CLIP-ings: September 30, 2016

Internet Governance

State-Run Email in Russia: Despite previously using Microsoft to survey and raid opposition groups, Moscow will now replace its Microsoft email software on 6,000 government computers with a state-run system in an effort declared by President Putin to move toward better “security and reliability” by using local rather than foreign software.


Apple Is Monitoring Your iMessages: Although Apple has long maintained that iMessage data is entirely secure and encrypted, the company reportedly creates a log that includes the date, time, and IP address of the device whenever a user types a number into an iPhone for a text conversation; although the log only lives for 30 days, a court order could compel Apple to turn over this information and extend the log’s lifespan.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Yahoo in Trouble: Yahoo may have misled investors in the wording of their September 9 proxy statement by failing to adequately disclose that it may have been aware, in as early as August, of a massive security breach that exposed 500 million user accounts.

Hacker Convicted of Terrorism: An ISIS hacker from Kosovo who provided the organization with a kill list—a compilation of the names, locations, phone numbers, email addresses, and email passwords of 1,351 US military and government officials—has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Virginia federal court, marking the first time that the US has prosecuted a hacker for an act of terrorism.

Intellectual Property

Record Industry Fights Stream-Rippers: In a symbolic move toward protecting musicians, the Recording Industry Association of America, the British Recorded Music Industry, and other industry lobbyists have filed suit against—a website that enables users to convert YouTube videos to mp3s—alleging that stream-ripping constitutes copyright infringement.

Legality of Video-Streaming Boxes: In what is being called a landmark case, a UK court will determine whether a seller can be held liable for facilitating the circumvention of copyright protection systems where he sells a set-top box preloaded with third-party add-ons—a device that allows content pirated from the internet to be streamed on electronic devices.

Free Expression and Censorship

Wi-Fi Ban at Presidential Debate: Journalists covering the first presidential debate at Hofstra University on Monday were banned from using their own Wi-Fi hotspots and, instead, were required to pay $200 to access the event’s Wi-Fi or be forced to leave if they used their own—an issue that a Federal Communications Commissioner is now asking the agency to investigate.

Facebook Censoring Palestinians: After seven Palestinian journalists, four news editors and three executives suddenly lost access to their personal Facebook accounts in what Facebook alleges was a mistake, the social media platform has been accused of working with the Israeli government, after the two recently agreed to cooperate in quelling violence-inciting content.

Practice Note

The CFAA’s 30-Year History: With numerous reforms and contradictory court decisions over the years, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act still leaves ambiguities regarding the definition of “access” and “authorization,” creating the issue: Should the scope of cybercrimes be interpreted narrowly, or should the scope be defined broadly—which could decentivize people from discovering and testing security system vulnerabilities for fear of prosecution.

On the Lighter Side

Uber Zombies: While Uber drivers in China could previously receive a subsidy for every 30 rides, that subsidy has been reduced, leading some drivers to now post profile pictures of themselves as zombies in an effort to scare passengers away, so that the drivers may collect a cancellation fee—a tactic known as ghost-driving.

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
Nadia Kashem
Meghna Prasad