Friday, February 12, 2021

Business As Usual

Since April, the world has come to a standstill. Students are unfortunately facing the consequences of distance learning, not only the students within grade school but those pursuing their undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, law school, a challenge in its own right, continues as normal, the forum is irrelevant to the study of law. The substance of the schooling remained the same. The courses up for me to challenge included Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Ethical Lawyering, Intro to International Law, and National Security and Data Privacy. Unlike the first-year courses, there is the option to have a course with a final academic paper, rather than a traditional final. The course itself gives a general overview of the field and then leaves student to research a topic of their choosing. National Security and Data Privacy was one such course.

The goal of these upper division writing requirement courses is to produce a peer reviewed paper with a minimum of 7,500 words. My paper was set to be on the impact of artificial intelligence in regard to counter terrorism operations. While I had vast experience in terrorism studies thanks to my involvement in international programs such as the National Model United Nations, and my enrollment in similar courses during undergrad. I felt confident with this paper topic. Then the research started.

Surprisingly enough, counter terror tactics are not released to the general public, thus I was unable to find reliable sources on the latest technologies. However, I took a step back. I am in law school not a doctoral program for computer engineering. I asked myself a simple question. “Is it legal?” This simple question spurred my interest. In my research, the answer to that question was a resounding “maybe”. However, the lack of answer was not a negative. Rather it shows the novel nature of the question such that no courts have considered its implementation. Since there are no right or wrong answers as typically required by traditional final exams, I needed to support my findings. The legal framework of data collection set by the fourth amendment to the US Constitution and any case law stemming from it. This type of research was new for me and the challenge it presented made the end result worth the pain.

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