Legal and Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities for the Tech Industry with Justine Kasznica

Attorney Justine Kasznica would be the first to admit that she moved to Pittsburgh to take a chance on an apparent regional business renaissance driven by a promising technology sector. Over time, the region hasn’t disappointed.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in this region and to be an attorney working with emerging technologies,” said Kasznica, who quickly would find her way into the center of Pittsburgh’s technology universe and help drive significant industry growth as part of a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem here.

“We are absolutely capturing a moment in history in this tri-state region,” she said. “To be able to experience the outputs of the efforts of the technologists across the region and to be part of the investor and adviser teams who are helping them grow is as rewarding as it is exciting.”

Today, Kasznica serves as a shareholder of Babst Calland, leading the firm’s emerging technologies group and serving on the front lines of a local industry sector that has gained global recognition while also facing its share of business and legal challenges. Babst Calland is one of the Pittsburgh region’s largest law firms…

To view the full article and video interview, click here.

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Emerging Tech Law Podcast: Investment Trends in Energy

In this episode of the Emerging Tech Podcast Series, Justine Kasznica and Ashleigh Krick of Babst Calland’s Emerging Technologies Group talk to Jonathan Kersting of the Pittsburgh Technology Council about the latest investment trend in energy as reported from the 2021 Babst Calland Energy Report.

They discuss how public government funding is driving investment in emerging energy technologies like energy storage and hydrogen. They will also detail how VC and private equity investments are at a record high and what’s driving the growth.

Listen to the podcast here.

Emerging Tech Law Podcast – Investment Trends in Energy

On this episode of the Pittsburgh Technology Council Emerging Tech Podcast Series, Babst Calland’s Justine Kasznica and Ashleigh Krick, Esq.

talk about the latest investment trend in energy as reported from the 2021 Babst Calland Energy Report. They discuss how public, government funding is driving investment in emerging energy technologies like energy storage and hydrogen. The will also detail how VC and private equity investments are at a record high and what’s driving the growth.

Listen to the podcast here.

FTC Issues Settlement Requiring Zoom to Implement Robust Information Security Program in Response to Years of Deceptive Security Practices

On November 9, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement agreement with Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Zoom) that arose from alleged violations that Zoom engaged in a series of deceptive and unfair practices that undermined user security.

The FTC found that Zoom made several representations across its platform regarding the strength of its privacy and security measures used to protect users’ personal information that were untrue and provided users with a false sense of security. Specifically, the FTC found that Zoom made multiple statements regarding “end-to-end” and “AES 256-bit” encryption used to secure videoconference communications. However, Zoom did not provide end-to-end encryption for any Zoom meeting conducted outside of Zoom’s “Connecter” product. And, Zoom used a lower level of encryption that did not provide for the same level of security as “AES 256-bit” encryption. The FTC also found that Zoom stored meeting recordings unencrypted and for a longer period than Zoom claimed in its Security Guide. And, Zoom circumvented browser privacy and security safeguards through software updates without notice to users and without establishing replacement safeguards.

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FTC Investigation of Twitter for Alleged Privacy Violations Reinforces Need for Strong Privacy Policies and Practices

On August 3, 2020, Twitter disclosed in a regulatory filing that it is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegations that the company used user phone numbers and email addresses for targeted advertising in violation of a 2011 Consent Agreement. Twitter estimates that it could face $150 to $250 million in losses due to legal fees and enforcement penalties resulting from this matter.

The 2011 Consent Agreement resolved charges that Twitter violated the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) when hackers obtained administrative control of Twitter allowing them access to non-public user information, private tweets, and the ability to send out fake tweets from any user’s account. The FTC found that Twitter’s actions neither upheld statements in its privacy policy, nor provided reasonable and appropriate security to prevent unauthorized access to nonpublic user data and honor the privacy choices of its users.

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Justine M. Kasznica – Emerging Technologies Attorney

This is one in a series of profiles featuring members of Babst Calland’s Emerging Technologies team of attorneys who provide business and legal representation on matters impacting companies developing or investing in new technologies and businesses.

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Emerging Technologies in a Time of Pandemic – Part III

Can Technology Help Us Return to Work? 

Coronavirus restrictions are both easing and tightening in cities around the country, and a nationwide return to work seems further off than it did a month ago. But it is never too early to plan ahead. As the United States looks to safely return to work, offices are preparing for a radical shift, accelerating a need for emerging technologies to address challenges in the workplace. Separation, space, health, and cleanliness concerns are paramount, in an abrupt about-face from the pre-virus trends towards flexible workspaces and open floor plans. This has created a host of novel issues for business administrators, who are leveraging technology to keep work environments safe while maintaining a semblance of business normalcy in these unprecedented times.

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From Idea to Invention to Intellectual Property: What Startups and Innovators Need to Know

On Thursday, June 11, 2020, Attorneys Justine Kasznica and Carl Ronald joined the Scott Institute’s Jay Whitacre and Anna Siefken for an informative discussion, “From Idea to Invention to Intellectual Property: What Startups and Innovators Need to Know.”  To view this discussion, click here.

Client Spotlight: Congratulations, Astrobotic!

An artist’s rendering of NASA’s VIPER rover, which will roam the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice.
(Source: NASA)

Today, we are thrilled to celebrate with Astrobotic Technology, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based space robotics and lunar transportation and logistics company, on receiving a $199.5 NASA award to send the NASA Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the lunar surface in 2023 to search for water-ice. Not only is this a historically significant mission, as it is the first “resource-mapping” mission of its kind, this is an amazing achievement for a company that that has worked tirelessly for 13 years to prove a new commercial space market. For more information, click here.

Our Emerging Technologies attorneys are fortunate to work with incredible innovators, entrepreneurs and visionaries pushing the frontiers of technology and industry. We love to showcase our clients, especially when they hit notable milestones that may be of interest to our entire Babst Calland EmTech family.

Our newly launched EmTech Blog will enable us to do more of these Client Spotlights, so stay tuned! If you would like your company to be featured, please send accomplishments or highlights to jkasznica@babstcalland.com.

Emerging Technologies in a Time of Pandemic – Part II

Regulatory Challenges to Fully Utilizing Existing Technology

On May 1st, Amazon Prime premiered Upload, the story of a software engineer whose consciousness is transferred to the cloud after his fully autonomous vehicle (AV) rear-ends another car. The accident takes place in 2033. By then, the show imagines, vehicles that drive themselves will be the default. We won’t spoil the ending. But, in the fictional 2033 only 13 years from now—the public is astounded when the vehicle is involved in a wreck. It is an entertaining take on the future. In reality, however, we’ve got a lot of regulations to update if autonomous vehicles (AVs) are going to play the role imagined in Upload.

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