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