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3 Biggest Legal Tech Stories of 2018

For much of the world, B.C. marked a time "Before Christ." But in the legal tech world, B.C. could refer to another time.

At the annual meeting of the American Bar Association, leaders said B.C. may someday refer to a time before Carpenter. That was U.S. v. Carpenter, a tech case that many believe marked a turning point in Fourth Amendment law.

In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court said police need warrants to obtain geolocation data about suspects from cell phone service providers. It was one of the biggest legal tech stories of 2018.

1. Data Privacy

Carpenter created new American law that November day, but it happened in a field that has dominated the legal landscape around the world. On the global scale, the biggest tech story was the General Data Protection Regulation.

Industry leaders say the GDPR may be "the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years." The European Commission says it gives people more control over their personal data.

In any case, it is changing the way companies do business. They can be fined up to four percent of their global revenue for violations.

2. Facebook Fails

Facebook, with more than two billion users monthly, is a world unto itself. That's why its ongoing problems were big in the legal tech sphere last year.

The New York Times broke the story about Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm for Republican candidate Donald Trump. The company purchased personal data of about 87 Facebook users to target voters.

When the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into Facebook's privacy practices, it put Facebook on the front page -- again.

3. Net Neutrality

Net neutrality died in 2018. Under the new administration, the Federal Communications Commission wrote the epitaph.

As states fight back with their own rules for internet service providers, it's hard to say what the long-terms effects will be. But if you start to see service rates rising and internet traffic slowing down, you can point back to what happened in tech in 2018.

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