CLIP-ings: October 4, 2019

Internet Governance

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC’s Repeal Of Net Neutrality Regulations: The court also held that the FCC could not prevent states from passing their own laws to protect net neutrality; five states have already enacted legislation or regulations protecting net neutrality, and thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have introduced bills or regulations to the same effect.


English Court Of Appeal Allows “Safari Workaround” Class Action Against Google To Proceed: The case alleges that Google bypassed iPhone users’ privacy settings to track their web habits between 2011 and 2012; the court found that the plaintiffs could properly hold Google accountable for “deliberate misuse of personal data without consent” if their claims can be proven.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

FBI Investigates Alleged Hacking Attempt Into West Virginia’s Mobile Voting App: The app allows voters who are active military or registered to vote abroad to cast their votes from their phones; the app’s co-founder and CEO announced that a group had attempted to access the system during the 2018 Midterm Elections, and reported the incident to law enforcement to investigate.

Intellectual Property

Blackberry Loses Patent Protection Under Alice: In patent infringement litigation between Facebook, Twitter, Snap, and BlackBerry over BlackBerry’s mobile messaging and targeted advertising patents, a California District Court judge concluded that four of the patents were invalid under the Alice decision.

Google Side-Steps EU Copyright Directive’s New Link Tax: In response to France’s establishment of a link tax, Google, which would be obligated under the Directive to pay for displaying “snippets” of publishers’ copyright-protected material alongside its search results, is instead updating how search results are displayed; results will now appear without a “snippet” by default, leaving publishers to opt-in to including additional information.

Free Expression and Censorship

CJEU Rules That Individual Countries Can Order Facebook To Take Down Offensive Material Globally: Following its ruling last week that limited the reach of the “right to be forgotten,” the Court of Justice of the European Union found that courts in EU member states may require Facebook to remove on a global scale content that is “defamatory or otherwise illegal.”

Practice Note

Active Consent Is Required For Cookie Use In The EU: The Court of Justice of the European Union set a higher standard for user consent to ad tracking cookies by holding that pre-checked tick-boxes and cryptic consent agreement forms are invalid; the court did not, however, consider “cookie-walls” on websites that require users to accept cookie agreements prior to accessing the site.

On the Lighter Side

CIA To Retire Its Network Of Secure Fax Machines: Vendors will instead communicate with the Agency via its new cloud-based web service, Gray Magic, which is currently in beta; the CIA hopes to lead the intelligence community in a renewed wave of cloud-based services.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Alison Gordon
Lawrence Keating
Editorial Fellows