CLIP-ings: May 19, 2017

Internet Governance

Wake-Up Call: Congress recently proposed a bill that would require the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to inform representatives of other government agencies about security holes it finds in software like the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks; in a recent blog post Microsoft called out governments for stockpiling vulnerabilities instead of reporting issues to vendors.

Privacy

Implied Consent? Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind was given access to the personal medical records of over 1.6 million National Health Service (NHS) patients in the U.K., but the data sharing agreement between the Royal Free NHS Trust and DeepMind to create a new medical app was found to have been conducted on an “inappropriate legal basis.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Makes Us Wanna Cry: Intelligence officials and security experts are pointing to North Korea as the source of WannaCry, the ransomware that affected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries; the ransomware locks people out of their data and demands a ransom.

More Bad News for United: A United Airlines flight attendant mistakenly posted cockpit door access codes, the codes needed to request entry to the flight deck, on a public website.

Sign Here: DocuSign, the owner of eSignature, a digital signature service, said that a database of customer email addresses was breached and used in a phishing campaign.

Intellectual Property

Google It: The Ninth Circuit ruled that “Google” has not become a generic trademark, like “aspirin”, rejecting the claim that the company lost control of its name because of widespread use of “google” as a verb.

The End of the MP3: The research company Fraunhofer IIS that holds the patents on MP3 encoders and decoders announced it had ended the “licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software”, leading many to believe that MP3 may now be a “dead format.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Bring a Book: The Department of Homeland Security is expected to ban laptops and other large electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights from Europe to the United States.

On the Lighter Side

Bad Date: A man is suing his date for texting while they were watching a showing of the movie Guardians of the Galaxy 2; he is asking for $17.31, the cost of the 3D movie ticket.


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

Fellow, CLIP
Elizabeth Martin

CLIP-ings: May 12, 2017

Internet Governance

Clash With Cabbies: The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union advised that Uber operates a transport service, not as an ‘information society service’, and so should be subject to taxi licensing regulations.

Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands: Seattle’s mayor implemented a rule requiring that cable internet providers obtain opt-in consent before sharing web browsing history and other data whenever it is needed for something besides essential service.

Privacy

Smile for the Camera: Google has created a “Street View ready” standard certification program so users can use 360-degree cameras to capture and upload Street View imagery directly to Google; so far 20 cameras have been certified.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hackers, Spammers, and Comedians: The Federal Communications Commission said its website was hit by deliberate denial of service attacks and not caused by comedian John Oliver’s popular television segment urging viewers to submit online comments to the FCC to save its current net neutrality rules; additionally, a bot may be behind the posting of over 58,000 identical comments supporting the FCC’s proposal.

Election Hacking: Two days before France’s presidential election, hackers leaked emails from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign and the director of the NSA confirmed that the NSA had warned French cybersecurity officials of Russians hackers attempts to compromise some elements of the election.

Intellectual Property

“Dancing Baby”: The US solicitor general and the US Copyright Office recommended against the Supreme Court taking the Lenz v. Universal copyright case; the case has been going on for nearly a decade.

Practice Note

Choices on Geoblocking: With recent uncertainty in courts with regard to geolocation and territorially limiting conduct on the internet, internet content providers or service providers should consider the pros and cons of geoblocking, blocking access to content on the internet based on a user’s physical location, as a practice to avoid personal jurisdiction.

Free Expression and Censorship

Totally Fake: Facebook has increased its efforts to tackle fake news by burying links to low-quality websites; in preparation for the UK general elections, Facebook removed accounts it believes were involved in the spread of misinformation and published advertisements in British newspapers educating readers on fake news.

On the Lighter Side

Entertain Your Tastebuds: Smalt, the salt shaker with Bluetooth and music streaming capabilities you didn’t know you needed.


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

Fellow, CLIP
Elizabeth Martin

CLIP-ings: May 5, 2017

Internet Governance

Net Neutrality Rollback: The chairman of the FCC released his plan to roll back the FCC’s rules prohibiting ISPs from treating online traffic in a discriminatory manner and, shortly after, judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to rehear the case en banc that upheld the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order.

UK Crackdown: UK government issued a warning that sellers and consumers will face severe penalties and possibly jail time if they sell or purchase Kodi boxes, media players that permit third party add-ons which allow a user to stream illegally copied films and TV shows.

Privacy

Transparency in New York: A privacy group sued the New York Police Department over its failure to release documents related to its use of facial-recognition technology.

Silent Trackers: Researchers found that over 200 Android apps use ultrasound cross-device tracking, technology that embeds high-frequency tones in advertisements which are detected by devices that reveal information about the ads a user watches.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Do Not Click: Google is investigating a phishing email scam that affected as many as one million users; recipients of the email that clicked on a shared Google document risked giving the sender access to their Google contact lists and Google Drive.

What’s Your Number? In 2016 the National Security Agency collected more than 151 million records about Americans’ phone calls despite a law passed last year intended to curb bulk surveillance.

Intellectual Property

Up Next: Music Lawsuits: The Eagles are suing a hotel for trademark infringement for using the name “Hotel California” and Eminem’s lawsuit begins this week against a New Zealand political party for using his song “Lose Yourself”.

Free Expression and Censorship

Hiring Content Cops: Facebook announced a plan to hire 3,000 new employees to screen and remove inappropriate content and graphic videos, such as live videos of murders or suicides.

On the Lighter Side

Trolling Apple Fans: The dictionary entry for Merriam-Webster’s newest word: “sheeple”, meaning people who are easily influenced, uses Apple fans as an example.


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

Fellow, CLIP
Elizabeth Martin

CLIP-ings: April 28, 2017

Internet Governance

Haters Hating Hate: In a landscape of inconsistent procedures regarding hate speech takedowns, the European Commission has drafted a document suggesting that the EU standardize rules regarding how online sites must delete hate speech and illegal content like child porn to create a more “transparent and predictable environment.”

Progressive Prohibition on Product Promotions to Protect Public: The FTC is warning celebrities that they must disclose when a company pays them to endorse their products on social media platforms such as Instagram or otherwise face an investigation and a possible fine of up to $16,000 per violation.

Privacy

Beware the Big Blimp: New information has revealed that for over a decade starting in 2004, the Hover Hammer, a blimp launched from Maryland by the NSA, was equipped with an eavesdropping device that enabled it to obtain international shipping data from the Long Island area and also intercept wireless communications including mobile phone calls.

Bit of Data Found in Fitbit: Data taken from a murdered woman’s fitness tracker points to her husband as the killer since it shows that she was still moving around at the time her husband claimed she had already been shot dead by a masked intruder.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Creepin’ Kremlin: APT28, the same Russian group blamed for the DNC hack late last year, has been phishing high-profile users of Google and Yahoo! mail and using a technique called “tabnabbing” which replaces unused open tabs on a user’s computer with illegitimate sites, all in an attack against French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

Hackers Gonna Hack: An American cybersecurity firm is accusing Beijing hackers of cyberattacking South Korea’s government, military, defense companies, and a conglomerate in retaliation to South Korea’s statement that it would deploy THAAD, a missile-defense system that would be used against North Korea but which the Chinese government says is a threat to China due to the radar’s ability to extend into Chinese territory.

Intellectual Property

Juicero, the Jealous Juicer v. Juisir: Despite recent revelations that the juice bags filled with pre-chopped fruits and vegetables used to make juices with a squeezing device called Juicero can actually be squeezed by hand without the $400 appliance, the company is suing Chinese company Juisir for patent, trade dress, and trademark infringement.

Fans Fighting for Freedom: In a recent lawsuit, a Dutch court has held that fans who make unauthorized subtitles for movies and TV shows infringe on others’ copyrights because most fansubbing consists of adding subtitles to already pirated content, despite the Free Subtitles Foundation’s argument that fansubbers do a service to the public by making foreign language content available to a larger audience.

Free Expression and Censorship

Pushing Past Political Propaganda: A former Newsweek journalist who was imprisoned for four months, interrogated, beaten, and charged with espionage by the Iranian government has created an app called Sandoogh96—Vote2017 in English—which, amid the impending Iranian presidential election, allows users to access propaganda-free information about candidates, in a country where it is nearly impossible to access unbiased information.

College’s Cancellation of Conservative Coulter Causes Conflict: The Berkeley College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation are suing UC-Berkeley for trying to restrict conservative speech on campus after the university cancelled an appearance by Ann Coulter citing security concerns; back in February the university allegedly suffered $100,000 in damages after some demonstrators became violent in their efforts to block Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus.

Practice Note

Voilà Voice Via Virtualization: Given a sample audio recording of someone’s voice, website Lyrebird.ai will create a program that will speak like the recorded person, which raises issues of First Amendment protection, the right of publicity, defamation law, and the crime of impersonation.

On the Lighter Side

Death-Defying Digital Doppelganger: If you are the kind of person who wishes to haunt your loved ones after death, you could become a digital phantom through “Eternime,” a startup service whose algorithm filters through your social media profiles and internet usage data to build an avatar with your mannerisms that can interact with the slightly creeped out friends you leave behind.


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: April 21, 2017

Internet Governance

Droned Out: UK police and prison officers have formed a new specialist squad to share information with each other to take down drones that people use to deliver illegal drugs and mobile phones to prisoners, with the first UK citizen given a 14-month sentence last year for using a quadcopter to send three different prisoners prohibited items.

Not So Cuddly And Warm: To regulate IoT devices, California has drafted a new bill, informally called by critics the “Teddy Bear and Toaster Act,” which would require manufacturers of IoT devices to implement security features such as beeps or lights that would signal to users when the product is collecting information, but this may be problematic since some devices constantly collect information and the costs may disproportionately hit small businesses.

Privacy

Bose Boasts Boatload of Data: Bose, the maker of audio products, is being sued by a customer who alleges that the company violated the Wiretap Act and other Illinois state privacy laws when it gathered information about users’ listening patterns and provided this data to third parties.

23andMe…and You and All Third Parties: DNA testing companies, like 23andMe, which provide you with a summary of your ancestry or a disease risk assessment are not only collecting your saliva but your personal information too; while such companies sell the data in aggregate to third parties, research companies may request additional information when they detect a rare condition that is found in only a small proportion of customers.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

A New Tricky Hacker Technique: “Homograph attacks”—schemes by hackers to trick internet users into visiting what they believe are legitimate sites but are actually not—are on the rise as valid domains in non-English languages are being disguised to appear the same as common English domains like apple.com and epic.com, though this problem should have been addressed over 15 years ago.

Big Whoop! Burger King’s television advertisement scheme that attempted to trigger viewers’ voice-activated Google Home devices to respond with a definition of the Whopper backfired when Wikipedia users edited the first line of the Wiki article to contain terms such as “cancer-causing” and “cyanide,” and Google responded by altering the device so that it now only lights up but stays silent when the advertisement plays.

Intellectual Property

We Are So Zarry: Spanish retail chain Zara has removed a skirt from its websites and stores after social media outcry over the skirt’s image of a frog which bore an uncanny resemblance to Pepe the Frog, a symbol originally intended to stand for peace but which has been adopted by anti-Semitic and bigoted groups.

The Legend of Nintendo: After Nintendo’s success with “Mario Maker,” a design suite that enables fans to create their own Mario games within the console, Nintendo declined to make a “Zelda Maker” for its other successful franchise, but when a fan made his own and disseminated it to the public, Nintendo sent DMCA notices to sites that displayed video clips of the game, but these notices were not only ineffective but also created new competition.

Free Expression and Censorship

WeBlock in China: The Chinese government has been censoring WeChat, a popular messaging app, by using keyword filtering that prohibits messages that contain terms such as “human rights,” “mass arrest,” and “spiritual freedom,” although the senders are never notified that their messages were never received.

Broadcasting Crimes Online: Sexual assault, suicide, and murder are violent content being broadcasted by users on Facebook Live, but because the social media company relies on users to first view and then flag the content instead of creating an algorithm that might automatically censor free speech and because of the FCC’s unclear authority in regulating the internet, a better solution may be for video-streaming companies to implement a “delay” safeguard in case something unexpected suddenly airs.

Practice Note

Hazing the Internet: After a former sorority sister posted Phi Sigma Sigma’s “sacred” handshake onto an internet message board, the sorority first sent DMCA notices to have the post removed—alleging that it was a violation of their “trade secrets,” instead of copyright—and is now pressuring various websites to remove any mention of the handshake, which is garnering more attention to the issue and suggesting a de facto right to be forgotten that does not exist in US law.

On the Lighter Side

The Best Wingman: If you have enough confidence in your friends’ judgments of your love life, sign up for Wingman, a new dating app that gives your friends control over who to swipe right on.


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: April 7, 2017

Internet Governance

Easter(n) Currency: Japan’s Virtual Currency Act, in effect as of April 2017, now recognizes Bitcoin, among other cryptocurrencies, as an official medium of payment and “property of value,” subjecting it to several taxes.

An Eggstreme New Measure: New Chinese regulations allow the government to extract any data dealing with the investigation of a person under Chinese criminal law no matter where in the world the data is located, which may complicate international relations with China as data security concerns and governmental interferences are becoming increasingly worrisome.

Privacy

An Eggcellent Idea? Workers at a Swedish start-up hub called Epicenter can forego having a key card in favor of having a microchip implanted in their hand which will allow them to open doors, access printers, and purchase food.

Eggsactly What The Doctor Ordered: The prosecution of a gynecologist for possession of child pornography has unearthed a secret collaboration between the FBI and Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” IT specialists in which informants were allegedly recruited and paid by the Bureau to scour customers’ computers for such content, though how much Best Buy knew about this activity is unclear.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Eggsiled to the Mountains: An abandoned mine on a desolate Norwegian island that is home to mainly polar bears is the unlikely source of key data that has been taken from the national archives of three countries so far, is also available to other nations as part of the Arctic World Archive initiative, will be preserved for at least 500 to 1,000 years, and can even survive a nuclear apocalypse.

Quit Egging Him On: An Arkansas programmer who created a remote administration tool called NanoCore, which he posted on HackForums.net and then sold to a member of the forum, is being federally prosecuted for conspiracy and aiding and abetting computer intrusions because NanoCore has been used by hackers in at least ten different countries, despite the programmer claiming that he never intended the tool to be used by hackers.

Intellectual Property

Unholy Mass of Allegations: Whether Satanic worship, demonic possession, witches, and child sacrifice can be deemed “historical facts” is a question that may determine the fate of a copyright infringement suit between Warner Bros.—the company behind the horror film series “The Conjuring”—and the author of a 1980 book called “The Demonologist,” which was based on the same paranormal investigators’ account of allegedly true events, with the author seeking $900M and an injunction against the release of “Annabelle 2,” the story of a possessed doll connected to the same investigators.

Not a Peep Out of You: In a 2011 copyright infringement case in which Universal Music Group sued over an illegal download of a Rihanna album, a German court has ruled that a parent whose child is found to have illegally downloaded copyrighted content must give up the identity of that child, or alternatively be held personally liable for the violation.

Free Expression and Censorship

Eggstra! Eggstra! (Don’t) Read All About It! Ranked one of the deadliest countries for journalists, Mexico is facing a crisis in which newspaper organizations are being threatened to the point where they can either report unsavory content and risk their staff being murdered or instead shut down to avoid the wrath of drug cartels.

An Eggsistential View of the Presidency: In contrast to the way former President Obama extensively utilized the official White House photographer and controlled his own image in the media, President Trump has used his official White House photographer more sparingly, which has resulted in a very different portrayal of the President in the media, with images mainly coming from iPhones and press photographers instead.

Practice Note

Unfree Eggspression: In an opinion lacking an analysis of First Amendment issues, a federal court has held that two bloggers interfered with the exercise of residents’ fair housing rights when they published numerous online posts deriding the residents for keeping emotional support dogs in their Virgin Islands condos despite the condominium association’s “no dogs” rule.

On the Lighter Side

This Is a Little Eggcessive: An image of Vladimir Putin depicted as a gay clown has been banned in Russia, but because the image’s display is prohibited, Russian news outlets are having a difficult time reporting which version of the meme is actually banned.


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: March 31, 2017

Internet Governance

Get Out of My Data! Congress voted this week to overturn online privacy rules that would have required broadband providers to obtain users’ permission before collecting and selling their online activity data, giving advertisers more leeway to direct specific ads at consumers and possibly driving users towards VPNs and Tor to safeguard their privacy.

An Uber-Cool Idea: Singapore’s Minister of Transport is trying to bring aerial transport into the country’s infrastructure by 2030, with an idea for scorpion-like taxi drones that would pick up passengers based on an e-hail system.

Privacy

The Trackiest Place on Earth: Visitors to Disney World have the option of wearing a MagicBand, a radio-powered bracelet which allows them to pay for food and souvenirs, open their hotel room doors at Disney resorts, and obtain access to rides more quickly, all while tracking their locations and activities throughout the resort.

The Sweet Taste of Revenge: A new GoFundMe campaign is raising funds for a privacy activist to buy the web browsing histories of all legislators who voted to overturn the internet privacy rules this past Tuesday so that he may publish them online, though it is unclear whether he will be able to do so.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

D.N.A. = Do Not Access: In a Dallas program that combats prostitution, police locate and give sex workers the option of either going to jail or speaking with a counselor, which also entails taking a sample of their DNA to be stored in a database in the event that their bodies need to be identified; however, concerns include whether the data can be used to incriminate them in criminal situations or affect their future insurance or employment.

Can You Hear Me Now? Not Good. The “can you hear me” scam is a new technique where chatbots apply natural-speech technology to trick people into believing that they are speaking to a real human, ask them if they can hear the caller, and then record that affirmation to sign them up for unsolicited products and services.

Intellectual Property

Stay Hungry. Stay Original. Although a Beijing IP court ruled last year that Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models had violated design patents of a Chinese company—and therefore attempted to enjoin Apple from selling its iPhone 6 line in Beijing—this initial decision was recently overturned, demonstrating that Chinese courts will not always rule in favor of local businesses.

The Peach State Is Not So Peachy: Georgia has won a copyright infringement suit against a nonprofit that published the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” online for free public use, with the court rejecting the defendant’s fair use argument and finding infringement because the publisher, LexisNexis, had assigned copyrights in the annotations to the state.

Free Expression and Censorship

“Arc” You Kidding Me? Arctic researchers, who already have limited resources, are suffering the consequences of the Trump administration’s insistence on taking down webpages, datasets, and policies about the Arctic, while scientists around the world are racing to preserve this research by creating back-up copies before the data is permanently deleted.

Stalin’ the New Legislation: The Hungarian government wants to pass a law that would ban businesses from using controversial symbols such as swastikas, arrow crosses, and hammers and sickles in their logos, and would punish violators with a jail sentence and 2 billion forint fine—approximately $7M; this “morally obligatory” bill primarily targets Heineken’s trademark, which is allegedly too similar to the Communist red star.

Practice Note

Professional Students’ Unprofessional Speech: Today the Supreme Court will decide whether to grant certiorari for a case that hinges on whether professional programs, such as law schools, medical schools, and business schools, can expel students for expressing “unprofessional” views that violate the student code of conduct, despite being expressed outside of any curricular setting.

On the Lighter Side

You’re Sending Ripples up My Spine: Ripple is a device resembling a sea anemone that you wear on your shoulder and that employs sensors and cameras to determine when someone is looking at you, thereby sending a rippling sensation up your back—just in case you’re too busy looking at your phone to realize who is trying to flirt with you.


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: March 24, 2017

Internet Governance

Time Out, Law Enforcement! US lawmakers are drafting a bill that would restrict the FBI and nationwide police departments’ usage of a group of databases that use facial recognition technology to identify suspects, as the technology gives 15% false positives and there is currently only limited oversight of its usage.

No Traveling: In an effort to provide greater surveillance opportunities for security officials, both the US and UK have enacted new flight restrictions that will ban all travelers coming from certain Middle Eastern countries or traveling on certain Middle Eastern airlines from bringing their laptops and tablets in carry-on luggage, while cellphones are still allowed despite posing the same security risks.

Privacy

An Infinite Shot Clock: Because a former Philadelphia police officer refused to comply with a federal court order demanding that he decrypt two hard drives seized by authorities from his home in 2015 that allegedly contain child pornography, he is being held indefinitely until he unlocks those drives, despite invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Defense Pays for Basket of Data: A company selling “smart” vibrators has agreed to a $3.75 million settlement after customers sued the company for violating Illinois privacy laws by collecting personal data on the devices’ usage, settings, battery life, and even temperature.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

The Madness of the March Toward Verification: Germany is currently testing voice recognition software to be used in screening refugees seeking asylum by recording a sample of the refugees’ speech and detecting where they come from; due to the fluidity and nuances of language, however, critics argue that the system may allow terrorists to sneak into the country by faking an accent, or otherwise refuse to authenticate those who are actual natives.

Police Seize Victory in Search for Attacker: In a bizarre cyber attack, a man was arrested for intentionally sending 40 tweets containing strobe light effects to a Newsweek journalist who suffered a seizure from viewing the epileptogenic image; in similar past cases, 700 Japanese children were rushed to the hospital after watching a certain Pokémon episode with similar effects, and hackers bombarded an epilepsy-support message board with such animations.

Intellectual Property

No Slam Dunks Here: Although a license agreement requires purchasers of John Deere tractor equipment to only use authorized dealerships and repair shops to fix their equipment, American farmers are increasingly turning to the black market of tractor hacking firmware because of the limitations that this license agreement presents.

Bracketing the Laches Defense: In a new Supreme Court decision regarding adult diapers, the Court has eliminated the application of the laches defense in patent infringement cases, holding that the reasonability of a plaintiff’s delay in bringing suit is irrelevant as long as the statute of limitations has not yet run.

Free Expression and Censorship

Out of Bounds: Pakistan’s government says that it wants all social media networks, especially Facebook, to take down material that is insulting to Islam or the Prophet Mohammad, as posting this content is a violation of the country’s blasphemy laws which are punishable by the death penalty.

YouTube Crossed the Foul Line: YouTube issued an apology after its optional restricted-mode filter blocked videos about LGBT issues, in what the site brushed off as a technical error, but which some affected content creators allege was intentional because some blocked videos did not discuss such issues and were appropriate for all ages.

Practice Note

Court Boxes Out 3D Printer: An appeals court has refused to rehear a case in which a 3D printing company that distributed instructions for creating weapons sued the State Department for prohibiting them from doing so; the court cited prior restraint as a valid argument for restricting the company, in light of national security concerns.

On the Lighter Side

I Need to Take a Shot: If you suffer from irregular bowel movements, you may want to avoid Beijing’s largest public restroom situated near the Temple of Heaven, where defecators must first pass a facial recognition scan in order to receive their standard 60 cm square of toilet paper which can be reissued to the same person only after nine minutes; this questionable new technology has been implemented to prevent senior citizens from stealing rolls for private residential use.


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: March 10, 2017

Internet Governance

Kerala Blessed With Luck O’ the Internet: According to the finance minister of the Indian state of Kerala, the government will provide internet connections to two million low-income families free of charge, give service to others at a low rate, and also move most government services online by 2018.

Waiting for the Green Light: The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan is using smart technology in its traffic control system to analyze the entire network of connected traffic lights, which helps predict jams before they happen, prioritize drivers who need to get somewhere faster, and significantly cut down on congestion overall.

Privacy

It’s Your Lucky Day, Michaud: After the indictment of an alleged child pornographer in United States v. Jay Michaud, the DoJ has now filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, as the FBI is unwilling to reveal certain elements of their Network Investigative Techniques used to hack the Tor network and gather information about the alleged pornographer’s website.

Mischievous Little Leprechauns: In a surprising role-reversal, law enforcement officials are now being tracked by Uber in several major cities and countries through multiple tools including “Greyball,” which alerts drivers to avoid a certain area whenever an officer attempts to hail a ride and then sends a fake version of the app showing ghost cars to the officer’s phone.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Mischief Online: In a recent securities and investment fraud scheme, a spear-phishing campaign targeted at least eleven different organizations’ employees who e-file documents with the SEC, sending personalized emails to these employees and asking them to download a Word document which supposedly contained important changes to a Form 10-K filing.

A Saintly App: Iranian women can now obtain information about birth control, health issues, divorce, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, and STDs, from an app called Hamdam, which disguises itself as a period tracker but gives these women this often unattainable information while protecting users’ personal information and identities by remaining disconnected from a server and disallowing the screenshot capability.

Sneaky Snakes: Not even wild animals are safe from hacking anymore; while researchers use tracking devices on some species to gain data, poachers, hunters, photographers, and others are intercepting these unsecure GPS signals for their own benefit.

Intellectual Property

Let’s Just Have a Drink and Settle This: In a lawsuit filed by Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk, against chef Wolfgang Puck, Musk alleges that the trademark for his Colorado restaurant, “The Kitchen Café out of Colorado,” has been infringed by Wolfgang Puck’s Chicago restaurant, “The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck,” in a lawsuit that bizarrely hinges on the trademarkability of the generic and common words “the kitchen.”

Unholi-day: Under representation by the global law firm Baker McKenzie, the Vatican will now strictly monitor the use of the image of Pope Francis and the coat of arms of the Holy See, to prevent infringement of the Pope’s publicity rights and the Vatican’s other intellectual property.

Free Expression and Censorship

Ire Caused by Selfie: A Bavarian court has ruled against a man who sued Facebook for refusing to prohibit distribution of a photograph of him with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the image was linked to false stories claiming that he was responsible for terrorist attacks in Brussels and Berlin and setting a homeless man on fire.

No Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow: BBC journalists investigating child porn rings on Facebook were granted an interview with one of the social media company’s representatives on the condition that the journalists forward the child porn images they found to Facebook, but when they did so, Facebook not only cancelled the interview but also reported the journalists to the authorities.

Practice Note

Kiss Me, I’m Public! The California Supreme Court has ruled that state officials must abide by the California Public Records Act and are therefore not permitted to hide official communications in personal email accounts or personal devices, in a landmark decision where the Court was forced to balance public access with personal privacy.

On the Lighter Side

What Happens in Vegas: You might not be able to share your life’s woes with these bartenders, but in a few months, the “first robotic bar in the world” will bring droids to the Las Vegas Strip to mix concoctions for their human customers.


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: March 3, 2017

Internet Governance

New New York Regulation: On March 1, New York implemented new cybersecurity regulations to better protect financial institutions as well as consumers from cyberattacks; the regulations are composed of 23 different sections that comply with SEC and FINRA guidelines and include policies such as encryption of all non-public data, training of employees in security, improved multifactor authentication systems, breach disclosures, and yearly affirmance by a senior officer that the company is in compliance with the requirements of the regulation.

Free Data for Sale! The Federal Communications Commission has suspended a set of rules passed last October which, upon going into effect this December, would have prevented internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast from collecting and selling customers’ personal information without permission.

Privacy

The Caller ID That Betrayed Me: The FCC is currently considering a petition to compel phone companies to reveal blocked caller ID information from bomb threat calls that were placed to Jewish institutions nationwide this week; last year, the FCC granted these blocks to be lifted in Middletown, New York which was similarly inundated with bomb threat calls, noting that the public interest was greater than “any countervailing privacy request from the calling party.”

Alexa Hears All: Arkansas police are demanding that Amazon release information obtained by a murder suspect’s Amazon Echo after the digital assistant automatically began recording upon the use of a “wake” word uttered by someone during the murder; Amazon argues that the audio recording is protected by the First Amendment and therefore requires a warrant for access.

The Tracked and the Furious: Members of the ethnic Uyghur population in China are now required to install GPS tracking devices in their cars so that the government can track all of their movements; refusing to install this surveillance system means drivers will be prohibited from refueling their vehicles.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cloudfare Suffers Cloudflaw: Cloudflare, an internet infrastructure company that delivers performance and security services to six million website customers including Fitbit, Uber, and OKCupid, was recently revealed to have been victim to a bug that caused website-specific data such as cookies, user login credentials, API keys, and other authentication tokens to be leaked into the code of other websites.

TMI from IVF: Couples receiving in vitro fertilization treatments at a London hospital have had their intimate conversations exposed online due to an Indian subcontractor company storing transcripts and audio files on an unsecure server since as early as 2009.

Intellectual Property

But Isn’t It Patently Obvious? IBM has decided to relinquish its rights to a patent for out-of-office email technology that it was surprisingly granted earlier this year, after an uproar from an EFF lawyer who alleged that the USPTO grossly failed to consider both prior art and the nonobviousness requirement of a patent grant.

Will You Marry Copy Me? Known for aggressively defending its intellectual property against counterfeiting, Tiffany & Co. now finds itself at the other end of a lawsuit with a New York-based photojournalist suing the jewelry company for copyright infringement after it removed copyright information from one of his photos of Elsa Peretti and used it on the Tiffany website to sell her jewelry line.

Free Expression and Censorship

Thank God For My Free Speech: A North Carolina law that prohibits registered sex offenders from using social media sites is being challenged in the Supreme Court by a registered sex offender who was arrested after writing an unrelated Facebook post thanking God for avoiding a traffic ticket; at least five justices view the law as a restriction of free speech, noting in part the First Amendment right to speak and to receive information.

YouGuilty: After having his acquittal overturned, a British teenager is once again facing charges for violating Section 127 of the UK’s Communications Act 2003 for leaving comments under YouTube news videos in which he threatened to kill leaders, such as former prime minister David Cameron.

Practice Note

Back to the Grind: In a recent case involving dating app Grindr’s potential liability to a plaintiff whose ex-boyfriend posted fake profiles with the plaintiff’s personal contact information, prompting hundreds of unwanted users to seek him out, the court denied a request for extension of the plaintiff’s TRO, citing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

On the Lighter Side

It’s A-Me, Mari…! With a valid international driving license and a plane ticket to Tokyo, you can put on a onesie and drive around the streets of Shinjuku dressed as a Super Mario character—that is, unless the go-kart rental company MariCar loses the IP infringement suit recently filed by Nintendo.


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