CLIP-ings: April 6, 2018

Internet Governance

Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress: Following revelations that Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 87 million users’ Facebook profiles in order to target voters during the 2016 Presidential election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before Congress on April 10 and 11 to answer questions about how the platform protects its user data.

Microsoft Digital Data Case Moot: Microsoft and the federal government have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss a high-profile data privacy case as moot following a Congressional re-write of the Stored Communications Act, which now says that a “provider of electronic communication service” shall comply with a court order for data “regardless of whether such communication, record or other information is located within or outside of the United States”; the case asked whether Microsoft had to comply with a court order to produce emails even though the data was stored abroad on a Dublin server.

Privacy

Social Media Visa Screen: The State Department proposed a rule that would require all visa applicants to the United States to list their social media names for the last five years on their visa applications; the new proposal would affect an estimated 14 million people and cover 20 social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, China’s Sina Weibo, and the Russian social network VK.

Grindr to Stop Sharing HIV Status: Dating app Grindr announced that it will stop sharing users’ HIV status with third party analytics companies following revelations that it provided two companies with some of the information that Grindr users include in their profiles, including HIV status and “last tested date”; the app’s chief security officer defended the data-sharing practice, arguing that the two companies are simply tools to help apps like Grindr function better and the information was not shared to make money.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Malaysian Central Bank Hack Attack: The Philippine central bank warned local financial institutions to be on high alert following a cyber attack at the Malaysian central bank where hackers tried to steal money using fraudulent wire-transfer requests; though the Malaysian central bank says that no funds were lost in the attack, the Philippine alert is part of an information sharing protocol developed in response to the 2016 theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank that was deposited into several Manila-based accounts before disappearing.

Breach Notification Finally in All 50 States: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a data breach notification law that will go into effect May 1 and require organizations and agencies to notify data breach victims within 45 days; the law–which allows the Attorney General to fine violators up to $5,000 per day and file lawsuits on behalf of the breach victims–makes Alabama the 50th and final state to put a breach reporting law on the books.            

Intellectual Property

Copyright Protection of Tattoos? U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan rejected a request to dismiss a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. over its depiction of copyrighted tattoos on LeBron James and other NBA stars in the popular NBA 2K video game, stating she needed a better understanding of how the game is “generally played” before deciding whether its “realistic” depiction of the tattoos licensed by Solid Oak Sketches amounted to fair use.

Google May Face Billions in Damages: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a 2016 jury verdict and held that Google’s unauthorized use of Oracle’s Java development platform to create the Android operating system was not protected under fair use, possibly making Google liable for billions of dollars in damages; Judge Kathleen O’Malley did not find fair use because no reasonable jury could find that what Google copied was not qualitatively significant, Google’s development of Android robbed Oracle of the ability to make money from its Java SE platform for mobile devices, and Google’s use of the code was not transformative since Google used the copied code for the same purpose as Oracle–to help developers create Java programs.

Free Expression and Censorship

Malaysia Bans Fake News: Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government secured a majority in parliament to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for spreading fake news with fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a possible prison sentence of up to six years; critics worry the bill may impede free speech ahead of elections and censor discussion of the prime minister’s involvement in a multibillion-dollar scandal.

No More CryptoMail: Mailchimp updated their acceptable use policy, shutting down accounts that send newsletters promoting the sale of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings in order to halt “scams, fraud, phishing, and potentially misleading business practices” within its email platform.

On The Lighter Side

Can’t Touch This: To combat a spate of cactus thefts, Saguaro National Park in Arizona has embedded microchip IDs in hundreds of saguaro cacti to help identify stolen plants.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

France Plans for Boost in AI: President Macron announced a $1.5 billion investment in AI research and funding in France; Macron stated that a more “proactive” approach to data sharing would allow companies and researchers to develop specialized algorithms for the benefit of their industries, however, they will have to also adhere to the GDPR’s new privacy rules, which draw a line between data aggregation and intrusion.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 23, 2018

Internet Governance

Ban on Venezuela Petro: President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning U.S. purchases of Venezuela’s new oil-backed cryptocurrency called Petro and authorized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue necessary regulations to enforce his order; the order is in response to attempts by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency, complicating the Maduro government’s efforts to boost its foreign reserves.

Anti-Robocall: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned portions of a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) regulation aimed at limiting the use of automated dialers to make uninvited calls, holding its language was too broad and could be construed to prohibit calls from any smartphone; Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai praised the court’s decision, noting that he had opposed the regulation two years ago. 

Privacy

Facebook Pledges Better Privacy: Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the misuse of data belonging to 50 million Facebook users and promised to take steps to restrict developers’ access to such information, following allegations by a whistleblower that British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed users’ information to target American voters with personalized political advertisements to help elect President Donald Trump in 2016; the scandal knocked off nearly $46 billion from Facebook’s market value and led to growing government scrutiny of Facebook in Europe and the United States

High-Tech Surveillance of Students: Schools across the country are spending millions to equip their campuses with advanced surveillance technology, including face recognition to deter predators, object recognition to detect weapons, and license plate tracking to detect criminals, raising privacy concerns regarding the usefulness of these tools.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Orbitz Hack: Popular travel site Orbitz revealed that hackers may have accessed 880,000 payment cards in a security breach discovered during an investigation of a legacy Orbitz platform; the information “likely accessed” includes names, payment card information, dates of birth, phone numbers, billing addresses, and gender.

Nuclear Cyber Protection: The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advisory group, urged the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject the Nuclear Energy Institute’s longstanding request to limit cyber attack protections at nuclear plants; the request follows reports from the Department of Homeland Security and FBI stating that in March 2016 or earlier, a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors” sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors by targeting the networks of small commercial facilities “where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks.”

Intellectual Property

Blurred Lines Fines: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to order a new trial and affirmed a jury’s 2015 verdict punishing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to the tune of $5.3 million for infringing Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” when they created their 2013 hit song “Blurred Lines”; the decision, a win for the Gaye family, prompted a sharp dissent from Judge Jacqueline Nguyen who wrote that “[t]he majority allows the Gayes to accomplish what no one has before: copyright a musical style.”

Graffiti Is Art After All: H&M has withdrawn a copyright lawsuit against LA-based street artist Jason Williams, stating “[i]t was never our intention to set a precedent concerning public art or to influence the debate on the legality of street art”; the disagreement stemmed from a cease-and-desist letter Williams sent the Swedish retailer after it used his outdoor Brooklyn mural as the backdrop for photos it circulated online without compensating him.

Free Expression and Censorship

YouTube Bans Firearm Demos: Just ahead of this weekend’s March for Our Lives rally for gun control, YouTube announced new guidelines set to go into effect this April that will ban videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms and videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories; the platform has been gradually tightening its rules for gun-related content since a mass shooting in Las Vegas last year.

Far-Right Leader Denied UK Entry: Lutz Bachmann, the founder of a German extreme far-right group called Pegida, was denied entry to the UK and deported; Bachmann reportedly intended to appear at Speakers’ Corner in place of Martin Sellner, a white supremacist who was similarly denied entry to the UK earlier this month.

On The Lighter Side

Talk Klingon to Me: Learning a new language can be hard. In fact, it can make you “bItlhIb; toppa’ Darur” or “as incompetent as a topah.” Fortunately, language-learning app Duolingo is now making it easier for Star Trek nerds to learn common Klingon vocabulary, sentence structure, and phrases.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Be Careful What You Post: Italian police arrested a man suspected of making pipe bombs and possibly planning an attack after the FBI alerted them that the man had been using social media to applaud Sayfullo Saipov, a man charged with killing eight people in New York City last year with a speeding truck.

Mafia Trademark Rejected: After the Italian government brought a lawsuit against a Spanish catering company called La Mafia se Sienta a la Mesa (The Mafia Sits at the Table), contesting the validity of the company’s trademark for public policy and general morality reasons, the European General Court in Luxembourg ruled the trademark invalid as the name “plays a part in trivializing the illicit activities of that criminal organization.”


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 16, 2018

Internet Governance

Right to Repair: A California state lawmaker, Susan Talamantes-Eggman, announced that she plans to introduce right to repair legislation, which would require companies like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung to sell replacement parts and tools, make repair guides publicly accessible, and make diagnostic software available to independent shops; Talamantes-Eggman says that the onus is on Apple, which has previously lobbied against right to repair bills in states like New York, “to explain why we can’t repair our own things and what damage or danger it causes them.”

Crypto Ad Block: On the heels of Facebook and Reddit, Google announced a ban on cryptocurrency advertisements in order to stop promotions that it sees as “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”; the policy, which will go into effect this June, prompted an immediate nine percent dip in Bitcoin’s value.

Privacy

Face Value: The video boards around many NASCAR race tracks use facial analytics software to scan viewers’ faces for valuable data on age, gender and how long audience members are looking at the screen; while the use of facial recognition software in video boards is a recent phenomenon, digital collection of demographic data has occurred at sports facilities in the past, especially at venue entrances.

Unfair Share? The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office required WhatsApp to sign an agreement declaring that it will not share EU user data with its parent company, Facebook, before the GDPR takes effect on May 25, 2018; other European countries have also expressed concerns about the company’s data sharing, including France which ordered WhatsApp to stop sharing user data last December.  

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Yahoo! Breach: A federal judge ordered that Yahoo! must face a lawsuit alleging the company reacted too slowly to data breaches that compromised the personal information of 3 billion Yahoo! users; the judge wrote that the “Plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to show that they would have behaved differently had defendants disclosed the security weaknesses of the Yahoo! Mail System.”

Intellectual Property

Wixen v. Spotify: As Spotify prepares for its IPO, the company is facing a $1.6 billion copyright infringement lawsuit from Wixen Publishing, a music publisher representing Tom Petty, Steely Dan, Neil Young, and other popular musicians; the complaint states Spotify repeatedly failed to acquire “mechanical licenses to reproduce and distribute musical compositions on its service.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Crackdown on Hate Speech: Despite receiving criticism for spreading hate speech in Myanmar, Facebook banned Britain First, an anti-Muslim political group, from its platform for violating rules designed to stop the incitement of hatred against minority groups; the ban comes a week after two Britain First’s leaders were convicted of hate crimes and months after President Trump retweeted the group’s anti-Muslim videos.

Right to Political Criticism:  The European Court of Human Rights held Spain wrongfully convicted two Catalans for publicly burning a photograph of the king and queen, stating that the act was justifiable political criticism and could not be “reasonably construed as incitement of hatred or violence”; the Spanish law banning the “glorification of terrorism” has also led to the arrest of social media users, rap musicians, filmmakers, and even two puppeteers, raising criticism from Amnesty International that the law was being used as part of a sustained attack on the freedom of expression.

Censorship on Ice: After supporters of Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak painted the ice on a frozen river in St. Petersburg with an anti-Putin slogan, the government agency Roskomnadzor ordered news groups to censor the contents of the message on ice in any reporting on the incident.

Practice Note

Arbitration through Blockchain: Miami Blockchain Group revealed the Smart Arbitration & Mediation Blockchain Application, the first blockchain application being developed specifically for the international dispute resolution community, at the 2018 Global Legal Institute for Peace Conference at the University of São Paulo; the developers claim that the first-of-its-kind blockchain application could help make international arbitration quicker and less expensive.

On The Lighter Side

The Art of the Troll:  Researchers from Stanford University confirmed what every Reddit user already knows: conflicts in Reddit forums follow a reliable enough pattern that they can be predicted before they happen.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Vatican Hosts Hackathon:  Last weekend the Vatican hosted VHacks, a 36-hour hackathon where a diverse group of participants focused on finding solutions to enhance social inclusion, promote interfaith dialogue, and help migrants and refugees obtain resources—issues prioritized by Pope Francis’ pontiff since the start of his papacy five years ago.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 9, 2018

Internet Governance

Commodify This: The U.S. District Court in Brooklyn held that “virtual currencies can be regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a commodity,” rejecting a defendant’s argument that he and his cryptocurrency trading advice company are outside the CFTC’s jurisdiction; the Court backed the CFTC’s determination that virtual currencies are commodities because they are “goods exchanged in a market for uniform quality and value,” the currencies fall within the common meaning of the word commodity, and the CFTC has broad discretion to interpret the federal law regulating commodities.

Smart Drones: Google partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense on a program called Project Maven to develop artificial intelligence that analyzes drone footage collected by the military; Google provides its TensorFlow application programming interfaces to help automatically identify objects in unclassified data and flag them for human review, raising ethical concerns about the development and use of machine learning.

Privacy

FBI Joins Geek Squad: The Electronic Frontier Foundation disclosed documents that show the FBI worked with the Best Buy’s Geek Squad technicians for over a decade to flag child pornography on devices sent in by customers for repairs; the documents reveal that FBI agents visited Best Buy to review images or videos to determine whether they are illegal content, paid the Geek Squad technicians for their assistance, seized the device for additional analysis to be carried out at a local FBI office, and, in some cases, would try to obtain a search warrant to justify the access. 

I Know What You Did After The Movies: MoviePass released a new app update removing its ability to track the location of customers after CEO Mitch Lowe revealed that the app was recording what customers were doing after leaving the movie theater.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Spy vs. Spy: After an entity known as “Shadow Brokers” released stolen information on NSA tools over a year ago, a group of Hungarian security researchers found that the NSA used a software called “Territorial Dispute” to track other nation-state hackers that were inside the same machines as the NSA; the researchers believe the tools were not intended to remove other spies’ malware from the target computer, but to alert NSA agents when they and others were attempting to hack the same system, allowing the NSA to pull back before the other hackers could spot them or steal the NSA hacking tools.  

Intellectual Property

Blackberry Gives Facebook Black Eye: Blackberry filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps, alleging that they copied a number of Blackberry Messenger’s security, user interface, and functionality-enhancing features

Trump Tweets About IP Theft: President Trump fired off a series of trade-related tweets aimed at China including one that read, “The U.S. is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. We cannot allow this to happen as it has for many years!” Observers believe that the tweet hearkens back to an order Trump signed in August authorizing an investigation into China for violation of U.S. intellectual property rights and signals a trade crackdown to come

Free Expression and Censorship

Free Speech for the French Far Right? Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right nationalist party, was charged in a French criminal court with distributing “violent messages that incite terrorism…or seriously harm human dignity” after she tweeted images of ISIS killings in response to a French expert comparing the National Front’s growing popularity to “jihadism.”

Bumble Bans Gun Show:  Following the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, dating app Bumble announced a new policy to remove images of firearms from the profiles of its nearly 30 million users; the policy will also extend to knives, but will exempt users in the military or law enforcement who post pictures of themselves carrying weapons while in uniform.

Practice Note

Uber Trouble: Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Consumer Protection filed a lawsuit against Uber for violating the state’s data breach laws by waiting a year to disclose the 2016 theft of 600,000 Uber drivers’ names and license numbers; the suit claims that Uber violated the Pennsylvania Breach of Personal Information Notification Act, which requires residents to be notified of a data breach within a “reasonable” period of time. 

On The Lighter Side

MoMA meets MoMAR: A collective of eight internet artists calling themselves MoMAR used augmented reality to create a guerilla art gallery in MoMA’s Jackson Pollack room without the museum’s permission.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

ePrivacy Reg. Better for U.S. Tech? In an open letter, European media, telecom and internet firms warned that the proposed EU ePrivacy regulations—aimed at regulating businesses providing online communication services, using online tracking technologies, or engaging in electronic direct marketing—will give U.S. tech giants more power over user data and lead European online-based industries to losses; the worry stems from the belief that U.S.-based tech companies will find ways to collect user data, while European firms will incur negative effects from limitations imposed on access to necessary information for user-connection and sector development.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

An Online Exorcise: In Italy, where the Vatican receives approximately 500,000 requests per year for exorcisms, several independent exorcism services are appearing online claiming to help people who are “speaking in unknown languages, discerning distant or hidden things, and displaying a physical strength that is at odds with the possessed person’s age or state of health.”


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 2, 2018

Internet Governance

House Passes ‘Sex-Trafficking’ Bill: A bipartisan coalition of House representatives passed a bill—“Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA)”—that would allow criminal and civil actions against websites that violate federal sex trafficking laws; proponents of the bill argue that it will reduce child sex trafficking, while critics, including sex worker advocates, contend that the bill limits free speech online.

FTC Loophole Closed: A federal court ruled that AT&T is subject to the jurisdiction of the FTC despite the company’s arguments that it is a common carrier and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the federal agency; the ruling allows the FTC’s lawsuit against AT&T to proceed and affirms the FTC’s authority to regulate broadband providers even when they offer separate common carrier services like landline or mobile phone service.

Privacy

Over 2 Million Links Forgotten: Google revealed in a company transparency report and research paper that it received requests to remove over 2.43 million URLs from its search results following the 2014 Court of Justice of the European Union “right to be forgotten” ruling; the “right to be forgotten” allows Europeans to request that search engine companies remove search results relating to their name if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing.”

Facebook Facial Recognition: A new Facebook notification alerts users to the platform’s increasingly comprehensive facial recognition features and directs them to a privacy page that details how to opt out of the system; the company’s notification comes on the heels of a federal ruling that Facebook will be subject to a class action lawsuit regarding its biometric data gathering and storage program.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Equifax Breach Continues: Equifax revealed an additional 2.5 million Americans were affected by last year’s massive data breach, bringing the grand total to 147.9 million people; the company said the newly identified consumers were not included in the original count because their social security numbers were not stolen—just their partial driver’s license information.  

Chinese iCloud Encryption: Last month, Apple announced that it will hand over management of its Chinese iCloud data to a Chinese state-owned firm called Cloud Big Data Industrial Development Co. in order to comply with new laws; Apple will also hold iCloud encryption keys for Chinese users in China itself, raising new concerns about government access to users’ data. 

Intellectual Property

Fox News v. TVEyes: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that media-monitoring service TVEyes violated copyright law by allowing its customers to watch video clips from Fox News, reversing a lower court’s decision that found TVEyes’ service was fair use; TVEyes failed to prove that its service was protected by the fair use doctrine because its redistribution of Fox News’ programming makes all of Fox’s copyrighted audiovisual content available to TVEyes’ customers and it “deprives Fox of revenue that properly belongs to the copyright holder.”

Free Expression and Censorship

China’s Social Media Crackdown: After the Chinese government announced its proposal to remove an article in its constitution that limits presidential terms to two five-year terms, negative reactions sparked the government’s crackdown on social media posts; “I don’t agree,” “migration,” “constitution amendment,” “proclaiming oneself an emperor,” and the letter “N”—the equivalent of the American “X”—were some of the terms blocked on the Chinese internet.

Ban on Hate Speech: YouTube banned the channel of American neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division for violating the site’s hate speech policies, which prohibit the promotion of violence toward or “inciting hatred” against specific races or religious groups; the ban follows criticism of YouTube for previously just demonetizing the propaganda videos and adding a warning about offensive content.

Practice Note

Patent-Agent Privilege: The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of an inventor and upended a trial court’s order that he turn over emails between himself and his nonlawyer patent agent, holding that the communications are privileged under the state’s evidence rules; the Court found that patent agents fall within Texas Evidence Rule 503’s definition of “lawyer” because they are authorized to practice law before the USPTO, thus allowing clients to “invoke the lawyer-client privilege to protect communications that fall within the privilege’s scope.”  

On The Lighter Side

Swab ‘n’ Swipe: An online dating startup that uses DNA to make matches proves it’s what’s on the inside that counts.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

CNIL Notifies Health Insurance Fund to Fix Data Security: The CNIL, France’s data protection authority, published a formal notice giving the National Fund for Health Insurance for Salaried Workers (CNAMTS), which handles France’s national healthcare database SNIIRAM, three months to “take any useful measure” to fully protect the security and confidentiality of individuals’ personal medical information after a review of data practices revealed deficiencies in safeguard and access procedures.

Apple 0—French Tax Activists 1: A Paris court dismissed Apple’s request for an injunction and rejected the firm’s request to fine protesters €150,000 or to impose damages if protests against Apple’s tax liabilities occurred again; Attac, a tax campaign group, previously organized demonstrations at Apple stores in Paris and Aix-en-Provence opposing Apple’s avoidance of tax obligations and has plans to continue protesting.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Milan Drone Fashion Week: As fashion week continues in major cities around the world, Dolce & Gabbana used drones, rather than humans, to present a line of handbags during the brand’s fashion show in Milan; the show was delayed by 45 minutes due to a malfunction and guests were asked to turn off the WiFi on their cellphones to eliminate interference issues.

It’s Russia, Again: A recent study by a Madrid-based company concluded that a state-controlled Russian news agency called Sputnik Italia, which promotes an anti-immigration viewpoint, directly affected Italians’ view of immigration last year, prompting concerns about Russian influence on the Italian election this weekend.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 23, 2018

Internet Governance

Cyber-Digital Task Force: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the creation of a Cyber-Digital Task Force to examine how the Justice Department can combat foreign interference in U.S. elections, deter attacks on American infrastructure, prevent online terrorist recruiting, and defend against cyber attacks targeting businesses and individuals; the order came days after special counsel Robert Mueller charged three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with conducting a criminal and espionage conspiracy campaign through social media to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Postcards from Facebook: Facebook will start sending postcards by U.S. mail to verify the identities and location of people purchasing advertisements related to U.S. elections; the postcards will contain a special code that advertisers who want to mention a specific candidate must give Facebook in order to prove that they are located in the U.S.

Privacy

Sham Mexican Spyware Inquiry: American officials rejected multiple requests from the Mexican government to help investigate whether Mexico used surveillance technology against human rights lawyers, academics, and journalists; American officials were concerned that Mexico has little interest in actually investigating the accusations and wants to use the U.S. as cover in a sham inquiry. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Clearer Cyber Risk Disclosure: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued updated guidance urging public companies to disclose cybersecurity risks promptly, develop policies to quickly assess cybersecurity risks, and prevent corporate insiders from trading in shares while a hack is being investigated and before it is disclosed; the guidance also prohibits companies from using internal or law enforcement investigation as a sole excuse “for avoiding disclosures of a material cybersecurity incident.” 

Beware of Business Email Compromise: IBM reports that hackers likely of Nigerian origin are engaged in a widespread credential harvesting, email phishing, and social engineering scam called Business E-mail Compromise, causing millions in losses for Fortune 500 companies; the attackers send fake invoices, impersonate high-ranking corporate officers, and target accounting or human resources staff to gather sensitive financial information—all while bypassing hacking safeguards by avoiding the use of malware.

Intellectual Property

Eyes on the Sky: Samsung has patented a drone that users will be able to control with their eyes, head, hands, or fingers in real time through an integrated display; the unit may also include features like voice recognition, GPS, and a Wi-Fi based positioning system.

Embedding Tweets May Infringe Copyright: A New York federal court ruled on a motion for summary judgment that embedding a tweet on a webpage could be considered copyright infringement—a decision that may have a far-reaching impact on social media and online publishing; the ruling arises out of a case in which a photographer accused online publications, including Breitbart, Time, and Yahoo, of copyright infringement for publishing articles that linked to a photo of Tom Brady originally shared on the photographer’s Snapchat.

Free Expression and Censorship

Bahrain Activist Sentenced for Tweets: A court in Bahrain sentenced democracy advocate Nabeel Rajab to five additional years in prison for tweets about prison conditions and the Saudi-led war in Yemen; Rajab’s sentence is the latest dissent-suppression move by the country’s royal family, which has previously used riot police, tanks, and arrests to silence critics.

Practice Note

What’s My Age Again? A federal judge struck down a California law requiring IMDb to remove age-related information at the subscriber’s request; U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria held that the two-month-old law is unconstitutional because 1) California failed to explore less-speech-restrictive alternatives before enacting the law; and 2) the law is not narrowly-tailored to achieve California’s goal of eliminating discrimination in the entertainment industry.

On The Lighter Side

Bitcoin Regret Club: Regret not investing in Bitcoin? Join the club! Enter a date and investment amount into this site to find out just how much you didn’t make.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

Is Tech the Key to Public Service Reform? France’s senior official in charge of public service reform plans to use data and AI, such as tax algorithms and conversational chatbots, to lower the cost of public services by reducing the number of employees needed for some services and allowing reinvestment in others; these changes, as well as an IT project investment fund of €700 million over the next five years, are part of Macron’s campaign pledge to cut €60 billion in public spending and 120,000 public sector jobs.

EU Encouraging Internet Platform Content Control: A leaked document revealed the European Commission’s draft of non-binding guidance for internet platforms to identify and remove terrorist content, seeking to test improvement of social media platforms’ responses to such content before deciding on legislation requiring removal; France’s technology policy diplomat said the country has been working closely with the Commission, Europol, and other leading countries to formulate this stronger approach.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Back to Life: Although not illegal, bots generating tweets and Facebook posts from dormant accounts are becoming active again, spreading repetitive messages about candidates in Italy’s upcoming election, and sparking concerns about the effect on voters.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 16, 2018

Internet Governance

FCC Supports SpaceX Satellite Internet: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urged the approval of an application by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use low Earth-orbit satellites to provide broadband services to Americans living in rural or hard-to-serve areas where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach.

YouTube’s Stricter Self-Regulation: Following a series of controversial videos by popular vlogger Logan Paul, YouTube released new policy changes that outline the company’s stricter approach to behavior it deems harmful to the YouTube community of “advertisers, the media industry, and…the general public”; though the new policies omit a definition of “harm,” they allow YouTube to stop recommending the channel’s videos and cut off the channel’s ability to serve ads and access premium monetization programs.

Privacy

Privacy Victory or Speech Suppression? YouTube and Instagram may be blocked in Russia unless they comply with a court order compelling the removal of 14 Instagram posts and seven YouTube videos that show Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko on a yacht with an alleged escort; though the court in Russia’s Krasnodar region held that the videos and posts violate Deripaska’s right to privacy, others, including anti-Kremlin campaigner Alexey Navalny, called the decision an “act of censorship.”

Private Facebook Accounts May Be Discoverable: The New York Court of Appeals ruled in a personal injury case that Facebook posts, videos, and messages “reasonably calculated” to contain “material and necessary” evidence may be discoverable even if the user’s Facebook account is set to private; Chief Judge Janet DiFiore explained that “[s]ome materials on a Facebook account may fairly be characterized as private, but even private materials may be subject to discovery if they are relevant.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

What’s Yours is Mine: The UK Information Commissioner’s Office took down its website following the revelation that it—along with some 4,000 other sites—was infected with a code that uses visitors’ computers to mine the cryptocurrency, Monero; security experts traced the crypto mining script to a website plug-in called Browsealoud, which helps blind people access the web and claims that the bug was only active for four hours on Sunday.  

Olympics Cyberattack: A yet-to-be-identified culprit launched a cyberattack on the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony; the attack downed internet access and telecasts, grounded broadcasters’ drones, and prevented spectators from printing out reservations for the ceremony thereby leading to an unusually high number of empty seats.

Intellectual Property

$6.75m for 5Pointz: U.S. District Judge Frederic Block awarded $6.75 million in damages to 21 artists whose graffiti work at 5Pointz warehouses was whitewashed by the buildings’ owner after a jury found that their artwork was protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act because of their “recognized stature”; the judge awarded the artists the maximum damages possible, stating the buildings’ owner “willfully” ruined the artwork and showed no remorse for his “recalcitrant behavior.”

Copyright Credits on Google Images: In exchange for a multi-year license for Getty Images’ photos, Google agreed to highlight copyright attribution on images and remove “view image” links for pictures to reduce the number of direct downloads; the agreement follows Getty’s competition law complaint against Google with the European Commission, which accuses Google of being a one-stop piracy shop, allowing users to easily download and view copyrighted photos.

Free Expression and Censorship

AI Blocks Extremism: The UK Home Office developed an AI program that can automatically detect 94% of online Islamic State propaganda with a 99.99% success rate by examining video content during the upload process and stopping it from reaching the internet; the tool’s development alerted large tech firms to take more meaningful action against extremist content and can help smaller companies that don’t have the resources to tackle the problem, but it also raises concerns about censorship and legal accountability for content removal.

India’s Press Crackdown: After a journalist in India wrote a story exposing a major privacy breach in a nationwide database of more than a billion Indians, supporters of India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, filed a police complaint accusing the journalist, her newspaper, and the alleged cyber criminals of forgery and other offenses punishable by 30 years in jail; India fell three spots on the World Press Freedom Index to 136, below Afghanistan and Myanmar, because of the growing censorship by Hindu nationalists.

On The Lighter Side

The Sound of Silence: A new app helps diners in San Francisco (and soon New York, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.) avoid noisy restaurants.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

WhatsApp at Work in Advance of GDPR: Seeking GDPR compliance, WhatsApp created a new feature—to be enabled by May 25th and extended to Facebook and Instagram—allowing users to download individual personal data directly from the app to give them “more control over their data…ensuring more protection, transparency, and uniformity”; WhatsApp’s privacy development follows the French data protection authority’s formal notice to the messaging app to stop sharing user data with Facebook, its parent company, within one month.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Cryptocurrency Maybe Not So Secure: Hackers stole 170 million units of Nano, a cryptocurrency forming part of the Italian cryptocurrency exchange, BitGrail, raising concerns about the security of cryptocurrency exchanges, especially lesser known exchanges which may not have proper cybersecurity defenses.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 9, 2018

Internet Governance

Take Down of Infraud: The U.S. Justice Department indicted 36 people from numerous countries including the United States, Ivory Coast, and Bangladesh for acting as administrators, moderators, and sellers of illegal hacking and fraud services on an online black market forum called Infraud; the indictment accuses the defendants of trading Social Security numbers and stolen credit card numbers, providing an escrow account members could use to launder their proceeds using digital currencies, and hosting services designed to enable other illegal online operations, thus causing more than $530 million in losses to companies and individuals.

Gig Workers’ Rights: After an independent review calling for clearer definitions of UK employment statuses, the UK government announced a new “Good Work Plan” to improve access to sick and holiday pay and stable contracts for “vulnerable workers,” which could include gig economy workers employed by internet-based applications; the reforms follow a number of legal challenges, including by a group of UK Uber drivers who proved they should be classified as “workers” in an employment tribunal court.

Privacy

Deepfakes: Twitter and Reddit joined a growing list of platforms cracking down on so-called ‘deepfakes’ or computer-generated porn that digitally grafts the faces of celebrities onto the bodies of porn actors; however, elsewhere on Reddit, the technology used to make deepfakes continues to be employed for the less nefarious purpose of inserting Nicolas Cage into every movie ever.

Cloud Act Support: Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Oath Inc. declared support for bipartisan House and Senate versions of the “Cloud Act” to deal with cross-border data requests from law enforcement—even as the Supreme Court prepares to review the issue, which stems from a 2013 request by federal authorities for data held overseas by Microsoft and other companies; the Cloud Act would allow the U.S. to make agreements with foreign countries about data requests and permit technology companies to notify foreign governments of any requests and challenge them.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Equifax on Ice: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting chief Mick Mulvaney reined in the bureau’s investigation of the Equifax breach—where hackers stole personal data from 143 million Americans; according to sources, Mulvaney has not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives and has rebuffed bank regulators when they offered to help with on-site exams of how Equifax protects consumer data.

Russians Hacked U.S. Voter Systems: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that the Russian government successfully accessed the voter registration rolls of several states prior to the 2016 presidential election, but did not alter any of the registration rolls; the electoral system is considered “critical infrastructure” and therefore under the jurisdiction of the DHS, but some states claim they are still waiting for cyber security help from the federal government while others are opposed to DHS involvement, viewing it as a federal intrusion.

Intellectual Property

Christian Louboutin Is Seeing Red: The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) may issue an opinion that could prove a setback to Christian Louboutin’s signature red soles; according to the recommendation of Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, a trademark combining color and shape may be refused and declared invalid on the grounds set out under E.U. trade mark law—this contrasts with a U.S. appeals court decision permitting Louboutin to protect his red soles as a source-identifying trademark.

Ok, Ladies, Now Let’s Get in Litigation: Kimberly Roberts, star of the Oscar-nominated Hurricane Katrina documentary “Trouble the Water,” filed a lawsuit against Beyoncé in New Orleans federal court this week, alleging the makers of Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ music video used clips from the documentary without paying royalties and, in some instances, without permission; the suit comes on the heels of another federal ‘Formation’-related copyright dispute, which was dismissed on Monday following the parties’ submission of a joint stipulation for dismissal.

Free Expression and Censorship

Made Possible by Viewers Like You? PBS is pushing back against YouTube’s decision to specially label videos published by government-backed news outlets; under the new policy, videos by outlets like PBS will feature a flag that identifies their government association and links to, believe it or not, the publisher’s Wikipedia page.  

Practice Note

Court of Appeals on Patent Eligibility Analysis: The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in Berkheimer v. HP Inc. that “while patent eligibility is ultimately a question of law,” a lower court erred by holding that “there are no underlying factual questions” in a 35 U.S.C. § 101 inquiry; the decision is in tension with the Court’s prior treatment of eligibility analysis, which generally permitted resolution of the issue on the pleadings as a pure question of law.

On The Lighter Side

Lonely Hearts Club: Valentine’s Day means many things to many people, but for the internet it means a spike in searches for “alone” GIFs.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

GAFA Prepares for Stricter EU Tax Rules: After settling a French tax claim for nearly €200 million from 2006 to 2010, Amazon announced that it will begin declaring all its earnings in France; the announcement follows EU officials’ commitment to implement stricter tax rules, as the current regime allows companies whose earnings occur primarily in higher tax member states to declare them in lower-tax countries.

Contractual Termination or Censorship? A French court will hear arguments in a case where a French primary school teacher sued Facebook, Inc. for violating his freedom of speech in 2011 when the company removed his profile after he posted a photo of a nude painting in the Musée d’Orsay—a ruling is expected in the case on March 15; the case comes to court after years of wrangling over jurisdiction and venue where Facebook attempted to argue that the lawsuit could only be heard in California—currently, Facebook, Inc. claims that Facebook Ireland, the web host for service in France, is the correct party to bring to court over the deactivation.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

No Bracelets for You: Several Italian politicians denounced Amazon’s plan to patent an electronic wristband to track their workers’ movements to improve efficiency; Speaker of the House Laura Boldrini calls the proposed patent “degrading and offensive,” while Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda insists that “the only bracelets we make in Italy are the ones produced by jewelers.”


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 2, 2018

Internet Governance

Faux Followers: Citing concerns about impersonation and deception, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened an investigation into Devumi, a company—and the subject of a recent New York Times exposé—that allegedly sells automated Twitter followers, some of them using real users’ identities, to celebrities, businesses, and anyone willing to pay for a bigger social media following.

SEC Halts ICO: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) obtained a court order to freeze the assets of Dallas-based AriseBank and halt its initial coin offering (“ICO”) for failing to file registration or an exemption from registration with the agency; the thwarted ICO represents the first time the SEC has appointed a third-party custodian to secure a firm’s cryptocurrency holdings, which in this case include bitcoin, litecoin, bitshares, dogecoin and bitUSD.

Facebook Sued for Wrongful Death: The family of a Cleveland man whose murder was posted to Facebook is suing the social media platform for negligence and wrongful death, arguing that Facebook’s information and data-mining tools could have stopped the death by alerting police to a video posted just before the fatal shooting, which showed the killer professing his intent to kill the victim.

Privacy

TSA’s Facial Recognition Pilot Program: The Transportation Security Administration launched a three-week trial of facial recognition technology at Los Angeles International Airport where at designated gates, scanners capture the name on a passenger’s digital or paper boarding passes, verify the name with boarding pass data and then, if the names match, compare the passenger’s e-passport photo with a real-time image.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

UK Rules Mass Data Collection Act Unlawful: The UK’s Court of Appeal ruled that parts of the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 are unlawful and held that the powers granted in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act of 2014—which paved the way for the 2016 Act—did not restrict the accessing of confidential personal phone and web browsing records to serious crime, thereby conflicting with EU law by allowing police to authorize their own access without review by a court or independent administrative body.

Intellectual Property

Wrist Watch: The USPTO granted Amazon a patent for a wristband that tracks warehouse workers’ hand movements and location in real time, thus raising employees’ privacy concerns; the proposed system consists of three parts, including various ultrasonic devices placed around the work area, a module to manage data, and the wristband itself, which features a haptic feedback module that buzzes to notify workers about breaks and help workers find items in the warehouse.

We Shall Overcome Copyright Law: Parties in the copyright dispute about the 1960s protest song “We Shall Overcome” agreed to a settlement putting the civil rights anthem in the public domain; the settlement followed a decision in September by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan stripping copyright protection from the song’s most famous verse ruling that the song’s adaptation from an older work—changing “will” to “shall”—lacked originality.

Robo Cop: Ford developed a patent for a police car that can issue tickets without pulling drivers over by using artificial intelligence to find good hiding spots to catch traffic violators and identifying drivers by scanning license plates, tapping into surveillance cameras and wirelessly accessing government records; the patent application states the vehicle can perform “routine tasks,” such as issuing tickets for failure to stop at a stop sign or communicating with other vehicles on the road, but tasks that cannot be automated will be left to police officers who can be inside the vehicle at all times and reclaim control of the car when necessary.

Free Expression and Censorship

Cuba Internet Task Force: Cuba gave the top American diplomat in Havana a note of protest in response to the Trump administration’s creation of a Cuba Internet Task Force composed of U.S. government and non-governmental representatives; the U.S. State Department said that the task force will promote the “free and unregulated flow of information” by “expanding internet access and independent media,” but the Cuban Foreign Ministry counters that the task force is an attempt to violate its sovereignty and carry out interventionist and illegal actions.

Practice Note

Court Swipes Left: A California appellate court reversed a lower court’s dismissal of an age discrimination lawsuit against Tinder, stating that the company’s variable pricing for Tinder Plus, which charges more for users over 30 years old, is discriminatory because without a strong public policy justification, the pricing makes an “arbitrary, class-based generalization” about older users’ incomes, in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Unfair Competition Law.

On The Lighter Side

A Wealthy Sourpuss: The Grumpy Cat wins a $710,000 payout in a copyright and trademark lawsuit.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

GDPR Guidance: With less than 100 days until mandatory compliance, the European Commission published a guidance to aid all stakeholders to prepare for the GDPR while national data protection authorities, such as the CNIL in France, have been advising organizations, citizens, and businesses on what changes to expect and how to adapt; the Commission’s guidance urges member states to provide financial and human resources to national authorities, announced a Commission website dedicated to compliance guidelines, and designated €3.7 million to help with compliance—€1.7 million to fund data protection authorities and to train data protection professionals, and €2 million to support national efforts in reaching out to businesses.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Cryptojacking, A New Threat: Hackers targeted YouTube users in Japan, Taiwan, France, Italy, and Spain to mine cryptocurrencies without the users’ knowledge via Google’s Double Click advertising software; although Google confirmed the removal of the compromised ads, the threat of cryptojacking remains a very serious problem.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 26, 2018

Internet Governance

New York State of Net Neutrality: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring state agencies to contract only with ISPs that abide by net neutrality principles days after Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock did the same; the order’s use of state contracts as leverage may withstand legal challenges as it does not impose direct regulations on the providers, but on the state government.

Airbnb Checks Out in the Bay: Airbnb’s San Francisco listings plunged from over 10,000 to around 5,500 after new vacation-rental laws kicked in requiring Airbnb hosts to register with the city; the laws aim to prevent homes from turning into year-round tourist hotels, which take rentals off the market and distort market prices.

Privacy

Foreign or US Surveillance? President Trump signed the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 extending the authorization allowing the intelligence community to “collect critical intelligence on international terrorists, weapons proliferators and other important foreign intelligence targets outside of the US”; the law permits the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to surveil anyone outside of the country and allows authorities to access communications that simply mention a foreign target, thus raising privacy concerns as US citizens’ communications can be accessed.

Facebook’s New Privacy Center: In response to the forthcoming requirements of the EU’s GDPR, Facebook will set up a new global privacy center that puts core privacy settings in one place permitting its users to more easily manage their personal data. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Look Before You Swipe: Researchers at security firm Checkmarx demonstrated that Tinder’s app lacks the standard HTTPS encryption necessary to conceal a user’s photos, allowing one to see any user’s photos or inject their own images into the user’s photo stream; the researchers also demonstrated that HTTPS-encrypted data in Tinder’s app still leaked enough information allowing a hacker on the network to monitor the user’s swipes or matches on the app.

Kansas’ Crosscheck: Boston-based security firm Netragard warned that Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office—host of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a database designed to cross-check voter records for potential double voters—could expose sensitive voter data from as many as twenty-seven states to hackers through unsecured connections between the Secretary of State’s network and other state-hosted networks.

Intellectual Property

The Music Modernization Act: A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Music Modernization Act, legislation designed to update music licensing laws for the digital age by streamlining the licensing process and setting a new standard for mechanical royalty rates; under the proposed legislation, a single entity would be created to collect royalties for distribution to copyright holders and royalty rates would be based on what a willing buyer and seller would negotiate on the free market.

Bunny v. Boing Boing: Boing Boing moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by Playboy, which accuses the website of copyright infringement for linking to a YouTube video and an Imgur gallery featuring every Playmate centerfold ever; in 2016, Playboy’s Dutch publisher, Sanoma, successfully sued Dutch website GeenStijl for unfair profits arising from copyright infringing hyperlinks.

Free Expression and Censorship

Ministry of Disinformation? The UK announced plans to establish a new national security communications unit dedicated to combating “fake news”; the announcement follows French President Emmanuel Macron’s declaration that he intends to overhaul French domestic media legislation in order to counter disinformation.

Quid Pro NO! YouTube is asking sponsored musicians and artists to sign non-disparagement agreements in exchange for the platform’s promotional support; while the agreements are common in some areas of business, YouTube’s biggest music competitors do not mandate them.    

Practice Note

Qualcomm Fined by EU: The EU’s competition watchdog fined American chipmaker Qualcomm €997 million for violating EU antitrust laws by abusing its market dominance when it paid Apple billions of dollars for the tech giant’s promise that it would exclusively use Qualcomm chips; the Commission looked at Qualcomm’s high market shares, the chip-making market’s high entry barriers, the exclusion of rivals from the market and the denial of rivals’ business opportunities, and concluded that Qualcomm failed to demonstrate that the exclusivity agreement with Apple created any market efficiencies.

On The Lighter Side

Rise and Type: Google researchers have uncovered why so many smartphones in India run out of space so quickly—too many Indians send cheer-y good morning graphics to each other.


Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

Tech is ‘Choosing France’: Following a booming French tech sector and President Macron’s pro-business reforms, Google’s CEO announced the company’s plan to expand AI operations in Paris and open four Google Hubs across France for free training in “online skills and digital literacy,” while Facebook revealed it would invest €10 million in its French AI center.

AI Alliance: The UK and France will collaborate on AI at a digital conference this year, where “experts in data, cybersecurity, digital government and digital skills from both sides” will share knowledge to integrate the technology’s benefits and strengthen the countries’ digital economies; the announcement occurred at the annual UK-France summit, where the countries also reiterated their support for net neutrality.

From Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Fake News Filters: In anticipation of the upcoming general election, the Italian government created a portal on Italy’s postal police website for citizens to report URLs of alleged fake news stories, where “the police’s cybercrime division will fact-check the reports,” and either deny any false information or take legal action if necessary; critics of the initiative worry about the potential for political censorship and the lack of clarity regarding what constitutes fake news.


CORRECTION: In our January 19, 2018 edition of CLIP-ings, in the portion entitled “No Pictures Please!,” we erroneously stated that “under Italian law, the image’s copyright belongs to the subject rather than the photographer.” Although Italian law does provide copyright ownership to the author of a photograph, privacy and publicity rights of the subject place limits on exclusive rights of the copyright holder.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Erin Shahinfar
Subrina Chowdhury
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP