CLIP-ings: September 29, 2019

Internet Governance

Privacy Pleasantries: Amid criticism that the U.S.-E.U. Privacy Shield consists of the same limitations as the previously negotiated Safe Harbor agreement, the Privacy Shield’s first annual review seemed to go well as officials from both sides released a joint statement of their continued support of the current framework.

Movers and Shakers: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has enlisted the help of nine makers of digital health devices, such FitBit, Johnson & Johnson, and Samsung, to assist the FDA in developing new regulations for health monitoring devices.


Mining Mystery: Websites owned by Showtime’s parent company CBS were discovered to be using a portion of users’ processing power to mine cryptocurrency, which generated revenue despite the presence of ad-blocking software and prompted questions as to CBS’ involvement in this unusual activity.

Facebook is Following You: Facebook will soon tailor the ads shown on its platform to include ads for the brick-and-mortar stores shoppers visit in real life by utilizing the in-app location tracking feature on their smartphones.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Drama for Deloitte: Global accountancy firm Deloitte was the target of a complex cyberattack that impacted its global email server and reportedly compromised the confidential emails of some of its largest clients, prompting the firm to conduct an investigation to evaluate its cyber vulnerabilities.

Cries of a Category One: The director of the United Kingdom’s National Cybersecurity Centre warns that the first “category one” cyberattack could be upon us in the next few years and suggests that companies and governments should focus on managing risk and entrusting and empowering their employees instead of depending on the expertise of outside entities.

Intellectual Property

Tribe Transfer: A Native American tribe is suing Apple for patent infringement on a part used in its iPad, part of a litigation strategy in which technology companies transfer patent rights to a tribe to shield the patent from scrutiny by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Troll Tribunal? A Texas federal judge notorious for handling about a quarter of all U.S. patent cases has for the second time been told by a higher court that he can only hear patent lawsuits if the defendant “resides” in his district, after becoming a favorite among forum-shopping patent “trolls.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Censoring Catalan: The Spanish government’s recent issuance of court orders to both registrants of the .cat domain name and to ISPs, in an effort to block online content related to the upcoming Catalan referendum, prompted accusations that the Spanish government violated E.U. censorship laws.

Big Block: To encourage the use of the state-monitored messaging app WeChat and better enforce censorship of 68 categories of content now deemed inappropriate for their citizens, China has blocked the highly popular messaging app WhatsApp by developing specialized software to interfere with the app’s end-to-end encryption.

Practice Note

Picking Protections: Businesses that develop valuable proprietary information should consider whether to obtain patent protection or trade secret protection, taking into account that patents are typically more costly and require specialized counsel to obtain, while trade secrets are usually more difficult to enforce and do not prevent competitors from independently developing inventions.

On The Lighter Side

Fly Dubai: On Monday, Dubai conducted the maiden test flight for its flying taxi service with the Dubai Crown Prince onboard; this promising first flight means that this flying fleet could be up and running within the next five years.

Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

French Government Wants High-Speed, Parliament Concerned about Digital Divide: In response to President Macron’s push to expand high-speed mobile and fiber optic coverage by the end of 2020, Parliament published a report expressing its concerns about digital inequality in France, stating that high-speed expansion would leave a large portion of French territory without basic mobile access, while better optical fiber deployment in large cities would lead to delays in more rural areas.

France Taxes Video Platforms to Finance Digital Creation: France signed a decree to implement a 2% tax on the ad revenues of video-streaming websites with the goal of integrating these video platforms into the financing of original French content; the tax passed in Parliament in December of 2016 but faced criticism from the government.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

The End of the Free Internet: At the UN General Assembly recently, Britain, France, and Italy issued a joint statement to insist that Silicon Valley focuses on building technology to suppress violent extremism online; in a move that has previously been criticized for encroaching on free expression, these countries and the heads of major tech companies are increasingly agreeing on the urgency of monitoring this content.

Don’t Worry, Robots Won’t Replace All of Us: YuMi the robot recently led an orchestra accompanying renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli at a charity gala in Pisa, Italy; it is unlikely, though, that robots will ever replace orchestral conductors because of the artistry and human element required to direct an orchestra.

The End of Fascist Propaganda in Italy? The Italian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies recently approved a bill which will impose a prison sentence between six months and two years for promoting fascist propaganda; the highly controversial bill is argued by some to threaten free expression in Italy, but if it passes through Italy’s Senate, the bill will become law.

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
Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP