CLIP-ings: April 26, 2018

Internet Governance

Huawei Investigation Continues: The Justice Department is reportedly investigating whether Huawei Technologies Co. violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, which could lead to criminal penalties for the company; the investigation comes after Congress proposed to block Huawei from government contracts and advised carriers, internet service providers, and private citizens against purchasing Huawei’s products.

EU Regulates Tech Commercial Relations: The European Union proposed rules that will for the first time govern commercial relations between tech giants and smaller businesses; the proposal requires target app stores, search engines, e-commerce sites, and hotel booking websites to be clear about how they rank search results and why they delist some services and empowers companies to collectively sue the online platforms for violation of these rules. 

Blockchain Verifies Jewelry: IBM and several jewelry companies, including Richline Group and Helzberg Diamonds, established a joint initiative called TrustChain to develop blockchain technology to trace the provenance of finished pieces of jewelry and ensure they are ethically sourced; the initiative tracks and authenticates diamonds and precious metals through every stage in the process of becoming finished jewelry and includes third-party oversight. 

Privacy

Identity Theft Of Children: A study released by Javelin Strategy and Research claims that more than one million children in the United States were affected by identity theft last year, causing $2.6 billion in losses and $540 million in out-of-pocket costs for families; the study states 60 percent of identity fraud victims who are children know the identity thief, while only seven percent of adult victims personally know the perpetrator.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hack On Hotel Master Keys: Security researchers uncovered a design flaw in the software of hotel master keys produced by VingCard, a global provider of hotel locking systems used in more than 42,000 properties in 166 countries; the researchers are helping hotels patch the problem, which allows hackers to create a master key to the building, within minutes using a regular hotel key, even if it is expired.

Bad Gamble: British teenager Kane Gamble was sentenced to two years at a youth detention center after pleading guilty to 10 hacking charges for hacking a number of high profile United States government employees, including former CIA director John Brennan and former director of intelligence, James Clapper; Gamble and others stole 40 attachments from Brennan’s email, broke into Clapper’s and his wife’s emails, and stole and leaked the contact info of 20,000 FBI personnel.

Intellectual Property

SCOTUS Upholds Patent Review Process: The Supreme Court upheld the Patent Office’s power to review and cancel issued patents through the inter partes review procedure of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); the case, Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC turned on whether PTAB’s administrative patent judges are constitutionally permitted to revoke patents or if this can only be done by Article III courts.

Monkey See, Monkey Selfie: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Indonesian crested macaque does not hold the copyright to selfies he took on a nature photographer’s camera in 2011, dismissing an appeal brought by PETA; the dispute over who owns the photo–monkey or man–arose when Wikipedia posted the image to its free to use website and the nature photographer asked to have it removed.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Updates Community Standards: Facebook unveiled changes to its content review policy, adding an appeals process for removed content and releasing its moderation guidelines; the move–part of Facebook’s commitment to be more transparent about its content decisions–now allows posters of removed photos, videos, or posts to contest determinations they believe were wrongly made.

Texas’ ‘Revenge Porn’ Law Struck Down: A Texas appeals court struck down the state’s “Relationship Privacy Act,” holding that the statute is overbroad and infringes on free speech protections; the law, which passed the Texas Legislature unanimously in 2015, contains provisions that the state court worried could punish individuals who share intimate, private photos without knowing that they were, in fact, private. 

Practice Note

Yahoo! Fined $35M by SEC: The SEC announced that Altaba, the owner of the remnants of Yahoo!, agreed to pay a $35 million fine for failing until September 2016 to disclose a 2014 data breach in which hackers stole information from 500 million users; the SEC–which released guidance on disclosure of data breaches earlier this year–said in a statement that “public companies should have controls and procedures in place to properly evaluate cyber incidents and disclose material information to investors.”

On The Lighter Side

Going Green: Ever wonder how it feels to be the Hulk? Now you can find out. A new force feedback jacket developed by Disney Research, MIT Media Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University uses inflatable airbags to simulate the experience of turning into the superhero.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

“We Gucci”:  After a nine-year intellectual property dispute between Gucci and Guess, the two brands reached a confidential settlement in longstanding a trademark infringement case that saw Gucci file suit in not only the U.S., but also in Italy, France, Australia, and China; the suit alleged that Guess was guilty of counterfeiting, unfair competition, and trademark infringement for its interlocking “G” logo on a line of Guess shoes.

Give Me a Break:  In advance of a final decision from the Court of Justice about whether the four-fingered shape of the KitKat bar is enough to justify the 2006 EU trademark KitKat holds, the advocate general recommended to the Court that there is not enough evidence to show that the chocolate is sufficiently known in the EU.

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

EU Debates Cyber System: The European Commission proposed legislation to create an EU-wide cybersecurity certification system for technology products by funding, staffing and giving oversight authority to Athens-based EU agency ENISA; France’s cybersecurity agency ANSSI, one of Europe’s largest authorities for preventing breaches and responding to threats, is a proponent of EU-wide certification, but argues that member states must keep a level of control over the process.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: April 20, 2018

Internet Governance

Some Criminals Have ‘Right to Be Forgotten’: A UK high court ruled that some–but not all–criminals have a ‘right to be forgotten’ after Google denied a man’s request to remove search results related to his decade-old conviction for conspiracy to intercept communications; the court reached the opposite conclusion in a companion case that also weighed the nature of the crime and whether the petitioner expressed remorse.

SCOTUS Struggles with E-Commerce Law: The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided following a one hour argument in a case that could let states collect sales tax from out-of-state online retailers like Amazon; the case turns on a 1992 decision–holding that states cannot collect state sales tax from online retailers unless they have a physical presence in the state–which some justices believe should be overturned while other justices would rather wait for Congress act.

Privacy

Singapore’s Facial Recognition Lampposts: The Singapore government plans to install cameras linked to facial recognition software on 110,000 lampposts, prompting concern that the technology, which is already in use in other Asian cities like Shanghai and Beijing, could be used to suppress protests, journalists, or political opponents.

Privacy as Art? Chinese authorities shut down an art exhibit featuring the personal data of 346,000 people and accused the artist, Deng Yufeng, of collecting the information through illegal means; the Beijing-based artist, who purchased the data from online brokers, wanted the show to highlight China’s lax data privacy rules.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Digital Geneva Accord? Led by Facebook and Microsoft, more than 30 tech companies signed the “Cybersecurity Tech Accord,” a set of principles that includes a declaration not to aid governments in cyberwar against “innocent civilians and enterprises from anywhere”; Noticeably absent from the signees were Amazon, Google, Apple, and companies from countries associated with cyber attacks like Russia and Iran.  

Russia’s Router Hacking: The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the White House, and the UK’s National Cybersecurity Center issued an alert warning that hackers tied to the Russian government have tried to hack millions of routers and firewalls in attempts to “enable espionage” and facilitate intellectual property theft; however, as some in the intelligence and cybersecurity community quickly pointed out, these are the cyber intrusions commonly practiced by the U.S. government and the NSA..            

Intellectual Property

Stock Photo Copyright Infringement: The U.S. Supreme Court turned aside an attempt by Arizona stock photo company, DRK Photo, to sue McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings for copyright infringement for allegedly exceeding the scope of licenses it purchased on more than 1,000 photos; the stock photo company petitioned the Supreme Court claiming that a November ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals favoring McGraw-Hill misinterpreted the Copyright Act of 1976 and widened a split in the federal appellate courts by ruling that DRK could not sue for infringement of copyrights that it did not own.

‘Facebook For Scientists’ Resolves Copyright Issues: ResearchGate, an online collaboration platform backed by Bill Gates and Goldman Sachs and dubbed ‘Facebook for Scientists,’ partly resolved a copyright dispute with publishers by reaching an agreement with Springer Nature, Cambridge University Press, and Thieme to work together on sharing articles while protecting the rights of authors and publishers; the agreement will streamline the process for notifying ResearchGate of copyright infringement and ensuring that offending material is taken down quickly.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Resumes Drug Rehab Ads: Google plans to resume advertisements from U.S. addiction treatment centers in July, nearly a year after Google suspended rehab-related advertisements over concerns that disreputable treatment centers were gaming Google’s algorithms to solicit patients; in-person rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, and support groups will be able to advertise after being evaluated by LegitScript for 15 criteria, including criminal background checks, insurance verification, and policies “demonstrating a commitment to best practices, effective recovery and continuous improvement.”

Reversal of Gay Content Ban: Sina Weibo–China’s version of Twitter–reversed a proposed ban of LGBTQ-related content after users criticized the proposal as discriminatory and bombarded the site with #Iamgay hashtags and slogans like “gays aren’t scary”; Weibo announced that they will no longer immediately categorize gay posts as lewd content, but will continue censoring “pornographic, violent, and bloody content.”

On The Lighter Side

A Dog’s Purpose: Dog owners, have you ever wished your pooch was internet famous? Researchers at Nvidia and Cornell University have developed an algorithm to help you with that by transforming pictures of your dog into pictures of a cat.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

Digital Border Reform: The EU Commission proposed a new law that could require tech companies to turn over user data in certain criminal cases to European law enforcement within 10 days or, in urgent cases, six hours, even when stored on servers in another country or outside the EU; officials state that the law is necessary as current legal procedures for obtaining digital evidence lack efficiency, “transparency and legal clarity.”

France’s Key to Prevent Breach: The French government has developed its own encrypted messenger service that will protect communications between top officials and avoid storing data beyond French borders, which occurs with the US’s WhatsApp and Russia’s Telegram; the app was created with “freely available” internet codes and will become mandatory for the entire French government once it passes the testing phase.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Don’t Forget the Little People: A Milan civil court of appeal upheld a 2016 preliminary court ruling that Facebook committed copyright infringement and “parasitic appropriation” when it released a feature that allows users to locate restaurants and other sites just two months after the Plaintiffs unveiled their location-finding app in the Facebook app store.

Bring Kitchens Back to Life: This year’s Milan Design Week features fresh design ideas, including a Samsung oven that not only cooks two dishes at once, but also takes remote commands from users and suggests cooking modes based on the dish being prepared.

 


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: April 13, 2018

Internet Governance

Trump Signs ‘FOSTA’ Into Law: President Trump signed a bill called “FOSTA” or “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” that gives prosecutors and victims greater power to pursue websites that host sex-trafficking advertisements; the signing comes days after Backpage.com and its affiliated websites were seized by the Department of Justice and seven of Backpage.com’s executives were indicted for facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

‘CONSENT’ Bill: A new bill–the “Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions (“CONSENT”) Act”–proposed by Senators Edward J. Markey and Richard Blumenthal would require edge providers to notify and obtain consent from users before using, sharing, or selling their personal data; the bill, which would rely on the FTC for enforcement, follows Sen. Blumenthal’s confrontation of Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s apparent violation of the FTC’s 2011 consent decree during the CEO’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees.

Privacy

YouTube Collects Children’s Data: Twenty-three privacy and children’s advocacy groups filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against YouTube, alleging the platform is violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) by collecting personal data from children under 13 to tailor advertisements and services to them without first gaining parental consent; the coalition is calling for YouTube to shift all the videos aimed at children to the YouTube Kids app and wants YouTube to pay a fine worth billions of dollars for profiting off children’s viewing habits.

“Voice-Sniffing” Patent? Amazon filed a patent for a “voice-sniffing” algorithm that would allow Amazon’s Echo speakers to listen to conversations for trigger words, such as “love” and “hate,” build a profile on the customers, and then offer them “targeted advertising and product recommendations”; Amazon denied that it currently uses voice recordings for advertising as Echo products only listen to users when they say the “Alexa” wake word.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Lord & Taylor Breach: A New York consumer filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Lord & Taylor in Delaware over allegations that her private information was stolen by hackers as a result of the retailer’s failure to implement adequate security systems to protect customers’ private information; the lawsuit follows Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue’s announcement last week that 5 million customer credit card numbers were stolen by “a well-known ring of cybercriminals” using software implanted in its cash register systems.

“Don’t Mess With Our Elections”: A group of hackers targeted networks in a number of countries including data centers in Iran where they left the image of a U.S. flag on screens along with a warning: “Don’t mess with our elections”; the attack, which hit internet service providers and cut off web access for subscribers, exploited a vulnerability in routers from Cisco and affected 200,000 router switches across the world.            

Intellectual Property

Alibaba and the Trademark Thieves? Chinese mega retailer Alibaba Group Holding filed a trademark infringement suit against a Dubai-based cryptocurrency company called Alibabacoin Foundation; the cryptocurrency company claims that Alibaba’s demand for it to shut down and restart with a new name is neither “reasonable [n]or proportionate” because the name is “inherently generic” and does not originate in China.

Apple to Pay Patent Troll Toll: VirnetX, a patent assertion entity, won a $502.6 million judgment against Apple Inc. after a federal jury in East Texas found that Apple’s FaceTime, VPN on Demand, and iMessage features infringe four patents related to secure communications; VirnetX’s stock rose 44% on news of the federal ruling, while Apple’s remained relatively unchanged.

Free Expression and Censorship

Russia Blocks Telegram App: Russia’s communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, filed a lawsuit to limit access to the Telegram messaging app after the company refused to give Russian security services access to its users’ encrypted messages; Russia claims that it needs access to the private messages in order to prevent terrorist attacks.

Homeland Security to Create Media Database: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) is seeking a third party contractor to help it build a database capable of tracking 290,000 global news sources and identifying “media influencers” like journalists, editors, and foreign correspondents; the database will provide “media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, and communication tools,” in order to help DHS agencies “better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners.”

On The Lighter Side

Where’s the Beef? Environmentally-conscious carnivores rejoice! White Castle is set to test an uncannily meat-like meatless patty called the Impossible Burger that sizzles, smells, tastes, and even bleeds like beef.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Cannabis and Cryptocurrency? Evolution BNK, an Italian company that grows medical cannabis, has filed a patent for a system that combines cryptocurrency mining with cannabis growing; the company plans to build a 20,000 square meter solar powered greenhouse in Sanremo, which will have a basement where computers mining cryptocurrency will provide heat to a greenhouse during the winter.

Robots in Hotels: Guests at a hotel in Italy’s Lake Garda will be greeted by Robby Pepper, a robot that can answer basic questions about the hotel, so that staff don’t have to repeat themselves; robots of this type are becoming increasingly popular in the tourism industry, but their use is limited because the technology is not advanced enough to handle many questions beyond the time and weather.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: April 6, 2018

Internet Governance

Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress: Following revelations that Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 87 million users’ Facebook profiles in order to target voters during the 2016 Presidential election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before Congress on April 10 and 11 to answer questions about how the platform protects its user data.

Microsoft Digital Data Case Moot: Microsoft and the federal government have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss a high-profile data privacy case as moot following a Congressional re-write of the Stored Communications Act, which now says that a “provider of electronic communication service” shall comply with a court order for data “regardless of whether such communication, record or other information is located within or outside of the United States”; the case asked whether Microsoft had to comply with a court order to produce emails even though the data was stored abroad on a Dublin server.

Privacy

Social Media Visa Screen: The State Department proposed a rule that would require all visa applicants to the United States to list their social media names for the last five years on their visa applications; the new proposal would affect an estimated 14 million people and cover 20 social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, China’s Sina Weibo, and the Russian social network VK.

Grindr to Stop Sharing HIV Status: Dating app Grindr announced that it will stop sharing users’ HIV status with third party analytics companies following revelations that it provided two companies with some of the information that Grindr users include in their profiles, including HIV status and “last tested date”; the app’s chief security officer defended the data-sharing practice, arguing that the two companies are simply tools to help apps like Grindr function better and the information was not shared to make money.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Malaysian Central Bank Hack Attack: The Philippine central bank warned local financial institutions to be on high alert following a cyber attack at the Malaysian central bank where hackers tried to steal money using fraudulent wire-transfer requests; though the Malaysian central bank says that no funds were lost in the attack, the Philippine alert is part of an information sharing protocol developed in response to the 2016 theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank that was deposited into several Manila-based accounts before disappearing.

Breach Notification Finally in All 50 States: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a data breach notification law that will go into effect May 1 and require organizations and agencies to notify data breach victims within 45 days; the law–which allows the Attorney General to fine violators up to $5,000 per day and file lawsuits on behalf of the breach victims–makes Alabama the 50th and final state to put a breach reporting law on the books.            

Intellectual Property

Copyright Protection of Tattoos? U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan rejected a request to dismiss a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. over its depiction of copyrighted tattoos on LeBron James and other NBA stars in the popular NBA 2K video game, stating she needed a better understanding of how the game is “generally played” before deciding whether its “realistic” depiction of the tattoos licensed by Solid Oak Sketches amounted to fair use.

Google May Face Billions in Damages: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a 2016 jury verdict and held that Google’s unauthorized use of Oracle’s Java development platform to create the Android operating system was not protected under fair use, possibly making Google liable for billions of dollars in damages; Judge Kathleen O’Malley did not find fair use because no reasonable jury could find that what Google copied was not qualitatively significant, Google’s development of Android robbed Oracle of the ability to make money from its Java SE platform for mobile devices, and Google’s use of the code was not transformative since Google used the copied code for the same purpose as Oracle–to help developers create Java programs.

Free Expression and Censorship

Malaysia Bans Fake News: Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government secured a majority in parliament to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for spreading fake news with fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a possible prison sentence of up to six years; critics worry the bill may impede free speech ahead of elections and censor discussion of the prime minister’s involvement in a multibillion-dollar scandal.

No More CryptoMail: Mailchimp updated their acceptable use policy, shutting down accounts that send newsletters promoting the sale of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings in order to halt “scams, fraud, phishing, and potentially misleading business practices” within its email platform.

On The Lighter Side

Can’t Touch This: To combat a spate of cactus thefts, Saguaro National Park in Arizona has embedded microchip IDs in hundreds of saguaro cacti to help identify stolen plants.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

France Plans for Boost in AI: President Macron announced a $1.5 billion investment in AI research and funding in France; Macron stated that a more “proactive” approach to data sharing would allow companies and researchers to develop specialized algorithms for the benefit of their industries, however, they will have to also adhere to the GDPR’s new privacy rules, which draw a line between data aggregation and intrusion.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 23, 2018

Internet Governance

Ban on Venezuela Petro: President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning U.S. purchases of Venezuela’s new oil-backed cryptocurrency called Petro and authorized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue necessary regulations to enforce his order; the order is in response to attempts by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency, complicating the Maduro government’s efforts to boost its foreign reserves.

Anti-Robocall: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned portions of a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) regulation aimed at limiting the use of automated dialers to make uninvited calls, holding its language was too broad and could be construed to prohibit calls from any smartphone; Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai praised the court’s decision, noting that he had opposed the regulation two years ago. 

Privacy

Facebook Pledges Better Privacy: Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the misuse of data belonging to 50 million Facebook users and promised to take steps to restrict developers’ access to such information, following allegations by a whistleblower that British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed users’ information to target American voters with personalized political advertisements to help elect President Donald Trump in 2016; the scandal knocked off nearly $46 billion from Facebook’s market value and led to growing government scrutiny of Facebook in Europe and the United States

High-Tech Surveillance of Students: Schools across the country are spending millions to equip their campuses with advanced surveillance technology, including face recognition to deter predators, object recognition to detect weapons, and license plate tracking to detect criminals, raising privacy concerns regarding the usefulness of these tools.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Orbitz Hack: Popular travel site Orbitz revealed that hackers may have accessed 880,000 payment cards in a security breach discovered during an investigation of a legacy Orbitz platform; the information “likely accessed” includes names, payment card information, dates of birth, phone numbers, billing addresses, and gender.

Nuclear Cyber Protection: The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advisory group, urged the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject the Nuclear Energy Institute’s longstanding request to limit cyber attack protections at nuclear plants; the request follows reports from the Department of Homeland Security and FBI stating that in March 2016 or earlier, a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors” sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors by targeting the networks of small commercial facilities “where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks.”

Intellectual Property

Blurred Lines Fines: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to order a new trial and affirmed a jury’s 2015 verdict punishing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to the tune of $5.3 million for infringing Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” when they created their 2013 hit song “Blurred Lines”; the decision, a win for the Gaye family, prompted a sharp dissent from Judge Jacqueline Nguyen who wrote that “[t]he majority allows the Gayes to accomplish what no one has before: copyright a musical style.”

Graffiti Is Art After All: H&M has withdrawn a copyright lawsuit against LA-based street artist Jason Williams, stating “[i]t was never our intention to set a precedent concerning public art or to influence the debate on the legality of street art”; the disagreement stemmed from a cease-and-desist letter Williams sent the Swedish retailer after it used his outdoor Brooklyn mural as the backdrop for photos it circulated online without compensating him.

Free Expression and Censorship

YouTube Bans Firearm Demos: Just ahead of this weekend’s March for Our Lives rally for gun control, YouTube announced new guidelines set to go into effect this April that will ban videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms and videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories; the platform has been gradually tightening its rules for gun-related content since a mass shooting in Las Vegas last year.

Far-Right Leader Denied UK Entry: Lutz Bachmann, the founder of a German extreme far-right group called Pegida, was denied entry to the UK and deported; Bachmann reportedly intended to appear at Speakers’ Corner in place of Martin Sellner, a white supremacist who was similarly denied entry to the UK earlier this month.

On The Lighter Side

Talk Klingon to Me: Learning a new language can be hard. In fact, it can make you “bItlhIb; toppa’ Darur” or “as incompetent as a topah.” Fortunately, language-learning app Duolingo is now making it easier for Star Trek nerds to learn common Klingon vocabulary, sentence structure, and phrases.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Be Careful What You Post: Italian police arrested a man suspected of making pipe bombs and possibly planning an attack after the FBI alerted them that the man had been using social media to applaud Sayfullo Saipov, a man charged with killing eight people in New York City last year with a speeding truck.

Mafia Trademark Rejected: After the Italian government brought a lawsuit against a Spanish catering company called La Mafia se Sienta a la Mesa (The Mafia Sits at the Table), contesting the validity of the company’s trademark for public policy and general morality reasons, the European General Court in Luxembourg ruled the trademark invalid as the name “plays a part in trivializing the illicit activities of that criminal organization.”


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 16, 2018

Internet Governance

Right to Repair: A California state lawmaker, Susan Talamantes-Eggman, announced that she plans to introduce right to repair legislation, which would require companies like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung to sell replacement parts and tools, make repair guides publicly accessible, and make diagnostic software available to independent shops; Talamantes-Eggman says that the onus is on Apple, which has previously lobbied against right to repair bills in states like New York, “to explain why we can’t repair our own things and what damage or danger it causes them.”

Crypto Ad Block: On the heels of Facebook and Reddit, Google announced a ban on cryptocurrency advertisements in order to stop promotions that it sees as “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”; the policy, which will go into effect this June, prompted an immediate nine percent dip in Bitcoin’s value.

Privacy

Face Value: The video boards around many NASCAR race tracks use facial analytics software to scan viewers’ faces for valuable data on age, gender and how long audience members are looking at the screen; while the use of facial recognition software in video boards is a recent phenomenon, digital collection of demographic data has occurred at sports facilities in the past, especially at venue entrances.

Unfair Share? The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office required WhatsApp to sign an agreement declaring that it will not share EU user data with its parent company, Facebook, before the GDPR takes effect on May 25, 2018; other European countries have also expressed concerns about the company’s data sharing, including France which ordered WhatsApp to stop sharing user data last December.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Yahoo! Breach: A federal judge ordered that Yahoo! must face a lawsuit alleging the company reacted too slowly to data breaches that compromised the personal information of 3 billion Yahoo! users; the judge wrote that the “Plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to show that they would have behaved differently had defendants disclosed the security weaknesses of the Yahoo! Mail System.”

Intellectual Property

Wixen v. Spotify: As Spotify prepares for its IPO, the company is facing a $1.6 billion copyright infringement lawsuit from Wixen Publishing, a music publisher representing Tom Petty, Steely Dan, Neil Young, and other popular musicians; the complaint states Spotify repeatedly failed to acquire “mechanical licenses to reproduce and distribute musical compositions on its service.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Crackdown on Hate Speech: Despite receiving criticism for spreading hate speech in Myanmar, Facebook banned Britain First, an anti-Muslim political group, from its platform for violating rules designed to stop the incitement of hatred against minority groups; the ban comes a week after two Britain First’s leaders were convicted of hate crimes and months after President Trump retweeted the group’s anti-Muslim videos.

Right to Political Criticism:  The European Court of Human Rights held Spain wrongfully convicted two Catalans for publicly burning a photograph of the king and queen, stating that the act was justifiable political criticism and could not be “reasonably construed as incitement of hatred or violence”; the Spanish law banning the “glorification of terrorism” has also led to the arrest of social media users, rap musicians, filmmakers, and even two puppeteers, raising criticism from Amnesty International that the law was being used as part of a sustained attack on the freedom of expression.

Censorship on Ice: After supporters of Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak painted the ice on a frozen river in St. Petersburg with an anti-Putin slogan, the government agency Roskomnadzor ordered news groups to censor the contents of the message on ice in any reporting on the incident.

Practice Note

Arbitration through Blockchain: Miami Blockchain Group revealed the Smart Arbitration & Mediation Blockchain Application, the first blockchain application being developed specifically for the international dispute resolution community, at the 2018 Global Legal Institute for Peace Conference at the University of São Paulo; the developers claim that the first-of-its-kind blockchain application could help make international arbitration quicker and less expensive.

On The Lighter Side

The Art of the Troll:  Researchers from Stanford University confirmed what every Reddit user already knows: conflicts in Reddit forums follow a reliable enough pattern that they can be predicted before they happen.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Vatican Hosts Hackathon:  Last weekend the Vatican hosted VHacks, a 36-hour hackathon where a diverse group of participants focused on finding solutions to enhance social inclusion, promote interfaith dialogue, and help migrants and refugees obtain resources—issues prioritized by Pope Francis’ pontiff since the start of his papacy five years ago.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 9, 2018

Internet Governance

Commodify This: The U.S. District Court in Brooklyn held that “virtual currencies can be regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a commodity,” rejecting a defendant’s argument that he and his cryptocurrency trading advice company are outside the CFTC’s jurisdiction; the Court backed the CFTC’s determination that virtual currencies are commodities because they are “goods exchanged in a market for uniform quality and value,” the currencies fall within the common meaning of the word commodity, and the CFTC has broad discretion to interpret the federal law regulating commodities.

Smart Drones: Google partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense on a program called Project Maven to develop artificial intelligence that analyzes drone footage collected by the military; Google provides its TensorFlow application programming interfaces to help automatically identify objects in unclassified data and flag them for human review, raising ethical concerns about the development and use of machine learning.

Privacy

FBI Joins Geek Squad: The Electronic Frontier Foundation disclosed documents that show the FBI worked with the Best Buy’s Geek Squad technicians for over a decade to flag child pornography on devices sent in by customers for repairs; the documents reveal that FBI agents visited Best Buy to review images or videos to determine whether they are illegal content, paid the Geek Squad technicians for their assistance, seized the device for additional analysis to be carried out at a local FBI office, and, in some cases, would try to obtain a search warrant to justify the access. 

I Know What You Did After The Movies: MoviePass released a new app update removing its ability to track the location of customers after CEO Mitch Lowe revealed that the app was recording what customers were doing after leaving the movie theater.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Spy vs. Spy: After an entity known as “Shadow Brokers” released stolen information on NSA tools over a year ago, a group of Hungarian security researchers found that the NSA used a software called “Territorial Dispute” to track other nation-state hackers that were inside the same machines as the NSA; the researchers believe the tools were not intended to remove other spies’ malware from the target computer, but to alert NSA agents when they and others were attempting to hack the same system, allowing the NSA to pull back before the other hackers could spot them or steal the NSA hacking tools.  

Intellectual Property

Blackberry Gives Facebook Black Eye: Blackberry filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps, alleging that they copied a number of Blackberry Messenger’s security, user interface, and functionality-enhancing features

Trump Tweets About IP Theft: President Trump fired off a series of trade-related tweets aimed at China including one that read, “The U.S. is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. We cannot allow this to happen as it has for many years!” Observers believe that the tweet hearkens back to an order Trump signed in August authorizing an investigation into China for violation of U.S. intellectual property rights and signals a trade crackdown to come

Free Expression and Censorship

Free Speech for the French Far Right? Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right nationalist party, was charged in a French criminal court with distributing “violent messages that incite terrorism…or seriously harm human dignity” after she tweeted images of ISIS killings in response to a French expert comparing the National Front’s growing popularity to “jihadism.”

Bumble Bans Gun Show:  Following the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, dating app Bumble announced a new policy to remove images of firearms from the profiles of its nearly 30 million users; the policy will also extend to knives, but will exempt users in the military or law enforcement who post pictures of themselves carrying weapons while in uniform.

Practice Note

Uber Trouble: Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Consumer Protection filed a lawsuit against Uber for violating the state’s data breach laws by waiting a year to disclose the 2016 theft of 600,000 Uber drivers’ names and license numbers; the suit claims that Uber violated the Pennsylvania Breach of Personal Information Notification Act, which requires residents to be notified of a data breach within a “reasonable” period of time. 

On The Lighter Side

MoMA meets MoMAR: A collective of eight internet artists calling themselves MoMAR used augmented reality to create a guerilla art gallery in MoMA’s Jackson Pollack room without the museum’s permission.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

ePrivacy Reg. Better for U.S. Tech? In an open letter, European media, telecom and internet firms warned that the proposed EU ePrivacy regulations—aimed at regulating businesses providing online communication services, using online tracking technologies, or engaging in electronic direct marketing—will give U.S. tech giants more power over user data and lead European online-based industries to losses; the worry stems from the belief that U.S.-based tech companies will find ways to collect user data, while European firms will incur negative effects from limitations imposed on access to necessary information for user-connection and sector development.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

An Online Exorcise: In Italy, where the Vatican receives approximately 500,000 requests per year for exorcisms, several independent exorcism services are appearing online claiming to help people who are “speaking in unknown languages, discerning distant or hidden things, and displaying a physical strength that is at odds with the possessed person’s age or state of health.”


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 2, 2018

Internet Governance

House Passes ‘Sex-Trafficking’ Bill: A bipartisan coalition of House representatives passed a bill—“Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA)”—that would allow criminal and civil actions against websites that violate federal sex trafficking laws; proponents of the bill argue that it will reduce child sex trafficking, while critics, including sex worker advocates, contend that the bill limits free speech online.

FTC Loophole Closed: A federal court ruled that AT&T is subject to the jurisdiction of the FTC despite the company’s arguments that it is a common carrier and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the federal agency; the ruling allows the FTC’s lawsuit against AT&T to proceed and affirms the FTC’s authority to regulate broadband providers even when they offer separate common carrier services like landline or mobile phone service.

Privacy

Over 2 Million Links Forgotten: Google revealed in a company transparency report and research paper that it received requests to remove over 2.43 million URLs from its search results following the 2014 Court of Justice of the European Union “right to be forgotten” ruling; the “right to be forgotten” allows Europeans to request that search engine companies remove search results relating to their name if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing.”

Facebook Facial Recognition: A new Facebook notification alerts users to the platform’s increasingly comprehensive facial recognition features and directs them to a privacy page that details how to opt out of the system; the company’s notification comes on the heels of a federal ruling that Facebook will be subject to a class action lawsuit regarding its biometric data gathering and storage program.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Equifax Breach Continues: Equifax revealed an additional 2.5 million Americans were affected by last year’s massive data breach, bringing the grand total to 147.9 million people; the company said the newly identified consumers were not included in the original count because their social security numbers were not stolen—just their partial driver’s license information.  

Chinese iCloud Encryption: Last month, Apple announced that it will hand over management of its Chinese iCloud data to a Chinese state-owned firm called Cloud Big Data Industrial Development Co. in order to comply with new laws; Apple will also hold iCloud encryption keys for Chinese users in China itself, raising new concerns about government access to users’ data. 

Intellectual Property

Fox News v. TVEyes: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that media-monitoring service TVEyes violated copyright law by allowing its customers to watch video clips from Fox News, reversing a lower court’s decision that found TVEyes’ service was fair use; TVEyes failed to prove that its service was protected by the fair use doctrine because its redistribution of Fox News’ programming makes all of Fox’s copyrighted audiovisual content available to TVEyes’ customers and it “deprives Fox of revenue that properly belongs to the copyright holder.”

Free Expression and Censorship

China’s Social Media Crackdown: After the Chinese government announced its proposal to remove an article in its constitution that limits presidential terms to two five-year terms, negative reactions sparked the government’s crackdown on social media posts; “I don’t agree,” “migration,” “constitution amendment,” “proclaiming oneself an emperor,” and the letter “N”—the equivalent of the American “X”—were some of the terms blocked on the Chinese internet.

Ban on Hate Speech: YouTube banned the channel of American neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division for violating the site’s hate speech policies, which prohibit the promotion of violence toward or “inciting hatred” against specific races or religious groups; the ban follows criticism of YouTube for previously just demonetizing the propaganda videos and adding a warning about offensive content.

Practice Note

Patent-Agent Privilege: The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of an inventor and upended a trial court’s order that he turn over emails between himself and his nonlawyer patent agent, holding that the communications are privileged under the state’s evidence rules; the Court found that patent agents fall within Texas Evidence Rule 503’s definition of “lawyer” because they are authorized to practice law before the USPTO, thus allowing clients to “invoke the lawyer-client privilege to protect communications that fall within the privilege’s scope.”  

On The Lighter Side

Swab ‘n’ Swipe: An online dating startup that uses DNA to make matches proves it’s what’s on the inside that counts.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

CNIL Notifies Health Insurance Fund to Fix Data Security: The CNIL, France’s data protection authority, published a formal notice giving the National Fund for Health Insurance for Salaried Workers (CNAMTS), which handles France’s national healthcare database SNIIRAM, three months to “take any useful measure” to fully protect the security and confidentiality of individuals’ personal medical information after a review of data practices revealed deficiencies in safeguard and access procedures.

Apple 0—French Tax Activists 1: A Paris court dismissed Apple’s request for an injunction and rejected the firm’s request to fine protesters €150,000 or to impose damages if protests against Apple’s tax liabilities occurred again; Attac, a tax campaign group, previously organized demonstrations at Apple stores in Paris and Aix-en-Provence opposing Apple’s avoidance of tax obligations and has plans to continue protesting.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Milan Drone Fashion Week: As fashion week continues in major cities around the world, Dolce & Gabbana used drones, rather than humans, to present a line of handbags during the brand’s fashion show in Milan; the show was delayed by 45 minutes due to a malfunction and guests were asked to turn off the WiFi on their cellphones to eliminate interference issues.

It’s Russia, Again: A recent study by a Madrid-based company concluded that a state-controlled Russian news agency called Sputnik Italia, which promotes an anti-immigration viewpoint, directly affected Italians’ view of immigration last year, prompting concerns about Russian influence on the Italian election this weekend.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 23, 2018

Internet Governance

Cyber-Digital Task Force: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the creation of a Cyber-Digital Task Force to examine how the Justice Department can combat foreign interference in U.S. elections, deter attacks on American infrastructure, prevent online terrorist recruiting, and defend against cyber attacks targeting businesses and individuals; the order came days after special counsel Robert Mueller charged three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with conducting a criminal and espionage conspiracy campaign through social media to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Postcards from Facebook: Facebook will start sending postcards by U.S. mail to verify the identities and location of people purchasing advertisements related to U.S. elections; the postcards will contain a special code that advertisers who want to mention a specific candidate must give Facebook in order to prove that they are located in the U.S.

Privacy

Sham Mexican Spyware Inquiry: American officials rejected multiple requests from the Mexican government to help investigate whether Mexico used surveillance technology against human rights lawyers, academics, and journalists; American officials were concerned that Mexico has little interest in actually investigating the accusations and wants to use the U.S. as cover in a sham inquiry. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Clearer Cyber Risk Disclosure: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued updated guidance urging public companies to disclose cybersecurity risks promptly, develop policies to quickly assess cybersecurity risks, and prevent corporate insiders from trading in shares while a hack is being investigated and before it is disclosed; the guidance also prohibits companies from using internal or law enforcement investigation as a sole excuse “for avoiding disclosures of a material cybersecurity incident.” 

Beware of Business Email Compromise: IBM reports that hackers likely of Nigerian origin are engaged in a widespread credential harvesting, email phishing, and social engineering scam called Business E-mail Compromise, causing millions in losses for Fortune 500 companies; the attackers send fake invoices, impersonate high-ranking corporate officers, and target accounting or human resources staff to gather sensitive financial information—all while bypassing hacking safeguards by avoiding the use of malware.

Intellectual Property

Eyes on the Sky: Samsung has patented a drone that users will be able to control with their eyes, head, hands, or fingers in real time through an integrated display; the unit may also include features like voice recognition, GPS, and a Wi-Fi based positioning system.

Embedding Tweets May Infringe Copyright: A New York federal court ruled on a motion for summary judgment that embedding a tweet on a webpage could be considered copyright infringement—a decision that may have a far-reaching impact on social media and online publishing; the ruling arises out of a case in which a photographer accused online publications, including Breitbart, Time, and Yahoo, of copyright infringement for publishing articles that linked to a photo of Tom Brady originally shared on the photographer’s Snapchat.

Free Expression and Censorship

Bahrain Activist Sentenced for Tweets: A court in Bahrain sentenced democracy advocate Nabeel Rajab to five additional years in prison for tweets about prison conditions and the Saudi-led war in Yemen; Rajab’s sentence is the latest dissent-suppression move by the country’s royal family, which has previously used riot police, tanks, and arrests to silence critics.

Practice Note

What’s My Age Again? A federal judge struck down a California law requiring IMDb to remove age-related information at the subscriber’s request; U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria held that the two-month-old law is unconstitutional because 1) California failed to explore less-speech-restrictive alternatives before enacting the law; and 2) the law is not narrowly-tailored to achieve California’s goal of eliminating discrimination in the entertainment industry.

On The Lighter Side

Bitcoin Regret Club: Regret not investing in Bitcoin? Join the club! Enter a date and investment amount into this site to find out just how much you didn’t make.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

Is Tech the Key to Public Service Reform? France’s senior official in charge of public service reform plans to use data and AI, such as tax algorithms and conversational chatbots, to lower the cost of public services by reducing the number of employees needed for some services and allowing reinvestment in others; these changes, as well as an IT project investment fund of €700 million over the next five years, are part of Macron’s campaign pledge to cut €60 billion in public spending and 120,000 public sector jobs.

EU Encouraging Internet Platform Content Control: A leaked document revealed the European Commission’s draft of non-binding guidance for internet platforms to identify and remove terrorist content, seeking to test improvement of social media platforms’ responses to such content before deciding on legislation requiring removal; France’s technology policy diplomat said the country has been working closely with the Commission, Europol, and other leading countries to formulate this stronger approach.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Back to Life: Although not illegal, bots generating tweets and Facebook posts from dormant accounts are becoming active again, spreading repetitive messages about candidates in Italy’s upcoming election, and sparking concerns about the effect on voters.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 16, 2018

Internet Governance

FCC Supports SpaceX Satellite Internet: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urged the approval of an application by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use low Earth-orbit satellites to provide broadband services to Americans living in rural or hard-to-serve areas where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach.

YouTube’s Stricter Self-Regulation: Following a series of controversial videos by popular vlogger Logan Paul, YouTube released new policy changes that outline the company’s stricter approach to behavior it deems harmful to the YouTube community of “advertisers, the media industry, and…the general public”; though the new policies omit a definition of “harm,” they allow YouTube to stop recommending the channel’s videos and cut off the channel’s ability to serve ads and access premium monetization programs.

Privacy

Privacy Victory or Speech Suppression? YouTube and Instagram may be blocked in Russia unless they comply with a court order compelling the removal of 14 Instagram posts and seven YouTube videos that show Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko on a yacht with an alleged escort; though the court in Russia’s Krasnodar region held that the videos and posts violate Deripaska’s right to privacy, others, including anti-Kremlin campaigner Alexey Navalny, called the decision an “act of censorship.”

Private Facebook Accounts May Be Discoverable: The New York Court of Appeals ruled in a personal injury case that Facebook posts, videos, and messages “reasonably calculated” to contain “material and necessary” evidence may be discoverable even if the user’s Facebook account is set to private; Chief Judge Janet DiFiore explained that “[s]ome materials on a Facebook account may fairly be characterized as private, but even private materials may be subject to discovery if they are relevant.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

What’s Yours is Mine: The UK Information Commissioner’s Office took down its website following the revelation that it—along with some 4,000 other sites—was infected with a code that uses visitors’ computers to mine the cryptocurrency, Monero; security experts traced the crypto mining script to a website plug-in called Browsealoud, which helps blind people access the web and claims that the bug was only active for four hours on Sunday.  

Olympics Cyberattack: A yet-to-be-identified culprit launched a cyberattack on the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony; the attack downed internet access and telecasts, grounded broadcasters’ drones, and prevented spectators from printing out reservations for the ceremony thereby leading to an unusually high number of empty seats.

Intellectual Property

$6.75m for 5Pointz: U.S. District Judge Frederic Block awarded $6.75 million in damages to 21 artists whose graffiti work at 5Pointz warehouses was whitewashed by the buildings’ owner after a jury found that their artwork was protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act because of their “recognized stature”; the judge awarded the artists the maximum damages possible, stating the buildings’ owner “willfully” ruined the artwork and showed no remorse for his “recalcitrant behavior.”

Copyright Credits on Google Images: In exchange for a multi-year license for Getty Images’ photos, Google agreed to highlight copyright attribution on images and remove “view image” links for pictures to reduce the number of direct downloads; the agreement follows Getty’s competition law complaint against Google with the European Commission, which accuses Google of being a one-stop piracy shop, allowing users to easily download and view copyrighted photos.

Free Expression and Censorship

AI Blocks Extremism: The UK Home Office developed an AI program that can automatically detect 94% of online Islamic State propaganda with a 99.99% success rate by examining video content during the upload process and stopping it from reaching the internet; the tool’s development alerted large tech firms to take more meaningful action against extremist content and can help smaller companies that don’t have the resources to tackle the problem, but it also raises concerns about censorship and legal accountability for content removal.

India’s Press Crackdown: After a journalist in India wrote a story exposing a major privacy breach in a nationwide database of more than a billion Indians, supporters of India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, filed a police complaint accusing the journalist, her newspaper, and the alleged cyber criminals of forgery and other offenses punishable by 30 years in jail; India fell three spots on the World Press Freedom Index to 136, below Afghanistan and Myanmar, because of the growing censorship by Hindu nationalists.

On The Lighter Side

The Sound of Silence: A new app helps diners in San Francisco (and soon New York, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.) avoid noisy restaurants.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

WhatsApp at Work in Advance of GDPR: Seeking GDPR compliance, WhatsApp created a new feature—to be enabled by May 25th and extended to Facebook and Instagram—allowing users to download individual personal data directly from the app to give them “more control over their data…ensuring more protection, transparency, and uniformity”; WhatsApp’s privacy development follows the French data protection authority’s formal notice to the messaging app to stop sharing user data with Facebook, its parent company, within one month.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Cryptocurrency Maybe Not So Secure: Hackers stole 170 million units of Nano, a cryptocurrency forming part of the Italian cryptocurrency exchange, BitGrail, raising concerns about the security of cryptocurrency exchanges, especially lesser known exchanges which may not have proper cybersecurity defenses.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP