CLIP-ings: January 18, 2019

Internet Governance

FCC Chairman Won’t Brief Congress: Citing the federal shutdown, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai refuses to meet with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to address recent revelations about mobile carriers’ ability to share customers’ location information with third parties.


Privacy Big Tech Privacy Proposal Seen As Self-Serving: A leading technology policy think tank’s “grand bargain” proposal argues for any new federal data privacy bill to preempt state privacy laws and repeal sector-specific federal laws in favor of a “common set of protections,” prompting Senator Richard Blumenthal to state that “big tech cannot be trusted to write its own rules.”

Feds Can’t Force Biometric Unlocking: A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that U.S. authorities cannot force individuals to unlock devices with their faces or fingerprints; the judge concluded that biometrics are “testimonial,” as they serve the same purpose as alphanumeric passcodes in unlocking phones.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

“Monster Breach” Revealed: 773 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords aggregated from over 2,000 leaked databases recently became public after being posted to a hacking forum; this breach is unique in part because some of the data is new, passwords are available in plain text, and the data was originally made available on the popular cloud storage site MEGA.

Intellectual Property

Fortnite Sued Over Use Of Popular Dance Moves: Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, is being sued for copyright and trademark violations for using artists’ non-copyrighted dance moves without permission; the suits could decide if popular dance moves are protected as works of choreography and whether developers are liable for copyright infringement by offering the moves within a game for real-world currency.

Free Expression and Censorship

Roku Changes Course On Infowars: After explaining that it would allow the Alex Jones-owned channel to be downloaded and streamed on its devices based on non-censorship principles, Roku reversed course after receiving feedback from “concerned parties” and removed the channel from its platform.

Practice Note

Court Upholds Twitter’s Unilateral Amendment Clause: An Arizona District Judge rejected a plaintiff’s attempt to invalidate the forum selection clause in Twitter’s terms of service on the basis that the terms allowed for unilateral modification by Twitter; the court noted that Twitter’s terms did not allow retroactive modification and met the requirements for mutuality of obligations.

On The Lighter Side

Robot Layoffs: Over half of the 243 robots working in Japan’s Hen-na robot hotel were fired for creating more problems than they solved and annoying guests.

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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP