CLIP-ings: July 21, 2017

Internet Governance

Internet Fast Lane? Comcast is advocating for paid prioritization instead of net neutrality by highlighting the necessity of paid prioritization with the imminence of self-driving cars; although the telecomms do not currently own the unlicensed bandwidth that autonomous cars will likely use to communicate with other cars, infrastructure, and devices, the safety-critical messages sent via vehicle-to-anything bandwidth would need to be prioritized over regular internet usage.

F.B.sly: A ruling by a federal judge now prohibits Internet Service Providers from notifying users of national security investigation by the FBI, giving the bureau the freedom to investigate without interference including accessing a complete list of the online purchases and all IP addresses with which the suspect was in communication.


Face Finder: A deep learning software startup is developing technology that can be embedded into police body cameras to identify persons of interest in crowded areas, but the technology raises privacy concerns as it can be enlisted by multiple body cameras at the same time to continuously monitor a public space.

Customs vs. Cloud: While U.S. Customs officials have the authority to search an individual’s electronic device without probable cause, officials may not search information not stored on the device itself, such as data stored in the cloud.

Ploys & Toys? The FBI and FTC are warning parents to ward off potential child identity fraud by doing their due diligence before purchasing smart toys for their kids, as many of these toys require providing sensitive information during account registration, have recording capabilities for voice recognition software, and often send back to the developer or cloud a wealth of information for various purposes such as GPS location, internet history, and IP address.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Information Indifference: Reliance Jio, an Indian telecom upstart, was hacked last Monday leaving the information of 100 million users vulnerable, yet the company’s denial of the hack has shed light upon an issue with India’s cybersecurity law: it barely exists, notwithstanding homing many international businesses within its borders, and its domestic corporations do not prioritize information security or feel incentivized to prevent and address the issue properly.

Shrinking the Satellites: A Silicon Valley startup has disrupted satellite technology by offering an alternative with size and affordability that will allow the Department of Defense (DOD) to have enough satellites to properly surveil the entire world and make up for natural limitations in surveillance that occur during the the nighttime and viewing through clouds.

Intellectual Property

BRAwl: Lululemon sued Under Armour for allegedly infringing on a patent for its cross-strap sports bra design, a rare move in the fashion industry that will ask a federal court to consider whether the design is truly novel.

Taming the Trolls: A Massachusetts state senator is proposing new legislation aimed at ridding the state of patent trolls as part of an effort started by an internet security company to prevent a practice that threatens younger entrepreneurs and hinders innovation and economic development in the state.

Free Expression and Censorship

We The Social? Social media networks are becoming increasingly similar to governments in terms of controlling participation in expressive speech and shaping public opinion, such as through the rise of political propaganda bots; the platforms should not be mistaken for governing bodies because they operate using a different set of rules for monitoring and policing speech.

Lost in Transmission: China is continuing to flex its censorship muscle with new technology that can delete messages in private chats before the messages are received, as when the friend of a celebrated Chinese dissident was recently unable to send photos of the man to the intended recipients through the messaging app WeChat.

Practice Note

Guidelines for Games: Legal battles abound over alleged similarities between video game “clones,” where courts have held that current U.S. copyright law protects the most obvious creative aspects of a game, such as its visual appearance the uniqueness of its characters, and does not protect mechanics such as in-game rules or functional elements such as point systems.

On the Lighter Side

Service for Service: In yet another instance of users failing to read the terms and conditions to access an internet service, more than 22,000 people agreed to a “Community Service Clause” requiring them to perform 1,000 of service on tasks like cleaning public toilets and scraping gum off the streets in exchange for access to a WiFi hotspot.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP