CLIP-ings: July 28, 2017

Internet Governance

Firearm Fears & Fumbles: A study conducted by think tank Rand Europe and the University of Manchester revealed that 47% of the products sold on the dark web are firearms and 60% of those firearms listings have product association origins from the United States; a report by the Government Accountability Office found that the Defense Logistics Agency lacks adequate due diligence in the administration of its 1033 Program, which transfers excess military grade weaponry to local law enforcement, but can be compromised by anyone who can make a fake law enforcement site.

Connecting Cuba: Although their state-sponsored internet is limited to public hotspots and plagued by censored sites, government spying and slow browsing speeds, a group of forward-thinking Cubans have devised workarounds such as packaging and distributing content on external hard drives and even creating a makeshift intranet service with Cuban versions of Instagram and Reddit.

Privacy

Roomba Runs Risks: iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum, is contemplating selling the home configuration data the vacuum collects to Google, Amazon or Apple; while the data could be useful for law enforcement and insurance companies, many privacy experts are concerned that this data would reveal intimate consumer information and raise many legal questions.

A Chip in Hand: A Wisconsin company is offering its employees the chance to get a rice-grain-sized RFID chip implanted in their hands that would allow them to unlock doors and log in to office computers with a wave of their hands, but opens up the possibility for constant employee tracking.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cyber Security Shuffle: The State Department plans to reorganize including moving its Cyber Security arm to the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, leaving national security experts concerned that the move will signal that the current administration views cyberthreats as only a business matter and threatens the diplomatic cyberpolicy function of that arm.

Hacking U: New legislation aims to allocate $15 million from the U.S. defense budget to support curriculum development and best practices for a university course called “Hacking for Defense,” which places university scientists and engineers alongside defense personnel to find solutions to national security issues.

Intellectual Property

SoundCloud SoundOff:  SoundCloud prevented digital preservationists from attempting to archive the digital platform’s entire catalog, consisting of 900-terabytes of information totaling about 123.6 million tracks, stating that the download would violate its Terms of Use by infringing on the copyright of their users’ protected content.

Bad Apple? A U.S. judge doubled the amount Apple must pay to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to $506 million after Apple continued to infringe on a design for processor chips used in the iPhone and iPad, despite Apple’s claim that it developed proprietary technology for those processors.

Myriad Marks: In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that a bar on “disparaging” trademarks is a violation of the First Amendment, a wave of previously prohibitable marks are becoming registered as the guidelines for examining attorneys require an update to align with the ruling.

Free Expression and Censorship

Suspect or Over-Sensitivity? A Washington state law criminalizing repeated or anonymous cyberbullying is being challenged because it can be applied to criticizing politicians online; the plaintiff hopes that challenging the law on First Amendment grounds will render it unenforceable, as this approach has been successful in other states.

Let the Games Begin: An augmented reality (AR) game maker was granted an injunction against Milwaukee County in response to a new law requiring AR game makers to obtain a permit before their games could be played in county parks, ahead of an upcoming trial that will consider the extent of the game makers’ First Amendment rights.

Practice Note

Protecting Your Prints: A new Washington state law requires businesses that collect “biometric identifier” data like fingerprints and retina scans to disclose how the data would be used and obtain consent from the owner before using it, as states looking to pass similar legislation weigh protecting consumer biometric information against exposing businesses to heightened legal liability.

On The Lighter Side

O.G. Owner Obligations: Darden Corporation, the parent company of Olive Garden, had its knowledge handed to it after it threatened trademark infringement and requested for the owner of the Olive Garden critique blog, “allofgarden.com,” to remove the metatags referencing the restaurant; the snarky blogger reminded Darden that the use of the restaurant’s name was legal under the doctrine of fair use. 


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: July 21, 2017

Internet Governance

Internet Fast Lane? Comcast is advocating for paid prioritization instead of net neutrality by highlighting the necessity of paid prioritization with the imminence of self-driving cars; although the telecomms do not currently own the unlicensed bandwidth that autonomous cars will likely use to communicate with other cars, infrastructure, and devices, the safety-critical messages sent via vehicle-to-anything bandwidth would need to be prioritized over regular internet usage.

F.B.sly: A ruling by a federal judge now prohibits Internet Service Providers from notifying users of national security investigation by the FBI, giving the bureau the freedom to investigate without interference including accessing a complete list of the online purchases and all IP addresses with which the suspect was in communication.

Privacy

Face Finder: A deep learning software startup is developing technology that can be embedded into police body cameras to identify persons of interest in crowded areas, but the technology raises privacy concerns as it can be enlisted by multiple body cameras at the same time to continuously monitor a public space.

Customs vs. Cloud: While U.S. Customs officials have the authority to search an individual’s electronic device without probable cause, officials may not search information not stored on the device itself, such as data stored in the cloud.

Ploys & Toys? The FBI and FTC are warning parents to ward off potential child identity fraud by doing their due diligence before purchasing smart toys for their kids, as many of these toys require providing sensitive information during account registration, have recording capabilities for voice recognition software, and often send back to the developer or cloud a wealth of information for various purposes such as GPS location, internet history, and IP address.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Information Indifference: Reliance Jio, an Indian telecom upstart, was hacked last Monday leaving the information of 100 million users vulnerable, yet the company’s denial of the hack has shed light upon an issue with India’s cybersecurity law: it barely exists, notwithstanding homing many international businesses within its borders, and its domestic corporations do not prioritize information security or feel incentivized to prevent and address the issue properly.

Shrinking the Satellites: A Silicon Valley startup has disrupted satellite technology by offering an alternative with size and affordability that will allow the Department of Defense (DOD) to have enough satellites to properly surveil the entire world and make up for natural limitations in surveillance that occur during the the nighttime and viewing through clouds.

Intellectual Property

BRAwl: Lululemon sued Under Armour for allegedly infringing on a patent for its cross-strap sports bra design, a rare move in the fashion industry that will ask a federal court to consider whether the design is truly novel.

Taming the Trolls: A Massachusetts state senator is proposing new legislation aimed at ridding the state of patent trolls as part of an effort started by an internet security company to prevent a practice that threatens younger entrepreneurs and hinders innovation and economic development in the state.

Free Expression and Censorship

We The Social? Social media networks are becoming increasingly similar to governments in terms of controlling participation in expressive speech and shaping public opinion, such as through the rise of political propaganda bots; the platforms should not be mistaken for governing bodies because they operate using a different set of rules for monitoring and policing speech.

Lost in Transmission: China is continuing to flex its censorship muscle with new technology that can delete messages in private chats before the messages are received, as when the friend of a celebrated Chinese dissident was recently unable to send photos of the man to the intended recipients through the messaging app WeChat.

Practice Note

Guidelines for Games: Legal battles abound over alleged similarities between video game “clones,” where courts have held that current U.S. copyright law protects the most obvious creative aspects of a game, such as its visual appearance the uniqueness of its characters, and does not protect mechanics such as in-game rules or functional elements such as point systems.

On the Lighter Side

Service for Service: In yet another instance of users failing to read the terms and conditions to access an internet service, more than 22,000 people agreed to a “Community Service Clause” requiring them to perform 1,000 of service on tasks like cleaning public toilets and scraping gum off the streets in exchange for access to a WiFi hotspot.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: July 14, 2017

We dedicate this edition in memory of Kyung Joon (KJ) Shin,  
CLIP-ings Editorial Fellow, Spring 2015.

Internet Governance

Talk That Talk to FTC: Proponents of net neutrality supported the “Day of Action” online protest on Wednesday by presenting their stance on the issue and educating users; participants included various companies such as Google, OkCupid, College Humor and Etsy, organizations such as the ACLU, and even AT&T.

Dollars for Scholars: Researchers at MIT and Harvard studying autonomous information systems and driverless vehicles will be the largest recipients of a $7.6 million research grant from a fund that encourages exploration of the intersection between artificial intelligence and public policy.

Privacy

Buffering Big Brother: The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual report evaluating tech companies’ protection of user privacy from the government was released this week; Adobe, Credo, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr and WordPress all tied for providing the best protection, while major telecommunications companies AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon provided the worst protection of all 26 ranked companies.

Susceptible Satellite Cells: A recently published study found that the phone call encryption system used by service providers for satellite phones has serious vulnerabilities and can be decrypted, suggesting the need for an upgrade to these systems since many in war zones and rural areas depend on this technology for communication.

We Have Your Heartbeat: After pacemaker data for a defendant accused of arson was found to be inconsistent with his testimony, an Ohio judge ruled that the data was admissible in court and rejected the argument that allowing the government to access personal medical information poses a privacy threat.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Policing the Plants: After reports surfaced that hackers attempted to breach security systems at U.S. nuclear power plants, senators called on agencies like the Department of Energy to release information about the attacks and introduced legislation to develop a cybersecurity strategy to protect U.S. energy infrastructure.

Compulsory Cybersecurity Coverage: In the UK, with only a few financial industry insurers providing cyber insurance, the country’s regulatory body Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) has proposed expectations of insurers, such as providing policies specifically for cyber risks, assessing their exposure to these risks, and conducting stress tests to make sure their systems can handle sudden influxes of client claims in the event of a major global cyberthreat.

Intellectual Property

Downloading DramaStream-ripping, the act of downloading and storing permanent files from sites such as Spotify and YouTube, is the new trend in music piracy in the UK popularized by a misbelief that the sites had the requisite permission to allow them to download the content and a lack of knowledge that their act was illegal; remedying this piracy trend will require cooperation between UK authorities and digital service providers.

Monkey See, Monkey Sue: A federal appeals court will decide whether an Indonesian monkey can claim ownership of a selfie that the monkey took, weighing the district judge’s conclusion that animals cannot own intellectual property against the argument that the originality of the work is more important than its author.

Free Expression and Censorship

Cops on Camera: The Third Circuit recognized a First Amendment right to record on-duty police officers, citing widespread cell phone ownership and the benefits of using cell phone video to combat subjective testimony and finding additional support in the First Amendment right of access to information about officials’ public activities.

Practice Note

Indispensable IP: Despite many reasons offered against startups focusing on intellectual property issues, new businesses are wise to invest resources in intellectual property protection to maintain profitability, compete in global markets, and create long-term brand equity.

On the Lighter Side

Crowdsourcing Comfort: To do right by his graduates and continue a tradition, the dean of Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law in North Carolina turned to a crowdsourcing campaign to provide stipends for his graduates during their bar exam preparation and has raised over $15,000 thus far.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: July 7, 2017

Internet Governance

Digital David & Goliath: The EU’s recent $2.7 billion antitrust fine against Google is a big win for the information antitrust war led by Yelp; the small search engine rival of Google that led the intercontinental fight for 6 years utilized various approaches along the way from hackathons to meetings with regulatory agencies to provide evidence of Google’s monopoly on online searching. .

Tempting the Twenty: Ongoing debates about data security, the trustworthiness of the digital economy, and internet access have led members of the G20 to devise a set of guiding regulatory principles in an effort to encourage each member nation to adopt the proposed digital agenda ahead of the G20 Summit in Germany this week.

Privacy

Terrorism Justifies Privy to Private Messaging? Privacy red flags have been raised as ongoing pressure from various international regulators has resulted in some of Facebook’s human content moderators receiving additional clearance to investigate user profiles with suspected ties to terrorist groups, including their private messages.

Armed and Autonomous: The Dubai police force has unveiled first-of-their-kind driverless police cars equipped with built-in surveillance drones, license plate readers, and facial recognition technology that human officers can use to remotely monitor crowded areas and identify suspects.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

DOJ Dodging Diplomacy? Seemingly in an effort to circumvent international authorities and gain access to data centers worldwide, the DOJ has proposed legislation to Congress and petitioned the Supreme Court to allow the issuing of warrants for digital information stored outside the United States by asking for an expansion of the Stored Communications Act.

Testing the Truth: As AI technology advances, some startups are developing capabilities which within the coming years will create realistic audio and video forgeries eventually undetectable to even forensic analysis, and as these developments evolve so too will various industries that depend on evidence of the truth such as journalism, national security, and the criminal justice system.

Proving Grounds: Weaker defense systems, the rush to enter the digital economy, and the likelihood of anonymity have made developing countries in Southwest Asia and Africa prime targets for hackers looking to test and modify new malware before wielding it against well-fortified entities such as international banks or government networks in more developed countries.

Intellectual Property

Snapchat’s Shopping Spree: The release of Snapchat’s new Snap Map seems to be the beginning of the company’s venture into augmented reality, as its recent purchases of hundreds of location-dependent technology patents will eventually allow users to tether photos and messages to particular locations on the map that will send to other users when they are nearby.

Free Expression and Censorship

Secure or Censored? A new study has found that websites that switch from HTTP to secure HTTPs connections prevent government censors from blocking specific web pages, forcing censoring governments to decide whether to allow all content on a particular site or block the site entirely.

Content Control: A new wave of government regulations aimed at the Chinese media industry will subject online audiovisual content to an audit to ensure it comports with “core socialist values,” drawing backlash from critics who say the rules will hamper creativity and force popular blogs and social media platforms to limit their content or shut down.

Practice Note

Conversations on “Connected Cars”: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) held a workshop on the “connected car” to address the NHTSA’s proposed rule, consumer safety benefits, the multitude of privacy and information security concerns surrounding this technology, and the need for the private sector to take a vested interest in the regulation of this interdisciplinary intersection of the auto and tech industries.

On the Lighter Side

A Phone for That: While the iPhone celebrated its 10th anniversary this past week, one reporter and smartphone holdout remarked that using the iPhone has dispensed with our need for previously commonplace physical objects like handwritten calendars, noisy alarm clocks, and even our once-beloved iPods.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP