A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The Court of Justice of the European Union Finds the Harbor No Longer Safe

Written by: Ann Kristin Glenster - Edited by: David Nathaniel Tan

This fall, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a landmark ruling,  holding that the Safe Harbor Agreement on the handling of personal data by U.S. companies in Europe was invalid. This article will give a brief overview of the case, and explore the salient issues to which the European Court took umbrage. Finally, it will attempt to sketch out some possible consequences of the ruling, and the options that now face E.U. and U.S. legislators.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Yiran Zhang – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Senators Introduce a Bill which Requires Social Media Companies to Report Terrorist Activity

New EU Copyright Rules Left Possibility for Google Tax

COP21 Reached an “Ambitious and Balanced” Deal on Climate Change

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By David Nathaniel Tan – Edited by Adi Kamdar

Software Pirate Settles Suit Via YouTube

After Paris Attacks, FCC Chairman Calls for Expanded Wiretap Laws

Hoverboards Declared Illegal in New York City

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Belgian Court Demands that Facebook Stop Tracking Non-Members

By Mila Owen – Edited by Kayla Haran

The Belgian Privacy Commission requested a cessation order against Facebook regarding their practice of placing “datr” cookies on devices of non-Facebook users to track activity on other Facebook pages or on pages containing the “like” or “share” button. The court ruled that this tracking violates the Belgian Privacy Act because it amounts to the collection and “processing of personal data.”

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Facebook not liable for discrimination against Sikhs in India

By Ann Kristin Glenster – Edited by Yaping Zhang

By dismissing Sikhs for Justice Inc.’s case against Facebook for discrimination by blocking the group’s page in India, the United District Court of Northern California maintains the neutrality of interactive online providers and exempts them from liability under Title II of the Civil Rights Act.

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By Geng Chen – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

Photo By: Robert Scoble - CC BY 2.0

Photo By: Robert ScobleCC BY 2.0

Microsoft Corp. v. DataTern, Inc., No. 13-1184 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 4, 2014)
Slip Opinion

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York’s rulings in a consolidated declaratory judgment action brought by Microsoft and SAP. Slip op. at 3. The two companies sought a judgment of noninfringement and invalidity for two of DataTern’s patents (the ‘402 and ‘502 patents). See id. at 4. DataTern challenged the district court’s finding that it possessed subject matter jurisdiction over the action because there existed a “substantial controversy . . . of sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant the issuance of a declaratory judgment.” Id. at 5 (quoting MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., 549 U.S. 118, 127 (2007)). The Federal Circuit affirmed with respect to most of Microsoft’s and SAP’s claims, as DataTern’s previous infringement suits against those companies’ customers impliedly asserted contributory and induced infringement claims against the companies themselves. See id. at 9–10.

PatentlyO features a thorough analysis of the decision. Mondaq provides additional analysis. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 19 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Emma Winer – Edited by Sheri Pan

Photo By: Images MoneyCC BY 2.0

United States v. Penchukov, No. 11-03074 (D. Neb. July 13, 2012)
First Superseding Indictment
Complaint

On April 11, 2014, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released a previously sealed indictment against nine alleged conspirators in an international malware scheme that stole millions of dollars from online bank accounts. First Superseding Indictment at 6, United States v. Penchukov, No. 11-03074 (D. Neb. Aug. 22, 2012). The indictment alleged that the conspirators infected thousands of business computers with the “Zeus” malware, which captured passwords, bank account numbers, and other information required to log into online banking systems. Two of the defendants, Yuriy Konovalenko and Yevhen Kulibaba, were arraigned in Nebraska federal court on Friday, after being extradited from the United Kingdom.

Ars Technica provides an overview of the case. PC Magazine, The Register, and Reuters offer additional commentary. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 18 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Paul Klein – Edited by Alex Shank

Photo By: archie4ozCC BY 2.0

Joined Cases C-292/12 and C-594/12, Digital Rights Ireland Ltd v. Minister for Commc’ns, Marine, and Natural Res., (E.C.J. Apr. 8, 2014)
Slip Opinion hosted by Scribd

In a preliminary ruling last week, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) found to be invalid Directive 2006/24/EC (the “Directive”), which the European Parliament and of the Council had previously adopted. Slip op., at I-26. The Directive required EU members to enact laws mandating that electronic communications service providers retain user data for as long as two years. Id. at I-13. EU lawmakers created the Directive to facilitate the “investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime,” id. at I-8, particularly organized crime and terrorism. Id. at I-7. The High Court (Ireland) and the Verfassungsgerichtshof (Austria) requested that the ECJ preliminarily rule on the Directive’s validity. Id. at I-3. Both courts have actions before them challenging the legality of national proceedings that accord with the Directive. Id.

The ECJ held that “by adopting Directive 2006/24, the EU legislature has exceeded the limits imposed by compliance with the principle of proportionality in the light of Articles 7, 8 and 52(1) of the Charter [of Fundamental Rights of the European Union].” Id. at I-26. In so holding, the court stated that Directive 2006/24 clashes “with the rights guaranteed by Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter,” and that “the fact that data are retained and subsequently used without the subscriber or registered user being informed is likely to generate in the minds of the persons concerned the feeling that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance” Id. at I-20. The court identified three major problems with the Directive: 1) the extensive scope of data it would cause to be retained, 2) its failure to sufficiently limit authorities’ access to retained data, and 3) its failure to categorize the retained data in order to distinguish its usefulness and relevance. Id. at I-23–25. Accordingly, the Grand Chamber stated, “Directive 2006/24 entails a wide-ranging and particularly serious interference with those fundamental rights in the legal order of the EU, without such an interference being precisely circumscribed by provisions to ensure that it is actually limited to what is strictly necessary.” Id. at I-25.

Bloomberg provides an overview of and contextualizes the case, noting that the Directive was “drafted in the wake of terrorist attacks in London and Madrid . . . .” Voice of America reports that “some observers consider [the ruling] a nod to the Snowden leaks . . . .” It further notes that the court’s decision could affect trans-Atlantic commerce, as well as “the future of President Barack Obama’s proposed [National Security Agency] reforms on surveillance and data collection.” (more…)

Posted On Apr - 16 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Michael Shammas – Edited by Mary Schnoor

Photo By: Kyle NishiokaCC BY 2.0

Petition for Certiorari, Google Inc. v. Joffe, 2013 WL 6905957 (9th Cir. 2013), petition for cert. filed (No. 13-)
Petition for Certiorari hosted by Santa Clara Law Digital Commons

Disagreeing with the Ninth Circuit’s decision that Google, Inc. (“Google”) possibly violated the Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq., when its Street View cars collected unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic, Google has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari petitioning the Supreme Court to label its activities legal. Google believes unencrypted Wi-Fi networks should be classified as “radio communications” accessible to the public, akin to AM/FM radio, and that as such its actions were exempt under federal wiretapping law. Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Google, at 2. The case is important not only because of the liability Google could face if its petition is denied, but also because of its implications for future interpretations of the Wiretap Act.

PCWorld and Lexology review the petition. Wired provides background on Google’s Street View program, and Ars Technica recaps the regulatory and legal response. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 14 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Corey Omer

On April 3, Mozilla Corporation (“Mozilla”), a subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation most widely known for producing the Firefox browser, announced that its CEO of less than two weeks, Brendan Eich, has resigned. The resignation followed pressure from Mozilla employees, bloggers, and developers who opposed his appointment in light of a $1000 donation that he made in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that sought to ban gay marriage in California. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 13 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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