CLIP-ings: March 10, 2017

Internet Governance

Kerala Blessed With Luck O’ the Internet: According to the finance minister of the Indian state of Kerala, the government will provide internet connections to two million low-income families free of charge, give service to others at a low rate, and also move most government services online by 2018.

Waiting for the Green Light: The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan is using smart technology in its traffic control system to analyze the entire network of connected traffic lights, which helps predict jams before they happen, prioritize drivers who need to get somewhere faster, and significantly cut down on congestion overall.

Privacy

It’s Your Lucky Day, Michaud: After the indictment of an alleged child pornographer in United States v. Jay Michaud, the DoJ has now filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, as the FBI is unwilling to reveal certain elements of their Network Investigative Techniques used to hack the Tor network and gather information about the alleged pornographer’s website.

Mischievous Little Leprechauns: In a surprising role-reversal, law enforcement officials are now being tracked by Uber in several major cities and countries through multiple tools including “Greyball,” which alerts drivers to avoid a certain area whenever an officer attempts to hail a ride and then sends a fake version of the app showing ghost cars to the officer’s phone.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Mischief Online: In a recent securities and investment fraud scheme, a spear-phishing campaign targeted at least eleven different organizations’ employees who e-file documents with the SEC, sending personalized emails to these employees and asking them to download a Word document which supposedly contained important changes to a Form 10-K filing.

A Saintly App: Iranian women can now obtain information about birth control, health issues, divorce, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, and STDs, from an app called Hamdam, which disguises itself as a period tracker but gives these women this often unattainable information while protecting users’ personal information and identities by remaining disconnected from a server and disallowing the screenshot capability.

Sneaky Snakes: Not even wild animals are safe from hacking anymore; while researchers use tracking devices on some species to gain data, poachers, hunters, photographers, and others are intercepting these unsecure GPS signals for their own benefit.

Intellectual Property

Let’s Just Have a Drink and Settle This: In a lawsuit filed by Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk, against chef Wolfgang Puck, Musk alleges that the trademark for his Colorado restaurant, “The Kitchen Café out of Colorado,” has been infringed by Wolfgang Puck’s Chicago restaurant, “The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck,” in a lawsuit that bizarrely hinges on the trademarkability of the generic and common words “the kitchen.”

Unholi-day: Under representation by the global law firm Baker McKenzie, the Vatican will now strictly monitor the use of the image of Pope Francis and the coat of arms of the Holy See, to prevent infringement of the Pope’s publicity rights and the Vatican’s other intellectual property.

Free Expression and Censorship

Ire Caused by Selfie: A Bavarian court has ruled against a man who sued Facebook for refusing to prohibit distribution of a photograph of him with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the image was linked to false stories claiming that he was responsible for terrorist attacks in Brussels and Berlin and setting a homeless man on fire.

No Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow: BBC journalists investigating child porn rings on Facebook were granted an interview with one of the social media company’s representatives on the condition that the journalists forward the child porn images they found to Facebook, but when they did so, Facebook not only cancelled the interview but also reported the journalists to the authorities.

Practice Note

Kiss Me, I’m Public! The California Supreme Court has ruled that state officials must abide by the California Public Records Act and are therefore not permitted to hide official communications in personal email accounts or personal devices, in a landmark decision where the Court was forced to balance public access with personal privacy.

On the Lighter Side

What Happens in Vegas: You might not be able to share your life’s woes with these bartenders, but in a few months, the “first robotic bar in the world” will bring droids to the Las Vegas Strip to mix concoctions for their human customers.


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