CLIP-ings: April 6, 2018

Internet Governance

Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress: Following revelations that Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 87 million users’ Facebook profiles in order to target voters during the 2016 Presidential election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before Congress on April 10 and 11 to answer questions about how the platform protects its user data.

Microsoft Digital Data Case Moot: Microsoft and the federal government have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss a high-profile data privacy case as moot following a Congressional re-write of the Stored Communications Act, which now says that a “provider of electronic communication service” shall comply with a court order for data “regardless of whether such communication, record or other information is located within or outside of the United States”; the case asked whether Microsoft had to comply with a court order to produce emails even though the data was stored abroad on a Dublin server.


Social Media Visa Screen: The State Department proposed a rule that would require all visa applicants to the United States to list their social media names for the last five years on their visa applications; the new proposal would affect an estimated 14 million people and cover 20 social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, China’s Sina Weibo, and the Russian social network VK.

Grindr to Stop Sharing HIV Status: Dating app Grindr announced that it will stop sharing users’ HIV status with third party analytics companies following revelations that it provided two companies with some of the information that Grindr users include in their profiles, including HIV status and “last tested date”; the app’s chief security officer defended the data-sharing practice, arguing that the two companies are simply tools to help apps like Grindr function better and the information was not shared to make money.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Malaysian Central Bank Hack Attack: The Philippine central bank warned local financial institutions to be on high alert following a cyber attack at the Malaysian central bank where hackers tried to steal money using fraudulent wire-transfer requests; though the Malaysian central bank says that no funds were lost in the attack, the Philippine alert is part of an information sharing protocol developed in response to the 2016 theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank that was deposited into several Manila-based accounts before disappearing.

Breach Notification Finally in All 50 States: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a data breach notification law that will go into effect May 1 and require organizations and agencies to notify data breach victims within 45 days; the law–which allows the Attorney General to fine violators up to $5,000 per day and file lawsuits on behalf of the breach victims–makes Alabama the 50th and final state to put a breach reporting law on the books.            

Intellectual Property

Copyright Protection of Tattoos? U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan rejected a request to dismiss a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. over its depiction of copyrighted tattoos on LeBron James and other NBA stars in the popular NBA 2K video game, stating she needed a better understanding of how the game is “generally played” before deciding whether its “realistic” depiction of the tattoos licensed by Solid Oak Sketches amounted to fair use.

Google May Face Billions in Damages: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a 2016 jury verdict and held that Google’s unauthorized use of Oracle’s Java development platform to create the Android operating system was not protected under fair use, possibly making Google liable for billions of dollars in damages; Judge Kathleen O’Malley did not find fair use because no reasonable jury could find that what Google copied was not qualitatively significant, Google’s development of Android robbed Oracle of the ability to make money from its Java SE platform for mobile devices, and Google’s use of the code was not transformative since Google used the copied code for the same purpose as Oracle–to help developers create Java programs.

Free Expression and Censorship

Malaysia Bans Fake News: Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government secured a majority in parliament to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for spreading fake news with fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a possible prison sentence of up to six years; critics worry the bill may impede free speech ahead of elections and censor discussion of the prime minister’s involvement in a multibillion-dollar scandal.

No More CryptoMail: Mailchimp updated their acceptable use policy, shutting down accounts that send newsletters promoting the sale of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings in order to halt “scams, fraud, phishing, and potentially misleading business practices” within its email platform.

On The Lighter Side

Can’t Touch This: To combat a spate of cactus thefts, Saguaro National Park in Arizona has embedded microchip IDs in hundreds of saguaro cacti to help identify stolen plants.

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:

France Plans for Boost in AI: President Macron announced a $1.5 billion investment in AI research and funding in France; Macron stated that a more “proactive” approach to data sharing would allow companies and researchers to develop specialized algorithms for the benefit of their industries, however, they will have to also adhere to the GDPR’s new privacy rules, which draw a line between data aggregation and intrusion.

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