CLIP-ings: April 20, 2018

Internet Governance

Some Criminals Have ‘Right to Be Forgotten’: A UK high court ruled that some–but not all–criminals have a ‘right to be forgotten’ after Google denied a man’s request to remove search results related to his decade-old conviction for conspiracy to intercept communications; the court reached the opposite conclusion in a companion case that also weighed the nature of the crime and whether the petitioner expressed remorse.

SCOTUS Struggles with E-Commerce Law: The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided following a one hour argument in a case that could let states collect sales tax from out-of-state online retailers like Amazon; the case turns on a 1992 decision–holding that states cannot collect state sales tax from online retailers unless they have a physical presence in the state–which some justices believe should be overturned while other justices would rather wait for Congress act.


Singapore’s Facial Recognition Lampposts: The Singapore government plans to install cameras linked to facial recognition software on 110,000 lampposts, prompting concern that the technology, which is already in use in other Asian cities like Shanghai and Beijing, could be used to suppress protests, journalists, or political opponents.

Privacy as Art? Chinese authorities shut down an art exhibit featuring the personal data of 346,000 people and accused the artist, Deng Yufeng, of collecting the information through illegal means; the Beijing-based artist, who purchased the data from online brokers, wanted the show to highlight China’s lax data privacy rules.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Digital Geneva Accord? Led by Facebook and Microsoft, more than 30 tech companies signed the “Cybersecurity Tech Accord,” a set of principles that includes a declaration not to aid governments in cyberwar against “innocent civilians and enterprises from anywhere”; Noticeably absent from the signees were Amazon, Google, Apple, and companies from countries associated with cyber attacks like Russia and Iran.  

Russia’s Router Hacking: The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the White House, and the UK’s National Cybersecurity Center issued an alert warning that hackers tied to the Russian government have tried to hack millions of routers and firewalls in attempts to “enable espionage” and facilitate intellectual property theft; however, as some in the intelligence and cybersecurity community quickly pointed out, these are the cyber intrusions commonly practiced by the U.S. government and the NSA..            

Intellectual Property

Stock Photo Copyright Infringement: The U.S. Supreme Court turned aside an attempt by Arizona stock photo company, DRK Photo, to sue McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings for copyright infringement for allegedly exceeding the scope of licenses it purchased on more than 1,000 photos; the stock photo company petitioned the Supreme Court claiming that a November ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals favoring McGraw-Hill misinterpreted the Copyright Act of 1976 and widened a split in the federal appellate courts by ruling that DRK could not sue for infringement of copyrights that it did not own.

‘Facebook For Scientists’ Resolves Copyright Issues: ResearchGate, an online collaboration platform backed by Bill Gates and Goldman Sachs and dubbed ‘Facebook for Scientists,’ partly resolved a copyright dispute with publishers by reaching an agreement with Springer Nature, Cambridge University Press, and Thieme to work together on sharing articles while protecting the rights of authors and publishers; the agreement will streamline the process for notifying ResearchGate of copyright infringement and ensuring that offending material is taken down quickly.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Resumes Drug Rehab Ads: Google plans to resume advertisements from U.S. addiction treatment centers in July, nearly a year after Google suspended rehab-related advertisements over concerns that disreputable treatment centers were gaming Google’s algorithms to solicit patients; in-person rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, and support groups will be able to advertise after being evaluated by LegitScript for 15 criteria, including criminal background checks, insurance verification, and policies “demonstrating a commitment to best practices, effective recovery and continuous improvement.”

Reversal of Gay Content Ban: Sina Weibo–China’s version of Twitter–reversed a proposed ban of LGBTQ-related content after users criticized the proposal as discriminatory and bombarded the site with #Iamgay hashtags and slogans like “gays aren’t scary”; Weibo announced that they will no longer immediately categorize gay posts as lewd content, but will continue censoring “pornographic, violent, and bloody content.”

On The Lighter Side

A Dog’s Purpose: Dog owners, have you ever wished your pooch was internet famous? Researchers at Nvidia and Cornell University have developed an algorithm to help you with that by transforming pictures of your dog into pictures of a cat.

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 Border Reform: The EU Commission proposed a new law that could require tech companies to turn over user data in certain criminal cases to European law enforcement within 10 days or, in urgent cases, six hours, even when stored on servers in another country or outside the EU; officials state that the law is necessary as current legal procedures for obtaining digital evidence lack efficiency, “transparency and legal clarity.”

France’s Key to Prevent Breach: The French government has developed its own encrypted messenger service that will protect communications between top officials and avoid storing data beyond French borders, which occurs with the US’s WhatsApp and Russia’s Telegram; the app was created with “freely available” internet codes and will become mandatory for the entire French government once it passes the testing phase.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Don’t Forget the Little People: A Milan civil court of appeal upheld a 2016 preliminary court ruling that Facebook committed copyright infringement and “parasitic appropriation” when it released a feature that allows users to locate restaurants and other sites just two months after the Plaintiffs unveiled their location-finding app in the Facebook app store.

Bring Kitchens Back to Life: This year’s Milan Design Week features fresh design ideas, including a Samsung oven that not only cooks two dishes at once, but also takes remote commands from users and suggests cooking modes based on the dish being prepared.


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

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP