CLIP-ings: August 18, 2017

Internet Governance

InstaKind: Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, who in the early days deleted unsavory user comments from the app by hand, has started a company-wide campaign to make the app “kinder” with the help of DeepText, a behind-the-scenes machine learning concept that can interpret, classify, and even remove posts in violation of the app’s standards.

Scraping Success: A U.S. federal judge has ruled that LinkedIn cannot prevent a startup from accessing and using data available in its public profiles, the latest development in an ongoing debate over whether public social media data can be “scraped” from the host platforms by third-party companies.


Dreaming of a Data Disruption: DreamHost, the webhost for an anti-Trump website used to organize the protest of Trump’s inauguration, is in hot water with the Department of Justice (DOJ) as DreamHost is enduring a lengthy battle to resist the DOJ’s warrant for all files, including site visitor logs, emails, and user photos related to the site.

Privacy Check: In response to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allegations that it failed to secure sensitive customer data and misrepresented how it monitors access to private information, Uber has agreed to an independent privacy audit every two years to ensure its privacy standards are in compliance with FTC guidelines.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Endangered Employers: A study conducted by Bitglass found that employers’ data is frequently at risk because employees often use unsecure Wi-Fi hotspots to access enterprise cloud applications.

Alternative Hacks: While hacking is commonly thought of as typing code into a computer, an alternative method known as “social engineering” exists in which hackers pose as distressed employees and use ID cards, voicemail passwords, and other information obtained from making fraudulent phone calls to break into restricted networks.

Intellectual Property

Comic Chaos: After Disney announced it’s pulling its content from Netflix to start its own streaming service, Netflix’s purchase of comic book publisher Millarworld highlights the growing fear in the literary community that Hollywood sees comic publishing merely as IP content farms.

Trade Troubles: President Trump has authorized an inquiry into China’s trade policies that force foreign companies to turn technology over to Chinese joint venture partners, harming U.S. businesses and jobs and resulting over the course of decades in theft of as much as $600 billion in IP.

Free Expression and Censorship

Issue-Oriented Inconsistencies? The ACLU, Milo Yiannopoulos, PETA and Carafem, a network of women’s health centers, sued Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for allegedly violating the First Amendment after it developed a policy of suspending controversial or alternative advertisements from its buses, trains and subway stations that it vaguely deemed “issue oriented.”

King Fear: A Thai activist was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for sharing a BBC article profiling the new Thai king, singling one activist out from thousands who also shared the article and signaling that strict sanctions are imposed even for relatively objective characterizations of the monarchy.

Practice Note

Lagging Law: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regards geolocation data as sensitive personal data that can cause cyber or physical harm if in the wrong hands and has already charged companies for unfair and deceptive practices on this basis; practitioners should seek guidance on FTC Act Section 5’s application in these scenarios.

On The Lighter Side

On-Screen Olympians? The Paris Olympic Bid Committee will meet with “eSport” representatives to get a better understanding of “what the process is and why it is such a success” before the committee decides whether or not to include competitive video gaming as a medal event in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

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