CLIPings: July 29, 2016

Internet Governance

Better Broadband for Home and Business: Verizon will launch a fiber network architecture technology that will increase internet connectivity over existing fiber optic service cables and boost speeds for business and residential service simultaneously, without having to remove and replace miles of underground cables or fund expensive network renovations.

Bitcoin Not Bills: In a money laundering case where defendants were accused of illegally selling $1,500 worth of Bitcoin to undercover officers, a Florida state judge ruled that Bitcoin is not money because, in part, the cryptocurrency does not constitute a “commonly used means of exchange.”


Courthouse Vicinity in Bounds: A federal judge for the Northern District of California declined to suppress evidence that the FBI recorded without a warrant from devices planted by courthouse steps, vehicles, and a nearby bus stop, finding that the defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a conversation held on the courthouse steps.

Stingray Protection on the Rise: Illinois’ Governor signed into law the Citizen Privacy Protection Act, adding Illinois to the growing number of states that require law enforcement officials to obtain court approval before deploying Stingrays to determine a phone’s location and intercept its data.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hack Investigation:  The FBI has announced its investigation into the DNC hack that resulted in Wikileaks’ publishing of a number of the organization’s emails; private security firms indicated that the Russian government might be involved in the hack.

Color Coding Security Breaches: President Obama issued a policy directive announcing that the color-coded system used to categorize terror threat levels will also be used to label hacking incidents; hacks will be classified on a five-color scheme, ranging from white (“unsubstantiated or inconsequential threat”) to black (“imminent threat”).

Improving Cybersecurity in Healthcare: The Office for Civil Rights of the US Health and Human Services Department released new information security guidelines for healthcare organizations to defend against targeted ransomware infections, in compliance with HIPAA’s requirements for responding to threats.

Intellectual Property

Planning Ahead? A DC lawyer and artist who bought the domain for $8 in 2011 claims that “ClintonKaine” is his trademark and is demanding $90,000 in exchange for control of the site and its domain name.

Be Careful What You Tweet: In a letter to ESPN, the US Olympics Committee stated that non-sponsor companies may not post about the Olympic Games on their social media accounts; the prohibition includes using trademarks in hashtags, such as #Rio2016, or retweeting pictures taken at the Olympics.

Free Expression and Censorship

Incomplete Autocomplete: Google’s search function faces accusation of left-wing bias, as searches for “presidential candidates” displayed Democratic and Green Party candidates on the top bar, but left off Republican and Libertarian candidates; Google claims that the search results were caused by a bug displaying only those candidates participating in an active primary election.

Practice Note

Encryption Goes Micro: The DoD has adopted a new approach to cybersecurity called micro-segmentation that creates smaller, isolated, and encrypted networks in which only certain groups of people can access and share information; operators can set up a micro-segment, share information, terminate it, and shield its existence from outside users, meaning that hackers can not move laterally to other micro-segments after attacking one.

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Language of the Internet? Internet linguist explores whether emojis are a language in an upcoming book.

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