-rules-for-google-in-multibillion-dollar-copyright-battle-with-oracle-11617632233

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/546449-supreme-court-sides-with-google-in-copyright-fight-against-oracle?rl=1

The Legal Effects of Vaccination Side Effects

Posted by Andrew Walde.

Vaccinations having been given out in increasing rates as more and more individuals are receiving theirs for COVID-19, however as with any vaccine, there are potential side effects that are harming some patients. Several of these individuals are seeking compensation for these effects as, “Twenty-one people have filed claims with the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program for adverse reactions to Covid-19 shots…” (Schlesinger). As people search for this compensation, there has been little acceptance to their claims and any compensation is expected to be limited.
While there are programs set up to deal with compensating those adversely affected by vaccinations, the one for COVID-19 is not covered by many as it is a new vaccine that has not been approved for the use on children yet even. This means that it is more difficult to make claims for compensation for being adversely affected by the vaccine. Furthermore, the one that does cover it, The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, “rarely pays, rejecting more than 90% of claims filed, according to HHS and FOIA records” (Schlesinger). This again demonstrates why it will be difficult for those seeking compensation will find it difficult.

I believe the reason for this difficulty has to do with the principle of double effect. As the vaccine is made with good intention and a good end, there may be negative unintended consequences. So while there are possible negative consequences, the overall intention of the vaccine is to provide benefit to the patient. Because of this I do not believe that companies should be sued or have to pay large compensations as they are attempting to aid the public through their good intentions. However, I also know that the companies making the vaccine should still be held accountable to make sure the vaccine works without major side effects the vast majority of the time. So that if in the future there is found to be side effects greatly impacting large groups of individuals, the company could then face legal action as their product caused substantial harm that could have been avoided through more thorough testing.

Andrew is a mathmetical finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2023.

China to Use Data Protection to Control Tech Giants

Posted by Arina Gumerova.

This article focuses on the fact that China wants to introduce a law that will protect personal data online because “globally, there has been a push toward more robust rules to protect consumer data and privacy as technology services continue to expand.” So at the moment, China is one of the main technology leaders in the world and is trying to compete with the United States. However, the data protection law could undermine many companies because they have to change their business model and it can cause slow down the development of the industry.

To date, this law has already been adopted in Europe and China is striving to do the same. The reason for this was that many Chinese users began to complain about Internet companies for misusing their personal information. Therefore, the law will now conduct more scrutiny and possible changes to the business models of the Chinese intranet giants.

Another problem is that “The Chinese data protection law contains a section on state agencies processing information.” That is, the state must adhere to the same rules as the company, but there is a lot of controversy about this. Government agents are some of the largest data processors in the country, but in some cases when people give their consent when collecting data, this may be contrary to police investigations by law enforcement. Therefore, this law will be difficult to pass because it has many different sides and it is difficult to please everyone so that no one is left on the sidelines.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/12/china-data-protection-laws-aim-to-help-rein-in-countrys-tech-giants.html

Arina is a mathmatical finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University.