CLIP-ings: April 26, 2018

Internet Governance

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

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

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

Privacy

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

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

Practice Note

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

On The Lighter Side

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


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

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

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

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

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

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: April 13, 2018

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

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

On The Lighter Side

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


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

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

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

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

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 23, 2018

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

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

On The Lighter Side

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


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

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

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

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

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 9, 2018

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

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

Practice Note

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

On The Lighter Side

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


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

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

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

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

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 23, 2018

Internet Governance

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

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

Privacy

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

Information Security and Cyberthreats

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

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

Intellectual Property

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

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

Free Expression and Censorship

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

Practice Note

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

On The Lighter Side

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


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

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

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

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

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

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

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


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 9, 2018

Internet Governance

Take Down of Infraud: The U.S. Justice Department indicted 36 people from numerous countries including the United States, Ivory Coast, and Bangladesh for acting as administrators, moderators, and sellers of illegal hacking and fraud services on an online black market forum called Infraud; the indictment accuses the defendants of trading Social Security numbers and stolen credit card numbers, providing an escrow account members could use to launder their proceeds using digital currencies, and hosting services designed to enable other illegal online operations, thus causing more than $530 million in losses to companies and individuals.

Gig Workers’ Rights: After an independent review calling for clearer definitions of UK employment statuses, the UK government announced a new “Good Work Plan” to improve access to sick and holiday pay and stable contracts for “vulnerable workers,” which could include gig economy workers employed by internet-based applications; the reforms follow a number of legal challenges, including by a group of UK Uber drivers who proved they should be classified as “workers” in an employment tribunal court.

Privacy

Deepfakes: Twitter and Reddit joined a growing list of platforms cracking down on so-called ‘deepfakes’ or computer-generated porn that digitally grafts the faces of celebrities onto the bodies of porn actors; however, elsewhere on Reddit, the technology used to make deepfakes continues to be employed for the less nefarious purpose of inserting Nicolas Cage into every movie ever.

Cloud Act Support: Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Oath Inc. declared support for bipartisan House and Senate versions of the “Cloud Act” to deal with cross-border data requests from law enforcement—even as the Supreme Court prepares to review the issue, which stems from a 2013 request by federal authorities for data held overseas by Microsoft and other companies; the Cloud Act would allow the U.S. to make agreements with foreign countries about data requests and permit technology companies to notify foreign governments of any requests and challenge them.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Equifax on Ice: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting chief Mick Mulvaney reined in the bureau’s investigation of the Equifax breach—where hackers stole personal data from 143 million Americans; according to sources, Mulvaney has not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives and has rebuffed bank regulators when they offered to help with on-site exams of how Equifax protects consumer data.

Russians Hacked U.S. Voter Systems: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that the Russian government successfully accessed the voter registration rolls of several states prior to the 2016 presidential election, but did not alter any of the registration rolls; the electoral system is considered “critical infrastructure” and therefore under the jurisdiction of the DHS, but some states claim they are still waiting for cyber security help from the federal government while others are opposed to DHS involvement, viewing it as a federal intrusion.

Intellectual Property

Christian Louboutin Is Seeing Red: The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) may issue an opinion that could prove a setback to Christian Louboutin’s signature red soles; according to the recommendation of Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, a trademark combining color and shape may be refused and declared invalid on the grounds set out under E.U. trade mark law—this contrasts with a U.S. appeals court decision permitting Louboutin to protect his red soles as a source-identifying trademark.

Ok, Ladies, Now Let’s Get in Litigation: Kimberly Roberts, star of the Oscar-nominated Hurricane Katrina documentary “Trouble the Water,” filed a lawsuit against Beyoncé in New Orleans federal court this week, alleging the makers of Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ music video used clips from the documentary without paying royalties and, in some instances, without permission; the suit comes on the heels of another federal ‘Formation’-related copyright dispute, which was dismissed on Monday following the parties’ submission of a joint stipulation for dismissal.

Free Expression and Censorship

Made Possible by Viewers Like You? PBS is pushing back against YouTube’s decision to specially label videos published by government-backed news outlets; under the new policy, videos by outlets like PBS will feature a flag that identifies their government association and links to, believe it or not, the publisher’s Wikipedia page.  

Practice Note

Court of Appeals on Patent Eligibility Analysis: The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in Berkheimer v. HP Inc. that “while patent eligibility is ultimately a question of law,” a lower court erred by holding that “there are no underlying factual questions” in a 35 U.S.C. § 101 inquiry; the decision is in tension with the Court’s prior treatment of eligibility analysis, which generally permitted resolution of the issue on the pleadings as a pure question of law.

On The Lighter Side

Lonely Hearts Club: Valentine’s Day means many things to many people, but for the internet it means a spike in searches for “alone” GIFs.


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:

GAFA Prepares for Stricter EU Tax Rules: After settling a French tax claim for nearly €200 million from 2006 to 2010, Amazon announced that it will begin declaring all its earnings in France; the announcement follows EU officials’ commitment to implement stricter tax rules, as the current regime allows companies whose earnings occur primarily in higher tax member states to declare them in lower-tax countries.

Contractual Termination or Censorship? A French court will hear arguments in a case where a French primary school teacher sued Facebook, Inc. for violating his freedom of speech in 2011 when the company removed his profile after he posted a photo of a nude painting in the Musée d’Orsay—a ruling is expected in the case on March 15; the case comes to court after years of wrangling over jurisdiction and venue where Facebook attempted to argue that the lawsuit could only be heard in California—currently, Facebook, Inc. claims that Facebook Ireland, the web host for service in France, is the correct party to bring to court over the deactivation.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

No Bracelets for You: Several Italian politicians denounced Amazon’s plan to patent an electronic wristband to track their workers’ movements to improve efficiency; Speaker of the House Laura Boldrini calls the proposed patent “degrading and offensive,” while Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda insists that “the only bracelets we make in Italy are the ones produced by jewelers.”


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 26, 2018

Internet Governance

New York State of Net Neutrality: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring state agencies to contract only with ISPs that abide by net neutrality principles days after Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock did the same; the order’s use of state contracts as leverage may withstand legal challenges as it does not impose direct regulations on the providers, but on the state government.

Airbnb Checks Out in the Bay: Airbnb’s San Francisco listings plunged from over 10,000 to around 5,500 after new vacation-rental laws kicked in requiring Airbnb hosts to register with the city; the laws aim to prevent homes from turning into year-round tourist hotels, which take rentals off the market and distort market prices.

Privacy

Foreign or US Surveillance? President Trump signed the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 extending the authorization allowing the intelligence community to “collect critical intelligence on international terrorists, weapons proliferators and other important foreign intelligence targets outside of the US”; the law permits the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to surveil anyone outside of the country and allows authorities to access communications that simply mention a foreign target, thus raising privacy concerns as US citizens’ communications can be accessed.

Facebook’s New Privacy Center: In response to the forthcoming requirements of the EU’s GDPR, Facebook will set up a new global privacy center that puts core privacy settings in one place permitting its users to more easily manage their personal data. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Look Before You Swipe: Researchers at security firm Checkmarx demonstrated that Tinder’s app lacks the standard HTTPS encryption necessary to conceal a user’s photos, allowing one to see any user’s photos or inject their own images into the user’s photo stream; the researchers also demonstrated that HTTPS-encrypted data in Tinder’s app still leaked enough information allowing a hacker on the network to monitor the user’s swipes or matches on the app.

Kansas’ Crosscheck: Boston-based security firm Netragard warned that Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office—host of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a database designed to cross-check voter records for potential double voters—could expose sensitive voter data from as many as twenty-seven states to hackers through unsecured connections between the Secretary of State’s network and other state-hosted networks.

Intellectual Property

The Music Modernization Act: A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Music Modernization Act, legislation designed to update music licensing laws for the digital age by streamlining the licensing process and setting a new standard for mechanical royalty rates; under the proposed legislation, a single entity would be created to collect royalties for distribution to copyright holders and royalty rates would be based on what a willing buyer and seller would negotiate on the free market.

Bunny v. Boing Boing: Boing Boing moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by Playboy, which accuses the website of copyright infringement for linking to a YouTube video and an Imgur gallery featuring every Playmate centerfold ever; in 2016, Playboy’s Dutch publisher, Sanoma, successfully sued Dutch website GeenStijl for unfair profits arising from copyright infringing hyperlinks.

Free Expression and Censorship

Ministry of Disinformation? The UK announced plans to establish a new national security communications unit dedicated to combating “fake news”; the announcement follows French President Emmanuel Macron’s declaration that he intends to overhaul French domestic media legislation in order to counter disinformation.

Quid Pro NO! YouTube is asking sponsored musicians and artists to sign non-disparagement agreements in exchange for the platform’s promotional support; while the agreements are common in some areas of business, YouTube’s biggest music competitors do not mandate them.    

Practice Note

Qualcomm Fined by EU: The EU’s competition watchdog fined American chipmaker Qualcomm €997 million for violating EU antitrust laws by abusing its market dominance when it paid Apple billions of dollars for the tech giant’s promise that it would exclusively use Qualcomm chips; the Commission looked at Qualcomm’s high market shares, the chip-making market’s high entry barriers, the exclusion of rivals from the market and the denial of rivals’ business opportunities, and concluded that Qualcomm failed to demonstrate that the exclusivity agreement with Apple created any market efficiencies.

On The Lighter Side

Rise and Type: Google researchers have uncovered why so many smartphones in India run out of space so quickly—too many Indians send cheer-y good morning graphics to each other.


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 ‘Choosing France’: Following a booming French tech sector and President Macron’s pro-business reforms, Google’s CEO announced the company’s plan to expand AI operations in Paris and open four Google Hubs across France for free training in “online skills and digital literacy,” while Facebook revealed it would invest €10 million in its French AI center.

AI Alliance: The UK and France will collaborate on AI at a digital conference this year, where “experts in data, cybersecurity, digital government and digital skills from both sides” will share knowledge to integrate the technology’s benefits and strengthen the countries’ digital economies; the announcement occurred at the annual UK-France summit, where the countries also reiterated their support for net neutrality.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Fake News Filters: In anticipation of the upcoming general election, the Italian government created a portal on Italy’s postal police website for citizens to report URLs of alleged fake news stories, where “the police’s cybercrime division will fact-check the reports,” and either deny any false information or take legal action if necessary; critics of the initiative worry about the potential for political censorship and the lack of clarity regarding what constitutes fake news.


CORRECTION: In our January 19, 2018 edition of CLIP-ings, in the portion entitled “No Pictures Please!,” we erroneously stated that “under Italian law, the image’s copyright belongs to the subject rather than the photographer.” Although Italian law does provide copyright ownership to the author of a photograph, privacy and publicity rights of the subject place limits on exclusive rights of the copyright holder.


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