Just when we finally figured out how to contract for “cloud” services and SaaS, here comes blockchain—the next disruptor for IT, businesses and, yes, us lawyers.

So what is blockchain? This is one of the best definitions that we have found from the Wall Street Journal, CIO Explainer: What Is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority. Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to change or remove. When someone wants to add to it, participants in the network—all of which have copies of the existing blockchain—run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction. If a majority of nodes agree that the transaction looks valid…then the new transaction will be approved and a new block added to the chain.

Morgan Lewis is proud to host TechFest Club, an event series for women in the technology industry. Speakers at this upcoming event include Sneha Keshav, a UI and brand designer at IrisVR where she is responsible for establishing scalable design systems, as well as Ana Garcia Puyol, the director of user experience at IrisVR, where she plans, designs, and prototypes user experience features for the virtual reality software ecosystem.

Sneha and Ana will share how they have learned to navigate the world of emerging virtual technology while designing human-friendly products. They will also discuss the unanticipated challenges they faced during the process of research, formation, and branding of an emerging technology for a new industry.

If you are a woman in tech, consider attending! The event will be at Morgan Lewis’s New York office (101 Park Ave., 39th Floor) from 8:30–10:00 am ET.

Registration and additional information for the event can be found here.

The lower chamber of the Russian parliament has approved three initial draft laws, which if passed, would address the use of cryptocurrencies and related activities such as mining, token offerings, and crowdfunding. Currently, the use of cryptocurrency in Russia is not directly addressed or regulated, and these draft laws aim to address this current state of ambiguity.

For more details on these proposed laws, read the LawFlash.

With the increasing use of cloud and mobile platforms, software developers commonly use “containers” to house applications that can run in these multiple environments. The container holds all the components necessary for applications to work, including the operating system, libraries, configuration files, application binaries, and other parts of the technology stack required for the application. The use of containers has become an integral part of managing current IT infrastructure.

Kubernates  is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It was originally designed by Google in 2014 as a way to distribute Google applications to other developers. Google established the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to maintain Kubernates and promote use of the technology.

As blockchain technologies grow from an academic novelty to hubs of commerce, state and federal regulators are taking notice. Understanding what actions are regulated and by whom—and how to comply with those regulations—is essential to keep a company focused on innovation rather than litigation. As part of its First Cup of Coffee Briefing Series, Andrew J. Gray IV, a partner in our Palo Alto office, is hosting an interactive event on issues and best practices for regulatory compliance in the blockchain space.

Speakers at the event include Morgan Lewis partner Nathan J. Hochman and associate Jacob J.O. Minne, along with Dean Nicolls and Frank Marques from JUMIO, an online mobile payment and identity verification company.

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we discussed some of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as UAVs or drones). In this Part 2, we discuss some of the other considerations that commercial drone operators must consider, including privacy laws, local regulation, and certain business considerations.

Drones and Privacy Laws

At present, there are no federal laws specifically regulating drone use and privacy. The FAA was tasked with drafting a comprehensive rule for drone use. Some have interpreted the FAA’s mandate to include a requirement to implement privacy protections. The FAA, however, has taken the position that it is a safety regulator and privacy issues are outside its authority. In the meantime, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) worked with various stakeholders in 2016 to publish its Voluntary Best Practices of UAS Privacy, Transparency and Accountability. These best practices are specific to drone use and are not a legal standard. Nonetheless, drone operators should be aware of potential liabilities for violating any policies they adopt that go beyond the minimum legal standards.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—popularly known as drones—have enormous possibilities for use in the business world. In fact, the drone market is expected to exceed $12 billion by 2021. The small size, maneuverability, and ability to carry various types of recording or sensory devices makes drones attractive for many types of commercial use from delivery services, such as Amazon’s First Prime Air Delivery service  to managing inventory by using drones with RFID sensors and managing agriculture. However, any company considering the commercial use of drones should be aware of the evolving legal landscape regarding their use. How a company plans to use a drone will help determine the legal requirements that must be met.

California was one of the first states to allow autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) to be tested on public roads. On April 2, 2018, the state began allowing self-driving cars without a driver in the vehicle to be tested on public roads. Before these new regulations, California only allowed autonomous vehicles to be tested on public roads with an approved driver.

April showers bring…Morgan Lewis’s Annual Technology May-rathon. Our annual series of presentations and webcasts, known as the Technology May-rathon, runs the entire month of May. Industry leaders from a variety of technology-focused practices will present on certain technologies, providing lawyers with critical understanding of the technologies that impact our work. The presentations and webcasts will also focus on legal developments and key topics resulting from innovative technologies.

Below are just a few examples of the presentations that are part of the 2018 Technology May-rathon. Be sure to check back for the most up-to-date information as more events are added.

For more information or to register, visit the full listing of events here.

Reserve your spot for the annual Technology, Outsourcing, and Commercial Transactions Networking Roundtable on April 26, 2018, from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm at the Morgan Lewis Philadelphia office.

Leaders in the industry will present on this year’s hot topics and key ethical considerations for a total of two-and-a-half hours of CLE credit (including one hour of ethics credit). A networking and cocktail reception will follow the presentations on these significant and developing areas of law.