CLIP-ings: November 16, 2018

Internet Governance

DOJ And SEC Subpoena Snap: The DOJ and SEC subpoenaed Snap for information regarding its March 2017 IPO; the subpoena comes in the wake of an ongoing shareholder lawsuit alleging that Snap misled investors by, among other things, failing to disclose a pre-IPO lawsuit claiming that the company had misrepresented user metrics and failing to reveal the effects of competition from Instagram.

Privacy

UK Data Watchdog Monitors DeepMind: The Information Commissioner’s Office will monitor artificial intelligence lab DeepMind’s handoff of its Health unit to Google Health; the reshuffling, which comes as part of an effort to scale DeepMind’s Streams app into an “AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors everywhere” stokes concerns that Google will now have direct access to National Health Service patients’ records, which ICO determined DeepMind illegally accessed while developing the Streams app last year.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Bill Cements Cybersecurity Agency In DHS: bill establishing the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within the Department of Homeland Security heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law; the bill also rebrands DHS’s main cybersecurity unit — the National Protection and Programs Directorate — as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency, solidifying the DHS’s role as the main federal agency overseeing civilian cybersecurity.

Beware Of Fake Bitcoin Giveaways: A number of high-profile, verified Twitter accounts, including Target and Google’s G-Suite, were hacked as part of a fraudulent Bitcoin giveaway that scammed users out of their cryptocurrencies; it is unclear how the scammers gained access to the brands’ accounts, and Twitter is working on counter security measures to prevent further breaches following earlier criticism of its failure to devise a clear defense against this type of incident.

Intellectual Property

YouTube Decries Article 13: CEO Susan Wojcicki argued that the EU’s proposed copyright directive, which would make internet companies responsible for infringement on their platforms, is “unrealistic” because of the technical and financial capabilities required for compliance; the EU will conduct its final vote on the controversial directive in January.

Free Expression and Censorship

France Joins Facebook To Combat Hate Speech: For the first time, the social media giant is allowing a small team of French regulators to monitor its systems for combatting hate speech; the six-month partnership will start in early 2019 and is designed to result in “joint, precise, and concrete” regulatory proposals.

China Deletes Accounts Tied To Independent Media: The Cyberspace Administration of China removed 9,800 social media accounts, including those belonging to independent sources that are not state-registered and produce original content ranging from investigative journalism to celebrity gossip, on the basis that they posted “sensational, vulgar or politically harmful content.”

Practice Note

Patent Assignor Can Challenge Validity In IPR: In Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Sys., Inc., the Federal Circuit recently held that assignor estoppel did not apply to bar a patent assignor from later challenging the assigned patent in an inter partes review proceeding.

On The Lighter Side

Pumping The Breaks On “Teslaquila” Trademark: After Tesla filed a trademark application for “Teslaquila,” Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council warned that the name evokes the protected term “Tequila,” and thus the company would have to “associate itself with an authorized tequila producer, comply with certain standards and request authorization from Mexico’s Industrial Property Institute.”


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Tommine McCarthy 
Subrina Chowdhury 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: November 9, 2018

Internet Governance

Supreme Court Won’t Hear Net Neutrality: The highest court denied certiorari to telecom companies’ challenge to a lower court decision that upheld federal net neutrality rules set during the Obama administration on the basis that the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality made the challenge moot.

Uber Races To Put Autonomous Cars On The Road: More than seven months after a fatal crash involving one of its autonomous vehicles, the ride-hailing company released a voluntary safety report under U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines and has sought permission to resume self-driving car tests in Pennsylvania; safety improvements purportedly include automatic braking that detects objects more quickly and stricter monitoring of safety drivers.

Privacy

Dutch Police Access Encrypted Messages: Law enforcement in the Netherlands stated that a “breakthrough in the interception and decryption of encrypted communication” enabled police to read over 258,000 live messages exchanged between criminals on BlackBox Security’s IronChat, an app “billed as providing end-to-end encryption” that runs on a device costing thousands of dollars; Dutch media reported that a version of IronChat had potentially serious vulnerabilities that allowed the police to break the encryption.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Facebook Blocks Russian Trolls Ahead Of Midterms: After receiving a tip from the F.B.I., the social network removed more than 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts “due to concerns that they were linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency”—the same organization accused of interfering with the 2016 presidential election; the collaboration marks the first time that Facebook publicly acknowledged acting on an influence campaign as a result of intelligence received from a government agency.

Intellectual Property

Google’s Anti-Piracy Measures Pay Off: A new report highlighting the company’s anti-piracy products reveals that YouTube paid $3 billion to copyright owners through Content ID, a system that scans uploads against a database of content owners’ files, detects when an upload uses another person’s intellectual property, and then allows the owner to earn from the upload; Google also reported that it removed 3 billion URLs from Search after releasing a tool that allows copyright owners to report illicit websites, and that it disapproved of 10 million advertisements suspected of linking to infringing websites in 2017.

Free Expression and Censorship

Gab Is Back Online: Social network Gab found a new domain registrar after its prior domain host, GoDaddy, dropped the site following revelations that Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers maintained an anti-Semitic profile on the network; Rob Monster, founder and CEO of Gab’s new domain host Epik.com, wrote that he “did not take the decision lightly,” but believes “de-platforming is digital censorship.”

Chrome 71 To Block Ads: The new browser, due for release in December, will block all website ads that Google classifies as “abusive,” including those that cause the browser to misbehave by generating fake system messages, automatically redirecting users, or attempting to steal personal information; Google will give site owners a thirty-day period to remove the advertisement, and failure to do so will cause Chrome to block every ad on the website. 

Practice Note

Licensing SEPs To Chipmaker Competitors: A California federal judge ruled that Qualcomm must license its standard-essential patents (SEPs) to competing modem-chip sellers, siding with the Federal Trade Commission in its argument that Qualcomm violated its fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing commitments; the court observed that Qualcomm itself received such licenses to supply components and emphasized in prior litigation that an SEP holder may not discriminate in licensing its SEPs.

On The Lighter Side

AI News Anchors: China’s state-run press agency used footage from humans to generate AI anchors that read the news using synthesized voices.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Tommine McCarthy 
Subrina Chowdhury 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: November 2, 2018

Internet Governance

UK Proposes Big Tech Tax: Chancellor Philip Hammond proposed a 2% digital services tax on the UK-generated revenues of search engines, social media platforms, and online marketplaces that are profitable and achieve global revenue above £500m per year; U.S. political leaders and business groups expressed concern that the tax proposal may violate tax agreements by targeting U.S. firms, spark U.S. retaliation, and hurt prospects for a U.S.-UK trade deal.

Waymo Takes The Wheel: California granted Waymo, the self-driving car startup of Google parent Alphabet, a first-of-its-kind permit to test fully driverless cars on public roads in the state; while the vehicles may not travel faster than 65 miles per hour, they are allowed to drive in fog and light rain and operate in parts of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto in Northern California.

Privacy

AI Lie Detector To Question EU Travelers: In an EU-funded six-month pilot program, travelers at border crossing points in Hungary, Latvia, and Greece will be administered an automated lie-detection test by animated AI border agent “iBorderCtrl”; which will ask travelers questions, record the travelers’ faces to analyze micro-gestures, and score each response before either providing a QR code that permits the traveler to pass through the border or directing the traveler to a human agent for further assessment.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Aerospace Companies Hacked By Chinese Spies: The Justice Department charged two Chinese Ministry of State Security officers, six hackers, and two aerospace company insiders for allegedly leading a five-year operation to steal the technology behind a turbofan engine used in commercial airliners by hacking U.S. and French aerospace companies using malware and spear fishing techniques.

White House Monitors Foreign Election Interference: The FBI, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security are working with the National Security Council to monitor possible foreign interference in next week’s congressional elections, and will sanction any company or individual found to interfere through hacking or disinformation efforts; the Justice Department will also launch an “election interference command post” to help the FBI rapidly communicate with its different field offices around the country on election day.

Intellectual Property

The Right to Repair: The U.S. Copyright Office carved out new exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allow for the lawful circumvention of digital locks on voice assistants, tablets, smartphones, and vehicles so that consumers and third-parties acting on their behalf may repair such devices without violating copyright law.

Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter Reverses On Pipe Bomber’s Tweets: The social media platform apologized for denying a user’s request to address Cesar Sayoc Jr.’s threatening tweets weeks before he was charged with sending explosive devices to prominent critics of President Trump; other platforms continue to face backlash for not adequately monitoring hate speech, including Instagram for its initial refusal to remove content about Sayoc before reversing course due to public outcry.

Practice Note

Major Case Law Project Unveiled: In an effort to make a complete, searchable database of state and federal cases free on the Internet, Harvard Law launched the Caselaw Access Project with nearly 6.5 million decisions; while the primary documents have always been in the public domain, the project makes them accessible to anyone with Internet connection.

On The Lighter Side

Art Is In The AI Of The Beholder: An AI-generated painting recently fetched $432,500 at a Christie’s auction.


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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Tommine McCarthy 
Subrina Chowdhury 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP