CLIP-ings: September 18, 2015

Internet Governance

Unamused: Chicago residents sued the city, alleging that a nine percent “Amusement Tax” on online streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify, which the services pass onto consumers, exceeds the Finance Department’s mandate and violates the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act.

Drone Zone: California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have made flying a drone below 350 feet while over private property a transgression similar to criminal trespass; the decision results in a major victory for companies that aim to implement drone delivery services.

Privacy

It’s In Their DNA: Ancestry.com’s terms and conditions permit the site to serve targeted advertisements based on analysis of genetic information submitted by users “for purposes of scientific study.”

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Hacking Up With The Kardashians: A developer discovered security flaws on the Kardashians’ websites that enable access to over half a million members’ personal information, including full names, email addresses, photos, and videos.

Intellectual Property

…And The Ruling Goes To: GoDaddy won a cybersquatting case against The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; The Academy failed to show that GoDaddy acted in bad faith by allowing customers to purchase domains such as “academyawards.net” and “oscarsredcarpet.com.”

Free Expression And Censorship

Don’t Hate—Expurgate: After pledging to accept a record number of refugees this year, Germany will work with Facebook, Internet service providers, and other social networks to crack down on hateful speech about refugees in “response to growing terrorist propaganda and xenophobic movements.”

Practice Note

Dance Dance Baby: The Ninth Circuit settled an enduring conflict between Universal Music and a mother who posted a YouTube video of her infant dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” by affirming that “copyright holders must consider whether a use is fair before sending a takedown notice.”

On The Lighter Side

Habemus Popemoji! Thirty-five emoji stickers of Pope Francis “eating sandwiches, hugging babies, playing soccer, and taking selfies” have been designed in preparation for his first U.S. visit next week.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Thomas B. Norton
Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Noelle Park & Inés Spinnato
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 11, 2015

Internet Governance 

Stay Tuned: After modified WiFi routers caused interference problems at airports, the FCC is seeking comment on new restrictions that would limit consumers’ ability to alter those devices for operation beyond their licensed frequency parameters.

Privacy

That Stings! A new DOJ policy requires that federal enforcement agencies establish probable cause and obtain warrants before using stingray cellphone tracking technology for criminal investigations.

T.M.I.: Uber riders who used the service’s “share your ETA” feature had their sensitive ride-related data hosted online and made accessible through search engines; Uber changed the feature so that links to pages displaying the data deactivate after 48 hours.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Impenetrable Vault? A “hobbyist” hacking team discovered programming errors in the “bcrypt” encryption algorithm protecting Ashley Madison user passwords that make the otherwise formidable algorithm “orders of magnitude faster to crack.”

Intellectual Property

As Awkward As It Gets: Getty Images is suing bloggers who publish without permission pictures utilizing the “Socially Awkward Penguin”, one of the company’s stock images; the string of suits raises questions about the ownership rights to memes collectively recontextualized by the Internet community.

Free Expression And Censorship 

Parody Patrol: An Illinois city settled with a man who brought a civil rights suit after he was arrested for “impersonating” the city’s mayor through a parody Twitter account.

Practice Note 

VPPA Claims Dismissed: The Ninth Circuit dismissed a plaintiff’s failure to purge and impermissible transfer claims against Sony, holding that the statute neither allows for a “private cause of action for mere improper retention of covered information” nor prohibits intra-corporate transfers between “intra-household” entities.

On The Lighter Side 

Spy Kids: This baby car seat “doubles as a fully functional spying rig.”


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Thomas B. Norton
Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Noelle Park & Inés Spinnato
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 4, 2015

Internet Governance 

Ain’t No Competition: Google has been asked to appear before India’s Competition Commission after being accused of manipulating its search results to favor its own services and those of paid advertisers over competitors’ more popular or relevant results.

Privacy

Big Brother, Where Art Thou? A new report by London-based Privacy International reveals that Colombian police and intelligence agencies have been implementing “secret and unlawful” mass surveillance systems and relying on controversial spyware tools for the past decade.

Information Security And Cyberthreats 

Who Is Watching Your Baby? A recent study by cybersecurity firm Rapid7 Inc. revealed design flaws in popular baby monitors that make them and the networks to which they are connected vulnerable to hackers.

Intellectual Property  

“Billion Dollar” Data Theft? PhantomAlert, an Israeli-based traffic app, sued Google’s Waze after discovering its own planted fictitious information in Waze’s database.

Popcorn Pirates: A U.S. production studio filed a complaint against the Popcorn Time streaming service and sixteen Oregon defendants who the studio accused of willfully downloading and distributing copyrighted movies using the service.

Free Expression And Censorship  

Sockpuppets: The Wikimedia Foundation has suspended almost 400 accounts for engaging in “undisclosed paid activity” on certain pages that generated “biased or skewed information, unattributed material, and potential copyright violations.”

Practice Note 

A Bump In The Road? A California federal judge granted as many as 160,000 Uber drivers class action status in their suit against the ride-sharing company for mileage and tip reimbursement; this status also allows the drivers to challenge their worker classification.

On the Lighter Side 

The Purr-fect View: Navigate Hiroshima’s points of interest through the eyes of its four-legged population.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Thomas B. Norton
Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Noelle Park & Inés Spinnato
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

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.

Privacy

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.

CLIP-ings August 21, 2015

Internet Governance

Now On Notice: The FCC fined Smart City LLC, a company that provides WiFi service to hotels and convention centers, $750,000 for charging guests exorbitant access fees while blocking them from connecting to their personal WiFi networks.

No More Near Misses? Senator Schumer will propose an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill that would mandate drone “geofencing”—the limiting of drone movement through the use of GPS and similar technology.

Privacy

Partners In Spying? Newly disclosed documents reveal that AT&T provided the N.S.A. access to billions of emails stored on domestic networks and offered technical assistance to carry out secret wiretapping orders.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Market Manipulation? Former Kaspersky Lab employees allege that the company sabotages antivirus software competitors by injecting into their programs code that tags as “malicious” and disables “clean” files on their customers’ computers.

Dumped: The Ashley Madison hackers released ten gigabytes of compressed data obtained from the hack, in turn exposing personal information affiliated with over 33 million accounts.

Intellectual Property

Pay Up? Samsung plans to appeal to the Supreme Court after the Federal Circuit refused to hear the company’s appeal of a ruling requiring that it pay Apple $548 million for shipping Android smartphones containing technology that infringes Apple’s patents.

Free Expression And Censorship

Policia Of Speech? A woman in Spain was fined under the Citizens Security Law, which is designed in part to prevent the unauthorized use of images of police officers, for posting on Facebook her photo of a police car parked in a handicap spot.

On The Lighter Side

Leonardo da Emoji? Make all of your photos masterpieces with this emoji mosaic creator.

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

Thomas B. Norton
Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows
Elle Davis
Sam Borenzweig

CLIP-ings August 14, 2015

Internet Governance

#Risky: The FDA required Kim Kardashian to remove from Instagram a post promoting a morning sickness drug on the ground that her failure to disclose the drug’s risks resulted in a “false and misleading” advertisement.

Scammers On Trial: The FTC charged two data brokers for illegally selling consumer loan application data, including social security and account numbers, to a third party who used the information to charge consumer accounts $7 million in unauthorized transactions.

Privacy

Encryption Tug-Of-War: In the ongoing dispute between the government and businesses over data encryption, the DOJ has asserted that service providers already maintain some access to user information for business purposes and that the same access should be extended to law enforcement.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Pressed With Fraud: The SEC charged a “hacking ring” that allegedly stole over five years of not-yet-public press releases and used the information contained therein to predict and profit from changes in stock performance.

Intellectual Property

Battle Of The Alpha-Brands: BMW is assessing whether Alphabet, Google’s new parent company, infringes BMW’s trademark for a subsidiary of the same name; a dispute is unlikely because Google does not intend for the company to manufacture products.

Free Expression And Censorship

Voters Say Cheese: A New Hampshire court struck a state bill banning voters’ ballot selfies, which was enacted to prevent vote-buying schemes, as a “content-based restriction on speech.”

Practice Note

Social Network Expert: In a case about whether a man’s Facebook posts amounted to threats, an Indiana District Court has allowed expert testimony from a professor whose extensive research on the site’s users “qualifies her to opine on [their] general behavioral patterns.”

On The Lighter Side

Privacy? Priceless: A $240 pair of shades can protect your face from those harmful facial recognition rays.

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

Thomas B. Norton

Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows

Elle Davis

Sam Borenzweig

CLIP-ing July 24, 2015

 

Internet Governance

Uber Cap Taxied Away: Mayor Bill de Blasio pulled his plan to curb the company’s growth in New York City so long as it makes improvements for disabled passengers and provides the city with ride data.

Privacy

Constitutionally Warranted: A New York appeals court ruled that Facebook cannot challenge the constitutionality of warrants for users’ information on their behalf; other companies and privacy groups argue that the decision “could set a troubling precedent giving prosecutors access to all kinds of digital information.”

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Hackers vs. Cheaters: Hacking group The Impact Team breached the database of AshleyMadison, a website for people seeking extra-relational affairs, and now threatens to unveil information about its 37 million users if the site is not taken offline.

The Digital Seatbelt? Legislators introduced the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act, a bill that aims to safeguard Internet-connected vehicles’ critical control systems, which research has proven can be compromised even while in motion.

Intellectual Property

Stream On, FilmOn: A U.S. District Judge held that the video streaming service FilmOn is entitled to receive the same copyright license as cable companies; the decision stands in direct conflict with Second Circuit precedent and, if upheld, would “open a route to legal TV-over-Internet businesses.”

Free Expression And Censorship

Free Speech Hub No More? Some Reddit users assert that new CEO Steve Huffman’s proposal to ban from the site illicit content and that which “violates a common sense of decency” amounts to undue censorship of free speech.

Practice Note

Lock It Before You Pocket: The Sixth Circuit ruled that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in statements recorded by the recipient of a pocket-dial.

On The Lighter Side

G0a1! Robots are taking over the World (Cup).

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

Thomas B. Norton

Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows

Elle Davis

Sam Borenzweig

CLIP-ings: July 17, 2015

Internet Governance

Apple Damming The Stream? Now that Apple has its own music streaming service, the FTC is “looking into” whether the company’s practice of taking a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases from other music streaming services and its restrictive policies on rivals’ advertising in the App Store violate antitrust law.

Privacy

Third Time’s The Charm? The NTIA will soon host meetings to discuss drone privacy issues; privacy groups have previously walked out of NTIA talks because they believed the Agency’s proposed privacy practices would not afford consumers sufficient protection.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

“Ja” To IT Security Law: Germany passed legislation that requires over 2,000 companies and other “critical infrastructure” institutions to meet minimum cyber-security standards and to notify customers and the government about suspected cyber-attacks.

A Piracy Tale: The Authors Guild sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee arguing that Congress should force ISPs to “preemptively filter[ ] pirated material” on their sites, as individual authors lack the means to monitor for stolen content.

Intellectual Property

First Bite Of The Apple: The owner of the “iWatch” trademark sued Apple for buying Google ads that display the Apple Watch when users search for “iWatch.”

Free Expression And Censorship

Content Controlled: Author and bookseller groups requested that the DOJ investigate Amazon for antitrust violations on the basis that some of the company’s practices, such as selling or blocking certain books due to political leanings, “impede the free flow of ideas in our society.”

Practice Note

Patent Case Fee-Shifting: After online retailer Newegg prevailed in a patent suit brought by non-practicing entity SFA, the Federal Circuit denied Newegg’s request for legal fees on the ground that the case was not “exceptional;” nevertheless, the decision “will help better define the rules for fee-shifting.”

On The Lighter Side

A Real Shocker: A man was arrested “on suspicion of abstracting electricity” after he charged his iPhone in an outlet he spotted on the train.

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

Thomas B. Norton

Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows

Elle Davis

Sam Borenzweig

CLIP-ings June 26, 2015

Internet Governance

Revenge Porn Takedown: Google will expand its otherwise “narrow and limited” search-result removal policy and soon consider requests to remove sexually explicit images posted without their subjects’ consent.

Subsidized Internet: In an effort to reduce the digital divide, the FCC voted to offer independent Internet access under Lifeline, a program that subsidizes telecommunications services for low-income households.

Privacy

No License To Scan: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed the state legislature’s “plan to acquire [license plate] scanners,” on the ground that they “create large pools” of law abiding citizens’ information.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

SEC Chases Phishers: In a recent investigation of hacks that informed insider trading, the Commission for the first time requested breach information directly from the hacked companies.

Intellectual Property

Cert. Patently Denied: Google unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s finding that Street View infringes Vederi’s “vertical flat” imaging patents.

Free Expression and Censorship

Cyberharassment Not Free Speech: A New York district court held that a man’s statements on websites he created to deride his former employer were not protected by the First Amendment because they were defamatory and part of a “campaign of retaliatory harassment.”

Practice Note

The Justice League: The Supreme Court declined to overturn precedent and held that Marvel is not required to pay royalties to a Spider-Man toy’s inventor after his patent expired despite the parties’ agreement to the contrary.

On the Lighter Side

Bill Nye The Emoji Guy: Watch this science legend explain climate change with the help of a few emojis.

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

Thomas B. Norton

Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Editorial Fellows

Elle Davis

Sam Borenzweig

 

CLIP-ings: June 19, 2015

Internet Governance

FTC Tackles Crowdfunding: In a first-of-its-kind case, the FTC settled a complaint against the creator of a crowdfunding campaign who kept the funds he raised without delivering on the campaign’s promise.

Privacy

“No” To CISA, For Now: The Senate voted to exclude from the defense spending package a provision that would allow government agencies to take user data from private companies without judicial oversight.

Privacy Face-Off: Consumer advocacy groups withdrew from talks with the N.T.I.A. over privacy guidelines for facial recognition technology after finding the Agency unreceptive to “minimum rights for consumers,” such as the requirement that companies using the technology “seek and obtain [their] permission.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

“Peanuts & Hacker-Jacks”: In the wake of claims that Cardinals officials hacked into the Astros’ database and compromised information about the team, the Astros’ General Manager denied allegations that he failed to use new passwords when he moved to his current position from the Cardinals.

Intellectual Property

Quit Copying Me: London’s Sunday Times issued a copyright infringement notice to a blog that criticized the paper’s front-page article and included an image of the article in its post.

Free Expression and Censorship

No Immunity In Estonia: In a decision incompatible with other EU precedent, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that an Estonian news site is liable for comments posted by users.

Practice Note

Employees Of The Month? The California Labor Commission’s ruling that an Uber driver is an employee and not an independent contractor suggests potentially broad implications for other start-ups that provide crowdsourced services.

On the Lighter Side

Four-Emoji Passcode? Apparently, “input from lots of millenials” led developers to create technology that allows emoji-compatible passwords. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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
Thomas B. Norton
Privacy Fellow, Fordham CLIP
Editorial Fellows
Elle Davis
Sam Borenzweig