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CLIP-ings: August 2, 2013


Internet Governance

Google Flip-Flops:  In a move contrary to its prior support for net neutrality policies that permit customers’ “running lawful applications and using lawful services of their choice,” Google, in response to a 2012 FCC complaint as to its new Internet service, now argues that it is “justified in prohibiting subscribers from running servers on Google Fiber.”

NSA Documents Declassified:  To improve the transparency of U.S. spy programs, spy agencies will declassify documents relating to NSA surveillance and the FISC. 


Cell Tracking Does Not Require a Warrant:  Reasoning that “cell site information is clearly a business record,” the Fifth Circuit held that police need only “reasonable grounds” sufficient to secure a less-stringent court order—rather than a warrant—to access such information. 
Vulnerable “Smart Homes”:  Internet snoopers can harness authentication inadequacies in home automation systems to gain access to and control of peoples’ homes, thereby compromising inhabitants’ privacy, opening the door to physical invasion and, even, playing ghost.
Feds Push for Passwords:  Major Internet companies have pushed back at government demands that they hand over user passwords, but encryption practices would make it hard for a government agency to ascertain a user’s original password even if the password data was provided.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Dude, Where’s My Yacht?  A professor-led team of students from the University of Texas “hi-jacked” an 80 million dollar superyacht by “spoofing” its GPS system to change course; the experiment sparked concerns about how easy it might be to hi-jack other vehicles that use autopilot technologies. 
Heightened Communication:  When events or natural disasters require enhanced communication systems, TRiaGnoSys’ “airborne base stations” deliver “rapidly deployable” wireless network systems via heavy-duty balloons.

Intellectual Property

Athletes in Video Games:  The Ninth Circuit recently decided two cases involving the use of athletes’ likenesses in video games: in the first, Jim Brown’s likeness was found to be “artistically relevant to a video game that aims to recreate NFL games,” and in the second, Sam Keller’s likeness was found not to be “transformative” and was thus not protected by the First Amendment. 
Open-Source in the Open Skies:  A Canadian company is developing an open-source airplane, providing its design to interested builders for free and connecting builders to other open-source components such as 3D-printable knobs and handles. 

Free Expression & Censorship

Manning Did Not Aid Enemy:  A military judge rejected the government’s argument that Bradley Manning’s publishing of sensitive documents online constituted “aiding the enemy”; however, Manning was found guilty of lesser charges sufficient for a maximum 136-year prison sentence.
Practice Notes
COPPA FAQ Update:  To guide and clarify recent revisions to the COPPA Rule, the FTC addresses topics such as: “Sharing on Social Media and via Email,” “Actual Knowledge,” and the “Disclosure Obligation Regarding Information Collected from a Child-Directed Site.” 

On the Lighter Side

“You Hacked Me Like I’m Some Kind of…Journalist!”  NSA Agent Topple had his pal at the Public Works Department get a sample of his colleague’s toilet water, for blackmail.
Editorial Fellows: Tom Norton and Ryan Cloutier