CLIP-ings: August 18th, 2017

Internet Governance

InstaKind: Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, who in the early days deleted unsavory user comments from the app by hand, has started a company-wide campaign to make the app “kinder” with the help of DeepText, a behind-the-scenes machine learning concept that can interpret, classify, and even remove posts in violation of the app’s standards.

Scraping Success: A U.S. federal judge has ruled that LinkedIn cannot prevent a startup from accessing and using data available in its public profiles, the latest development in an ongoing debate over whether public social media data can be “scraped” from the host platforms by third-party companies.

Privacy

Dreaming of a Data Disruption: DreamHost, the webhost for an anti-Trump website used to organize the protest of Trump’s inauguration, is in hot water with the Department of Justice (DOJ) as DreamHost is enduring a lengthy battle to resist the DOJ’s warrant for all files, including site visitor logs, emails, and user photos related to the site.

Privacy Check: In response to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allegations that it failed to secure sensitive customer data and misrepresented how it monitors access to private information, Uber has agreed to an independent privacy audit every two years to ensure its privacy standards are in compliance with FTC guidelines.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Endangered Employers: A study conducted by Bitglass found that employers’ data is frequently at risk because employees often use unsecure Wi-Fi hotspots to access enterprise cloud applications.

Alternative Hacks: While hacking is commonly thought of as typing code into a computer, an alternative method known as “social engineering” exists in which hackers pose as distressed employees and use ID cards, voicemail passwords, and other information obtained from making fraudulent phone calls to break into restricted networks.

Intellectual Property

Comic Chaos: After Disney announced it’s pulling its content from Netflix to start its own streaming service, Netflix’s purchase of comic book publisher Millarworld highlights the growing fear in the literary community that Hollywood sees comic publishing merely as IP content farms.

Trade Troubles: President Trump has authorized an inquiry into China’s trade policies that force foreign companies to turn technology over to Chinese joint venture partners, harming U.S. businesses and jobs and resulting over the course of decades in theft of as much as $600 billion in IP.

Free Expression and Censorship

Issue-Oriented Inconsistencies? The ACLU, Milo Yiannopoulos, PETA and Carafem, a network of women’s health centers, sued Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for allegedly violating the First Amendment after it developed a policy of suspending controversial or alternative advertisements from its buses, trains and subway stations that it vaguely deemed “issue oriented.”

King Fear: A Thai activist was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for sharing a BBC article profiling the new Thai king, singling one activist out from thousands who also shared the article and signaling that strict sanctions are imposed even for relatively objective characterizations of the monarchy.

Practice Note

Lagging Law: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regards geolocation data as sensitive personal data that can cause cyber or physical harm if in the wrong hands and has already charged companies for unfair and deceptive practices on this basis; practitioners should seek guidance on FTC Act Section 5’s application in these scenarios.

On The Lighter Side

On-Screen Olympians? The Paris Olympic Bid Committee will meet with “eSport” representatives to get a better understanding of “what the process is and why it is such a success” before the committee decides whether or not to include competitive video gaming as a medal event in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.


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: August 11, 2017

Internet Governance

Tweaking Telecoms: The Senate passed a series of laws last week centering on the FCC: one requires that phone systems allow individuals to directly dial 911, the next created a working group of various government agency personnel tasked with reporting on the security of internet of things devices, the last requires the FCC to frequently report on the state of competition within telecom’s video and service delivery markets.

Unhinged UK: The UK announced it will pass a more extensive Data Protection Act including provisions requiring social media companies to comply with a teenager’s request to delete information posted as a child via the “right to be forgotten,” outlawing pre-ticked “consent” boxes on sites, and expanding the definition of “personal data” to include internet cookies, DNA, and IP addresses.

Privacy

Warrant Woes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has argued that federal agents should obtain warrants before searching digital devices carried by international travelers, citing the immense amount of personal information stored on these devices and the recent increase in digital searches at the U.S. border; meanwhile, the Supreme Court is considering whether law enforcement must get a warrant before tracking suspects using their cell phone location history.

Relaxed Rules? A report alleges that teenage-targeted social messaging app Kik enables child exploitation as the app’s moderators have failed to take down profiles of accused or convicted pedophiles; although the moderators of the app comply with law enforcement investigations, they admitted that they “will do a better job of removing profiles of convicted pedophiles.”

Chat Combat: A new chatbot developed by Microsoft pretends to be a live person offering sex online and then delivers a warning to users that the conversation could be reviewed by law enforcement as part an initiative among non-profit groups seeking to thwart online human sex trafficking.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Radio Waves: In the wake of cyberattacks and weather-based disruptions that illustrated the vulnerability of satellite-based GPS systems used by the majority of cargo ships for navigation purposes, several countries are developing back-up terrestrial systems using radio frequencies that are more difficult for hackers to jam but sometimes less accurate than GPS.

Intellectual Property

Salacious Sequel? A case under consideration by the Southern District of New York focuses on a play that is an alleged infringing sequel that takes place 43 years after the original Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas;” while Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP alleges IP infringement, the playwright asserts a fair use defense emphasizing that his dark adult comedy is a parody and/or is highly transformative of the original because its components from the plot to the tone are materially different.

Positive Piracy: The 80s rock band Def Leppard credits the “multiplier effect” of music piracy for the band’s continued relevance and success after observing that over the past 15 years its audience has increasingly consisted of younger fans.

Free Expression and Censorship

Fake News Fights & Findings: Facebook is fighting back against a technique called “cloaking” that allows spammers to create a consumer-facing landing page of fake news while fooling moderators with an innocent-looking site; meanwhile a study found that fake news spreads primarily through social bots, which are automated bots that control recently published fake news postings on social media accounts, targeting influential figures to induce the spread of false content.

All Eyes: A German-Israeli artist unhappy with how Twitter responded to more than 300 tweets he reported as abusive recorded a video in which he spray-painted 30 of those tweets outside of the social network’s German office.

Practice Note

Privacy International: While much attention has been given to data protection regulation in the EU and cybersecurity policy in China, legal experts have advised multinational companies to review developments in consumer privacy law elsewhere in the world, such as pending mandatory data breach reporting requirements in Canada, Singapore and Australia, and the establishment of a Personal Information Protection Commission in Japan.

On The Lighter Side

Falling for AI? To prepare his players for imminent battles with robots, the head coach of Baylor University’s football team raced and beat the robot dummy just before the dummy sought revenge and tackled the coach after his victory.


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: August 4, 2017

Internet Governance

Blocker Ban: A federal court in Virginia has ruled that the chairwoman of a county board violated the First Amendment rights of a constituent she blocked on Facebook, concluding that the official suppressed “critical commentary regarding elected officials” and raising questions as to the constitutional limitations of social media accounts maintained by public officials.

Exchange Enforcement: A Bitcoin exchange called BTC-e was shut down by law enforcement after its operator was charged not only with stealing the equivalent of $400 million in Bitcoin that lead to the bankruptcy of another exchange but also with using BTC-e to launder the proceeds from criminals engaged in drug trafficking and ransomware attacks.

Privacy

Sneaky Stingray: Reports of surveillance technologies designed for spying and wartime purposes being used on the American public, such as “stingray” devices that can intercept cell phone data from unknowing users, has lead to calls for greater transparency in Congress as to their use and legality.

Going Private: While Twitter lost two million U.S. users last month, WhatsApp now boasts over a billion users per day in the latest example of a user preference for “privateness” that favors encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger over less secure public platforms such as Twitter.

Family-Fony Fun: A recent study found that over half of the 5,000 most popular games designated as family-friendly on the Google Play store violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) because they tracked or collected the personal data of its users who are primarily children under the age of 13.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Bill for Basics: In response to the tendency for Internet of Things (IoT) devices to ship without security features, such as hardcoded passwords that cannot be changed by a user, two senators proposed a new bill that would require IoT device manufacturers to include basic security protections in the devices and certify that the devices are free of vulnerabilities at the time they are sold.

Public Data Doubts: LinkedIn and small tech company HiQ are engaged in a battle over HiQ’s alleged violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA); while LinkedIn argues that website owners have the authority to rescind another’s access to their site on a case-by-case basis, HiQ believes that its behaviors were legal because it was accessing public data from a publicly accessible website.

Intellectual Property

Patent Exchange: A patent advisory and transaction firm is looking to create a new marketplace in which venture-backed startups in need of funding provide equity to big technology companies in exchange for patents that the larger firms no longer need, as a way to encourage startups to think about patent strategy and larger firms to put dormant patents to better use.

Trademark Troublemakers: The Trademark Trial Appeal Board (TTAB) must reconsider a case of Dale Earnhardt’s widow challenging her stepson’s attempt to register the name “Earnhardt Collection” because the TTAB did not determine whether the trademark was descriptive, the first step in deciding if a surname is unregistrable; meanwhile, NYC based-makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis (KW) is suing Kim Kardashian-West (KKW) over the name of her cosmetics line because KW believes that KKW is engaging in unfair competition, infringing on KW’s four initial-bearing logo trademarks, and causing consumer confusion regarding KW’s high-end organic beauty line.

Free Expression and Censorship

National Censorship Athletic Association? A student with a successful athletics-related and monetized YouTube account has lost his full-ride scholarship to play football at the University of Central Florida because he did not answer a negotiation ultimatum from the NCAA that attempted to mitigate his imminent violation of the NCAA rule that prohibits a student athlete from profiting from his or her status.

Free Internet Fail: A study found that Facebook’s free internet service, Free Basics, provides internet access to 63 countries in Asia, Africa and South America but prevents access to Facebook’s competitor’s sites and local sites, and limits access to about a thousand sites of U.S. and U.K. companies.

Practice Note

Barricading the Bench: As cybercriminals look for new targets to launch their attacks, the need for robust cybersecurity infrastructure must extend into the courtroom, where confidential proceedings take place and secure data management frameworks are now essential to ensure the proper administration of justice.

On The Lighter Side

Enhanced Exposure: A new specially developed VR technology improves the effects of exposure therapy, according to a study conducted by therapists on their patients which shows that the tech allows patients to truly address phobias and similar conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder.


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