CLIPings: July 8, 2016

Internet Governance

Questions for Automated Driving: U.S. regulators are investigating Tesla’s autopilot driving feature after a fatal crash in May, a reminder that the software may contain flaws and is not designed to act as humans do in all driving situations.

“Nationwide IoT Network:” Inside of one week, Dutch and South Korean telecom operators implemented nationwide IoT networks via mobile transmission towers used for cell reception, allowing users to connect devices to the network via a technology called Long Range (LoRa); examples of usage include rail switch monitoring at the Utrecht Central station and depth measuring devices at the port of Rotterdam.

Protecting Human Rights Online: The United Nations Human Rights Council condemned the practice of shutting down the internet through a resolution stating that rights enjoyed offline “must also be protected online.”


Monitoring Google’s Data Collection: A new tool called My Activity allows Google users to see, in chronological order, all their online activity data that Google collects and saves, and features both a delete option to clear the information as well as one to “pause” the data collection.

It’s Still an Agency Record: The D.C. Circuit ruled that agencies must comply with  Freedom of Information Act requests for emails and records stored on non-government  servers, signaling a step forward for transparency but posing questions as to how  agencies will search for government information not stored on their own servers.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Password Sharing Liability: The Ninth Circuit upheld a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act conviction of a former consulting employee who used his coworker’s password to obtain information from the company’s servers and start a competing business; a dissenting judge stated in objection that the ruling could cover everyone who engages in the “ubiquitous, useful, and generally harmless” practice of sharing passwords.

Cybersecurity Investment: The EU Commission announced a public-private partnership to fund cybersecurity research and development of software products and services in key infrastructure sectors; the EU will disburse a maximum of $500 million and expects three times as much investment from the private sector to address cybersecurity concerns and boost European competitiveness.

Intellectual Property

ICANN’s Role in IP: ICANN stated that it will not decide copyright disputes or police content, but will ensure that those involved in the domain registration process are complying with contractual obligations and preventing illegal behavior.

Free Expression and Censorship

Censoring Graphic Live-Stream: A woman present at Wednesday’s Minnesota traffic stop shooting live-streamed the aftermath of the incident to Facebook; the video had 1 million views before Facebook removed it and subsequently re-released it with a graphic warning.

Another Cyberstalking Law Found Invalid: The Illinois Appeals Court found a cyberstalking law invalid because it lacked a malicious intent requirement for the harassment in question; prior courts have also found that absent this mens rea requirement, these cyberstalking laws create new First Amendment restrictions, hindering free speech.

Practice Note

IoT Liability Under TCPA: Smart home applications that allow consumers to remotely control automated home appliances with their smart phones may make service providers liable under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), because the statute requires vendors to communicate “only in a manner consistent with the consumer’s consent;” some text messages alerting users that, for example, a door or a window is open may exceed that scope of consent.

On the Lighter Side

Selfie Epidemic: “Today” show co-anchor was told by her doctor that selfie-taking, placing the arm in an abnormal position, may be a cause of arm pain and stiffness.

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