Behold, Greater Trans-Pacific Speeds! In a move toward building up infrastructure mirrored by many tech companies, Google, Facebook, Pacific Light Data Communications, and TE Subcom are working together to build a giant submarine cable connecting Los Angeles to Hong Kong; the cable will have 12,800 km of fiber and a cable capacity of approximately 120 Tbps—the largest capacity of any trans-Pacific route—and will allow faster and more reliable connections by increasing bandwidth.
New Protections for Prepaid Debit Cards: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued new rules, going into effect in October 2017, that will provide most prepaid debit cards with some of the same protections given to regular debit and credit cards, including free access to account information, limited liability for fraudulent transactions, and greater transparency.
Please Leave Your Apple Watch Behind: The UK has banned ministers from wearing Apple Watches during cabinet meetings because of concerns that the smart watches could be hacked by Russian cyber spies to record conversations through the microphone, steal user data such as passwords, and even track a user’s hand motions to steal PIN numbers inputted into ATM machines.
Police Surveillance of Social Media: Geofeedia—a Chicago-based online surveillance company that collects data from twelve major social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—has allowed law enforcement agencies and more than 500 other similar clients to search for a user’s social media content by inputting a specific location rather than words or hashtags.
Information Security and Cyberthreats
DARPA Considers Blockchain: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research unit of the DoD, may introduce blockchain technology to secure sensitive data; this technology would create a record any time a network or database has been altered, thus preventing hackers from secretly modifying a system.
Hackers Targeting Banks: Financial institutions that use SWIFT, a payment network commonly used to transfer large sums of money, are still being targeted by a hacking group months after the Bangladesh Central Bank nearly lost $1 billion to different hackers.
NFL Crackdown: In a move to promote “meaningful reach and engagement” with fans, the NFL will prohibit teams from posting to social media any GIFs or video footage of football games, including highlights and anything shot in stadiums; teams may face fines ranging from up to $25,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of previous violations.
Scam to De-Index Sites from Google: At least twenty-five lawsuits have been filed in the past year as part of a scam to de-index websites from Google’s search engine, whereby a plaintiff files a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement or defamation against a “dummy defendant,” who agrees to an injunction, and a record of that approved injunction is then sent to Google, which de-indexes the site.
Free Expression and Censorship
Life Imprisonment for Open Source Code: Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident, continues to serve a life sentence—which was initially a death sentence—in Iran for creating an open source code for sharing photos online, which some Iranians used to upload pornography; the government charged him with creating propaganda that threatened the country’s Islamic ideals and national security, while the third parties’ acts were deemed irrelevant.
Deleting Browsing History: In a recent case concerning a possible breach of confidence, where an employee joined a competitor company and was given a consent order to maintain all records relating to his original company, a Canadian court ruled that the employee did not violate the order when he deleted his personal browsing history.
On the Lighter Side
New Consent Model: Alibaba Group Holdings has announced a new payment system, VR Pay, which will allow people using virtual reality goggles to enter virtual shopping malls and pay for purchases by nodding their heads rather than having to take off the goggles.
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