CLIP-ings: October 19, 2018

Internet Governance

FCC Makes Case For Net Neutrality Repeal: The Federal Communications Commission filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to defend its recent repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules, marking its first move to defend a challenge by 22 states, consumer advocates, and technology companies that contend the repeal was arbitrary and capricious; the brief argues that the agency acted within its discretion in rolling back the rules and presents evidence that the rules stifled investment in broadband networks.

SEC Warning:  The Securities and Exchange Commission issued an investigative report warning that public companies’ failure to consider cyber threats in their internal accounting controls may violate federal law; the report stems from the SEC’s investigation of nine companies victimized by “business email compromise” frauds, in which cyber criminals pose as company executives to deceive employees into sending company funds to bank accounts controlled by the hackers.


TSA Unveils Biometrics Roadmap: The Transportation Security Administration published a roadmap for expanding the use of biometrics in airports across the country to strengthen security and improve the travel experience; while the roadmap only hints at addressing privacy issues in later studies, the Administration plans to begin working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on biometric security for international travel, put biometric technology into use for TSA PreCheck  travelers, and eventually use biometric data for screening at airport security checkpoints.

Anthem Pays Record $16 Million Settlement: Anthem agreed to pay a record $16 million to the Department of Health and Human Services and Office for Civil Rights to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules after a series of cyberattacks led to the largest health data breach in history and exposed the electronic health information — including names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and medical IDs — of nearly 79 million people in 2015; Anthem also agreed to take corrective steps to comply with HIPAA, including assessing its electronic security risks, taking appropriate countermeasures, and maintaining surveillance.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Penta-gone! 30,000 Personal Records Swiped: The Pentagon announced that a cyber breach at an unnamed contractor that maintains the Defense Department’s travel records compromised the personal information and credit card data of nearly 30,000 U.S. military and civilian staffers; the Department is unsure about when the initial breach occurred, and a Pentagon spokesperson stated that the Department will “continue to assess the risk of harm and will ensure notifications are made to impacted personnel whose PII may have been compromised.”

Intellectual Property

Facebook Demotes Inauthentic Content: Facebook is displaying articles that are stolen and republished with little or no modification less prominently; the new Publisher Guidelines will hopefully curtail copyright infringement by reducing the illicit websites’ referral traffic and ad revenue, and thus discourage content misappropriation.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Confirms Censored Search Engine For China: CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed that Google will launch a search engine that automatically removes websites banned by the Chinese government from search results; in response to backlash from constituents such as Google employees and the U.S government, Pichai defended the project by arguing it could provide “information better than what’s available” to people in China presently.

Wikimedia Warns Of Stifled Criticism: TVEyes, a service that records television content and compiles it into a searchable database of 10-minute clips, filed a petition for Supreme Court review after the Second Circuit rejected TVEyes’s fair use argument and upheld Fox News’s copyright infringement claims; an amicus brief filed by the Wikimedia Foundation argues that the ruling permits copyright owners to “stifle criticism and undermines established fair use principles that are vital for media commentary.”

Practice Note

ABA Issues Opinion On Lawyers’ Obligation After Data Breach: The ABA issued a formal opinion that addresses a lawyer’s duty in the event of a data breach that destroys or discloses client confidences; the opinion only provides guidance for the breach of client data, not other data breaches that may also require action on the part of an attorney or firm.

On The Lighter Side

MIT Will Open College Of Computing: As pressure mounts on the U.S. to stay competitive in the global AI race, MIT is opening a college of computing that will focus on educating a new generation of artificial intelligence experts; the training will also bridge the talent gap in the AI hiring pipeline for human-powered industries such as customer service and trucking.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Subrina Chowdhury
Tommine McCarthy
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP