CLIP-ings: June 23, 2017

Internet Governance

Content With a Conscience: Google offered new “Community Guidelines” for its YouTube service that places additional restrictions on content deemed offensive but not flat-out removable, such as providing a warning to users, removing user recommendations and comments, and restricting the ability to monetize the content with advertising. 

All Access: The Supreme Court ruled that it is a violation of the First Amendment to ban people from the internet, recognizing a constitutional right even for individuals convicted of serious crimes to access what the Court believes is an essential forum for free speech activities.

Privacy

Dangerous Diagnoses: A data mining company has been soliciting people to take part in drug trials based in part on information it collects from data brokers about their potential health conditions, raising concerns that big data is exploiting sensitive and sometimes inaccurate medical information to turn a profit.

Internet ID? Technology companies and humanitarian groups are calling for a global digital identification system they say would make it easier to travel, sign documents, and even seek asylum, backed by encryption technology supposedly robust enough to store fingerprints, medical records, and banking information in a single mobile app.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Data Disruption Drives $1M Deposit: A South Korean web hosting company, primarily serving thousands of small businesses, paid a $1 million ransom after an eight-day data outage cyber attack.

Meet Your Moderator: Due to a bug in the company’s system, the personal accounts of over 1000 Facebook content-moderators were posted in the groups that these administrators had removed from the site.

Intellectual Property

Moody Movie: Disney-Pixar is being sued over the idea for the 2015 film Inside Out by the co-founder of the National Childhood Grief Institute for her program designed to help children manage and understand their emotions, a program that she had pitched to Disney-Pixar annually from 2005-09.

Livestream LoserA U.S. District Judge ordered an unsuccessful plaintiff to pay the defendants’ attorneys fees as a punishment for the bogus copyright claim arising over the media outlets’ use of the plaintiff’s accidental live-stream of his child’s birth, an act protected by the fair use doctrine.

Show(room) Stopper: Fresh off the heels of its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market, Amazon has received a patent for technology that prevents “showrooming” while customers are connected to the Wi-Fi in Amazon stores by restricting access to competitors’ websites, sending targeted offers, and even alerting Amazon employees that a customer is conducting online research while in the store.

Free Expression and Censorship

Mistakenly Mature Materials: As a Pride Month Initiative, with the help of many volunteered LGBTQ employees and content creators YouTube corrected its filtration system and updated its policies for its Restricted Mode, a system designed for public institutions to prevent mature content on their computers.

Maduro Gets Mad: Twitter allegedly blocked 180 accounts linked to the Venezuelan government, pointing not to a specific violation but instead to its usual policy of blocking accounts for abuse, spam or security issues and leading Venezuelan President Maduro to say that the government will retaliate by creating “10,000 or more” accounts.

Practice Note

Government Speech No-Go: The Supreme Court ruled that the anti-disparagement clause, which prohibits trademark registration if the trademark brings disparagement or produces contempt to “persons living or dead,” is unconstitutional as it violated the First Amendment, and thereby curtailing the scope of the government-speech doctrine by clarifying that the approval of a government, such as the USPTO, does not categorize the private speech as government speech capable of being silenced if it is viewed as disfavored by the government.

On the Lighter Side

To Push Puss Press… Netflix has announced it’s developing interactive-storytelling childhood shows, using Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile and  Buddy Thunderstruck, providing viewers many opportunities to navigate the story and choose their own ending.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Elizabeth Martin
Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: June 16, 2017

Internet Governance

Paid Postgramming: Instagram unveiled a new “branded content tool” that will help users tell the difference between sponsor-free posts and paid posts that signal partnerships with influencers, and it will help influencers and sponsors collect data on how the sponsored posts perform with users.

Classified Covfefe: As the White House states that social media posts should be considered as official presidential communications, lawmakers hope to amend the Presidential Record Act via the passing of the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act.

Privacy

Capable Crusader? With the identity of the perpetrator unknown, a lawyer unsuccessfully sued Facebook after his account was hacked and compromised with revenge porn postings; the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Facebook as a third party to the hack was not liable for such conduct.

Privacy for the Pro: While professional athletes’ status as public figures substantially affects the scope of their privacy rights, at least one federal district court has articulated additional privacy protections that loosen the otherwise higher standard for athletes to show that a public disclosure of private information amounts to an invasion of privacy.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cyberwar, cont. More than a year after launching a cyber offensive against the Islamic State that has yielded inconsistent results, U.S. counterterrorism officials are retooling their cyber warfare techniques with the goal of permanently dismantling ISIS cyber-infrastructure through more robust attacks.

Tweets from Thieves: A security research group has uncovered an international hacking scheme called the “Doubleswitch” in which hackers compromise the Twitter accounts of activists and journalists, locking the victims out of their accounts and allowing the hackers to use seemingly legitimate handles to disseminate fake news.

There Goes the Grid: U.S. intelligence officials are worried that the malware believed to have shut down part of the electric grid in Ukraine last year can be leveraged against other countries at a much larger scale, but the risk could provide the impetus for countries to better secure their power grids.

Intellectual Property

Tough Time for Trolling: Louis Vuitton is pushing back against being regarded as a “troll” as it is being sued for attorneys fees in its failed trademark infringement and trademark dilution litigation against the creator of “My Other Bag”; meanwhile, the 7th Circuit has squandered the hopes of housing copyright “trolls” who bring cases under the obscure Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act of 1990.

Free Expression and Censorship

Free Speech Frenzy? University of Wisconsin faculty and administrators are concerned about the passing of a vague state bill allegedly focused on public forums with invited speakers; while it would require the state’s institutions to remain “neutral” towards contemporaneously contested public policy issues, the unease arose due to uncertainty about the regulation of free speech on campuses, especially regarding scientific claims, if passed.

Sensitive Censorship: Pakistan’s government is taking a strong stance against negative social media, such as sentencing a citizen to death for a seemingly sacrilegious comment about the prophet Muhammad; Thailand is continuing to extend its censorship of negative commentary about the royal family by sentencing a man to 35 years in prison; China attempts to instill “socialist values” as it closed 60 gossip social media platform accounts for posting allegedly tasteless content.

Practical Note

Patent: Private or Public Property? The impending hearing of a case by the U.S. Supreme Court questions the America Invents Act’s constitutionality; the answer is dependent on the classification of patents as a public or private property right, and thus questions the constitutionality of the PTAB’s decisions; it appears that any answer suggesting private property rights or invalidating the PTAB will have reverberating effects on the world of patents.

Rushing a Right? The New York State Legislature proposed a bill that would significantly expand and make transferable the right to publicity, though First Amendment advocates see the bill as detrimental to the freedom of expression and call for more careful consideration of the scope and nature of the right.

On the Lighter Side

Communication-Free Courting: An interest-based dating app prohibits communication between potential suitors and utilizes common ideal date activities to match people, removing one of the uniquely human obstacles to setting up a date.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Elizabeth Martin
Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: June 9, 2017

Internet Governance

Airbnb Addresses A.D.A.? A new study reported that mentioning a disability renders you far less likely to be preapproved for a rental, even though Airbnb has introduced new rental options to accommodate its diverse customer base, such as “instant bookings.”

SanFran Sidewalk Ban: As the prevalence of delivery services increases, San Francisco considers a bill that would ban autonomous delivery robots from roaming the city’s sidewalks because they pose a physical safety risk to pedestrians.

Privacy

Modern Monopoly? Antitrust regulators expressed concern that existing frameworks lack protections against tech giants’ monopoly over valuable user data, citing an ongoing investigation into whether Facebook abused its dominance as a social network through unfair terms of use and calling for increased scrutiny over use of that data.

BodyCam Conversation Concerns: An intensive study of body camera footage from Oakland, California reveals that police officers use less respectful language during interactions with black people; although the behavior’s cause is unknown it is an important first step towards community driven policing.

Caller I.See: A new FCC proposal would allow law enforcement officials to uncover details about anonymous threatening callers, but the FCC must strike a balance between the privacy interest of legitimate callers and penalizing threatening callers, who the Commission says lack a legitimate privacy interest.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Revenge or Resilience: With no safeguards to ensure that victims only engage with their stolen data and issues in determining chain-of-custody and how to handle international threats, hacking back, the inspiration for the bipartisan Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act bill could do more damage than good; an alternative could be to use the power of human resilience to train cybersecurity staff and the public by using simulated phishing emails and social engineering.

Google Games to Do Good: Be Internet Awesome is the fun educational curriculum developed by Google to teach children about the dangers of the internet, such as cyber-bullying, information security, phishing attacks, and other bad internet behavior.

Intellectual Property

The Stolen Oldies? iHeartMedia Inc. will not need to pay royalties for “pre-1972s” – sound recordings generally excluded from the federal copyright system – after a federal judge in Illinois ruled that any remaining common law protection of the copyright is lost when the recordings are sold or broadcasted.

Sampling Snafu: In an unusual victory for music sampling, hip-hop artist Drake was found not to have infringed on an earlier composition by jazz artist Jimmy Smith based on the doctrine of fair use, though the case highlights the complexity of current copyright licensing law.

Free Expression and Censorship

Ruined Revenue: To appease advertisers and high-profile content creators, YouTube has disabled advertisements from running on hateful, demeaning, or incendiary videos.

Social Media Stumps Scholars: First Amendment academics are divided as to whether President Trump caused a free speech violation by blocking some of his followers on Twitter, causing a debate over whether a President’s Twitter account is analogous to a public forum or to a one-way communication channel.

Practical Note

Government Geeks: A digital civil rights organization filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI after it reportedly paid Best Buy’s ‘Geek Squad’ employees to perform warrantless searches on defective devices, causing debate over whether such searches violate the Fourth Amendment.

On the Lighter Side

APPocalypse? Apple kicked off WWDC 2017 with a short video depicting the supposed inevitable apocalypse that would occur in a modern-day app-less reality.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Elizabeth Martin
Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: June 2, 2017

Internet Governance

Testing Troubles: In response to a leak of national school exam papers Ethiopia shut down internet access across the nation in order to prevent similar cheating on another round of upcoming national exams for the third time in one year.

Congress Contemplates Overseas Data Compliance: Congress is proposing legislation to address the retrieval of data from U.S. companies held overseas, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Microsoft did not have to turn over data stored on an overseas server that pertained to a suspect in a criminal case.

Privacy

Passengers Planes & Pictures: This month JetBlue Airways plans to unveil a new process to streamline boarding by utilizing facial recognition software to confirm flight information with a photo taken at the gate.

AI Interest in Inattention: A French business school’s proposed use of facial recognition software and artificial intelligence to track student’s attentiveness during online lessons, develop customized quizzes and improve teaching poses privacy risks as it requires masses of personal data.

Streaming Execs Shrug Shoulder on Password Sharing: A study revealed that over half of video streaming viewership is conducted via sharing passwords and, despite ongoing debate, industry executives regard the practice as commonplace.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Smart Cities Step Up Security or Succumb to Susceptibilities: As the percentage of the world’s residents in urban areas grows, so does the threat of the smart systems used to manage the cities’ operations; thus safeguards are needed to protect these vulnerable systems that cities increasingly depend on.

To Hack a Heart: A pair of recent studies warn that pacemakers, insulin pumps, and other life-or-death medical equipment are prone to thousands of cyber vulnerabilities, due to bugs in their code, lack of knowledge about how to write secure code and the fact that only 17% of manufacturers have taken steps to secure their devices.

Intellectual Property

From Rags to Royalties: Spotify has reached a $43 million settlement in a class action copyright lawsuit claiming that the music streaming company failed to pay thousands of songwriters proper royalties in making their compositions available to its base of over 100 million users.

Patented Parachute: As part of its Prime Air drone delivery project, Amazon received a patent for a shipping label that includes a built-in parachute attached to an autonomous drone, even though such drones are not authorized to fly in the U.S. under current FAA rules.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Fuels Fight: To combat the circulation of hateful content, Facebook has employed Filipino college graduates to review and remove a never-ending stream of terror-related posts, resulting in traumatized employees and a high turnover rate; Facebook is furthering the fight against harmful content by allowing users to flag information as fake news.

Playback Problems: At least two UK-based radio stations have opted not to play a popular song with lyrics accusing British Prime Minister Theresa May of being a “liar” and untrustworthy, while the band that wrote the track sees the move as an attempt to undermine public opinion about May’s ruling party.

Practical Note

Ruling Restricts Patent Rights: The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that a patentee’s rights in the patented item will be exhausted upon sale of the item will require companies to rebuild licensing agreements and remodel product pricing, further changing the landscape of patent owners’ protections.

On the Lighter Side

North Korea Negates Novelty? North Korea’s newest release, the iPad, blatantly inspired by American tech.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay

CLIP-ings: May 19, 2017

Internet Governance

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

Privacy

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

On the Lighter Side

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Fellow, CLIP
Elizabeth Martin

CLIP-ings: May 12, 2017

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

Practice Note

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

On the Lighter Side

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Fellow, CLIP
Elizabeth Martin

CLIP-ings: May 5, 2017

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

On the Lighter Side

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Fellow, CLIP
Elizabeth Martin

CLIP-ings: April 28, 2017

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

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

Practice Note

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

On the Lighter Side

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: April 21, 2017

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

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

Practice Note

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

On the Lighter Side

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad

CLIP-ings: April 7, 2017

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

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

Practice Note

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

On the Lighter Side

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad