CLIP-ings: July 1, 2016

Internet Governance

Preparing for IANA Transition: ICANN signed an agreement with the regional internet registries that grants it the coordination and administration role currently served by the US government; in exchange, ICANN is committed to meet new operational benchmarks, fulfill additional obligations such as periodic reviews, and establish an arbitration process to solve future disputes.

Stronger Data Transfer Standards: The EU and the US revised the Privacy Shield data transfer agreement, in response to EU concerns about mass US spying, to include heightened regulations for companies that keep profitable cross-border data on Europeans and transparency in US surveillance.

More Proprietary Undersea Cables: Weeks after Facebook and Microsoft announced they will lay an unprecedentedly capacious trans-Atlantic cable, Google, in cooperation with five Asian telecommunication companies, launched the highest capacity trans-Pacific cable, intended to carry Google’s data between overseas data centers; the move marks a shift in bandwidth capacity from telecommunication companies to tech giants.


Security Concerns Lead to Intrusive Proposal: A Department of Homeland Security proposal published in the Federal Register would add a field on the I94W form that asks travelers coming to the US without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program to provide their social media accounts to help screen for links to terrorist activity.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Database Leaked: A “white-hat hacker” obtained a leaked copy of a Thomson Reuters-owned database containing names of over 2.2 million individuals and organizations labeled “heightened risks” and used to screen people for links to crime and terrorism; the hacker’s concern about the database’s inclusion of innocent people has led him to consider leaking it to the public, a risky decision that would alert the true criminals on the list.

Changes to Electronic Tax Filing:  The IRS decided to discontinue the Electronic Filing PINs web tool, which allowed taxpayers to obtain a PIN to file tax returns online, due to security concerns after repeated bot attacks targeted the application, including a successful breach in February where the bot obtained more than 100,000 PINs.

Intellectual Property

Global Literacy Access: Twenty countries have now ratified the Marrakesh Treaty, aimed at increasing literacy and information access for the visually impaired and print disabled through a copyright exception and facilitation of cross-border trade of copyrighted books in special literacy format; the Treaty will take force this coming September.

Free Expression and Censorship

E-Campaigning? Facebook, attempting to maintain an impartial approach to the national  election and refute assertions of political bias by skewing news, still plays a role in  encouraging voting and aiding candidates in managing their platforms on the site;  concerns remain about the role of social networks in influencing user ideology and  beliefs to the detriment of larger societal awareness of differing ideas.

A Step Further for Private Sector Anti-Terror Efforts: Stepping up efforts to combat terrorist propaganda online, Facebook, Google and other tech companies may deploy automated copyright removal methods instead of relying on user reporting, raising concerns about the companies’ cooperation with the government and the possibility that the tools might be abused to suppress free speech.

Practice Note

Security Opportunities Ahead: Items that have long been everyday fixtures in their  respective sectors but are newly automated, such as home appliances, equipment monitoring, and transportation and healthcare devices, are manufactured with minimal security expertise and are vulnerable to hackers, but present significant opportunities for security companies to develop risk models and increase global security.

On the Lighter Side

You Know Nothing, Siri! Siri is giving out all sorts of sassy replies to Game of Thrones finale inquiries, but her failure to answer follow up questions reveals she did not watch closely enough.

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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows, CLIP
Victoria J.A. Loeb
Vlad A. Herta