CLIP-ings: January 19, 2018

Internet Governance

The State of Net Neutrality: A coalition of twenty-two attorney generals around the country filed a petition for review of the FCC’s recent repeal of the net neutrality rules arguing that the FCC’s decision was “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion” and that it preempted state and local laws.

Revenge Porn Damages: In a landmark civil privacy suit, the United Kingdom’s High Court of Justice awarded American YouTube star Chrissy Chambers substantial damages against an ex-boyfriend for breach of confidence, misuse of private information, and harassment, after he uploaded videos of the couple having sex to a porn site.

Privacy

Face-Off: The wildly popular Google Arts & Culture app, which matches users’ selfies to historical artworks, is blocked for many residents of Texas and Illinois because of state privacy laws that ban the collection of biometric data, such as “face geometry,” without a user’s consent.

Health App Data = Murder Evidence? In Germany, Apple’s Health app—which records a user’s steps, nutrition, sleep patterns and heart rate—provided critical evidence in the trial of a refugee accused of killing a medical student by locating the accused’s movements, and recording two spikes in physical activity on the day in question, which the app identified as “climbing stairs.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Lebanese Spy Agency Phone Hack: Mobile security firm Lookout and digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported this week that Lebanon’s intelligence service may have used phishing attacks to turn the Android smartphones of thousands of targeted users into monitoring devices through which they could steal victims’ data undetected.

Lawmaker Requests Briefs on Microchip Flaws: Ongoing concern about the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws in microchips that could allow hackers to steal data from most computers and devices prompted California Representative Jerry McNerney to request briefings on the vulnerabilities from microchip makers including Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices, and Softbank-owned Arm Holdings.

Intellectual Property

Competition Over Digital Movies:  After Disney’s motion for a preliminary injunction to block Redbox from selling digital movies at its kiosks, Redbox filed an opposition to the injunction arguing that the case is Disney’s attempt to diminish competition for its digital streaming service and invoking the first-sale doctrine as support for the lack of merit in the suit.

TWiT v. Twitter: Internet broadcaster This Week in Tech (“TWiT”) sued Twitter alleging Twitter breached written and oral agreements and is infringing on TWiT’s trademark by setting plans to deliver original, premium video content exclusively from its platform; in its suit TWiT alleges that in 2007 Twitter’s co-founder Evan Williams agreed with a TWiT creator that Twitter would not expand into audio or visual under its brand, and thus allowed both brands to co-exist.

Free Expression and Censorship

Phillipines’ Press Crackdown: The Philippines’ government revoked the corporate registration of Rappler, an independent online news site that has reported aggressively on President Rodrigo Duterte’s troll army and police abuses in the government’s war on drugs, further emphasizing the issue of press freedom in the Philippines.

Practice Note

Ninth Circuit Ruling on Automated Downloads: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held this week in Oracle v. Rimini Street that the download of online data in violation of the host’s terms of use did not violate California’s Comprehensive Data Access and Fraud Act.

On The Lighter Side

Drone Saves Lives: A drone used for shark-spotting saved two swimmers caught in Australian rough seas by tracking the stranded duo a half-a-mile from shore and dropping them a flotation device.


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:

5G Test Phase: Arcep, France’s telecommunications regulator, will begin issuing temporary authorizations to use 5G-related frequencies to gather information on the “benefits and usage” of the mobile internet; the country’s five largest telecom operators purchased permits to be the first to use the frequencies, but Arcep’s chairman wants to avoid a “hasty allocation” without fully understanding the new technology.

Au Revoir, English Tech: Resisting the ubiquity of English words in the French language, the Journal officiel de la République française published alternatives to tech-related phrases such as “dark net” (“internet clandestin”) and “hashtag” (“mot-dièse”); most recently, the Commission for Enrichment of the French Language recommended use of the term “mobile multifunction” instead of “smartphone.”

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

No Pictures Please! As part of divorce proceedings involving the boy’s parents, a Roman court held that the mother is subject to a €10,000 fine if she posts Facebook pictures of her 16 year-old son without the son’s consent; under Italian law, the image’s copyright belongs to the subject rather than the photographer.


Job and Fellowship Opportunities

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

Summer 2018 Law, Policy & Technologist Intern at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)

Summer interns work closely with CDT policy experts, technologists, and attorneys on an array of civil liberties and international human rights issues related to technology and the internet, including online free expression, electronic surveillance, digital copyright, cybersecurity, internet governance, and consumer privacy.

For more information see here. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until March 15, 2018.

Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is hiring a communications associate, policy counsel and policy fellow.

The Future of Privacy Forum brings together industry, academics, consumer advocates, and other thought leaders to explore the challenges posed by technological innovation and develop privacy protections, ethical norms and workable business practices. The positions may be done on a part-time basis by current law students or recent graduates.

For more information about the specific positions, follow the links directly above.

Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT*) Conference is looking for volunteers.

The FAT* Conference, which brings together researchers and practitioners interested in fairness, accountability, and transparency in socio-technical systems, is looking for student volunteers to help with check-in, registration, and other logistics. There may also be an opportunity to prepare a write-up of the conference. Volunteers will be able to attend both days of the conference for free.

The conference will take place on February 23-24 from 8 AM-5 PM at NYU Law School.

If you’re interested in serving as a student volunteer, please send Amanda Levendowski (levendowski@nyu.edu) a short email expressing your interest, providing your availability during the conference, and saying a few words about why you’d like to be a student volunteer by Friday, January 19 at 8 PM.

ATRIP Essay Competition 2017 for Young Researchers in Intellectual Property Law

ATRIP is currently accepting essays for its annual competition for young researchers in intellectual property law. The paper may pertain to any topic related to intellectual property law.

For more information see here. Entries should be submitted to admin@atrip.org  no later than February 15, 2018.

Please feel free to send us any position announcements at CLIP@law.fordham.edu CLIP@law.fordham.edu.


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: January 5, 2018

Internet Governance

Mobile-Friendly Government: Congress passed the Connected Government Act requiring all federal agencies to ensure “to the greatest extent possible” that websites aimed at public use are mobile-friendly; the act aims to keep up with technological advances and enhance citizen engagement.

France v. Fake News: Emmanuel Macron, France’s President, expressed his desire to implement a new law intended to curb the rise of “fake news” by requiring websites to disclose funding sources, capping the money websites may receive from sponsored content, and authorizing the French government to block websites promoting fake news.

Privacy

WeChat Virtual ID: The Guangzhou government in China launched a pilot program allowing users of the smartphone app WeChat to use the app’s virtual identification to apply for government services and register in hotels without the need to present a physical ID card; the app uses facial recognition and machine-learning technology to verify applicants before their virtual ID cards get authorized.

Privacy Web: The New York Times uncovered that some apps, including children’s apps, employ a software allowing it to use a smartphone’s microphone to track audio signals while the app is in use, whether prominent or in the background, allowing the app to identify and aggregate the audio to sell to advertisers who use the information to better target their ads; the software company contends that the program does not detect human speech and that its practice is detailed in its privacy policy which consumers “knowingly” opt in to.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Internal Data Breach: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suffered a data breach affecting more than 240,000 current and former employees; DHS claims the breach was not a “cyber-attack by external actors” but rather stemmed from an unauthorized copy of the department’s “investigative case management system” held by a former employee.

Aadhaar Access For One, and For All: Aadhaar, the largest identification system in the world containing numerically identifying codes connected to Indian residents’ personally identifiable information, has been accused of being compromised after Indian journalists contend that they paid eight Indian rupees to access the database from a man on WhatsApp.

Intellectual Property

Typo-Targeting Injunction: A German court issued a preliminary injunction against Amazon ordering it to stop displaying ads of knock-offs of Birkenstock shoes to shoppers entering misspellings of the brand on Google.

Spotify’s A Billy Problem: Wixen Music Publishing sued Spotify in a California court alleging that Spotify failed to secure the proper licenses for music streamed on its platform by making “insufficient efforts” to “identify the rights holders of songs it licenses from labels” further emphasizing the issue of splitting streaming rights compensation between labels and publishing companies.

Free Expression and Censorship

Preventing Adpocalypse: Dissatisfied with YouTube’s lack of regulation of its online content, JP Morgan developed an in-house algorithm using YouTube’s API aimed at ensuring that the bank’s online ads do not appear in videos not in line with its brand. 

Iran’s Internet Crackdown: In an effort to control nationwide protests, the Iranian government blocked access to various online applications including Telegram, the nation’s most used app for private encrypted messaging, forcing users to turn to “proxies to circumvent the ban or to using WhatsApp,” which has yet to be blocked.

On The Lighter Side

Psychedelic Funk: AI would not have fared well in the 1970s.


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

CLIP-ings: December 22, 2017

Internet Governance

We’re Dreaming of a New Internet? Following the FCC’s vote last week to repeal the 2015 “Net Neutrality” rules, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee aims to introduce a new bill to implement some regulation towards ISPs; critics contend that while the legislation would ban ISPs from blocking or slowing web traffic it does not ban “fast lanes” and limits the FCC’s ability to regulate broadband networks.

Uber, Your Taxi is Arriving: The EU Court of Justice ruled Uber as a “transport service” and not an “information society service,” thus allowing the EU jurisdictions where Uber operates to enforce transport laws and regulations upon the company; Uber argued that it was merely an “e-commerce platform that facilitates rides,” and while the Court did acknowledge that Uber was “an intermediary service between drivers and riders,” it ultimately ruled that the company was inherently linked to a transport service due to the indispensability of the app to the drivers and riders and Uber’s control over the service provided.

Facebook in Fritz: Following the French data protection authority’s order to WhatsApp to stop sharing its user data with Facebook, Germany’s competition authority, the Bundeskartellamt, made a preliminary finding labeling Facebook’s data collection from third parties as abusive; while the finding is preliminary and Facebook will have an opportunity to comment and provide justifications for its conduct, the finding acts as a warning to Facebook about its data aggregation practices.

Privacy

Privacy at the Border: A new report from Georgetown Law criticizes the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) biometric exit pilot program—which uses facial recognition technology to identify passengers leaving on international flights—for its scope, execution, and accuracy; the report called the system an “invasive surveillance tool,” highlighted the system’s high rate of error, and criticized the DHS’s implementation of the program for not following the proper federal rulemaking procedures.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

You Be Gone: Youbit, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, filed for bankruptcy following a hack earlier this week where the company lost 17% of all its assets, with the company informing that during bankruptcy proceedings its customers would receive around 75% of the value held in the exchange; this was the second hack for the company in less than eight months with the first hack incurring losses of around 4,000 bitcoins.

Intellectual Property

Let Them Eat Sorbet: In a dispute between Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, a lobbying group to protect the champagne mark, and Aldi, a supermarket chain, the EU Court of Justice issued a judgment stating that if sorbet, “has, as one of its essential characteristics, a taste attributable primarily to champagne,” it may be described as such and perhaps not interfere with champagne’s status as a “protected designation of origin”; the case was ultimately remanded back to the lower court to decide whether Aldi violated any laws by marketing the sorbet with the champagne mark.

Free Expression and Censorship

Rohingya Online: The Rohingya, a persecuted ethnic minority in Myanmar, will have its language included in the next version of Unicode—the international standard for digitally encoding characters and symbols—allowing the Rohingya to communicate through smartphones and computers; digitizing the language will support the humanitarian response to the current crisis and ultimately preserve the Rohingya’s identity and culture.

On The Lighter Side

Holiday Snooze: If your Facebook friends’ holiday over-sharing becomes an issue, use this new feature.


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

CLIP-ings: December 15, 2017

Internet Governance

NYC Against the Machine: The New York City Council approved a first-of-its-kind bill to create a task force made up of various fairness, accountability, transparency and non-profit experts to review NYC agencies’ use of algorithms; the task force will develop a set of recommendations addressing when and how to make the algorithms public, how to assess the algorithms’ biases, the impact of such biases, and how to document and archive the algorithms and their training data.

The Net Dynamic Duo: As the FCC works towards repealing the Obama-era Open Internet Order, it released a Memo of Understanding detailing how the agency along with the FTC will share jurisdiction over ISPs and meet regularly to discuss open investigations against ISPs; the memo highlights the ISPs’ required disclosures, the FCC’s role—to monitor broadband market entry barriers, review consumer complaints, and take actions for improper public disclosure of any throttling, blocking or prioritization practices—and the FTC’s role in regulating ISPs for “marketing, advertising or promotional activities deemed deceptive, unfair or unlawful.”

Privacy

(Major)ity Report: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wants to implement sophisticated biometrics authentication to its visa, green card, and naturalization programs in an effort to prevent fraud and save money in labor costs; the agency “expects formal rules on the use of voice, iris and rapid DNA identification by March 2019” and hopes to use the biometrics data to authenticate users online and in person and to verify familial links.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Starbucks’ Little Secret: A customer in a Starbucks store in Argentina found that the store had a ten-second delay when allowing patrons to connect to the in-store Wi-Fi which the store used to mine cryptocurrencies using the customer’s laptop; Starbucks announced that it had addressed the issue but a cybersecurity expert highlights this as an example of the risks incurred when using public Wi-Fi networks.

Searchable Dump: In the largest data dump to date, over 1.4 billion email addresses and unencrypted passwords have been found in an underground community forum with the anonymous compiler accepting cryptocurrency donations to allow downloads of the data; the data dump features search tools and scripts to import the data into databases thus simplifying the accessibility and usage of the information.

Intellectual Property

Conventional: A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California found in favor of San Diego’s Comic-Con (SDCC) in its trademark action against the founders of Salt Lake City’s Comic Con over their use of “Comic Con” in describing the Utah event; SDCC argued that “Comic-Con” was a brand name while defendants argued that the mark had been diluted.

Free Expression and Censorship

Ask Your Parents, Please: As part of a newly proposed French data privacy bill, the French government aims to require parental approval before children under the age of 16 open a social media account despite concerns about the enforceability of such requirement.

“Alt-Tech” Flaws: As mainstream sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube increase the monitoring of online hate speech and suspend users from their platforms, alternative online sites have emerged to allow the Alt-Right movement to express their views without being censored; however, the sites are far from the “alt-tech” dream due to technical inferiorities caused by lack of available resources with many of the sites having few users, “long load times, broken links, and frequent error messages.”

Practice Note

Judge, Do Not Google That: According to a new ABA ethics opinion, judges may risk violating ethical rules if they conduct online research for “adjudicative facts”­—facts concerning the parties or the subject matter of the ligation at hand—but judges may still conduct online legal research for cases not cited by the parties and for facts subject to judicial notice because they are generally known and not subject to reasonable dispute; the opinion further contends that a judge’s online research of a lawyer in a case may be allowed if done “merely to become familiar with counsel” or to determine the lawyer’s status to practice in the jurisdiction but may not be allowed if a judge’s “independent research about a lawyer…is done to affect the judge’s weighing or considering [of] adjudicative facts.”

On The Lighter Side

Netflix 1984: Netflix reminds some users that it is always watching their every move.


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

CLIP-ings: December 8, 2017

Internet Governance

Crypto Quandary: The SEC’s Cyber Unit arm filed its first-ever charges against PlexCorps alleging the company’s ICO, which raised over $15 million dollars, failed to adhere to U.S. securities law by making unrealistic return rates promises and was “a fraud aimed at enriching” the company’s executives; Canada had previously prohibited PlexCorps from “engaging in unregistered offering of PlexCoin Tokens.”

Fighting News Misinformation: In an effort to protect its national press and advertising quality, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced plans to examine Facebook and Google to understand the companies’ influence on the content produced by Australian journalists.

Privacy

“Creepy Cayla”: In anticipation of gift-giving season, the CNIL, the French data protection agency, issued a formal notice to Genesis Industries Ltd., a toymaker, targeting the company’s lack of security in two Bluetooth-enabled toys with the agency claiming that the lack of a PIN and the ability to easily communicate with the child through the toys violate Article 1 of the French Data Protection Act; the toys in question have been outlawed in Germany and consumers in the U.S. have filed complaints against the toymaker with the FTC.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

NiceHack: NiceNash, a cryptocurrency company, announced via its Facebook page that the contents of its digital wallet were stolen in a major security breach; the company has yet to release whether any customers’ bitcoins were part of the breach but speculators say that the hackers misappropriated value over $63 million dollars.

Intellectual Property

Our Brand, Our Rules: The European Court of Justice ruled in favor of Coty, Inc., the parent company of brands such as Calvin Klein and Chloe, allowing it to enforce a selective distribution system banning Parfümerie Akzente, a German distributor, from selling Coty’s products on third-party platforms such as Amazon, thus preserving Coty’s control of its brands’ images and its high-end pricing strategy; in its ruling the Court stated that if selective distribution systems are “mainly intended to preserve the ‘luxury image’ of those [goods],” and are applied uniformly and non-discriminatorily, the systems do not breach EU competition law.

iMine: The European General Court upheld the EU Intellectual Property Office’s decision to not allow Xiaomi, Inc., a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, from registering the trademark “Mi Pad” for its tablet computers due to a likelihood of consumer confusion between Xiaomi’s tablet and Apple’s iPad.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Ban: Following the recent wave of social media posts about sexual harassment, many women comedians are accusing Facebook of banning them from the social media site for posting comments about men that Facebook views as threats and hate speech towards a protected group.

Practice Note

CDA Section 230: In Dyroff v. The Ultimate Software Group, Inc., the Northern District of California ruled that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunized the Experience Project’s website from liability arising from an overdose death one of its users suffered from drugs purchased through connections made on the website; the Court held that Section 230 protected the company from all claims except the failure-to-warn claim, with the Court ultimately deciding that the website did not have a duty to warn the user due to a lack of a “special relationship.”

On The Lighter Side

DroneUI: If you’re planning on flying a drone while drinking, avoid doing so in New Jersey.


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:

Pioneer Blockchain Project Incorporates in France: ARK Ecosystem, one of the first blockchain projects to incorporate in the EU, chose France’s unique General Interest Cooperative (SCIC) process as the most compatible legal framework for its decentralized, global cryptocurrency adoption project; as an SCIC, ARK can have an executive and community shareholder management structure without having to redistribute its cryptocurrency funds as earnings.

French Agency Provides Free Privacy Accountability Software: The French data protection authority (CNIL) released the beta version of a user-friendly data protection tool in development since 2015; the software is freely licensed and gives data controllers contextual knowledge based directly on the GDPR and the CNIL’s Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) process, and will improve through community development of new features and feedback so that organizations can achieve compliance when the GDPR comes into effect in 2018.

Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

“Web Tax” Will Pass: As part of an amendment to Italy’s 2018 budget law, the Senate budget committee in Italy has approved a proposal for a “web tax” which is aimed at taxing multinational companies like Google and Facebook for digital services, like advertising, which are otherwise untaxed; the proposal will be further delineated in April of next year, after parliament’s expected approval by the end of this year.

This is Uber Bad:  After the recent revelation of a massive hack of Uber, in which 57 million users had their personal data stolen and Uber paid the hackers $100,000 to keep the breach a secret, the data protection authorities of each EU Member State came together last week to form a task force which will determine how to penalize the company.

 


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

Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellow, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: December 1st, 2017

Internet Governance

Inter(Net)ional Influencers: As the fight over net neutrality wages on, the Federal Communications Commission’s final decision will have reverberating effects around the world as this decision will likely influence how developing nations approach their internet policies moving forward; yet, India’s Telecommunications Agency has taken a different approach by denouncing “discriminatory treatment” in internet access within their borders.

Border Brawn: As part of the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s augmented “Visa Lifecycle Vetting” program, and despite concerns from privacy advocates, the agency is calling on major software companies to develop algorithms to assess threats posed by U.S. visa holders and to surveil the social media of persons deemed high risk.

Privacy

Will ENOUGH be Enough? This week, the bipartisan Ending Nonconsensual Online User Graphic Harassment (ENOUGH) Act of 2017 was introduced with the hope of providing the Justice Department with the necessary tools to prosecute revenge porn perpetrators and creating federal criminal liability for revenge porn, which now affects 1 in 25 Americans.

DNcrAy: Senator Chuck Schumer is asking the Federal Trade Commission to review the lack of regulation of consumer DNA testing companies, which can claim ownership of DNA, allow third parties to access it, and make DNA vulnerable to hackers, and which the Food and Drug Administration only regulates in a limited capacity.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Unveiling Uber: This week, the leads of the congressional committees on technology,  finance, telecommunications, and data security sent Uber executives a series of questions regarding their recently unveiled data breach cover-up, specifically asking why consumers were informed so long after the attack.

Web Watch: A new study has identified almost 500 of the world’s top 50,000 websites, including Home Depot and CBS News, which engage in “session replay,” a technique that records users’ keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior and may compromise sensitive user information.

Intellectual Property

Patent Predicament: The Supreme Court appears divided over the constitutionality of a 2011 law that allows the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to hear patent challenges, with supporters claiming that the PTAB hearings make it easier to go after patent trolls and critics arguing that the PTAB is improperly replacing the federal courts.

Free Expression and Censorship

Working Hard or Hardly Working? This week YouTube has been on its toes as it worked to fix a hack of its autocompleted search results, based on frequently searched terms, which previously allowed for suggestions of auto-completed terms relating to obscene acts with children; meanwhile, YouTube also froze brand advertisements on obscene videos of children after the company received requests from big-name brands to remove their ads from such content.

Practice Note

Balancing Act: In an effort to avoid patent licensing disputes, the European Commission has issued licensing guidelines aiming to strike a balance between the interests of patent owners and users, with the final draft removing both a requirement for owners to categorically provide licenses and a requirement for users to pay different rates to use patents.

On The Lighter Side

Mechanical Mentor: A mechanical female falcon now patrols the airspace around the Alberta, Canada airport to scare and herd birds away from the airport and teach them to fly in less dangerous areas.


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:

Numerous Trackers Found in Android Apps: Security researchers at French nonprofit Exodus Privacy built a custom auditing platform to find tracking software in more than 300 apps for Android’s smartphone operating systems, with capabilities to target users based on third-party data, identify offline movement through machine learning, track behavior across devices, and correlate users; researchers at Yale Privacy Lab are working to replicate the Exodus findings and believe many of the trackers also exist on iOS, as many companies distribute for both platforms.

 


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

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: November 17th, 2017

Internet Governance

AG Action: This week Missouri’s Attorney General (AG) issued subpoenas demanding information from Google in its investigation into Google’s possible violation of Missouri’s consumer protection and antitrust laws, although it is unclear as to whether this is a publicity stunt or if other state AGs will follow suit.

Efficient Emergencies: After a decade of resistance from wireless phone carriers, the FCC is calling for the carriers to improve geographic specificity of pinpoint emergency alerts from the county level to the cell tower level, with the eventual goal of tying the alerts to individual cell phone users within a triangulated location, utilizing technology similar to that of Uber.

Rules on Review: In response to criticism that federal agencies withheld cybersecurity flaws uncovered during previous vulnerability reviews, White House officials have released new rules that detail how the agencies should consider whether to disclose or keep secret any detected vulnerabilities.

Privacy

Pill.0: The Food and Drug Administration has approved use of the first digital pill fitted with an ingestible sensor that transmits data to an app via a patch worn by the user, allowing patients to share dosage information with their doctors but raising concerns that access to such intimate data can have repercussions for the doctor-patient relationship.

Dirt Box Detailing: Last year the state of Texas paid $373,000 to outfit cellphone surveillance technology called Digital Receiver Technology or “dirt boxes” to Texas National Guard planes as a part of an anti-drug trafficking operation; this software is more powerful than Stingray technology as it can mimic cell towers, connect to every smartphone in the geographic area beneath it, and collect private data from those smartphones, such as location data and the content of cell phone calls.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hacking the Hostiles: A group of Muslim hackers has infiltrated ISIS’s propaganda network and published a list of almost two thousand email subscribers, striking another blow to ISIS’s online presence as part of a broader movement of activist groups targeting and dismantling ISIS websites and servers and spreading disinformation among its online base.

North Korea’s Cobra: The Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team  has issued a warning about the North Korean government’s cyber attacks, collectively called “Hidden Cobra” and IP addresses strongly believed to be linked to the attacks, which were used to attack the U.S. telecommunications, aerospace, and finance industries.

Intellectual Property

Patent for Payments: MasterCard has filed a patent for a blockchain-like system that will use a variant of the blockchain ledger to guarantee money transfers in an effort to speed up transaction times and instantly store and manage international transactions.

Free Expression and Censorship

Fake-Checkers: Despite announcing coordinated efforts to slow the spread of misinformation, Facebook’s fact-checkers are claiming that the campaigns are not proceeding as planned, citing the lack of data provided on the impact of their work, the fact that fake information is continuing to go viral, and the disadvantages of using third-party fact-checkers.

Faking Freedom: Freedom House released a detailed report on the state of internet freedom across the globe, highlighting that at least 30 countries engage in digital manipulation to distort the digital perception in their favor, that this digital interference has affected elections in 18 nations, and that the unfortunate consequence of 14 countries attempting to mitigate this problem has been reduced internet freedom within their borders.

Practice Note

Digital Dilemma: Settling an estate of a deceased loved one has become increasingly difficult because many live a portion of their lives online, but trust and estate attorneys recommend taking extra precautions to address your digital life in your will or that of a client, such as granting your executor and power of attorney access to your digital life, creating online password and email managers allowing for access by an emergency contact upon your death, recording all online banking and financing information, choosing legacy contacts for social media accounts, and deciding who inherits ownership rights of digital assets like photos and music.

On The Lighter Side

Faith in Phones: Churchgoers at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral are using their phones to shop, check email, and take photos and videos during services, even after Pope Francis called for phones to be left at home in a recent address from the Vatican.


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:

Paris Joins European Sister Cities, Regulates Airbnb: Effective January 2018, Airbnb will automatically require hosts to comply with a 120-day cap per year on short-term rentals in Paris, the app’s biggest single market, amidst global criticism and claims that rental platforms are raising property prices and causing housing shortages in popular cities; the limit will only apply to Paris’ four major tourist districts, but the mayor’s housing advisor thinks it should apply to all of Paris.

Policing Traffic from the Sky: Police in southwest France are using drones to patrol drivers, as the flying machines’ cameras deliver a live-stream to police on the ground so that they can cover wide areas and track specific vehicles; the government wants to expand the operation, which stops between 15 and 20 cars an hour but cannot yet detect drivers breaking the speed limit.

Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

There’s an App for That: From December 4-6, 2017, Milan will host Europe’s first mobile and digital app convention, bringing together top speakers from popular apps such as BlaBlaCar, Deliveroo, and Moovit, who will discuss mobile cybersecurity, big data, robots, and other topics related to the way that the app economy has altered consumption of information and products online.

Online Monitoring Leads to Deportation: A woman living in Milan with her parents and three younger brothers has been deported after her internet activity, including messages sent through an instant messaging software called Telegram, revealed that she was ready to “carry out a suicide attack in Italy” on behalf of Daesh.


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

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: November 10th, 2017

Internet Governance

Initial Celebrity Offerings: This week the Securities and Exchange Commission warned celebrities and media personalities to stop promoting initial coin offerings on social media because the failure to “disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion” of these possible securities is unlawful and a violates of anti-touting laws and possibly anti-fraud rules.

Trafficking Triumph: After a group of major internet companies reached a compromise with the government to support increased crackdowns on websites involved in sex trafficking in exchange for protection from a potential floodgate of litigation, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee voted to amend a section of the Communications Decency Act to include the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

Privacy

Photo Fears: Facebook has announced a pilot program aimed at potential victims of revenge porn in which users voluntarily upload nude photos of themselves to create a digital footprint; the company claims that doing so will prevent future uploads of any copies of the photo, but raises concerns that the images might not be permanently deleted even if Facebook claims that they will not be stored.

Rogue Ratios: Silicon Valley’s technology companies have a peculiar habit of providing low level employees with high level access, providing opportunities such as the recent temporary deactivation of President Trump’s Twitter account by a rogue and disgruntled employee; with employee to customer ratios like 1:84,658 for Twitter and 1:89,358 for Facebook, the value of each individual user is diminished and the potential for abuse is increased.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Mysterious Methods: In a security hearing before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer admitted that the company still lacks specifics about tactics used in a Russian state-sponsored cyberattack that compromised three billion Yahoo! user accounts beginning in 2013.

Data Dangers: Not all enterprises read the terms of service agreements when they begin using various cloud services providers, making them unaware of whether their service provider has the consented-upon right to scan through their company’s stored data and documents.

Intellectual Property

Hijacking the Home: A Delaware judge has issued a preliminary injunction against Ring Protect, forcing it to temporarily cease sales of technology used in its home security platform because it purchased this technology that was originally developed for ADT.

Copyright Cash: A music tech startup called Kobalt, known for its platform that allows artists to track plays of their music and collect royalties, has launched a $600 million fund to buy music copyrights and collect royalties on those rights that allow the company to raise additional funds for its business.

Free Expression and Censorship

Controlled Content: YouTube Kids has redesigned the functionality of its website to provide parents with more controls to protect their kids from inappropriate content, such as allowing the children’s accounts to be connected to the parent’s administrator account, turning off the searching feature, and setting passcodes to prevent parental control settings from being changed.

No-Chill China: Despite blocking access to Facebook for its citizens, the Chinese government and its state media agencies are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on content posted on Facebook to disseminate pro-China news and propaganda focused on the country’s stability and prosperity and aimed at audiences outside its borders.

Practice Note

Mo’ Money Mo’ Influence: Efforts to prevent Russia’s covert influence via social media may benefit from utilizing the lessons learned in developing anti-money laundering laws, as both activities thrive in the shadows and utilize legitimate enterprise facades, specifically by enforcing transparency and accountability as to the source of the information, as was the case with anti-money laundering laws.

On The Lighter Side

35,000 Tweet: As many Twitter users react to the company’s decision to double the potential length of a tweet to 280 characters, one user was able to sidestep Twitter’s automatic link shortening tools and post a 35,000-character tweet that has since been deleted.


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:

Tech is Integral to Social Business Success in France: Social entrepreneurship is a growing movement in France, supported politically by President Macron and financially by private individuals and global NGOs, that capitalizes on the tech community to allow immigrants to participate as economic contributors; projects include apps that use peer participation and artificial intelligence to make the administrative visa process more efficient, communication platforms for interested volunteers, and training programs to develop social ventures.

France Welcomes the ‘Robo-Taxi’: French startup Navya Technologies will soon begin testing its “robo-taxi” in Paris, a vehicle constructed as a wholly autonomous system rather than modeling the functions of an existing car; Navya will begin sales in the third quarter of 2018 and intends to develop a complete line-up of autonomous vehicles, but potential buyers ranging from Uber to Apple already have their own autonomous car-development plans.

Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Extra! Extra! (Don’t) Read All About It! Under a new proposed bill in Italy, police officers listening to wiretapped conversations relevant to trials will only be permitted to pass “relevant” parts of the conversations to prosecutors, leaving transcripts not deemed “relevant” sealed; the bill represents a government effort to prohibit the media from publishing supposedly irrelevant news bits to sensationalize trials and attract readers with flashy, albeit misleading, headlines which could ultimately harm trials and destroy reputations.

 


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

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: November 3rd, 2017

Internet Governance

PrIoriTy: A study revealed that 90% of consumers lack confidence in the security of internet of things (IoT) devices, which is likely a valid concern as only 11% of IoT manufacturers’ budgets are spent on securing these devices; meanwhile to better protect consumers, Congress recently introduced the Cyber Shield Act of 2017, which would give the Secretary of Commerce the power to create a program to grade and certify the security measures of IoT devices.

Bye Bye Bitcoin: The State Bank of Vietnam has banned the issuance, supply, and use of cryptocurrency by imposing fines of up to $9,000 to anyone who transacts in virtual currency in a move similar to China’s cryptocurrency ban earlier this year.

Privacy

PrivaSEA: A new bill proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives called the Border Security for America Act would among other programs establish a biometric exit data system at U.S. airports, seaports, and land ports, leading a privacy research center to express concern that the enhanced surveillance will have implications for the privacy of American citizens.

Troubled Tweets: From June to September 2016, Twitter ran a campaign with commercial data firms using content posted on Twitter to permanently delete user data in an effort to halt Russian interference in the U.S. elections, amid criticism and even pleas not to do so from information and cybersecurity experts.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Compromising the Queen: An unencrypted USB-stick found in London’s famous Kensal Green cemetery contained many “confidential” and “restricted” documents detailing security arrangements for London’s Heathrow Airport, including the route of the Queen when she travels through the airport.

Secure Census? While the 2020 U.S. Census will be the first to make use of 43 electronic systems to collect data, none of these systems have received the required security certification, the code used to tabulate the data is still in development, and the U.S. Census Bureau is being urged to carefully test the systems for security defects as soon as possible.

Mayday Malay: The Malaysian government is investigating an Equifax-caliber data breach believed to have affected almost everyone living in the country; hackers obtained data from over 46 million mobile phone subscribers and attempted to sell the information to criminals seeking to create fraudulent identities.

Intellectual Property

Candy Copy: Luxury candy company Sugarfina has sued a local candy store for allegedly copying the design and packaging of its signature “Candy Bento Boxes,” claiming that the local shop stands to gain from imitating the distinctive elements of the company’s IP portfolio.

Photo Feud: CBS has sued a photojournalist for publishing still images from a former CBS television show on social media allegedly to retaliate, after the photojournalist sued CBS for publishing two of his photographs without his permission earlier this year.

Free Expression and Censorship

Misinformed Myanmar? Human rights organizations are condemning Facebook’s reliance on its community standards to police the spread of misinformation about the Rohingya people within Myanmar, a country that primarily utilizes Facebook as a “de facto internet,” as these postings have heavily contributed to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.  

Practice Note

Licenses with Latitude: The multitude of information posted online frequently begs the question of who owns the content that is posted; each user is the content’s copyright owner, yet the sites enjoy wide discretion in using the posts because of the licensing agreements that each user affirms in the “terms and conditions” of the site.

On The Lighter Side

Sharp Seniors: In honor of the worldwide The Hour of Code initiative, student volunteers in Singapore taught seniors, aged 50 and above, how to code in hopes of inspiring a hobby in these intellectual elders.


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 Economy Minister Defends Tax Plan: According to Mounir Mahjoubi, France’s digital economy minister, Macron’s new tax plan for US tech companies exemplifies the President’s commitment to Europe’s technology ecosystem by tackling unfair fiscal privileges and ensuring fair competition; Mahjoubi also believes the digital agenda is the way to reduce France’s high unemployment.

EU Patent Court Agreement on Hold: A German IP attorney halted ratification of the Unified Patent Court agreement, which will establish a new unified patent and courts system, in opposition to the UK’s move to be a member of the EU system while not belonging to the CJEU’s jurisdiction post-Brexit; France, Germany and the UK must ratify the agreement, but Germany’s court action means it will not come into force this year.

Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

India and Italy Agree on More Than Just Great Food: On Monday, India and Italy signed six pacts to fortify their political and economic relations with each other as the 70th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations approaches in March 2018; the issues contained in these new agreements range from increasing cooperation in railway safety, energy, and mutual investment to fighting terror groups and specifically affirming the applicability of international law to cyberspace.

Fingerprinting for Safety: After the recent G7 interior ministers meeting in Rome, the United States and Italy decided to share their fingerprint databases in order to confirm the identity of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees, in an effort to filter out potential extremists.  

Fueling the Fire: For the first time, the Sicilian city of Catania allowed the use of technology to tap satellite phone calls in order to aid in a recent investigation of nine people involved in a Libyan fuel smuggling ring; the crime involved stealing 30 million euros worth of fuel from the Libyan National Oil Corporation and transporting the fuel to Italy and Europe to sell it in gas stations.


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

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: October 27th, 2017

Internet Governance

ADmendment: Senators are writing an amendment to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2012, named the Honest Ad Act, that would require online platforms to make reasonable efforts to prevent foreigners from purchasing political ads to influence American elections and impose the same disclosure requirements of political ads on TV and radio to paid digital and internet ads.

Stopping the Search: A new bill called the USA Rights Act introduced in the Senate would modify U.S. government surveillance techniques by closing the “backdoor search loophole” that currently allows warrantless searches of domestic communications collected by the National Security Agency and by improving judicial oversight, among other reforms.

Sharing is Caring: Officials from the United States and the United Kingdom are reportedly developing a data sharing agreement, which would allow law enforcement from either country to access data stored or controlled by companies domiciled in either country.

Privacy

Common Concerns: A recent study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that teens, as well as parents, hold the same concerns regarding digital privacy, online safety, identity theft, and fake news.

Delivery Doubts: Amazon has launched a new service called Amazon Key that combines a smart door lock, a security camera, and a mobile app to allow couriers to drop off deliveries inside the house, raising concerns as to the trustworthiness of the service and Amazon’s new access to video feeds of customers’ homes.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Insurance Encouragement: Merck’s insurers are estimated to pay $275 million for the pharmaceutical giant’s global production losses resulting from the June 27th “NotPetya” worldwide cyberattack, serving as a reminder that companies should strongly consider acquiring cyber insurance.

Failure Bureau? The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has said that the agency failed to gain access to some 7,000 encrypted mobile devices, acknowledging the importance of encryption but lamenting that it hinders the agency’s investigative efforts.

Intellectual Property

Auto Against Amazon: Amazon has been sued for trademark infringement by Mercedes-Benz’s parent Daimler AG for allegedly selling counterfeit wheel center caps bearing the Mercedes-Benz logo, with Daimler claiming that Amazon has refused to take reasonable steps to monitor intellectual property infringement.

Doctrinal Distress: A recent Federal Circuit decision highlights the difficulties of winning an infringement claim based on the doctrine of equivalents, an alternative method of bringing a patent infringement claim, as there are many limitations to the application of the doctrine, including the use of the public dedication rule, prosecution history estoppel, the all-limitations rule and specific exclusion rule, and the ensnarement rule..

Free Expression and Censorship

Commission Concessions: The Federal Trade Commission has stated that it will not take enforcement action against companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple that allow children under 13 to give voice commands to their smart assistants and smart speakers, so long as these companies address how they plan to collect, use, and delete the audio data in their privacy policies.

Practice Note

Fair Use With Seuss: Past cases alleging copyright infringement of the works of Dr. Seuss provide guidance on how the fair use doctrine applies to parodies: rights holders should consider licensing a variety of uses of their original content, new content creators can avoid infringement by providing commentary or criticism of the original work, and copyright practitioners should development arguments around the purpose and character of the challenged use as well as the effect of the use on the potential market.

On The Lighter Side

PHONEy: The nonprofit Common Sense Media provides a trio of thought-provoking PSAs calling out our obsession with phones, especially at the dinner table.


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:

EU Clash Over Tech Tax: President Macron’s plan to increase taxes on large technology firms in Europe was opposed at an EU summit last week by Ireland, Luxembourg and other small countries that believe the tax would hinder investment; Macron is adamant that higher taxes would not cause US tech giants to exit the EU market, but France needs the unanimity of all twenty-eight EU Member States for the tax to happen.

Quick Response: Two French hackers watched an interview where entrepreneur Roger Ver offered Bitcoin cash coins worth $1000 to whichever viewer was first to scan an on-screen QR code; the France 2 channel blurred out the code, but the hackers caught several small portions and were able to decode the private key in about twelve to sixteen hours—they describe the process in detail in this blog post.

Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Fighting the Dietrologia Diet: In advance of the upcoming Italian elections next year, the Italian government is including lessons on detecting fake news and conspiracy theories in Italian school curriculums, especially as a general sentiment of distrust in authorities—known as dietrologia—has increasingly pervaded the Italian landscape.

Buying Art With Bitcoin: Sant’Agostino, an Italian auction house, will begin to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment, starting with an auction this week on furnishings and design objects; as awareness of the cryptocurrency in Italy is gaining momentum, the auction house hopes to attract younger international buyers through accepting Bitcoin.


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

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP