CLIP-ings: November 17th, 2017

Internet Governance

AG Action: This week Missouri’s Attorney General (AG) issued subpoenas demanding information from Google in its investigation into Google’s possible violation of Missouri’s consumer protection and antitrust laws, although it is unclear as to whether this is a publicity stunt or if other state AGs will follow suit.

Efficient Emergencies: After a decade of resistance from wireless phone carriers, the FCC is calling for the carriers to improve geographic specificity of pinpoint emergency alerts from the county level to the cell tower level, with the eventual goal of tying the alerts to individual cell phone users within a triangulated location, utilizing technology similar to that of Uber.

Rules on Review: In response to criticism that federal agencies withheld cybersecurity flaws uncovered during previous vulnerability reviews, White House officials have released new rules that detail how the agencies should consider whether to disclose or keep secret any detected vulnerabilities.


Pill.0: The Food and Drug Administration has approved use of the first digital pill fitted with an ingestible sensor that transmits data to an app via a patch worn by the user, allowing patients to share dosage information with their doctors but raising concerns that access to such intimate data can have repercussions for the doctor-patient relationship.

Dirt Box Detailing: Last year the state of Texas paid $373,000 to outfit cellphone surveillance technology called Digital Receiver Technology or “dirt boxes” to Texas National Guard planes as a part of an anti-drug trafficking operation; this software is more powerful than Stingray technology as it can mimic cell towers, connect to every smartphone in the geographic area beneath it, and collect private data from those smartphones, such as location data and the content of cell phone calls.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hacking the Hostiles: A group of Muslim hackers has infiltrated ISIS’s propaganda network and published a list of almost two thousand email subscribers, striking another blow to ISIS’s online presence as part of a broader movement of activist groups targeting and dismantling ISIS websites and servers and spreading disinformation among its online base.

North Korea’s Cobra: The Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team  has issued a warning about the North Korean government’s cyber attacks, collectively called “Hidden Cobra” and IP addresses strongly believed to be linked to the attacks, which were used to attack the U.S. telecommunications, aerospace, and finance industries.

Intellectual Property

Patent for Payments: MasterCard has filed a patent for a blockchain-like system that will use a variant of the blockchain ledger to guarantee money transfers in an effort to speed up transaction times and instantly store and manage international transactions.

Free Expression and Censorship

Fake-Checkers: Despite announcing coordinated efforts to slow the spread of misinformation, Facebook’s fact-checkers are claiming that the campaigns are not proceeding as planned, citing the lack of data provided on the impact of their work, the fact that fake information is continuing to go viral, and the disadvantages of using third-party fact-checkers.

Faking Freedom: Freedom House released a detailed report on the state of internet freedom across the globe, highlighting that at least 30 countries engage in digital manipulation to distort the digital perception in their favor, that this digital interference has affected elections in 18 nations, and that the unfortunate consequence of 14 countries attempting to mitigate this problem has been reduced internet freedom within their borders.

Practice Note

Digital Dilemma: Settling an estate of a deceased loved one has become increasingly difficult because many live a portion of their lives online, but trust and estate attorneys recommend taking extra precautions to address your digital life in your will or that of a client, such as granting your executor and power of attorney access to your digital life, creating online password and email managers allowing for access by an emergency contact upon your death, recording all online banking and financing information, choosing legacy contacts for social media accounts, and deciding who inherits ownership rights of digital assets like photos and music.

On The Lighter Side

Faith in Phones: Churchgoers at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral are using their phones to shop, check email, and take photos and videos during services, even after Pope Francis called for phones to be left at home in a recent address from the Vatican.

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:

Paris Joins European Sister Cities, Regulates Airbnb: Effective January 2018, Airbnb will automatically require hosts to comply with a 120-day cap per year on short-term rentals in Paris, the app’s biggest single market, amidst global criticism and claims that rental platforms are raising property prices and causing housing shortages in popular cities; the limit will only apply to Paris’ four major tourist districts, but the mayor’s housing advisor thinks it should apply to all of Paris.

Policing Traffic from the Sky: Police in southwest France are using drones to patrol drivers, as the flying machines’ cameras deliver a live-stream to police on the ground so that they can cover wide areas and track specific vehicles; the government wants to expand the operation, which stops between 15 and 20 cars an hour but cannot yet detect drivers breaking the speed limit.

Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

There’s an App for That: From December 4-6, 2017, Milan will host Europe’s first mobile and digital app convention, bringing together top speakers from popular apps such as BlaBlaCar, Deliveroo, and Moovit, who will discuss mobile cybersecurity, big data, robots, and other topics related to the way that the app economy has altered consumption of information and products online.

Online Monitoring Leads to Deportation: A woman living in Milan with her parents and three younger brothers has been deported after her internet activity, including messages sent through an instant messaging software called Telegram, revealed that she was ready to “carry out a suicide attack in Italy” on behalf of Daesh.

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