CLIP-ings: August 28, 2015

Internet Governance 

Home Rental Service Tax Deal: Starting October 1, Airbnb will collect a one dollar per person per night tourist tax from customers renting in Paris—the company’s largest market—and will pass that tax on to the city.

Less Than Lethal: A new law permits North Dakota police to equip drones with weapons such as rubber bullets, tear gas, and Tasers; the original bill would have banned drone weaponization entirely but was amended at the last minute due to efforts by a pro-police lobbyist.


In The Public Interest? The UK Information Commissioner’s Office has relied on the EU’s “right to be forgotten” to require that Google remove from its search results links to certain pages reporting on the removal of delisted links on the ground that the reports include details about the previously-removed pages’ contents.

Information Security And Cyberthreats 

Cool Hack: At the recent DEFCON hacking conference, researchers revealed a security flaw in a Samsung smart fridge that enables potential hackers to obtain the fridge owner’s Gmail login credentials.

Intellectual Property  

#trademark? A California federal district court ruled that hashtags are “merely descriptive devices, not trademarks,” and rejected the argument that one party’s use of certain hashtags on social media breached its agreement with the other party to not use the hashtagged terms in connection with the sale of products.

Free Expression and Censorship 

Deletion As Expression? Twitter suspended the API access of, and effectively shut down, Politwoops—a “network of sites dedicated to archiving deleted tweets” by world politicians.

Practice Note 

Acting On Consumers’ Behalf: The Third Circuit upheld a lower court ruling confirming the FTC’s authority to regulate businesses’ cybersecurity practices; as a result, the Commission may pursue its suit against Wyndham Worldwide Corp for inadequately protecting its customers’ information.

On the Lighter Side 

Caught On Drone: A Rhode Island man was surprised to discover a drone watching him sunbathe . . . on top of a 200-foot tall wind turbine.

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