CLIP-ings: February 1, 2019

Internet Governance

DOJ Charges Huawei: Following an indictment by a Washington grand jury, the Department of Justice announced charges against the Chinese telecom giant for allegedly obstructing justice, stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile, and lying to banks about non-compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran; a New York grand jury separately indicted Huawei, a U.S. subsidiary, and an Iranian affiliate for bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.   

Privacy

Apple Disables Group FaceTime In The Wake Of Security Flaw: Apple disabled group FaceTime calls after a bug in the app was found to allow call initiators to hear, and sometimes see, the person they were calling even before the recipient answered; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called the bug an “egregious breach of privacy.”

Illinois Supreme Court Declines To Limit BIPA: The Illinois Supreme Court found that an individual does not “need to allege some actual injury or adverse effect, beyond violation of [his] rights” to be entitled to seek damages under the State’s Biometric Information Privacy Act; the decision could affect Google and Facebook, who have been accused of violating BIPA by tagging faces in photos without user consent.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Singapore’s HIV Database Leaked: An HIV-positive U.S. citizen leaked the personal data of 14,200 Singaporeans and foreigners living in Singapore after being deported from the country following a drug-and-fraud-related jail term; the leaker allegedly obtained access to the country’s HIV registry through his doctor-partner, who had access to the registry for his work.

Intellectual Property

FBI Arrests Apple Employee For Attempting To Steal Trade Secrets: An Apple employee is accused of stealing confidential information related to Apple’s self-driving car project; the employee was caught taking photos of the project workspace and had transferred information, including “over two thousand files containing confidential and proprietary Apple material, including manuals, schematics, and diagrams” to personal devices.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Looks To Overturn NLRB Precedent: Google has urged the National Labor Relations Board to overturn precedent that protects employees from punishment for using workplace email to organize around job-related issues by circulating petitions, planning walkouts, and discussing unionization; in a statement, Google clarifies that it is “not lobbying for changes to any rules,” but rather is simply mounting a legal defense to claims at the NLRB.

Practice Note

Yahoo’s Lack Of Disclosure Leads To Rejected Settlement: A U.S. District Judge denied Yahoo’s proposed settlement in the class action suit brought against it as a result of its failure to report data breaches in 2014 and 2016 on the basis that because the proposal failed to disclose the costs of credit monitoring and settlement administration, and did not disclose the total size of the settlement fund, class members could not assess the settlement’s reasonableness.

On The Lighter Side

Robots Poised To Play A Bigger Role In Everyday Life: From critiquing our ping pong skills to providing an exoskeleton for the disabled, the robots on hand at the CES 2019 convention highlight the future interactions humans and robots may have in the not-too-distant future.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 18, 2019

Internet Governance

FCC Chairman Won’t Brief Congress: Citing the federal shutdown, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai refuses to meet with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to address recent revelations about mobile carriers’ ability to share customers’ location information with third parties.

Privacy

Privacy Big Tech Privacy Proposal Seen As Self-Serving: A leading technology policy think tank’s “grand bargain” proposal argues for any new federal data privacy bill to preempt state privacy laws and repeal sector-specific federal laws in favor of a “common set of protections,” prompting Senator Richard Blumenthal to state that “big tech cannot be trusted to write its own rules.”

Feds Can’t Force Biometric Unlocking: A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that U.S. authorities cannot force individuals to unlock devices with their faces or fingerprints; the judge concluded that biometrics are “testimonial,” as they serve the same purpose as alphanumeric passcodes in unlocking phones.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

“Monster Breach” Revealed: 773 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords aggregated from over 2,000 leaked databases recently became public after being posted to a hacking forum; this breach is unique in part because some of the data is new, passwords are available in plain text, and the data was originally made available on the popular cloud storage site MEGA.

Intellectual Property

Fortnite Sued Over Use Of Popular Dance Moves: Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, is being sued for copyright and trademark violations for using artists’ non-copyrighted dance moves without permission; the suits could decide if popular dance moves are protected as works of choreography and whether developers are liable for copyright infringement by offering the moves within a game for real-world currency.

Free Expression and Censorship

Roku Changes Course On Infowars: After explaining that it would allow the Alex Jones-owned channel to be downloaded and streamed on its devices based on non-censorship principles, Roku reversed course after receiving feedback from “concerned parties” and removed the channel from its platform.

Practice Note

Court Upholds Twitter’s Unilateral Amendment Clause: An Arizona District Judge rejected a plaintiff’s attempt to invalidate the forum selection clause in Twitter’s terms of service on the basis that the terms allowed for unilateral modification by Twitter; the court noted that Twitter’s terms did not allow retroactive modification and met the requirements for mutuality of obligations.

On The Lighter Side

Robot Layoffs: Over half of the 243 robots working in Japan’s Hen-na robot hotel were fired for creating more problems than they solved and annoying guests.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP