CLIP-ings: August 3, 2018

Internet Governance

China Commands, Google Complies: Eager to return to the Chinese market, Google is getting ready to launch a censored version of its search engine following an agreement reached in December 2017 between CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official; project “Dragonfly” will blacklist queries about human rights, democracy, religion, and prohibited literature amongst others.

Strikes End, Unrest Remains: Following six days of nationwide strikes and a government meeting on Wednesday, Spanish taxi drivers have decided to go back to work and lift their city blockades, for now…; the delicate truce was reached after the central government agreed to respect the 1:30 chauffeured vehicle (e.g. Uber) licenses to taxi ratio and to delegate regulatory power to regional governments.

My Data, My Rules: A draft National Policy document reviewed by Reuters shows that the Indian government is considering compelling foreign tech giants to store data locally; the proposal also calls for tightening scrutiny of mergers, big or small, in the e-commerce sector.


The “Quiet Skies” Program: The Boston Globe reported on Saturday that TSA launched a new initiative in March called “Quiet Skies” which deploys air marshals to gather intelligence on civilians not on terrorist watch lists; the experts on civil liberties as well as air marshals expressed concerns about the legality of this domestic surveillance program.  

Passing The Buck: After Amazon’s facial recognition system erroneously matched 28 members of Congress with criminal mugshots last week, Amazon published an official blog post inviting the US government to weigh and specify the confidence level that law enforcement agencies must use when using facial recognition technology.    

Information Security and Cyberthreats

NSA Procrastinates: According to the audit conducted by the NSA Inspector Governor’s Office, many of the problematic security policies from the Snowden-era have not been addressed as of March 31, 2018; the audit also showed that the NSA has failed to adopt the latest federal security guidance as well as an accurate or finished computer security plan.

Intellectual Property

Unsavory Loss for KitKat: The South China Morning Post puts into perspective KitKat’s dismissed appeal to trademark its four-finger shape by highlighting other cross-border trademark battles between international rivals; China in particular may be challenging for firms like Apple, which has had to pay $60 million to use the “iPad” name on the mainland.

Free Expression and Censorship

Democratization of “Likes”: Facebook is introducing a “downvote” button to a wider group of users in the US which will allow them to “support comments that are thoughtful, and demote ones that are uncivil or irrelevant”; Reddit, another popular social platform, has long used the upvote-downvote system, which researchers believe causes a groupthink effect called the “hivemind.”  

Ross v. City of Jackson: Professor Eric Goldman discusses the Eighth Circuit’s decision to revoke qualified immunity for police officers alleged to have committed deprivation of civil liberties; the plaintiff sued officers after he was jailed for several days for writing a sarcastic comment on Facebook that asked which gun he needed to shoot up a kindergarten.

Facebook Abides: A Facebook VP stated on Friday that the social network has removed 362 posts in compliance with NetzDG, a new German law against online hate speech which requires removal of offending posts within 24 hours of receiving a complaint; this statement comes after Mark Zuckerberg faced intense criticism last week for saying that posts by holocaust deniers should not be removed from Facebook.

Practice Note

WIPO ADR Guide Updated: A summary of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s updated guide highlights the numerous advantages of alternative dispute resolution in IP disputes, including: party autonomy, flexibility, time and cost savings, confidentiality, and finality.

On The Lighter Side

The Phone Cleanse: Comcast invites you to try seven tips and challenges to reduce phone use and exposure for a week, including a 24-hour Notification Fast and Sleep Separation.


Job and Fellowship Opportunities

From time-to-time, CLIP-ings will highlight career opportunities in the information law field. Please note the following:

Bureau of Internet & Technology at the NYS Attorney General’s Office seeks tech-savvy Attorney and Engineer.



The Bureau of Internet & Technology at the NYS Attorney General’s Office investigates and litigates cutting-edge law & tech issues, e.g., bots, data security/breach, privacy, online safety, consumer protection, and more.  This past year alone, our investigations and lawsuits have included:

–   submission of fake comments on net neutrality to the FCC;

–   data breaches at Equifax and Uber;

–   bot-related fraud on social media and in the resale of concert tickets;

–   online tracking of children;

–   suing Charter/Time Warner for false claims about internet speeds;

–   and more:

Summary of position (engineer):  Our office highly values engineers who make it possible for us to tackle complex, data-intensive problems that others are not capable of addressing.  A substantial portion of the work will be on projects with the Bureau of Internet & Technology, one of the only government agencies focused exclusively on investigating and holding accountable people and entities that use technology for illegal ends; while the remainder of the work will be on tech-heavy matters for other bureaus within the office (for example, using Bayesian modeling to determine racial bias in online offerings to consumers; using machine learning to identify key communications and images relevant to cases).  Ideal candidates are experienced with, and expert in, programming and web development tools (JAVA, Python, PHP, SQL, Ruby) and Linux command line tools and container tech (Docker, etc.).

To apply:

Summary of position (attorney):  We seek an experienced, tech-savvy litigator to join our team. The ideal candidate has a technical education or background, or experience working in tech or with technology.

To apply:

We intend to fill the positions quickly, so we hope to hear from interested candidates soon.

Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is seeking a Project Lead to join their Data Policy Project Team in San Francisco.

The Forum’s Data Policy project aims to define, through a process of international multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation baseline norms, principles and protocols for the collection, appropriate use, and protection of data. The Project Lead will be an integral part of the Data Policy project team and contribute to the successful delivery of the data policy project and workstreams.

For more information and the online application, click here.

The Second Northeast Privacy Scholars Workshop is calling for submissions.

Jointly organized by the Innovation Center for Law and Technology at New York Law School and the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham University School of Law, and generously sponsored by Microsoft, the Workshop offers privacy scholars from diverse fields the opportunity to receive extensive, constructive commentary on their works in progress.

For more information, see here. Online submissions are due September 7th, 2018 by 5pm Eastern.

The Ringer Copyright Honors Program with the U.S. Copyright Office is accepting applications.

The Ringer Honors Program is a distinguished public service opportunity for attorneys in the early stages of their career who have strong interest and a demonstrated record of academic or practical success in copyright law.

For more information, see here. Applications are open through September 15th, 2018.

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

Mindy Nam
William Ioas
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP