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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American Civil Liberties Union et al. v. Clapper et al.
By Michelle Sohn – Edited by Katie Mullen

American Civil Liberties Union et al. v. Clapper et al., No. 1:13-cv-03994 (S.D.N.Y. filed June 11, 2013)
Scheduling Order

At a hearing last Thursday,  Judge William Pauley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the government ‘s request to delay a hearing date for American Civil Liberties Union et al. v. Clapper et al., reports ArsTechnica.  The denial is the latest in the American Civil Liberties Union’s (“ACLU’s”) challenge to the Obama administration’s metadata collection practices, specifically collecting Verizon’s customer records.

The Guardian provides a synopsis of the case, describing the judge’s dismissal of the government’s request as the administration being “rebuffed.” JOLT Digest has previously reported on the U.S. government’s programs that collect massive amounts of data from Verizon and Internet companies such as Google and Facebook. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) order, which Edward Snowden leaked to the Guardian, authorizing the metadata collection is hosted by the Guardian. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 4 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Mengyi Wang

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SEC Charges Texas Man with Running a Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme

Last Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced charges against Trendon Shavers and his company, Bitcoin Savings and Trust (“BTCST”), for operating a Bitcoin-denominated Ponzi scheme. The SEC alleges that, from 2011 to September 2012, Shavers raised more than 700,000 BTC (then worth more than $4.5 million) in principal investments from BTCST investors, falsely promised them a seven percent weekly interest, and misappropriated investor funds. On the same day, the SEC also issued an investor alert warning investors of Ponzi schemes in general and those involving virtual currencies in particular. CNN and the Guardian provide commentary on the case.

Rep. Amash’s Amendment to End NSA’s Blanket Collection of Americans’ Telephone Records Fails in the House

Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated the Amash amendment by a 205-217 vote, Techcrunch reports. According to Congressman Amash’s Fact Sheet, The amendment aimed to “limit[] the government’s collection of records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act to those records that pertain to a person who is subject to an investigation under that provision.” Recent revelations showing the extent of the NSA’s collection of personal electronic information (previously covered by the Digest) motivated in part Congressman Amash’s proposal. The New American and The Week discuss the political implications of the vote, and the Guardian provides legal background and analysis.

Federal Circuit Affirms Insufficiency of Written Description in Novozymes’ Patent

In Novozymes A/S v. DuPont Nutrition Biosciences APS, No. 12-1433 (Fed. Cir. July 22, 2013), the Federal Circuit affirmed the trial court’s entry of judgment as a matter of law, holding that Novozymes’ U.S. Patent No. 7,713,723 (“the ‘723 patent”) claiming a genetically-modified amlyase enzyme did not meet the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112. The majority concluded that no reasonable jury could find that Novozymes’ patent application provided adequate written description to support the later-filed claims of the ‘723 patent because the disclosure did not demonstrate possession of the claimed thermostable enzymes. Id. at 26–28. Chief Judge Rader dissented, arguing that the written description inquiry was a factual question and that the jury verdict was supported by substantial evidence. Id. at 30–32. PharmaPatents and Patent Docs provide commentary on the case.

Posted On Jul - 31 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

State v. Earls
By Casey Clausen – Edited by Mary Grinman

State v. Earls, A-53-11 (N.J. July 18th 2013)
Slip Opinion

Photo By: LinuxbearCC BY 2.0

On July 18, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed an Appellate Division judgment, which had held that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the location information transmitted by a cell phone, which can be used by police as a tracking device.

In a  unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court held that the New Jersey Constitution protects an individual’s privacy interest in the location of his or her cell phone, and that police must accordingly obtain a search warrant before accessing that information. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the Appellate Division to determine whether an exception to the warrant requirement might apply on the facts of the case.

The New York Times and Mashable describe the holding and provide context on the state of the law concerning police use of cell phone location data for surveillance purposes. Talking Points Memo discusses the practical impact of the holding, noting that the decision will only affect the present case and future cases. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2013 3 Comments READ FULL POST

1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Lens.com, Inc.
By Casey Holzapfel – Edited by Michelle Sohn

1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Lens.com, Inc., No. 11-4114, -4204, -4022 (10th Cir. July 16, 2013)
Slip opinion

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the use of a competitor’s trademark as a keyword that activates sponsored links in Google’s search engine is not trademark infringement. 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Lens.com, Inc., No. 11-4114, -4204, -4022 (10th Cir. July 16, 2013). The court affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment to defendant Lens.com with respect to 1-800 Contacts’ claim that Lens.com was directly liable for misdirecting customers to click on links to Lens.com after searching for the phrase “1-800 Contacts.” Id. at 4.

JDSupra provides an overview of the opinion. Techdirt critiques in detail the Tenth Circuit’s reasoning. JOLT notes that U.S. trademark law does not accurately reflect the actual risk of customer confusion in keyword advertising. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

United States Marine, Inc. v. United States
By Jonathan Sapp – Edited by Elise Young

United States Marine Inc. v. United States, No. 12-1678 (Fed. Cir. July 15, 2013)
Slip opinion hosted at bloomberglaw.com

Photo By: Blatant WorldCC BY 2.0

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, thus transferring the defense contractor’s trade secrets claim to the Court of Federal Claims. In affirming the Fifth Circuit ruling, the court determined that the plaintiff’s case was predicated on a breach of contract — not torts — claim and thus relied on the Tucker Act, which provides the Court of Federal Claims with “exclusive jurisdiction over a claim ‘founded . . . upon any express or implied contract with the United States . . . .’” United States Marine Inc. v. United States (hereinafter “USM”), No. 12-1678 at 11 (Fed. Cir. July 15, 2013) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(1)).

The Trade Secrets Vault provides an overview of the case. Bloomberg BNA provides a thorough analysis of the Federal Circuit’s rationale. PubKLaw criticized the Fifth Circuit decision and expressed concern over whether it would be affirmed, stating that it “runs counter to a long-standing body of law that allows even parties to a government contract to assert tort claims for misconduct that goes beyond their contractual relationship.” (more…)

Posted On Jul - 29 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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