CLIP-ings: November 6, 2015

Internet Governance

What Does Spokeo Know About You? During oral arguments in a Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuit against the people-search engine Spokeo, the Supreme Court considered whether inaccurate consumer information posted on the site constitutes an actual injury to the plaintiff and a potential class of plaintiffs.

Sly Fox: Mozilla announced an update to Firefox’s private browsing mode providing heightened privacy controls that block third-party tracking scripts used to identify an individual.

Privacy

SnapTrap: Snapchat’s latest terms of service grant the company a “world-wide, perpetual, royalty-free” license to, among other things, reproduce, modify, and broadcast user pictures uploaded to its “Live Story” feature.

Stingray Privacy Act: The House proposed the Cell-Site Simulator Act of 2015, which would require state and local agencies to obtain a search warrant before using stingray surveillance devices.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Masked Hack: Websites using anti-adblocking service PageFair exposed their visitors to a malware attack disguised as an Adobe Flash update.

Intellectual Property

It’s A Legal World After All: In anticipation of Disney’s first theme park in China, Chinese officials will carry out a “special” year-long campaign to safeguard Disney’s trademarks by cracking down on counterfeits online.

Free Expression And Censorship

Offensive Defense: In a brief appealing a district court ruling, the Washington Redskins argued that revoking six of its trademarks violated the First Amendment because trademarks are not government speech and thus cannot be cancelled on the basis of offensiveness.

On The Lighter Side

First Issue: Super Jobs saves the day by tackling iTunes’ terms and conditions.


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

Tory Geronimo
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Noelle Park & Inés Spinnato
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: October 30, 2015

Internet Governance

Put It In Neutral? The European Parliament voted in favor of net neutrality laws that critics contend contain loopholes, such as granting ISPs broad discretion to create Internet fast lanes.

Feel The Rush: In light of the recent “Safe Harbor” ruling, Germany’s privacy regulators announced plans to immediately investigate EU-U.S. data transfer compliance for companies such as Google and Facebook.

Privacy

The Numbers Don’t Lie: Invoices obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the IRS is the latest addition to a growing list of federal agencies known to have purchased stingray surveillance technology.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Sharing Is Caring: The Senate passed a controversial bill intending to allow private companies to share cyberthreat information with the government even though personal consumer data could be included.

Intellectual Property

Rockin’ To The “Jailbreak” Unlock: The Library of Congress promulgated new DMCA exemptions that legalize certain alterations of technologies such as cars, phones, and tablets.

Free Expression And Censorship

Request For Public Comment: Citing free speech concerns, Google opposed changes to DMCA takedown procedures that would require removal of an entire website from search results even if only part of the site contained infringing content.

Practice Note

H(App)y Store: A district court ruled that app stores are not directly liable for trademark infringing names of third party apps, but still may be contributorily liable if the stores received notice of such infringements.

On The Lighter Side

The Modern Magic Carpet Ride: Let him show you the world.


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: October 23, 2015

Internet Governance

Striking A Balance: German Parliament passed a law that would require telecommunications companies to store telephone and Internet connection data for ten weeks for judicially approved law enforcement purposes.

Privacy

Smart Car Problems:  Congress heard FTC testimony on legislation compelling car manufacturers to submit to the government privacy policies detailing car data collection software practices.

Mi Casa Es Tu Casa: The House voted to extend provisions of the Privacy Act to provide European citizens with a means of legal redress if the U.S. unlawfully discloses their personal information.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Kids These Days: The FBI is investigating a high school student who published sensitive information after hacking into the CIA director’s personal email through “social engineering.”

iResist: Apple submitted a brief detailing how newer encryption software limits its ability to bypass iPhone lock screens upon government request.

Intellectual Property

Keep Calm And Read On: The Second Circuit upheld the SDNY’s ruling that Google’s scanning of over 20 million books for an online library without copyright holder permission is permissible under the fair use doctrine.

Free Expression And Censorship

Selfie-Expression: A federal judge ruled that an Indiana law criminalizing “ballot selfies” violates the First Amendment because the content-based law was overly broad and would restrict legitimate expression.

On The Lighter Side

Oh Dear: Where’s the love, Airbnb?


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, CLIP

Noelle Park & Inés Spinnato
CLIP Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: October 16, 2015

Internet Governance

Revenge On Revenge Porn: The California Attorney General’s office launched a website that provides resources to help revenge porn victims, law enforcement, and technology companies combat cyber exploitation.

Privacy

Califortification: To protect its residents from unauthorized invasions of their digital privacy, California passed a law requiring law enforcement to obtain a search warrant or wiretap order before collecting residents’ electronic information subject to certain limited exceptions.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Shut The Back Door: Following hacks of its own databases, the Obama Administration retreated from its pursuit of legislation that would compel technology firms and smartphone manufacturers to provide the government with access to their source code and encryption keys.

On Good Terms: Following the recent U.S.-China cybersecurity agreement, President Xi announced the arrest of several Chinese hackers believed to be responsible for cyberattacks on the U.S.

Intellectual Property

That’s A Real Stretch: The Ninth Circuit ruled that the founder of Bikram yoga cannot claim copyright over his series of 26 poses, holding that it is an “idea, process or system designed to improve health.”

Free Expression And Censorship

NFL GIF Tiff: In response to receiving DMCA takedown notices from the NFL and other leagues, Twitter suspended two accounts devoted to tweeting GIFs of professional and college games instead of simply removing the allegedly infringing content.

Practice Note

Subscription Cancelled: The Eleventh Circuit held that under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), a plaintiff who downloaded Cartoon Network’s video streaming app is not a “subscriber” and therefore not entitled to the law’s protection.

On The Lighter Side

Gold-Diggin’ Kids Apps: Kanye West is mad about in-app purchases (will this be his 2020 presidential platform?).


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: October 9, 2015

Internet Governance

Bon Voyage, Safe Harbor: In a landmark ruling, the EU’s highest court invalidated the U.S.-EU pact on the grounds that it neither sufficiently protects EU citizens’ personal data nor provides them with adequate legal redress.

Failure For Launching: The FAA is seeking a $1.9 million fine from an aerial photography company that allegedly conducted 65 unauthorized operations in some of the country’s most congested airspace.

Privacy

Ticket Turbulence: A man used his smart phone to scan a friend’s airplane boarding pass and retrieved enough information to access sensitive data on the friend’s airline account.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

Access Denied: A journalist was found guilty of three federal counts of hacking under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for sharing content management system login details with members of Anonymous, who then used the credentials to alter a Los Angeles Times story.

Intellectual Property

Gotta Catch ‘Em All: The Pokémon Company demanded $4,000 to settle a lawsuit against a fan who allegedly violated the company’s copyrights by including two of its characters on posters advertising his Pokémon-themed party.

Free Expression And Censorship

Lawyer Cries For Yelp: Yelp settled a suit with a private practice lawyer over alleged fraudulent reviews on the site; this is Yelp’s second lawsuit targeting fake reviewers “when presumably fake Yelp reviews are happening on a daily basis across its site.”

On The Lighter Side

Spook-tech-ular Costumes: With one week of October down, it’s time to think about your Halloween getup!


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: October 2, 2015

Internet Governance

Home-Screen Advantage: The FTC is investigating whether Google unfairly gives its own products prominent placement over those of vendors on its Android smartphones.

Privacy

The Files Are In The Computer: A federal appeals court is set to determine how long the government may retain an individual’s computer files obtained pursuant to a probable-cause warrant but which were not used as evidence, and whether it may later use such evidence against the individual for a different crime.

Information Security And Cyberthreats

The (Not So) Simple Life: Hackers allegedly installed malware that swiped guest credit card information from point-of-sale systems in Hilton hotel restaurants and gift shops.

Cyber Détente: President Obama and China’s President Xi agreed last week that both countries will stop conducting and supporting “cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property.”

Intellectual Property

Copyrighted Crusader: The Ninth Circuit held that a California mechanic’s replicas of the Batmobile infringed DC Comics’ copyright on the car, reasoning that the replicas contain “sufficiently distinctive” elements of the original “automotive character.”

Free Expression And Censorship

The Price Of Unfriendship: Australia’s Fair Work Commission found that a supervisor’s unfriending of an employee on Facebook was evidence of “unreasonable behavior” resulting in the issuance of a stop bullying order.”

Practice Note

SEC Fishing Expedition: A federal court ruled that defendants, who invoked their Fifth Amendment right in refusing to turn over their phones’ passcodes to authorities, cannot be forced to without proof that evidence actually exists on the devices.

On The Lighter Side

Broken News? Watch HLN mistakenly interview comedian Jon Hendren (@fart) instead of Al Jazeera journalist John Hendren (@johnhendren) about Edward Snowden Scissorhands’ new Twitter account.


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 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.