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CLIP-ings: December 20, 2013

Internet Governance
Over-blocking Porn: BT, Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk – the four leading ISPs in the United Kingdom – are implementing pornography filters that block access to information on sex education, sexual health, and rape and sexual abuse counseling, but which still unsuccessfully sift all hardcore porn.

Privacy

Whoa, Big Brother: In issuing a preliminary injunction, a U.S. federal judge ruled that the NSA’s “bulk collection and querying of phone record metadata” on all U.S. citizens may be unconstitutional and “certainly does violate a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Eye Never Forget a Face: The Next Generation Identification project, a FBI national database, aggregates palm print, face and iris images, along with fingerprint records the Bureau has amassed since 1924, to assist law enforcement to catch and track criminals; the existing automated fingerprint system also includes IDs for civil servants and others in “positions of trust.”

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Targeted: Those shopping at physical Target locations in the U.S. from Black Friday weekend to December 15th may be among the 40 million cardholders whose information was stolen via a “card skimming” operation which may even allow thieves to withdraw cash at ATMs.

Intellectual Property

Momentum for Reform? After the passing of the Innovation Act in the House of Representatives, Senate hearings are now under way to ponder means in which to curb patent “trolling;” although effects of threatened patent litigation on small businesses are at the forefront of the legislative debate, universities caution against swift, large-scale reform.

Free Expression & Censorship

Digital Eraser: After Jang Song-thaek was executed for treason against the state and his nephew Kim Jong Un, North Korea edited online content to delete any reference to the late powerful Worker’s Party of Korea official.

Practice Note

Policing Facebook: Graziosi v. City of Greenville illustrates the extent to which public employees’ speech is protected online; a Sergeant’s Facebook criticisms of police department leadership were unprotected speech, such that her termination was justified.

On the Lighter Side

Gaming Google: A virtual scavenger hunt for latent alien, leprechaun and pharaoh Lego figurines in Google Street View!