CLIP-ings: July 28, 2017

Internet Governance

Firearm Fears & Fumbles: A study conducted by think tank Rand Europe and the University of Manchester revealed that 47% of the products sold on the dark web are firearms and 60% of those firearms listings have product association origins from the United States; a report by the Government Accountability Office found that the Defense Logistics Agency lacks adequate due diligence in the administration of its 1033 Program, which transfers excess military grade weaponry to local law enforcement, but can be compromised by anyone who can make a fake law enforcement site.

Connecting Cuba: Although their state-sponsored internet is limited to public hotspots and plagued by censored sites, government spying and slow browsing speeds, a group of forward-thinking Cubans have devised workarounds such as packaging and distributing content on external hard drives and even creating a makeshift intranet service with Cuban versions of Instagram and Reddit.


Roomba Runs Risks: iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum, is contemplating selling the home configuration data the vacuum collects to Google, Amazon or Apple; while the data could be useful for law enforcement and insurance companies, many privacy experts are concerned that this data would reveal intimate consumer information and raise many legal questions.

A Chip in Hand: A Wisconsin company is offering its employees the chance to get a rice-grain-sized RFID chip implanted in their hands that would allow them to unlock doors and log in to office computers with a wave of their hands, but opens up the possibility for constant employee tracking.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cyber Security Shuffle: The State Department plans to reorganize including moving its Cyber Security arm to the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, leaving national security experts concerned that the move will signal that the current administration views cyberthreats as only a business matter and threatens the diplomatic cyberpolicy function of that arm.

Hacking U: New legislation aims to allocate $15 million from the U.S. defense budget to support curriculum development and best practices for a university course called “Hacking for Defense,” which places university scientists and engineers alongside defense personnel to find solutions to national security issues.

Intellectual Property

SoundCloud SoundOff:  SoundCloud prevented digital preservationists from attempting to archive the digital platform’s entire catalog, consisting of 900-terabytes of information totaling about 123.6 million tracks, stating that the download would violate its Terms of Use by infringing on the copyright of their users’ protected content.

Bad Apple? A U.S. judge doubled the amount Apple must pay to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to $506 million after Apple continued to infringe on a design for processor chips used in the iPhone and iPad, despite Apple’s claim that it developed proprietary technology for those processors.

Myriad Marks: In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that a bar on “disparaging” trademarks is a violation of the First Amendment, a wave of previously prohibitable marks are becoming registered as the guidelines for examining attorneys require an update to align with the ruling.

Free Expression and Censorship

Suspect or Over-Sensitivity? A Washington state law criminalizing repeated or anonymous cyberbullying is being challenged because it can be applied to criticizing politicians online; the plaintiff hopes that challenging the law on First Amendment grounds will render it unenforceable, as this approach has been successful in other states.

Let the Games Begin: An augmented reality (AR) game maker was granted an injunction against Milwaukee County in response to a new law requiring AR game makers to obtain a permit before their games could be played in county parks, ahead of an upcoming trial that will consider the extent of the game makers’ First Amendment rights.

Practice Note

Protecting Your Prints: A new Washington state law requires businesses that collect “biometric identifier” data like fingerprints and retina scans to disclose how the data would be used and obtain consent from the owner before using it, as states looking to pass similar legislation weigh protecting consumer biometric information against exposing businesses to heightened legal liability.

On The Lighter Side

O.G. Owner Obligations: Darden Corporation, the parent company of Olive Garden, had its knowledge handed to it after it threatened trademark infringement and requested for the owner of the Olive Garden critique blog, “,” to remove the metatags referencing the restaurant; the snarky blogger reminded Darden that the use of the restaurant’s name was legal under the doctrine of fair use. 

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