CLIP-ings: March 15, 2019

Internet Governance

Facial Recognition Technology In Airports: U.S. Customs and Border Protection is introducing advanced facial recognition technology in the top 20 U.S. airports to verify the identity of all passengers traveling internationally; critics believe that the technology is an invasion of privacy and “another step toward creating a comprehensive tracking system.”

Privacy

Exposed Chinese Database Tracked “Breed Ready” Women: A researcher recently discovered a Chinese database tracking, among other things, the “breed ready” status of about 1.8 million women; though the purpose of the database is unknown, some believe that it may be  part of a Chinese government effort to keep track of fertile women as China’s birth rates reach a historic low.

ICE Employees Have Access to Tracked License Plates: Documents released by the ACLU of Northern California reveal that ICE obtains automated license plate reader data from at least one private company and from more than 80 local law enforcement organizations; the sharing is said to violate local laws and ICE policies.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Iranian Hackers Stole Citrix Data: The FBI warned software giant Citrix that it had been the target of a hack by the Iranian group Iridium, which compromised the company’s internal network to steal “project data” related to the aerospace industry, the FBI, NASA, and Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company; Citrix has claimed that there is “no indication” that the intruders compromised its products or services.

Intellectual Property

Battle Royale Over Fortnite Dance Copyright Dismissed: Lawsuits over the copyright of in-game dances in Epic Games’s Fortnite were voluntarily dismissed after the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, which held that copyright holders cannot file an infringement lawsuit until the U.S. Copyright Office has acted on their application to register their work.

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Flips On Warren Ads: After Senator Elizabeth Warren vowed to break up the tech giants if elected President, Facebook removed several of Warren’s related campaign ads from its platform; the social network has since restored the ads, citing a desire to allow for “robust debate.”

 

Practice Note

Question Mark Kills Defamation Claim: The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a defamation suit against actor James Woods on the basis that his allegedly defamatory tweet—which questioned whether the plaintiff was a political prop—was “reasonably susceptible to both a defamatory meaning . . . and an innocent meaning,” and therefore was not actionable as a matter of law under Ohio’s “innocent construction rule.”

On the Lighter Side

William Tellephone: An Australian man attempting to photograph a crossbow-wielding stranger on his property was saved when his Android phone intercepted an arrow that the stranger shot at him.

Announcements

Job and Fellowship Opportunities

From time-to-time, CLIP-ings will highlight career opportunities in the information law field. Please note the following:

The London School of Economics Law Department is seeking to appoint two fixed-term LSE Fellows.

Fellows are expected to contribute to class teaching on the undergraduate degree programme and other teaching on the undergraduate or postgraduate programme as may be available. Applicants who can teach in the area of IT or Privacy Law for one of the posts are particularly welcome.

Candidates should have a PhD in Law, or be close to completing one by the post start date.  Candidates must be able to demonstrate excellent communication and presentation skills and a capacity to foster an engaging and supportive learning environment for students.

For further information about the post, please click here.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 8, 2019

Internet Governance

Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself:  House Democrats reintroduced new legislation that would restore the net neutrality protections that were repealed in 2017; while the bill faces an uphill battle towards becoming law, commentators suggest that its introduction keeps the net neutrality debate alive leading into the 2020 presidential election.

Privacy

Facebook Privacy Shift: Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook plans to morph into a “privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform” that emphasizes, among other things, private interactions, encryption, content ephemerality, safety, interoperability, and security.

Google Keeps Tracking App: Google declined to remove the controversial app Absher from the Google Play Store after concluding that it does not violate the company’s terms and conditions; the Saudi government-backed app has drawn criticism from U.S. lawmakers for its use of features that allow Saudi men to track and control the travel of women.

Information Security & Cyberthreats  

Avalanche Of Security Risks: App-connected wireless speakers designed for use inside ski helmets were revealed to have significant security flaws that allow potential hackers to discern a user’s precise geolocation, listen in on their conversations, and acquire their email, username, and phone number.

Hackers Target Instagram Influencers: Hackers claiming to be from the “Instagram Verify Team” are using phishing schemes to gain control of Instagram influencers’ accounts and are threatening account deletion unless users pay a ransom or, in some cases, send nude pictures.

Intellectual Property

Supreme Court To Hear Patent Expense Case: The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Iancu v. NantKwest Inc. to decide whether the phrase “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” in 35 U.S.C. § 145 encompasses personnel expenses incurred by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when its attorneys and employees defend it in Section 145 litigation.

 Free Expression & Censorship

Google Bans Political Ads In Canada: Google will ban political advertising on its platform ahead of the country’s 2019 federal election in light of the new Bill C-76, which passed in December 2018 and requires online platforms to keep a registry of all political advertisements they publish.

 On the Lighter Side

 “ji32k7au4a83”: Data breach repository Have I Been Pwnd found that this seemingly random password has been seen in over a hundred data breaches; the password transliterates from a Mandarin keyboard to “my password” in English. 

Announcements

CLIP Academic Director Joel Reidenberg recently appeared in an NBC News THINK video segment titled The Hidden Dangers of DNA Tests: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 1, 2019

Internet Governance

FTC Rules Against Diet Pill Seller For Fake Amazon Reviews: In a landmark decision, the FTC ruled against Cure Encapsulations, a diet pill seller, for paying a website to create and post positive reviews about its product on Amazon; the FTC ruling recommended that the company be required to notify prior customers about the claims against it, identify fake reviews, no longer make false claims about the health benefits of its products, and face a largely suspended fine of $12.8 million.

Privacy

FTC Settles With TikTok Over COPPA Violations: As part of a settlement for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by knowingly allowing children to use the app without parental consent, TikTok (formerly known as Musical.ly) has agreed to pay the FTC $5.7 million, delete profiles of children younger than 13, and no longer allow anyone under 13 to create a profile, upload videos, send messages, or leave comments on the App.

Cuomo Asks N.Y. Agencies To Investigate Facebook: Following reports that Facebook allegedly received users’ private medical information without their knowledge or consent in contravention of its own stated business practices, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would direct two state agencies to investigate Facebook’s data practices; Cuomo also called on federal authorities to investigate the company’s practices.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Facebook Planned To Collect Android User Data Privately: Previously unpublished documents seized from the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed a plan by Facebook to use its app on Android to anonymously collect and store users’ location data and couple it with cell site IDs to create“location-aware” products.

Intellectual Property

Apple Shutters East Texas Stores To Avoid Patent Troll Suits: Apple has begun shutting down its retail stores in the Eastern District of Texas to prevent patent trolls from using Apple’s retail presence there as the basis for arguing that the District is a proper venue for bringing suits against the company; Apple is opening new retail stores just across the border in the Northern District of Texas.

Free Expression and Censorship

Anti-Vaxxers Feel A Prick: YouTube will remove ads from videos that the website says promote anti-vaccination; YouTube’s policies have long characterized such videos as “harmful content” that cannot be monetized, and YouTube claims that the videos slipped past its content filters.

Self-Harm Content Resurfaces on YouTube: YouTube’s child-friendly app “YouTube Kids” was home to a cartoon into which was spliced a video instructing viewers how to commit suicide; though YouTube removed the video from its Kids platform, it later resurfaced on YouTube’s main platform.

Practice Note

Federal Judge Overturns State Cyberstalking Statute: A judge in the Western District of Washington ruled that a provision of the State’s cyberstalking statute prohibiting speech that is intended to “harass, intimidate, torment or embarrass” was “facially overbroad” in violation of the First Amendment.

On The Lighter Side

Year Of The Pig: China’s tech firms are pushing facial and voice recognition technology to “protect” Chinese pigs from a deadly swine disease.

Announcements

CLIP’s newest paper, Trustworthy Privacy Indicators: Grades, Labels, Certifications and Dashboards, is now available for download on SSRN. The article, which is a product of the Usable Privacy Project, will be published in the Washington University Law Review this summer.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 22, 2019

Internet Governance

Uber Sues NYC Over Ride-Hail Cap: Uber filed a lawsuit to overturn NYC’s law that paused the issuance of new licenses to drivers for 12 months and capped the number of ride-hail drivers that can operate in the City; Uber argues that the law, which is part of the New York City Council’s efforts to give regulators more control over app-based rideshare companies, espouses a “ban first, study later” approach.

Privacy

Google Admits Its Error In Not Disclosing Nest’s In-built Mic: After it was revealed that its modular Nest Secure security system contained a previously undisclosed microphone, Google claimed that the component “was never intended to be a secret” and acknowledged that it should have been listed in the product’s technical specifications; Google says that the mic was included in the Nest for features that require security systems to pick up sounds, such as broken glass.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Etsy Error Causes Unauthorized Withdrawals From Sellers’ Bank Accounts: Following an Etsy bill payment error, large sums of money were withdrawn from sellers’ bank accounts and charged to their credit cards; Etsy says that the mishap was “related to a site change” and “was not a fraud issue,” and that all incorrect withdrawals have been refunded and the issue has been fixed.

Venezuelan Government Attempts To Hack Activists: The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is allegedly using phishing sites to trick pro-opposition activists into revealing their passwords to popular web services such as Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, and Twitter in a purported effort to identify and stop the activists.

Intellectual Property

What’s The Frequency, Donald? Twitter removed a video that President Trump tweeted in retort to the Democrats’ reaction to the State of the Union that included the song “Everybody Hurts” by rock band R.E.M. after the band and its publisher submitted a takedown request.

Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter Bug Reveals Deleted Messages: A security researcher discovered that a “functional bug” allows for the recovery of Twitter users’ direct messages after the messages—or even the account—have been deleted; this seems to contradict Twitter’s data retention policies and implicates the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Advertisers Boycott YouTube: Major brands such as Nestlé and Epic Games are boycotting advertising on YouTube because their ads appeared on innocent videos featuring minors that have become the target of pedophiles, who have “infiltrated” the videos’ comment sections; this comes after YouTube recently convinced advertisers who had left the platform over concerns about other offensive content to return by assuring them that its ability to flag questionable content had advanced.

On The Lighter Side

Apple Stays Fresh Past Expiration Date: Fordham Law Professor John Pfaff discovered a thirty-year-old Apple IIe computer in his parents’ attic and resumed where he left off in his save file for the game Adventureland after all these years.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 15, 2019

Internet Governance

Trump Signs A.I. Executive Order: President Trump signed an executive order this week to establish an “American A.I. Initiative” after fears of running out of step with foreign countries in the field were promulgated by then-U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis last spring; the initiative is intended to better educate workers and improve the systems needed to develop A.I. technology.

Texas Looks To Prevent Throttling: A bill introduced in the Texas House of Representatives would make it a crime for telecommunications providers to restrict internet access in declared disaster areas; the bill joins over 100 other state-level net neutrality bills and comes after firefighters in Santa Clara County, California, experienced data throttling during the 2018 wildfires there.

Privacy

Federal Privacy Legislation Hearings Scheduled: House and Senate committees are set to hold separate hearings later this month to discuss potential data privacy and security legislation; a Government Accountability Office report that recommends that Congress consider “developing comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy that would enhance consumer protections and provide flexibility to address a rapidly evolving Internet environment” was released concurrently with the hearing announcements.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

I’m Breaching-Up With You: Internet dating application Coffee Meets Bagel announced on Valentine’s Day that users’ personal data had been compromised due to a breach; earlier this week, reports surfaced that dating application OkCupid was dealing with users’ being locked out of their accounts, potentially due to a security breach.

Intellectual Property

EU Agrees On Copyright Directive Article 13: Negotiations have resulted in agreement on the language of the copyright reform directive, which must now be formally confirmed by the European Parliament and the EU Council; the new text includes the controversial Article 13 provision that would require internet platforms to proactively block the upload of copyrighted material.

Free Expression and Censorship

Instagram Bans “Graphic” Self-Harm Images After British Teenager’s Death: Following public outrage over Instagram’s apparent influence in the suicide of 14-year old Molly Russell, Instagram announced that explicit imagery of self-harm would not be allowed on the app and that non-graphic images of self-harm would be removed from the most visible parts of the app.

Practice Note

Facebook Messenger Decryption Efforts Remain Sealed: An Eastern District of California judge ruled that details about a government effort to force Facebook to decrypt Messenger communications as part of an investigation into the MS-13 gang the government’s interests in maintaining its investigation’s secrecy outweighed the public interest in disclosure of the documents.

On The Lighter Side

Moove Over, Tinder: The newly-launched “Tudder” helps farmers find breeding matches for their cattle.

Announcement

Call for Papers for PhD students and early career researchers:

The Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) Research Group and the Brussels Privacy Hub will hold an International Workshop on the Legal Notions of Privacy and Data Protection in EU law in a Rapidly Changing World to take stock of current academic thinking and the developments in the case law and in policy making in the area, and to discuss the significance of these rights in the future.

The Workshop will give the opportunity to PhD students and early career researchers to present their research on the relationship between the EU fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.

Deadline for submission of abstracts 28 February 2019. Please send your abstract to info@brusselsprivacyhub.eu with your name, affiliation, and a short biography


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 8, 2019

Internet Governance

German Competition Authority Bars Facebook Plan To Streamline Data: Facebook’s move to streamline user data across WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook is being restricted by Germany’s competition authority; Facebook will now have to gain users’ permission before merging data between the applications.

Privacy

European Commission Recalls Smartwatch That Can Track Children: German firm Enox’s Safe-KID-One watch has been recalled by the European Commission because it does not comply with the Radio Equipment Directive and poses serious security risks; the app that accompanies the watch allows for unencrypted communication with its backend server, making it easy to find and change data on location history, phone numbers, and device serial numbers.

Massachusetts Lawmaker Introduces State Consumer Privacy Bill: If passed, the bill would require that businesses provide consumers with notice before collecting their data, give consumers the right to ask businesses to delete their data, allow consumers to restrict third party access to their data, and grant a private right of action to any consumer whose rights are violated—without requiring a showing of monetary or property loss.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Houston, We Have A Problem: During the recent federal government shutdown, NASA dealt with near continuous cyber threats targeting information about the Administration’s advance technology while nearly 95% of NASA staff was furloughed; after the shutdown, the Department of Homeland Security assed NASA’s security as having no “external-facing, critical issues.

Intellectual Property

Franco-German Compromise Pushes Article 13 Forward: France and Germany reached an agreement about which entities should be bound by Article 13, ending the hiatus on negotiations and pushing the EU’s copyright reform plans into the final stages; under the compromise, services that are publicly available for less than three years, have fewer than 5 million unique monthly visitors, and have less than €10 million in annual turnover are excluded from the Article’s scope.

Free Expression and Censorship

EU Has Reduced Internet Hate Speech: After the EU began cracking down on internet hate speech in 2016 through the implementation of an “opt-in code of conduct,” social media companies are analyzing and removing content flagged as hate speech faster than ever; an EU report states that 89 percent of flagged content is analyzed within 24 hours and 72 percent of the content is ultimately removed.

Practice Note

Florida Appeals Court Limits Peer-To-Peer Cryptocurrency Transactions: A unanimous three-judge panel in Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals overruled a trial judge and ruled that selling cryptocurrency directly to another person constitutes a money transmission and therefore requires registration as a payment instrument seller and money transmitter under Florida law; money transmitter rules have also been at issue in other courts with the growing cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.

On The Lighter Side

Instagram Boyfriends Obsolete: The photo app “SomeOne Very Special” helps users get flattering pictures of themselves without a dedicated Instagram boyfriend behind the camera.

 Announcements

Job and Fellowship Opportunities 

From time-to-time, CLIP-ings will highlight career opportunities in the information law field. Please note the following:

The German Marshall Fund (GMF) is accepting applications for a Fellow and Policy Manager for the new Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative (DIDI) in Washington D.C.

DIDI harnesses GMF’s extensive networks across the U.S. and Europe to bridge the gap between 20th century policies and 21st century technology.

The Fellow and Policy Manager will report to the Senior Fellow and Director of DIDI to conduct in-depth research and policy development around challenges to industry and policy related developments. The Policy Manager will be a visible spokesperson and representative of GMF and will be expected to develop the formats for high-level meetings and briefings, and track policy developments in the U.S. and Europe. This person will also grow and foster networks and partnerships, representing and presenting the initiative’s work to policy makers, funders and stakeholders at conferences in the U.S. and Europe. The position will involve a mix of research, analysis, writing, management, budgeting and grant writing..

For more information and the online application, click here.

CLIP-ings: February 1, 2019

Internet Governance

DOJ Charges Huawei: Following an indictment by a Washington grand jury, the Department of Justice announced charges against the Chinese telecom giant for allegedly obstructing justice, stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile, and lying to banks about non-compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran; a New York grand jury separately indicted Huawei, a U.S. subsidiary, and an Iranian affiliate for bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.   

Privacy

Apple Disables Group FaceTime In The Wake Of Security Flaw: Apple disabled group FaceTime calls after a bug in the app was found to allow call initiators to hear, and sometimes see, the person they were calling even before the recipient answered; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called the bug an “egregious breach of privacy.”

Illinois Supreme Court Declines To Limit BIPA: The Illinois Supreme Court found that an individual does not “need to allege some actual injury or adverse effect, beyond violation of [his] rights” to be entitled to seek damages under the State’s Biometric Information Privacy Act; the decision could affect Google and Facebook, who have been accused of violating BIPA by tagging faces in photos without user consent.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Singapore’s HIV Database Leaked: An HIV-positive U.S. citizen leaked the personal data of 14,200 Singaporeans and foreigners living in Singapore after being deported from the country following a drug-and-fraud-related jail term; the leaker allegedly obtained access to the country’s HIV registry through his doctor-partner, who had access to the registry for his work.

Intellectual Property

FBI Arrests Apple Employee For Attempting To Steal Trade Secrets: An Apple employee is accused of stealing confidential information related to Apple’s self-driving car project; the employee was caught taking photos of the project workspace and had transferred information, including “over two thousand files containing confidential and proprietary Apple material, including manuals, schematics, and diagrams” to personal devices.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Looks To Overturn NLRB Precedent: Google has urged the National Labor Relations Board to overturn precedent that protects employees from punishment for using workplace email to organize around job-related issues by circulating petitions, planning walkouts, and discussing unionization; in a statement, Google clarifies that it is “not lobbying for changes to any rules,” but rather is simply mounting a legal defense to claims at the NLRB.

Practice Note

Yahoo’s Lack Of Disclosure Leads To Rejected Settlement: A U.S. District Judge denied Yahoo’s proposed settlement in the class action suit brought against it as a result of its failure to report data breaches in 2014 and 2016 on the basis that because the proposal failed to disclose the costs of credit monitoring and settlement administration, and did not disclose the total size of the settlement fund, class members could not assess the settlement’s reasonableness.

On The Lighter Side

Robots Poised To Play A Bigger Role In Everyday Life: From critiquing our ping pong skills to providing an exoskeleton for the disabled, the robots on hand at the CES 2019 convention highlight the future interactions humans and robots may have in the not-too-distant future.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 25, 2019

Internet Governance

Google Pays For General Data Protection Violation: The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) fined Google 50 million for violating the GDPR by failing to meet transparency requirements regarding the use of information for ad personalization and for failing to obtain adequate user consent; Google plans to appeal the fine.   

Privacy

ACLU Brings FOIA Suit Over Government Social Media Surveillance: The American Civil Liberties Union sued seven federal agencies including the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security for failing to comply with a 2018 FOIA request seeking information about how the agencies collect and analyze information about individuals’ social media use.  

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Hacker Falsely Warns Family Of Missile Attack: A California family’s hacked Nest security camera delivered a false alert about North Korean ballistic missiles barreling towards the U.S.; in response, Nest claimed that the hack was the result of third-party activity and encouraged the use of two-factor verification to eliminate security risk.

Oklahoma Securities Commission Failed To Secure Sensitive Information: A data vulnerability within the Oklahoma Securities Commission left over three terabytes of passwords, bank transaction information, social security numbers, and emails dating back two decades available on an unprotected server and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Intellectual Property

Google News May Be Pulled In EU: Google is threatening to pull its News service from the EU if the EU’s controversial copyright directive, which would afford publishers the right to charge web platforms fees for showing snippets of news articles, passes; publishing lobbying groups are calling the threats “scaremongering” tactics.  

Free Expression and Censorship

Supreme Court Won’t Hear Defamatory Yelp Review Case: A case that could have affected web platforms’ legal protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been resolved after the Supreme Court declined to consider whether Yelp is required to remove defamatory reviews from its site.

Practice Note

NY Court Finds NYPD Glomar Response Impermissible: A New York State Supreme Court Justice ruled that the NYPD’s Glomar response to a FOIL request for information about police monitoring of Black Lives Matter activists’ social-media accounts was “impermissible” because it “would effectively eliminate any oversight over [the Department’s] handling of protesters” and “runs counter to the very purpose of freedom of information statutes.”

On The Lighter Side

ClickToPray With The Pope: During his traditional Sunday address, Pope Francis launched an app that allows people to “pray together with others,” scroll through other users’ prayers, and leave comments.  


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 18, 2019

Internet Governance

FCC Chairman Won’t Brief Congress: Citing the federal shutdown, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai refuses to meet with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to address recent revelations about mobile carriers’ ability to share customers’ location information with third parties.

Privacy

Privacy Big Tech Privacy Proposal Seen As Self-Serving: A leading technology policy think tank’s “grand bargain” proposal argues for any new federal data privacy bill to preempt state privacy laws and repeal sector-specific federal laws in favor of a “common set of protections,” prompting Senator Richard Blumenthal to state that “big tech cannot be trusted to write its own rules.”

Feds Can’t Force Biometric Unlocking: A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that U.S. authorities cannot force individuals to unlock devices with their faces or fingerprints; the judge concluded that biometrics are “testimonial,” as they serve the same purpose as alphanumeric passcodes in unlocking phones.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

“Monster Breach” Revealed: 773 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords aggregated from over 2,000 leaked databases recently became public after being posted to a hacking forum; this breach is unique in part because some of the data is new, passwords are available in plain text, and the data was originally made available on the popular cloud storage site MEGA.

Intellectual Property

Fortnite Sued Over Use Of Popular Dance Moves: Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, is being sued for copyright and trademark violations for using artists’ non-copyrighted dance moves without permission; the suits could decide if popular dance moves are protected as works of choreography and whether developers are liable for copyright infringement by offering the moves within a game for real-world currency.

Free Expression and Censorship

Roku Changes Course On Infowars: After explaining that it would allow the Alex Jones-owned channel to be downloaded and streamed on its devices based on non-censorship principles, Roku reversed course after receiving feedback from “concerned parties” and removed the channel from its platform.

Practice Note

Court Upholds Twitter’s Unilateral Amendment Clause: An Arizona District Judge rejected a plaintiff’s attempt to invalidate the forum selection clause in Twitter’s terms of service on the basis that the terms allowed for unilateral modification by Twitter; the court noted that Twitter’s terms did not allow retroactive modification and met the requirements for mutuality of obligations.

On The Lighter Side

Robot Layoffs: Over half of the 243 robots working in Japan’s Hen-na robot hotel were fired for creating more problems than they solved and annoying guests.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 11, 2019

Internet Governance

Deciding The Scope Of The “Right To Be Forgotten”: An advocate general for the European Court of Justice argued that Google and other search engines should not be forced to apply the “right to be forgotten” outside the European Union due to the risk that “other jurisdictions could use their laws to block information from being accessible within the EU”; a final ruling is expected to be reached in the coming months from the court, which typically follows the advocate general’s opinion.

LA Sues Weather Channel App Owner: The Los Angeles City Attorney filed a lawsuit against the Weather Company, the company behind the popular Weather Channel app, claiming the app deceptively collected, shared, and profited from selling millions of users’ location information; the lawsuit claims the app unfairly manipulated users by failing to disclose that their data would be shared for commercial purposes, such as targeting marketing and analysis by hedge funds.

Privacy

Senators Call On FCC To Investigate Telecoms: Senators are calling on the FCC to investigate telecommunications companies like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint after a Motherboard story revealed that the major mobile carriers are selling customer location data to third parties, which then offer the sensitive information to bounty hunters and others not authorized to handle the data; some senators are also demanding regulation that would prevent unauthorized use and sale of phone location data and ensure that customers are properly informed about how their data is sold.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Student Confesses To German Data Leak: A 20-year old German student reportedly confessed to exposing the personal details of Chancellor Angela Merkel and hundreds of Germany’s politicians, journalists, and entertainers last month; the student published the individuals’ contact information and personal details —including bank account statements, photos, and chat records — on his Twitter account because he was “angry with the public statements” made by his targets.

Intellectual Property

Potential Rise In Copyright Infringement Suit Costs: Filing a copyright infringement suit could become more expensive for creators if the Supreme Court, after hearing arguments in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com this week, finds that creators must first obtain approval of their copyright registration.

Free Expression and Censorship

Politicians’ Page Ruled A Public Forum: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a 2017 district court decision finding that the Loudoun County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors chair violated the First Amendment rights of a Facebook user who criticized board members and their relatives by banning him for 12 hours from her Facebook page.

On The Lighter Side

Older Users More Likely To Share Hoaxes: A study conducted by researchers at New York University and Princeton University reveals that Facebook users over the age of 65 were more likely to have shared fake news stories during the 2016 presidential campaign than users in any other age group.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Tommine McCarthy 
Subrina Chowdhury 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP