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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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Cellco P’ship v. FCC
By Kathleen McGuinness – Edited by Charlie Stiernberg

Cellco P’ship v. FCC, No. 11-1135, 2012 WL 6013416 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 4, 2012)
Slip Opinion (hosted by Public Knowledge)

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a facial challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) new rule requiring “providers of commercial mobile-data services to offer data roaming agreements to other such providers on commercially reasonable terms.”  Cellco P’ship v. FCC, No. 11-1135, slip op. at 8.Noting the differences between the existing voice roaming requirement and the new data rule, the court held that the FCC had statutory authority to regulate data roaming, and that the flexibility of the new requirement does not amount to the imposition of common carrier requirements. However, the court left open the possibility for future as-applied challenges if the policy becomes a de facto common carrier rule.

Ars Technica provides a brief discussion of the case. Public Knowledge discusses the court’s reasoning and the implications for future litigation over the FCC’s Open Internet rules. Bloomberg lists many of the affected carriers.

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Posted On Dec - 10 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Kathleen McGuinness

Congress Passes Symbolic Resolution: “No UN Control of the Internet”

Responding to the UN’s World Conference on International Telecommunications (“WCIT-12”), Congress passed a symbolic resolution on Wednesday opposing any increased UN authority over the Internet. Although many participating countries would like to reduce the United States’ control over the Internet, Ars Technica reports, the WCIT-12 has no power over individual state legal regimes. Wired describes some controversial policy proposals that would subject the Internet to the same legal regime as that covering telephone networks, but concludes that they are unlikely to have any practical effect.

Supreme Court Will Hear Case on the Legality of Pay-for-Delay Practices

On Friday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in FTC v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 12-416, 2012 WL 4758105 (U.S. Dec. 7, 2012). The Eleventh Circuit’s decision in the case is hosted by Bloomberg Law. This case will resolve a circuit split discussed by Thomson Reuters on the question of whether the common pharmaceutical industry practice of “reverse payment settlements” or “pay-for-delay”—paying a generic competitor to drop a patent challenge—constitutes anticompetitive behavior. Patent Docs describes the case in more detail.

Preliminary PTO Finding Invalidates Key Apple Multitouch Patent

The PTO issued a first office action on December 3 invalidating an important Apple multitouch patent, Ars Technica reports. The patent concerns iOS’s ability to distinguish between different types of user behavior, such as scrolling, panning, and zooming. While this finding is only preliminary, the fact that all twenty of Apple’s claims were rejected indicates that reversing the finding may be difficult. FOSS Patents discusses the matter in more detail.

Posted On Dec - 9 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

United States v. Wahchumwah
By Pio Szamel – Edited by Geng Chen

United States v. Wahchumwah, No. 11-30101 (9th Cir. Nov. 27, 2012)
Slip opinion (hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling by the Eastern District of Washington which held that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s use of a concealed audiovisual recording device on the person of an undercover agent to record inside a defendant’s home without a warrant did not violate the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. In inviting the undercover agent into his home, the defendant “forfeited his expectation of privacy as to those areas that were knowingly expose[d] to” the undercover agent. Wahchumwah, No. 11-30101 at 8. Since the recording device “reveal[ed] no more than what was already visible to the agent,” it implicated no additional privacy concerns. Id.

FindLaw provides an overview of the case. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”), which had filed an amicus brief in support of Wahchumwah, criticizes the decision for opening the door to government surveillance and recording of “every intimate detail” of a person’s home.

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Posted On Dec - 7 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Gibson v. Texas Dep’t of Ins. – Div. of Workers’ Comp.
By Michael Hoven – Edited by Daniella Adler

Gibson v. Texas Dep’t of Ins. – Div. of Workers’ Comp., No. 11-11136 (5th Cir. Oct. 30, 2012)
Slip Opinion

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the Northern District of Texas, which had dismissed John Gibson’s claim that a Texas law barring him from using the words “Texas” and “workers’ compensation” or “workers’ comp.” in his domain name violated the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Fifth Circuit held that appellant had successfully stated a claim under the First Amendment, remanded the case for further review of that claim, and affirmed the dismissal of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims. In so holding, the court did not decide whether appellant’s speech was commercial or noncommercial. Instead, the court found that his speech warranted First Amendment review even if commercial, and explicitly reserved appellant’s right to further develop the argument that his speech was “ordinary, communicative speech.” Gibson, No. 11-11136 at 7.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog provides an overview of the case. JD Supra agrees with the decision and speculates that the Texas Department of Insurance is unlikely to win the case. Techdirt notes that this decision, which opens the door to giving domain names First Amendment protection, conflicts  with the federal government’s history of seizing domain names.

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Posted On Dec - 6 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Dear Digest Readers,

As we are sure you have noticed, Digest has undergone a makeover. We hope you enjoy its new appearance, and we will continue refining it in the coming weeks. Please feel free to give us feedback at any time at digest.jolt@gmail.com. A special thanks goes to Dave LeRay, Catherine Roach, Jeff Dunn, Charlie Stiernberg, Dorothy Du, and Andrew Crocker for enabling this transition.

The Digest Staff

Posted On Dec - 4 - 2012 2 Comments READ FULL POST
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