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Gotta Book – Supreme Court Rules that Generic Words Coupled With Domain Suffix May Have Trademark Protection

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court held  that the company Booking.com could hold a valid federal trademark in the name “Booking.com” even though the term “booking” is a generic term for making a reservation. The case recognizes that the addition of a domain suffix like .com can transform something generic into something descriptive. The case is…

POST Haste – NYC Proposes Law to Require NYPD Disclose ALL Surveillance Techniques

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? In the wake of allegations that the Customs and Border Patrol was running surveillance drones over protest sites in Minnesota and other places, and that government agencies were collecting cell phone data about those who attended BLM protests, that law enforcement agencies are arresting people based on faulty facial recognition algorithm, or that police are…

Qualified Impunity – Federal Appeals Court Rules

No Constitutional Right to Information Privacy from Police Disclosure of Sexual Assault Victim Information to the Press On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the issue of “qualified immunity” of law enforcement officers for alleged misconduct, leaving in place the doctrine that says that even when police commit egregious misconduct,…

The Department of Justice is Going After Tech Platforms With Threats of Criminal Prosecution and Removal of Immunity if they DO and if they DON’T Block Speech the Government Doesn’t Like

On June 17, the Department of Justice released its proposed guidelines for making social media entities and carriers liable for the contents of what third parties post on their sites. The proposal would make these providers liable for not censoring content, and liable if they do. The proposal would make social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok,…

Zooming [In]Security

With the COVID-19 Pandemic (remember the COVID-19 Pandemic?) workers were forced to find other means of communicating — including Zoom meetings. While there were a spate of high-profile security issues with respect to Zoom, including open and shared meetings, Zoombombing, sharing data with Facebook, and deliberately routing communications through China and the like, the principal…

Scraping By – California Court Limits Use of Computer Crime Statute for High Volume Scraping

When you “access” a website, what are you authorized to do? And how would you know what is “authorized?” The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 USC 1030 makes it a crime to “access” a “computer” “without authorization,” and further makes it a crime to “exceed authorization” to access a computer. Courts and computer…