CLIP-ings: December 14, 2018

Internet Governance

White House Requires Agencies To Strengthen Cybersecurity: A memo issued by the Office of Management and Budget expands the criteria of what constitutes a “high-value asset” and instructs all federal agencies to work with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure those assets are adequately protected.

FCC Allows Carriers To Block Texts: The Federal Communications Commission voted to classify SMS text messages as a Title I “information service” under the Telecommunications Act in an effort to enable phone companies to block spam; critics argue that the decision gives wireless carriers the ability to censor messages and hike rates.


Study Shows Apps Track Every Move: A New York Times investigative report explains how thousands of apps aggregate users’ precise location data – sometimes to within a few yards and updated 14,000 times a day – and sell it to advertisers, retailers, and hedge funds seeking consumer insights; while companies that use location data note that phone users who enable location services consent to their information being collected, critics argue that privacy policies do not adequately explain the extent of tracking.

Senators Introduce Privacy Bill: The proposed Data Care Act would assign online service providers fiduciary-like duties and would require the Federal Trade Commission to draft rules for fining companies that misuse private data; the draft is designed to complement rather than replace other bills recently introduced in Congress to protect consumer privacy.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Another Google+ Bug: Following an October revelation that a vulnerability exposed profile data from 500,000 Google+ accounts, Google discovered a second bug that affected 52.5 million profiles; as a result, Google announced it will shut down the social media service four months earlier than planned.

Audit Shows Border Officers’ Improper Data Processing: The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General released an audit revealing that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recklessly handle the personal data of travelers entering the country; one finding exhibits the agency’s failure to delete data on USB drives after traveler information is uploaded to CBP servers.

Intellectual Property

First Sale Doctrine Doesn’t Protect Digital Music Resale: In Capitol Records LLC v. ReDigi Inc., the Second Circuit ruled that ReDigi, an online marketplace for reselling legally-purchased digital music files, infringed copyright holders’ reproduction rights because ReDigi’s technology created unauthorized new copies of digital files instead of merely transferring existing files to a new user.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Faces Russian Fine: Russia fined the tech giant 500,000 rubles ($7,530) for failing to comply with a legal requirement that it censor its search results by removing certain entries; the fine comes a month after Moscow opened a civil case against the company for its failure to join a registry showing that it lists Kremlin-banned websites.

Practice Note

Health Tracking Lawsuit Dismissal Affirmed: The Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a suit alleging that Facebook illegally gathered data about user-plaintiffs’ visits to medical websites; the Court found that the users had consented to the tracking and collection by agreeing to Facebook’s privacy policy, and that their browsing history on the medical websites was not so “sensitive” or “qualitatively different” that it fell outside the scope of Facebook’s terms of service.

On The Lighter Side

Bee Backpacks Keep Wearable Tech Buzzing: Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a 102-milligram sensor system that rides on the backs of bumblebees and collects data about temperature, humidity, and light intensity.

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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Tommine McCarthy 
Subrina Chowdhury 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP