CLIP-ings: October 13, 2017

Internet Governance

TTYWill: An Australian court has ruled that an unsent text message can qualify as an official will, after a draft message found on one man’s phone authorized the transfer of his assets to his brother and nephew despite his wife’s otherwise legitimate claim to his estate.

Helium Help: This week the FCC granted an experimental license to Alphabet’s Project Loon to operate in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands via helium balloons providing the territories with emergency LTE cellular reception.


Connected Kids? A new social media app called Kudos will target users aged eight to thirteen as an alternative to platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, aiming to teach these users about the importance of navigating social media responsibly and offering twenty-four hour human moderation; meanwhile Mattel’s plan to release a smart speaker designed to interact with younger users has been thwarted by pushback from child advocacy groups and members of Congress.

Data Deceit: Last week’s arrest of a cyberstalker was made possible through surveillance of Virtual Private Network (VPN) logs of his online activities, a discovery that highlights the dangers of using ISP-alternatives like VPNs that falsely claim to not log your data and to be completely secure.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Vote of Confidence: An anti-hacking coalition comprised of hackers, academics, and U.S. governors will endeavor to secure U.S. elections by identifying vulnerabilities in voting machine equipment and election-related computer systems to assuage ongoing concerns that elections can be compromised.

Relentless Russians: Recent reports suggest that Russian government-backed hackers, one of whom was a former National Security Agency (NSA) Contractor, stole cyber secrets from the NSA in 2015 using antivirus software from Kaspersky Labs.

Intellectual Property

Angry Ali: A promotional video shown before the 2017 Super Bowl featuring images, audio, and life highlights of the late boxer Muhammad Ali has prompted the company holding his intellectual property rights to sue Fox Broadcasting Co. for $30 million for allegedly using Ali’s identity without its authorization.

Patent Patrol: A bill was proposed in the Senate to close the loophole that affords Native American tribes the defense of sovereign immunity in inter partes reviews of a patent, after Allergan successfully circumvented patent review of its drug Restasis by selling the patent to the St. Regis Mohawk tribe and having the patent licensed back to them.

Free Expression and Censorship

Tutorials’ Turmoil: As a response to the Las Vegas shooting, YouTube updated its community guidelines regardings its prohibition of harmful and dangerous content to ban the posting of tutorials that teach viewers how to modify guns to fire like automatic weapons.

No-Charge Knowledge: A partnership between the Wikimedia Foundation and a regional telecommunications provider will expand the Wikipedia Zero initiative to Afghanistan, providing anyone in the country with free access to Wikipedia through their mobile devices.

Practice Note

Obstructive Opinions: ESPN’s suspension of Jemele Hill has raised concerns that the network may have violated a Connecticut law that affords employees greater protections than the First Amendment when commenting on matters of public concern; companies should consider implementing social media policies in employee handbooks to protect themselves when taking disciplinary action against employees.

On The Lighter Side

Solar Salvation? Elon Musk and the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, are reportedly discussing Musk’s desire to restore power to the territory using solar technology, which has proven successful in powering other small islands in the past.

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:

Digital Diplomacy: President Macron met with Apple CEO Tim Cook in Paris, presenting a “constructive dialogue” in the face of increased pressure on tech leaders as Macron continues to defend France’s proposal to tax tech giants on turnover per country rather than profits from subsidiaries and favors the recent European Commission decision to take Ireland to court to reclaim 13 billion Euros in taxes from Apple.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

A 5-Star Hack: An Italian political party called the 5-Star Movement, which first entered the Italian Parliament in 2013 and which promotes internet-based direct democracy, recently had its website hacked by a group that has gained access to a secret list of members and donors; the hack has threatened the public’s confidence in the security and strength of the 5-Star Movement whose hallmark is its internet basis.

Really Made in Italy! After Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba signed a memorandum of understanding about a year ago whereby Alibaba’s Intellectual Property Protection platform would consider takedown requests and use AI to scan product listings falsely labeled “Made in Italy,” the head of Italy’s ICQRF—the government body in charge of protecting Italian agricultural food products—has praised the effects of the collaboration as having a “huge” effect in preventing inauthentic products from being sold.

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