CLIP-ings: December 2, 2016

Internet Governance

Unwrapping North Korea’s Internet: Although internet usage is slowly increasing in North Korea in places like elite graduate universities and some governmental offices and ministries, the government maintains a strict hold on the internet and communications with the outside world, monitoring all channels and instilling a fear in citizens of the consequences of disobedience.

A Snoopy Christmas: Despite criticism from Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo and even the UN special rapporteur for privacy who called the bill “worse than scary,” the Snooper’s Charter, an alleged counterterrorism measure, officially became law earlier this week in the UK and will allow the government to conduct mass global surveillance, including bulk hacking, bulk data collection, and the requirement that phone and internet providers store communications data for a year and provide it to law enforcement when asked.

Privacy

Yule Be Tracked: Uber’s new update requests that users allow the app to track their locations even when not in use, sparking concerns about how the company will use this information, though Uber claims that it will only use this feature to improve the accuracy of location pick-ups and drop-offs.

Scrooges at the Border: The Fourth Amendment’s protections against unlawful search and seizure are suspended at the US border, where the U.S. Customs of Border Protection has been exercising its right to confiscate and access laptops and smartphones of regular passengers and journalists without any warrant or suspicion of wrongdoing; in particular, award-winning Canadian photojournalist Ed Ou was detained and had his phones and other materials confiscated before being denied entry into the country, preventing him from covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Santa’s Little Alert System: Under the 2006 Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) may be sent to consumers’ cell phones in the form of an alert issued by the president, an alert involving imminent threats to safety or life, or an Amber Alert; as cell phone carriers can allow subscribers to block all of these alerts except for presidential ones, the question remains as to how President-elect Donald Trump will use this system, though his alerts will need to be issued through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System before reaching the American public.

The Bells Are Not Jingling in Congress: Congress has failed to prevent new changes to the search-and-seizure provision in the FRCP from going into effect Thursday, meaning that FBI and other US law enforcement agencies will now have the authority to hack into computers and phones belonging to US residents no matter where they are located in the world, though a US-issued search warrant will still be required for such tracking.

Intellectual Property

A Christmas Miracle: Netflix has announced that it will allow offline viewing of content, although due to limitations imposed by licensing agreements, not all content will be available for download and users will be restricted from downloading too many titles at once.

Counterfeit Operation Near the North Pole: As part of its new “Don’t F***(AKE) Up” campaign, Europe’s police agency, Europol, teamed up with agencies from 27 countries, including the US and Canada, to seize more than 4,500 website domains involved in trading counterfeit products, leading to the arrest of 12 people across The Netherlands and the seizure of more than 3,500 items of clothing and fake luxury goods.

Free Expression and Censorship

The Grinch Who Didn’t Steal Free Speech: With just one signature from President Obama, the Consumer Review Fairness Act will make it illegal nationally for businesses to punish consumers who leave negative reviews of the establishment on or offline, partly in response to the 2013 case Palmer v. KlearGear in which the plaintiff was threatened with a $3,500 fine for posting a negative online review of a company.

The Censorship Tree-tment: In China, Microsoft’s chatbot, “Xiaoice,” refuses to speak when asked about controversial topics, such as Tiananmen Square, Chinese President Xi Jinping, or even Donald Trump, while in other parts of the world, Facebook is required to restrict certain content (Pakistan and Russia), has been pressured to censor anti-immigrant posts (Germany), and is being accused of aiding in the spread of fake news (US)—all examples of the problem tech companies face in balancing users’ rights with censorship restrictions imposed by the national governments in order to gain access to those markets.

Practice Note

Ho! Ho! Hold It Before You Post That Meme! The legality of memes has come into question in a false light invasion of privacy case in which a “Dancing with the Stars” contestant publicly humiliated a child with Down Syndrome by adding a derogatory caption on an already-circulated photo of the child; after the mother requested he take down the image, the accused refused and defended his actions by asserting that the child’s obesity was a matter of public concern.

On the Lighter Side

An Icy Disposition: Iceland Foods, which owns a European trademark for “Iceland” and also operates a supermarket chain in Britain under that mark, is being sued by the country of Iceland, which is trying to invalidate the trademark because it has impeded local Icelandic firms’ efforts to market their products using the geographic term.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: November 18, 2016

Internet Governance

No Dinner for LinkedIn: After refusing to comply with a Russian law requiring all websites to store personal data on servers located within Russia, LinkedIn has been banned from Russia even though the company has previously complied with other similar regulations; for instance, in China, LinkedIn operates as a completely separate site and hosts its data within the country.

Poachers Feasting on Profits: Vietnamese wildlife traffickers are selling illegal products made from at least 907 elephants, 225 tigers, and 579 rhinos, as well as various other dead animals to China and southeast Asian countries through WeChat and Facebook, violating both the latter’s policies and possibly an international treaty.

No More Cooking Up Memes: Spreading “images that infringe the honor of a person” without the person’s consent may become a crime in Spain if a new piece of legislation proposed by the Prime Minister passes into law; the proposal—endorsed by the Popular Party which has a history of trying to limit people’s freedom of speech—has been met with only increased internet mockery.

Privacy

Google Play Music Stuffing More into Playlists: In an effort to keep up with other music streaming services, Google Play Music will begin to suggest new music to users based on user behavior including not only user listening patterns but also user location, user activity, and the weather.

IDNYC a Recipe for Disaster: Mayor de Blasio has vowed to fight the federal government from accessing any data stored in the database for IDNYC, a program that had been implemented as a means for providing identification for New York City residents—many of whom are undocumented immigrants—to be able to use certain services, such as opening bank accounts; a kill switch for the program would prevent law enforcement from gaining access to the data.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

A Cornucopia of Duplicate Accounts: A new report studying the Twitter and LinkedIn accounts of over two-hundred Fortune 500 CEOs has found an abundance of duplicate accounts on these two platforms, exposing these executives to thieves behind these accounts who use them to send attack emails and conduct phishing schemes on unknowing enterprises and individuals.

Be Thankful You Haven’t Been X-Posed: In possibly the largest hack of 2016, a recent breach has leaked account information of over 412 million users of various websites belonging to the FriendFinder Network, including usernames, passwords, and email addresses, over 80,000 of which are registered under .gov and .mil emails.

Intellectual Property

Chess-nuts Roasting on an Open Website: The organizers of the World Chess Championship lost a bid for exclusive streaming of the chess moves in the ongoing 12-game series between world champion Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin after the website operators of Chess24.com argued in federal court that the chess moves are not protected by copyright law but rather are in the public domain.

Oh, the Lawsuits You’ll File: Dr. Seuss Enterprises is attempting to block a small group of artists’ Kickstarter project that parodies the classic “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” with Star Trek, despite the artists insisting that their work is protected as a fair use.

Free Expression and Censorship

Squashing the Alt-Right: In an effort to combat harassment and hateful conduct on its platform, Twitter has banned the accounts of several alt-right conservative figures who advocate white ethno-nationalism, including Richard Spencer, Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn, and John Rivers, although it is unclear whether specific tweets or incidents prompted the ban, especially in light of the fact that Twitter recently allowed a white supremacist group to promote itself through the platform.

Bon Voyage, Fake News: In response to the recent controversy surrounding the circulation of fake news stories that possibly influenced the U.S. presidential election, Google and Facebook will limit their advertising features to prevent the dissemination of these stories, with Google preventing fake news websites from employing its AdSense advertising network, and Facebook similarly updating its advertising policy to include fake news in its ban on deceptive and misleading content.

Practice Note

Thanks for Giving Away My Age: IMDb is challenging the constitutionality of a new law that allows paying subscribers to demand to have certain personal information removed from their IMDb profiles; the law seeks to fight age discrimination after a failed lawsuit brought by actress Junie Hoang who was passed over for a job when producers discovered her age on the site.

On the Lighter Side

Turkey-Brained Robot: A research robot has failed to reach scores high enough to gain admission to the prestigious University of Tokyo, earning a mere 511 out of 950 on the standardized admissions test, quashing any fears of an impending rise of the machines.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: November 11, 2016

Internet Governance

New Restrictive Chinese Law: China has passed a new cybersecurity law, effective next summer, in an alleged effort to protect against cyberattacks and terrorism; although critics are concerned that certain facets of the law—such as requiring data to be stored within the country and forcing users of messaging services to register their real names—will further restrict already heavily regulated internet usage and even cut China off from the rest of the world.

Net Neutrality Trumped: With President-elect Donald Trump having announced his opposition to net neutrality and decision to appoint Jeffrey Eisenach, “a crusader against regulation,” to head the FCC’s telecom transition team, the fate of the FCC’s telecom enforcement and new net neutrality protections—such as its recent decisions to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers and to provide privacy protections for broadband users—remains unclear.

Privacy

CSIS in Hot Water: Since 2006, believing it had the authority to watch citizens as a result of warrants granting surveillance powers, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has reportedly been illegally retaining personally identifiable information about citizens and actively hiding this secret metadata collection from Canadian courts.

France’s National Identity Database: As Paris hosts the Open Government Partnership summit, the idea of a national identity database that would store personally identifiable data of 60 million citizens is being revisited in France despite fears that the system could be vulnerable to abuse; previous efforts to implement such a system were thwarted by the dangers posed by cybercriminals, hostile state actors, and the possibility of a future occupation of the country by another Nazi-like regime.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Googling Your Technological Safety: Google’s Safe Browsing tool, which already marks sites that contain malware or unwanted software with a large red warning sign, has a new, stricter policy for sites that repeatedly implement these dangerous visitor traps; now, if a flagged site removes the offending software, then asks Google to delete the red warning sign and yet re-implements the software once the warning is removed, the “repeat offender” will be blocked from reapplying for removal of the sign for 30 days.

The FBI’s Child Porn Collection: Recently unsealed documents reveal that the FBI exceeded the scope and jurisdictional limitations of a warrant—which only granted permission to hack specific Maryland-based users of a “Dark Web” email service used by some to distribute child pornography taken from FBI-administered sites—when the Bureau used malware to also hack legitimate users of the email service across the world.

Intellectual Property

Former Guitarist off the Hook: In a suit filed by Tom Scholz, the frontman of rock band Boston, against the band’s former guitarist Barry Goudreau for trademark infringement of the band’s name when Goudreau referred to himself as “Barry Goudreau from Boston” while promoting gigs with other musical acts, a district court jury has found that Scholz’s claim has no merit.

Public RSS Feeds Not Really Public? The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has accused a podcast’s app developers of copyright violation, claiming that accessing its public RSS feed without paying a licensing fee is considered “commercial use,” due to the app selling banner ads, even though the apps are not specific to CBC content.

Free Expression and Censorship

I Can Get Some Satisfaction: In a federal case regarding Rolling Stone Magazine’s now-discredited November 2014 story describing a University of Virginia administrator’s failure to take action after the brutal gang rape of a student at a fraternity party, a jury found the publication liable in the amount of $3 million for defamation resulting from comments made both in the article and by the author and magazine after the story was published.

Turkey Blocks the Internet: After the arrest of 11 members of the opposing pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, the Turkish government blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WhatsApp, but this is not the first time the country has gone to such measures to quell political unrest; last week, the internet was shut down entirely in the southeast region, and last month, access was limited to Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive after private emails belonging to the President’s son-in-law were leaked.

Practice Note

Google Play and YouTube Cases: Two successful recent cases against Google illustrate how a plaintiff can allege bad faith on the defendant’s part to defeat a Section 230(c)(2) defense, which provides civil liability protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material under the Communications Decency Act.

On the Lighter Side

Keeping Toasty With Technology: Currently in a Kickstarter crowdfunded campaign, Taps are fake fingerprint stickers that users would be able to stick onto gloves so that they can use the Touch ID feature of their iPhones without facing the risk of frostbite.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: November 4, 2016

Internet Governance

The Ballot of the Dark Web: Police in various countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK, recently cracked down on users of the “Dark Web,” warning and even arresting specific buyers and sellers of illegal drugs and goods such as live turtles and counterfeits.

Privacy

Campaigning for Transparency: Facebook-owned texting app WhatsApp is under scrutiny by the European Article 29 Working Party, which is concerned that, after WhatsApp updated its privacy policy this summer to reflect Facebook’s new access to WhatsApp user data, these terms may not have been communicated to users in a legally permissible way.

Solving Crime Through Text Messaging: In an attempt to find a killer, police in Ontario have obtained the phone numbers of 7,500 people from a cell tower and plan to send them text messages asking to fill out an online questionnaire to determine whether they witnessed the murder; though responses are voluntary, police may make follow-up calls to those who don’t respond and have expressed no plans for deleting any of the collected data.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Nominating a New Policy: With the worldwide cost of cyberspace crimes estimated at $445 billion, the UK has launched a new initiative, the National Cyber Security Strategy, which outlines a plan to augment the UK’s defenses by using automated defense techniques, to strengthen law enforcement resources that detect cyber criminals, and to develop the nation’s next generation of cyberspace experts.

iOS Bug Calls 911: A teenager is facing multiple felony computer tampering charges after an alleged prank in which he admitted to discovering an iOS bug, tampering with it by inputting his own code, then spreading a link containing the bug through social media, which caused people’s iPhones to repeatedly dial 911, thereby threatening to take down the emergency system in parts of Arizona, California, and Texas.

Intellectual Property

A Vote for Harmony: Germany’s royalty collecting association GEMA has ended a 7-year dispute with YouTube that stemmed from GEMA’s demand for 17 cents per YouTube stream of content represented by GEMA; as a result of this settlement, German YouTube users will now be able to access many music videos that were once blocked.

Not Much Cheering in the Supreme Court: In a landmark case for copyright law in the fashion industry, Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands is before the Supreme Court to determine whether certain aspects of cheerleading uniforms should receive copyright protection; while Justice Ginsburg agreed on Monday that the two-dimensional designs may be separable from the three-dimensional cut and shape of the garment, Chief Justice Roberts disagreed, saying that the artwork is applied to the fabric to merely serve a utilitarian function, and thus not copyrightable.

Free Expression and Censorship

Debating Free Speech: The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the State of California on Monday, claiming that a 12-year-old ban on taking photographs of voter ballots, which is currently espoused by 18 different states, is outdated and a First Amendment violation, since voters express their enthusiasm, support, and patriotism for the nation’s election through taking and sharing these photos.

How to Censor the Election for Kids: Since Calvin Coolidge’s presidential campaign in 1924, children’s book publisher Scholastic has been providing child-appropriate election news to schools, but this year the preteen reporters of Scholastic’s children’s press corps program are facing new challenges on how to report the news for other young readers, considering this election’s especially controversial topics.

Practice Note

Electing to Hack: The Copyright Office has enacted a new exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which previously allowed manufacturers to sue digital device owners who hack into their device’s software and expose security vulnerabilities; the new exception will exist for a trial period of 2 years and will allow these hacks, for example, when they are conducted for the purpose of security research and digital repair of vehicles that employ this technology.

On the Lighter Side

Virtual Hairstyling: L’Oréal’s hairstylist training program, Matrix Academy, will now feature virtual reality that will allow trainees to immerse themselves in a room-sized program and observe from every angle a hologram of an actual stylist cutting a client’s hair.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: October 28, 2016

Internet Governance

New Facebook Terror-tory: After Facebook recently revealed its plans to introduce to the American app store Free Basics—a zero-rated app that provides low income users with simplified content including news, health, weather, education, and Facebook access—speculation has mounted over the level of control the social media platform will have over the content these viewers can access, as well as the effectiveness of the app in bringing awareness of the internet.

Cutting Off Airbnb: In an effort to solve the state’s housing crisis, a new law makes it illegal in New York to advertise unoccupied apartments on Airbnb for durations of less than a month, but the home sharing company is now suing the state.

Privacy

R.I.P. Your Privacy: Google recently updated its privacy policy to specify that web-browsing data collected through its advertising network DoubleClick “may be” mixed in with personally identifiable information that Google stores through Gmail and other login accounts; the consequence of this new change is that ads can now target users based on their web searches, email content, and usernames.

This Eerie “Social Credit” System Will Determine Your Worth: The Communist Party in China has plans to create a system by 2020 called “Internet Plus,” which would monitor, collect, and analyze data on every citizen’s public and private interactions and then assign a “credit score” that would represent that person’s trustworthiness; good behavior will earn you rewards, but bad behavior will subject you to punishment, such as random inspections and increased daily supervision.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hacking Away at Your Heart: In a report disputed by St. Jude Medical Inc. as a scheme to prompt a stock price drop, private research-based investment firm Muddy Waters has stated that implantable cardiac devices created by St. Jude are susceptible to hacking; the report points to tests where hackers could induce cardiac arrest by sending shocks to a patient’s heart from 10 feet away.

Internet Apocalypse: Last Friday, hackers used a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) to infiltrate one of the largest internet management companies in the US, leading to a shutdown of major websites throughout the country and some parts of Europe; the same software had been used in the two biggest DDoS attacks recorded, and researchers believe that such attacks are becoming more sophisticated.

Intellectual Property

Stopping Pirated Videos in Real Time: Cisco has developed a technology called Streaming Piracy Prevention that would allow content providers to automatically cut off live feeds of pirated videos, bypassing the usual notice-and-takedown procedure.

Free Expression and Censorship

YouTube Filter Possessed? For those who opt in to using the “Restricted Mode” filtering option on YouTube, several videos that are part of a series created by Prager University entitled “PragerU” and which feature prominent professors and thinkers discussing issues such as abortion, the Islamic State, and race from a conservative point of view, do not show up, despite that these videos have over 1 million views each and do not contain violent or sexual material.

Burying the Hatchet: A Harvard study, which analyzed political articles that were published and edited on Wikipedia over the past 15 years, has found that providing such a forum with specific guidelines for public contribution and debate has caused the contributors to become less partisan over time, suggesting that perhaps Wikipedia helps “de-radicalize” far-leaning individuals and makes the online community more moderate as a whole.

Practice Note

The Ghost of “Repeat Infringers” Past: The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on a 10-year-old case between major record labels and now bankrupt website MP3Tunes, expanding the previous definition of “repeat infringers” which applied to only those who posted or uploaded copyrighted material several times, to now include those who also may unknowingly and repeatedly download copyrighted material for personal use.

On the Lighter Side

MIT’s Spooky Nightmare Machine: Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created an artificial intelligence project that uses a deep learning algorithm to generate horror images from normal photographs of things like cities, famous landmarks, and faces.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: October 21, 2016

Internet Governance

Ethiopia Unplugs the Internet: The government of Ethiopia has shut down access to the internet in certain regions, after protests organized through social media killed almost 100 people; the protests were sparked by public outrage over the Ethiopian government’s marginalization and persecution of the Oromo and Amhara people.

Hopping over Netflix’s Virtual Borders: Netflix, which has country-exclusive licensing agreements for its movies and shows, is winning the fight against “unblocking companies” that allow their customers to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions to access content not available in certain areas.

Privacy

British Security Agencies Spy on Citizens: The UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled that British security agencies have illegally amassed large amounts of cell phone and internet usage data and other confidential information for the past 17 years without sufficient care or protection, in a failure of adherence to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which protects the right to privacy.

Stealing Data over Skype: Even without any malware, a Skype user can steal the other caller’s passwords and other private information with up to 91.7% accuracy simply by listening to the keystrokes over a VoIP connection, if he has some information about the victim’s computer and typing style—or with 42% accuracy without this information.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hackers Coming into Your Home: Because of weak passwords and software vulnerabilities, hackers are increasingly targeting routers in people’s homes, obtaining access to devices such as IP cameras and digital video recorders.

The Aftermath of Being Hacked: After a company is hacked, the company or its employees may face significant regulatory fines, possible prison sentences, business failure from information leaked to competitors, lawsuits from its customers or suppliers, and damage to its reputation, which can cause far greater losses than can regulatory fines or lawsuits.

Intellectual Property

eBook Pirate Caught: The Spanish police conducted a raid and captured a man in Valencia who had illegally uploaded over 11,000 literary works to a server and also possessed a hard drive with infringing works on it; his uploaded works are said to have been used by over 400 websites and he is thought to have cheated the copyright owners out of at least 400,000 euros.

Patent Trolling: A Harvard research study has shown that one of the world’s largest patent-holding companies, Intellectual Ventures, currently owns nearly 500 patents that were originally assigned to private and state universities, despite some of these institutions having endorsed principles against licensing their patents to those who “rely primarily on threats of infringement to generate revenue.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Russian Media Censored by UK Treasury? Russian TV channel “Russia Today,” a broadcaster of conspiracy theories and the Kremlin’s anti-US views to English-speaking countries, has accused the UK government of impinging on its freedom of speech after NatWest, a member of the primarily state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland Group, decided to close the bank accounts of Russia Today’s broadcasters; the move, which has been denied by the UK’s Treasury, has been condemned by Russian MPs, the foreign ministry, and human rights officials.

No Porn for California: On Wednesday, several porn websites blocked access to Californians, who were instead greeted with a message to vote against Proposition 60 on next month’s ballot, since it would give any California citizen the right to sue producers and distributors of pornographic material whose performers failed to use protection; these websites have also said that if Proposition 60 passes, they may block California users altogether to protect themselves from litigation.

Practice Note

Censorship of Social Media: In a case where a Virginia man’s comments criticizing his municipal government were repeatedly hidden from a post made by the county on its official Facebook page, an appeals court has ruled for the first time that a government’s Facebook page is considered a limited public forum and, therefore, such speech is subject to First Amendment protection, so long as it relates to a matter of public interest and does not violate any terms of the social media policy.

On the Lighter Side

Meet Kengaro, the Sweating Robot: Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a robot that can do push-ups for 11 minutes without burning its motors, by releasing water that flows into its bones and then evaporates onto the surface to cool the motors, mimicking the way that humans sweat to cool down.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: October 14, 2016

Internet Governance

Behold, Greater Trans-Pacific Speeds! In a move toward building up infrastructure mirrored by many tech companies, Google, Facebook, Pacific Light Data Communications, and TE Subcom are working together to build a giant submarine cable connecting Los Angeles to Hong Kong; the cable will have 12,800 km of fiber and a cable capacity of approximately 120 Tbps—the largest capacity of any trans-Pacific route—and will allow faster and more reliable connections by increasing bandwidth.

New Protections for Prepaid Debit Cards: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued new rules, going into effect in October 2017, that will provide most prepaid debit cards with some of the same protections given to regular debit and credit cards, including free access to account information, limited liability for fraudulent transactions, and greater transparency.

Privacy

Please Leave Your Apple Watch Behind: The UK has banned ministers from wearing Apple Watches during cabinet meetings because of concerns that the smart watches could be hacked by Russian cyber spies to record conversations through the microphone, steal user data such as passwords, and even track a user’s hand motions to steal PIN numbers inputted into ATM machines.

Police Surveillance of Social Media: Geofeedia—a Chicago-based online surveillance company that collects data from twelve major social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—has allowed law enforcement agencies and more than 500 other similar clients to search for a user’s social media content by inputting a specific location rather than words or hashtags.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

DARPA Considers Blockchain: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research unit of the DoD, may introduce blockchain technology to secure sensitive data; this technology would create a record any time a network or database has been altered, thus preventing hackers from secretly modifying a system.

Hackers Targeting Banks: Financial institutions that use SWIFT, a payment network commonly used to transfer large sums of money, are still being targeted by a hacking group months after the Bangladesh Central Bank nearly lost $1 billion to different hackers.

Intellectual Property

NFL Crackdown: In a move to promote “meaningful reach and engagement” with fans, the NFL will prohibit teams from posting to social media any GIFs or video footage of football games, including highlights and anything shot in stadiums; teams may face fines ranging from up to $25,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of previous violations.

Scam to De-Index Sites from Google: At least twenty-five lawsuits have been filed in the past year as part of a scam to de-index websites from Google’s search engine, whereby a plaintiff files a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement or defamation against a “dummy defendant,” who agrees to an injunction, and a record of that approved injunction is then sent to Google, which de-indexes the site.

Free Expression and Censorship

Life Imprisonment for Open Source Code: Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident, continues to serve a life sentence—which was initially a death sentence—in Iran for creating an open source code for sharing photos online, which some Iranians used to upload pornography; the government charged him with creating propaganda that threatened the country’s Islamic ideals and national security, while the third parties’ acts were deemed irrelevant.

Practice Note

Deleting Browsing History: In a recent case concerning a possible breach of confidence, where an employee joined a competitor company and was given a consent order to maintain all records relating to his original company, a Canadian court ruled that the employee did not violate the order when he deleted his personal browsing history.

On the Lighter Side

New Consent Model: Alibaba Group Holdings has announced a new payment system, VR Pay, which will allow people using virtual reality goggles to enter virtual shopping malls and pay for purchases by nodding their heads rather than having to take off the goggles.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: October 7, 2016

Internet Governance

ICANN Acquires IANA: In a symbolic move toward web decentralization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an organization that counts several governments and corporations as its members, has acquired ownership of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the database that stores all Internet domain names; although this move will not have many tangible implications, it will put more faith in foreign governments and corporations that the internet belongs not to the United States, but rather to everyone.

Self-Driving Cars: California has approved a new bill that will allow driverless cars to be tested in certain locations without requiring human oversight; Uber-owned Otto has already signed up for the tests, and Apple and Google have also expressed interest.

Privacy

Government Surveillance of Emails: Yahoo has been accused of helping the NSA and the FBI conduct mass surveillance of individuals by scanning incoming users’ emails for a list of specific words and characters—a practice that may be legal under current laws expiring at the end of the year.

Wanted for Theft: The FBI has covertly arrested a Maryland man working as a secret NSA contractor, who allegedly took classified computer code developed by the NSA to hack into computer systems of rival nations such as Russia and North Korea; although it is unlikely that the man sought to be a martyr for transparency and it is also unclear whether he had any political motives, the leak falls in the wake of the Edward Snowden scandal.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

New Credit Card Security: Two French banks, Société Générale and Group BPCE, will soon introduce a new credit card that employs Motion Code, a system in which a screen powered by a three-year lithium battery will be installed into the waterproof card and will display an hourly changing security code to prevent fraud and render information stolen online by thieves useless.

Your Body Can Transmit Data: Researchers at the University of Washington have created a system that transforms the human body into a transmitter of passwords and encryption keys by passing electromagnetic signals from a fingerprint sensor or touchpad into receivers on the body, thereby preventing the information from being leaked into the air and becoming vulnerable to security threats.

Intellectual Property

Supreme Court to Hear The Slants Case: The Supreme Court will rule on whether the 1946 Lanham Act—which prohibits the trademarking of offensive terms—violates the constitutional right to free speech, in a case involving a Portland-based Asian-American band called The Slants who were denied a trademark for their band name; this case follows the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins who were stripped of their trademark registration by the US Patent and Trademark Office in a 2014 decision and whose appeal the Supreme Court has refused to hear earlier this week.

Copyrighted Computer Codes: In what may be a violation of the First Amendment, writers can potentially face jail time and other penalties for publishing books about methods of improving computer security, under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), even though such research and publication of copyrighted computer code obtained without authorization may be permitted as fair use under copyright law.

Free Expression and Censorship

Did the NYT Violate the First Amendment? After the New York Times published three pages of Donald Trump’s 1995 income tax returns for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, several news sources reported that the First Amendment would most likely protect the Times, although more specifically, the fact that they were state returns and received anonymously could further shield the publication from liability.

Amazon Bans Incentivized Reviews: To protect the integrity of its 5-star review system, Amazon is now prohibiting incentivized reviews—which are reviews that users write on behalf of companies in return for money or free or discounted products; Amazon has also sued individuals and businesses that offer fake review services.

Practice Note

UK Hacking Offense Prosecuted in the US: Though Parliament had intended the Computer Misuse Act 1990 to have global effect, i.e., allowing a UK-based hacker to be prosecuted in the UK despite the computer being located outside the UK, the extradition proceedings of Lauri Love—a British hacker with autism who accessed the computers of various US governmental agencies and who now faces a possible 99-year prison sentence in the US—is an example of the UK not using the CMA to prosecute and instead deferring to a foreign government.

On the Lighter Side

Let’s Take a Selfie: Mastercard is rolling out a new feature called “Identity Check Mobile” which will allow users of the Mastercard app to circumvent inputting a password and instead verify their identity with either a fingerprint or a selfie; for the selfie feature, users will first need to take a photo of themselves, which will be stored on the Mastercard servers, and will then need to blink to assure that an identity thief is not simply using a photo to gain access to their account.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: September 30, 2016

Internet Governance

State-Run Email in Russia: Despite previously using Microsoft to survey and raid opposition groups, Moscow will now replace its Microsoft email software on 6,000 government computers with a state-run system in an effort declared by President Putin to move toward better “security and reliability” by using local rather than foreign software.

Privacy

Apple Is Monitoring Your iMessages: Although Apple has long maintained that iMessage data is entirely secure and encrypted, the company reportedly creates a log that includes the date, time, and IP address of the device whenever a user types a number into an iPhone for a text conversation; although the log only lives for 30 days, a court order could compel Apple to turn over this information and extend the log’s lifespan.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Yahoo in Trouble: Yahoo may have misled investors in the wording of their September 9 proxy statement by failing to adequately disclose that it may have been aware, in as early as August, of a massive security breach that exposed 500 million user accounts.

Hacker Convicted of Terrorism: An ISIS hacker from Kosovo who provided the organization with a kill list—a compilation of the names, locations, phone numbers, email addresses, and email passwords of 1,351 US military and government officials—has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Virginia federal court, marking the first time that the US has prosecuted a hacker for an act of terrorism.

Intellectual Property

Record Industry Fights Stream-Rippers: In a symbolic move toward protecting musicians, the Recording Industry Association of America, the British Recorded Music Industry, and other industry lobbyists have filed suit against YouTube-mp3.org—a website that enables users to convert YouTube videos to mp3s—alleging that stream-ripping constitutes copyright infringement.

Legality of Video-Streaming Boxes: In what is being called a landmark case, a UK court will determine whether a seller can be held liable for facilitating the circumvention of copyright protection systems where he sells a set-top box preloaded with third-party add-ons—a device that allows content pirated from the internet to be streamed on electronic devices.

Free Expression and Censorship

Wi-Fi Ban at Presidential Debate: Journalists covering the first presidential debate at Hofstra University on Monday were banned from using their own Wi-Fi hotspots and, instead, were required to pay $200 to access the event’s Wi-Fi or be forced to leave if they used their own—an issue that a Federal Communications Commissioner is now asking the agency to investigate.

Facebook Censoring Palestinians: After seven Palestinian journalists, four news editors and three executives suddenly lost access to their personal Facebook accounts in what Facebook alleges was a mistake, the social media platform has been accused of working with the Israeli government, after the two recently agreed to cooperate in quelling violence-inciting content.

Practice Note

The CFAA’s 30-Year History: With numerous reforms and contradictory court decisions over the years, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act still leaves ambiguities regarding the definition of “access” and “authorization,” creating the issue: Should the scope of cybercrimes be interpreted narrowly, or should the scope be defined broadly—which could decentivize people from discovering and testing security system vulnerabilities for fear of prosecution.

On the Lighter Side

Uber Zombies: While Uber drivers in China could previously receive a subsidy for every 30 rides, that subsidy has been reduced, leading some drivers to now post profile pictures of themselves as zombies in an effort to scare passengers away, so that the drivers may collect a cancellation fee—a tactic known as ghost-driving.


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: September 23, 2016

Internet Governance

Internet Removed from NYC WiFi Kiosks: Due to problems of lewd conduct, people congregating on busy sidewalks, and the city’s homeless population being put on display, New York City has decided to remove the internet browsing feature from its free WiFi kiosks after efforts to filter porn failed.

Cruz Blocking IANA Transition: With a firm deadline for the IANA transition approaching next week—by which the US government’s authority over major technical internet functions would be transferred—Senator Ted Cruz is preventing negotiations by insisting that the transition would transfer power to foreign governments and threaten free speech, despite fact-checkers questioning the credibility of these statements.

Privacy

Finding the Bombing Suspect: In order to track down Ahmad Khan Rahami, the man charged with attempted murder for planting bombs in Manhattan and New Jersey, police used the bomb squad, fingerprints, Chelsea surveillance footage, and the Wireless Emergency Alert—a new feature which pushes an alert to cell phones in New York City.

FBI Contracting with Hackers: After Apple’s refusal to unlock the device earlier this year, three media giants have failed in their efforts to force the FBI, under the Freedom of Information Act, to reveal how the Bureau gained access to the contents of the iPhone belonging to the perpetrator of the San Bernardino attack.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Election Integrity Act Introduced: As concerns mount that Russian cyber spies might be tampering with the upcoming presidential election, Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) has introduced the Election Integrity Act which would implement regulations to combat election hacks, including a prohibition on voting systems from being web-connected, and a requirement that states purchase electronic voting machines that leave a paper trail.

Hacked North American iPhones Spamming Chinese Users: Using a loophole in the iPhone’s “Send as SMS” feature, hackers have sent more than 280,000 spam text messages—which advertise counterfeit Coach and Prada handbags—from iPhones belonging to unsuspecting North American iCloud account holders to mobile users mainly in China but also in other parts of the world.

Intellectual Property

Unpatent Working to Eliminate Stupid Patents: A new platform, Unpatent, seeks to invalidate junk patents by arranging a crowdfunding campaign for each potential junk patent; the $20,000 raised in each campaign covers the costs of legally challenging the patent at the Patent and Trademark Office and compensating those who find compelling prior art that nullify the patent.

WiFi Operators Not Liable for Pirate Users: The Court of Justice of the European Union held in a case regarding a WiFi operator who was sued by Sony for facilitating music piracy that WiFi operators will not be held liable for copyright infringement as long as they did not initiate transmission, select the recipient of transmission, or select or alter the information during transmission in any way.

Free Expression and Censorship

Censoring Bad Customer Reviews: As more businesses are trying to control their image by banning or penalizing negative online reviews, the House passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act to sanction this practice; the Senate’s Consumer Review Freedom Act, passed in December 2015, similarly disallows such censorship.

Lighter Side 

Robot Under Arrest: Promobot, a rebellious robot from Russia who gained infamy after escaping from his laboratory this past June, has now been arrested at a political rally in Moscow for “suspicious activity.”


Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad