Tweaking Telecoms: The Senate passed a series of laws last week centering on the FCC: one requires that phone systems allow individuals to directly dial 911, the next created a working group of various government agency personnel tasked with reporting on the security of internet of things devices, the last requires the FCC to frequently report on the state of competition within telecom’s video and service delivery markets.
Unhinged UK: The UK announced it will pass a more extensive Data Protection Act including provisions requiring social media companies to comply with a teenager’s request to delete information posted as a child via the “right to be forgotten,” outlawing pre-ticked “consent” boxes on sites, and expanding the definition of “personal data” to include internet cookies, DNA, and IP addresses.
Warrant Woes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has argued that federal agents should obtain warrants before searching digital devices carried by international travelers, citing the immense amount of personal information stored on these devices and the recent increase in digital searches at the U.S. border; meanwhile, the Supreme Court is considering whether law enforcement must get a warrant before tracking suspects using their cell phone location history.
Relaxed Rules? A report alleges that teenage-targeted social messaging app Kik enables child exploitation as the app’s moderators have failed to take down profiles of accused or convicted pedophiles; although the moderators of the app comply with law enforcement investigations, they admitted that they “will do a better job of removing profiles of convicted pedophiles.”
Chat Combat: A new chatbot developed by Microsoft pretends to be a live person offering sex online and then delivers a warning to users that the conversation could be reviewed by law enforcement as part an initiative among non-profit groups seeking to thwart online human sex trafficking.
Information Security and Cyberthreats
Radio Waves: In the wake of cyberattacks and weather-based disruptions that illustrated the vulnerability of satellite-based GPS systems used by the majority of cargo ships for navigation purposes, several countries are developing back-up terrestrial systems using radio frequencies that are more difficult for hackers to jam but sometimes less accurate than GPS.
Salacious Sequel? A case under consideration by the Southern District of New York focuses on a play that is an alleged infringing sequel that takes place 43 years after the original Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas;” while Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP alleges IP infringement, the playwright asserts a fair use defense emphasizing that his dark adult comedy is a parody and/or is highly transformative of the original because its components from the plot to the tone are materially different.
Positive Piracy: The 80s rock band Def Leppard credits the “multiplier effect” of music piracy for the band’s continued relevance and success after observing that over the past 15 years its audience has increasingly consisted of younger fans.
Free Expression and Censorship
Fake News Fights & Findings: Facebook is fighting back against a technique called “cloaking” that allows spammers to create a consumer-facing landing page of fake news while fooling moderators with an innocent-looking site; meanwhile a study found that fake news spreads primarily through social bots, which are automated bots that control recently published fake news postings on social media accounts, targeting influential figures to induce the spread of false content.
All Eyes: A German-Israeli artist unhappy with how Twitter responded to more than 300 tweets he reported as abusive recorded a video in which he spray-painted 30 of those tweets outside of the social network’s German office.
Privacy International: While much attention has been given to data protection regulation in the EU and cybersecurity policy in China, legal experts have advised multinational companies to review developments in consumer privacy law elsewhere in the world, such as pending mandatory data breach reporting requirements in Canada, Singapore and Australia, and the establishment of a Personal Information Protection Commission in Japan.
On The Lighter Side
Falling for AI? To prepare his players for imminent battles with robots, the head coach of Baylor University’s football team raced and beat the robot dummy just before the dummy sought revenge and tackled the coach after his victory.
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
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP