CLIP-ings: December 22, 2017

Internet Governance

We’re Dreaming of a New Internet? Following the FCC’s vote last week to repeal the 2015 “Net Neutrality” rules, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee aims to introduce a new bill to implement some regulation towards ISPs; critics contend that while the legislation would ban ISPs from blocking or slowing web traffic it does not ban “fast lanes” and limits the FCC’s ability to regulate broadband networks.

Uber, Your Taxi is Arriving: The EU Court of Justice ruled Uber as a “transport service” and not an “information society service,” thus allowing the EU jurisdictions where Uber operates to enforce transport laws and regulations upon the company; Uber argued that it was merely an “e-commerce platform that facilitates rides,” and while the Court did acknowledge that Uber was “an intermediary service between drivers and riders,” it ultimately ruled that the company was inherently linked to a transport service due to the indispensability of the app to the drivers and riders and Uber’s control over the service provided.

Facebook in Fritz: Following the French data protection authority’s order to WhatsApp to stop sharing its user data with Facebook, Germany’s competition authority, the Bundeskartellamt, made a preliminary finding labeling Facebook’s data collection from third parties as abusive; while the finding is preliminary and Facebook will have an opportunity to comment and provide justifications for its conduct, the finding acts as a warning to Facebook about its data aggregation practices.

Privacy

Privacy at the Border: A new report from Georgetown Law criticizes the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) biometric exit pilot program—which uses facial recognition technology to identify passengers leaving on international flights—for its scope, execution, and accuracy; the report called the system an “invasive surveillance tool,” highlighted the system’s high rate of error, and criticized the DHS’s implementation of the program for not following the proper federal rulemaking procedures.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

You Be Gone: Youbit, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, filed for bankruptcy following a hack earlier this week where the company lost 17% of all its assets, with the company informing that during bankruptcy proceedings its customers would receive around 75% of the value held in the exchange; this was the second hack for the company in less than eight months with the first hack incurring losses of around 4,000 bitcoins.

Intellectual Property

Let Them Eat Sorbet: In a dispute between Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, a lobbying group to protect the champagne mark, and Aldi, a supermarket chain, the EU Court of Justice issued a judgment stating that if sorbet, “has, as one of its essential characteristics, a taste attributable primarily to champagne,” it may be described as such and perhaps not interfere with champagne’s status as a “protected designation of origin”; the case was ultimately remanded back to the lower court to decide whether Aldi violated any laws by marketing the sorbet with the champagne mark.

Free Expression and Censorship

Rohingya Online: The Rohingya, a persecuted ethnic minority in Myanmar, will have its language included in the next version of Unicode—the international standard for digitally encoding characters and symbols—allowing the Rohingya to communicate through smartphones and computers; digitizing the language will support the humanitarian response to the current crisis and ultimately preserve the Rohingya’s identity and culture.

On The Lighter Side

Holiday Snooze: If your Facebook friends’ holiday over-sharing becomes an issue, use this new feature.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP