CLIP-ings: March 31, 2017

Internet Governance

Get Out of My Data! Congress voted this week to overturn online privacy rules that would have required broadband providers to obtain users’ permission before collecting and selling their online activity data, giving advertisers more leeway to direct specific ads at consumers and possibly driving users towards VPNs and Tor to safeguard their privacy.

An Uber-Cool Idea: Singapore’s Minister of Transport is trying to bring aerial transport into the country’s infrastructure by 2030, with an idea for scorpion-like taxi drones that would pick up passengers based on an e-hail system.


The Trackiest Place on Earth: Visitors to Disney World have the option of wearing a MagicBand, a radio-powered bracelet which allows them to pay for food and souvenirs, open their hotel room doors at Disney resorts, and obtain access to rides more quickly, all while tracking their locations and activities throughout the resort.

The Sweet Taste of Revenge: A new GoFundMe campaign is raising funds for a privacy activist to buy the web browsing histories of all legislators who voted to overturn the internet privacy rules this past Tuesday so that he may publish them online, though it is unclear whether he will be able to do so.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

D.N.A. = Do Not Access: In a Dallas program that combats prostitution, police locate and give sex workers the option of either going to jail or speaking with a counselor, which also entails taking a sample of their DNA to be stored in a database in the event that their bodies need to be identified; however, concerns include whether the data can be used to incriminate them in criminal situations or affect their future insurance or employment.

Can You Hear Me Now? Not Good. The “can you hear me” scam is a new technique where chatbots apply natural-speech technology to trick people into believing that they are speaking to a real human, ask them if they can hear the caller, and then record that affirmation to sign them up for unsolicited products and services.

Intellectual Property

Stay Hungry. Stay Original. Although a Beijing IP court ruled last year that Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models had violated design patents of a Chinese company—and therefore attempted to enjoin Apple from selling its iPhone 6 line in Beijing—this initial decision was recently overturned, demonstrating that Chinese courts will not always rule in favor of local businesses.

The Peach State Is Not So Peachy: Georgia has won a copyright infringement suit against a nonprofit that published the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” online for free public use, with the court rejecting the defendant’s fair use argument and finding infringement because the publisher, LexisNexis, had assigned copyrights in the annotations to the state.

Free Expression and Censorship

“Arc” You Kidding Me? Arctic researchers, who already have limited resources, are suffering the consequences of the Trump administration’s insistence on taking down webpages, datasets, and policies about the Arctic, while scientists around the world are racing to preserve this research by creating back-up copies before the data is permanently deleted.

Stalin’ the New Legislation: The Hungarian government wants to pass a law that would ban businesses from using controversial symbols such as swastikas, arrow crosses, and hammers and sickles in their logos, and would punish violators with a jail sentence and 2 billion forint fine—approximately $7M; this “morally obligatory” bill primarily targets Heineken’s trademark, which is allegedly too similar to the Communist red star.

Practice Note

Professional Students’ Unprofessional Speech: Today the Supreme Court will decide whether to grant certiorari for a case that hinges on whether professional programs, such as law schools, medical schools, and business schools, can expel students for expressing “unprofessional” views that violate the student code of conduct, despite being expressed outside of any curricular setting.

On the Lighter Side

You’re Sending Ripples up My Spine: Ripple is a device resembling a sea anemone that you wear on your shoulder and that employs sensors and cameras to determine when someone is looking at you, thereby sending a rippling sensation up your back—just in case you’re too busy looking at your phone to realize who is trying to flirt with you.

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