CLIP-ings: June 12, 2015

Internet Governance

Land Of The (Tax) Free (Internet): The House passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, which, if passed into law, would “bar U.S. states from taxing Internet access” but would leave open questions on state sales tax for e-commerce.


The UK’s First Stingrays: London’s Metropolitan Police “refused to say who is controlling…or what is being done with” the twenty devices disguised as fake mobile phone towers that were discovered in the city.

Secret Court Supremacy? In accordance with the “transition period” provided for in the USA Freedom Act, the DOJ has filed to the FISC a request for permission to collect bulk metadata for six more months; authorization would contradict a Second Circuit ruling that such collection is illegal.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Shame On US: After a hacking incident affected up to four million current and former government employees, President Obama declined to “point the finger” at China and instead urged Congress to pass stronger cybersecurity legislation.

Encryption Enables Terrorism? The FBI warned Congress and privacy-touting tech companies that the end-to-end encryption used by some messaging applications threatens national security by allowing for unmonitored communication about potentially nefarious activity.

Intellectual Property

Closing In On Patent Abuse: The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a draft of the Patent Act, which would impose stringent standards designed to deter non-practicing entities from filing frivolous lawsuits, including limits on discovery and fee-shifting provisions.

Free Expression and Censorship

True Threats? Shortly after the Supreme Court held that only “true threats” are criminal, the DOJ subpoenaed to identify six users who made threatening comments on the site about the judge in the Silk Road trial.

On the Lighter Side

Stop, Drop, And Don’t Instagram: This Dutch fire safety sign burns the social media generation.

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