Social Media:

  • Is Twitter diplomacy a thing? After President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by phone, the first such conversation between U.S. and Iranian heads of state in over thirty years, they followed up with each other on Twitter.
  • Yelp sues a law firm for posting fake positive reviews of itself . [H/T Cybercrime Review]


  • Fox was unable to get a preliminary injunction banning Dish Networks’ “hopper,” which records shows and then identifies and skips commercials.
  • Fox News looks to revive the ‘hot news’ doctrine–but should the courts let it do so in the age of internet aggregators? How far should copyright protection of news facts go? (Generally facts are not copyrightable, but the hot news doctrine provides an exception, based largely on the idea of unfair competition.)
  • Spain passes a much more stringent anti-piracy law, increasing penalties and targeting sites that link to infringing content for “direct or indirect profit.” [H/T SANS]
  • MPAA and RIAA, through the “Internet Keep Safe Coalition,” prepare anti-piracy school curricula to provide to elementary schools. [H/T SANS]



  • An iPhone patent is invalidated in Germany (and probably the rest of the world too, except in the United States) by Steve Jobs’ video demonstration of the feature prior to filing its application. While U.S. patent law allows a 12-month prior art grace period for disclosures by the inventor (35 U.S.C. § 102(b)(1)(A)), Europe is much stricter, and offers no grace period whatsoever. Most of the rest of the world has no grace period either.
  • “Non-practicing entity” (or, less politely, patent troll) Lodsys was able to wriggle away from Apple’s argument that the patents it used to a large number of iOS developers had already been licensed for their use when Apple bought a license from the prior patent holder. The NPE, which has continued to send demand letters and file complaints, settled one set of consolidated cases in the Eastern District of Texas, which the judge said was enough to moot Apple’s motion arguing that its license protected all iOS developers. Other app developers are gunning for Lodsys though, including Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and security software firm Kaspersky.
  • The FTC votes to take the next step in its examination of NPEs (which it calls patent assertion entities, or PAEs) and their effect on innovation and competition. It is soliciting comments on questions to ask roughly 25 NPEs, which they will have to answer under Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 46(b).

Sports, Entertainment, and News:

  • Dozens of NCAA football players wore clothing bearing the letters “APU” last weekend in protest of NCAA control over players’ safety and livelihoods. Will this escalate into more open player conflict with the NCAA? [H/T Lawyers, Guns & Money]
  • Video game developer EA settles with NCAA players (pending judicial approval) over the use of their likenesses in games.
  • The FCC orders Comcast to move Bloomberg close to its affiliated news channels CNBC and MSNBC. Comcast is subject to a “neighborhooding” rule, under which it must put like channels together, as a condition of approval for its 2011 merger with NBCUniversal.

Cybercrime & Cybersecurity:

  • The FBI made an arrest in the Miss Teen USA webcam ‘sextortion’ scandal, alleging that a 19-year-old computer science major hijacked webcams on at least thirty different computers to surreptitiously take nude photos of the owners. We previously wrote about the scandal here. [H/T CNN]
  • According to security researcher and investigative reporter Brian Krebs, three enormous brokers of personal data and public records, LexisNexis, Dun & Bradstreet, and Kroll/HireRight, have had their webservers compromised by an online identity theft ring. While malware was found on their servers, it is unclear whether or how much personal data was stolen. In addition to placing malware directly on the servers, the identity thieves also used the stolen username and password from at least one law student to log in to the services and fraudulently order reports. The data brokers have enormous amounts of information that could be used to bypass personal-information authentication questions, such as street addresses, names and name changes over time, financial relationships, and consumer history.


  • The NSA disclosed numerous incidents of its analysts cyberstalking to Senator Grassley, which includes girlfriends, boyfriends, and “random” people met in social situations.
  • Senator Feinstein proposes some reforms to the NSA’s surveillance program, expanding certain transparency requirements, but possibly also expanding the agency’s power to collect information. Headline writers at Russia’s state-affiliated RT have a field day. [H/T Google News]
  • Senators Wyden, Udall, Blumenthal, and Paul unveil a much more radical bill, which would ban some types of bulk data collection and severely restrict others.
  • Meanwhile, in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the NSA data collection program, a federal district court judge ruled that the government must unseal more documents by December 20, 2013.
  • Cybercrime professor and former cybercrime prosecutor Orin Kerr and Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society Jennifer Granick debate whether the Fourth Amendment protects metadata. The debate is comprised of a series of posts: Granick leads off, Kerr replies, Granick responds, and Kerr wraps up. [H/T Syracuse University’s Crossroads]
  • Several government websites will go offline (either showing only a splash page, or staying online but ceasing updates) if the federal government shuts down.

Data Privacy & Data Regulation:

  • The FDA may begin to regulate some mobile apps as medical devices (read: much more stringently) based on their functionality. [H/T SANS]
  • California continues to heavily regulate data privacy: Governor Brown signed AB 370AB 1149, and SB 46.
    • AB 370 amends a law that requires commercial websites that collect personally identifiable information to make certain disclosures about how it will use that information via a privacy policy. After the amendment, that statute (Cal. Bus. & Prof. § 22575) will require that these sites disclose how they treat browsers’ do-not-track requests and whether they collect PII as users browse third-party websites (e.g., through tracking cookies or ads).
    • SB 46 and AB 1149 respectively require that businesses (Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.82) and agencies (Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.29) issue breach notifications for breaches of a new type of personal information: the combination of a username or email address, with a password or security question that would allow access to an online account (including email accounts).


  • The Eastern District of Michigan approves a model electronically stored information (ESI) discovery order for use on a pilot basis. By default the model order excludes ephemeral data like RAM and cache, and it provides a soft limit on the amount of time parties need to spend searching for ESI (160 hours, not including any review time).


–Brad Edmondson

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