CLIP-ings: March 16, 2018

Internet Governance

Right to Repair: A California state lawmaker, Susan Talamantes-Eggman, announced that she plans to introduce right to repair legislation, which would require companies like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung to sell replacement parts and tools, make repair guides publicly accessible, and make diagnostic software available to independent shops; Talamantes-Eggman says that the onus is on Apple, which has previously lobbied against right to repair bills in states like New York, “to explain why we can’t repair our own things and what damage or danger it causes them.”

Crypto Ad Block: On the heels of Facebook and Reddit, Google announced a ban on cryptocurrency advertisements in order to stop promotions that it sees as “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”; the policy, which will go into effect this June, prompted an immediate nine percent dip in Bitcoin’s value.


Face Value: The video boards around many NASCAR race tracks use facial analytics software to scan viewers’ faces for valuable data on age, gender and how long audience members are looking at the screen; while the use of facial recognition software in video boards is a recent phenomenon, digital collection of demographic data has occurred at sports facilities in the past, especially at venue entrances.

Unfair Share? The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office required WhatsApp to sign an agreement declaring that it will not share EU user data with its parent company, Facebook, before the GDPR takes effect on May 25, 2018; other European countries have also expressed concerns about the company’s data sharing, including France which ordered WhatsApp to stop sharing user data last December.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Yahoo! Breach: A federal judge ordered that Yahoo! must face a lawsuit alleging the company reacted too slowly to data breaches that compromised the personal information of 3 billion Yahoo! users; the judge wrote that the “Plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to show that they would have behaved differently had defendants disclosed the security weaknesses of the Yahoo! Mail System.”

Intellectual Property

Wixen v. Spotify: As Spotify prepares for its IPO, the company is facing a $1.6 billion copyright infringement lawsuit from Wixen Publishing, a music publisher representing Tom Petty, Steely Dan, Neil Young, and other popular musicians; the complaint states Spotify repeatedly failed to acquire “mechanical licenses to reproduce and distribute musical compositions on its service.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Crackdown on Hate Speech: Despite receiving criticism for spreading hate speech in Myanmar, Facebook banned Britain First, an anti-Muslim political group, from its platform for violating rules designed to stop the incitement of hatred against minority groups; the ban comes a week after two Britain First’s leaders were convicted of hate crimes and months after President Trump retweeted the group’s anti-Muslim videos.

Right to Political Criticism:  The European Court of Human Rights held Spain wrongfully convicted two Catalans for publicly burning a photograph of the king and queen, stating that the act was justifiable political criticism and could not be “reasonably construed as incitement of hatred or violence”; the Spanish law banning the “glorification of terrorism” has also led to the arrest of social media users, rap musicians, filmmakers, and even two puppeteers, raising criticism from Amnesty International that the law was being used as part of a sustained attack on the freedom of expression.

Censorship on Ice: After supporters of Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak painted the ice on a frozen river in St. Petersburg with an anti-Putin slogan, the government agency Roskomnadzor ordered news groups to censor the contents of the message on ice in any reporting on the incident.

Practice Note

Arbitration through Blockchain: Miami Blockchain Group revealed the Smart Arbitration & Mediation Blockchain Application, the first blockchain application being developed specifically for the international dispute resolution community, at the 2018 Global Legal Institute for Peace Conference at the University of São Paulo; the developers claim that the first-of-its-kind blockchain application could help make international arbitration quicker and less expensive.

On The Lighter Side

The Art of the Troll:  Researchers from Stanford University confirmed what every Reddit user already knows: conflicts in Reddit forums follow a reliable enough pattern that they can be predicted before they happen.

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 Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Vatican Hosts Hackathon:  Last weekend the Vatican hosted VHacks, a 36-hour hackathon where a diverse group of participants focused on finding solutions to enhance social inclusion, promote interfaith dialogue, and help migrants and refugees obtain resources—issues prioritized by Pope Francis’ pontiff since the start of his papacy five years ago.

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

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP