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CLIP-ings: December 21, 2012

Internet Governance
FTC Probes Big Data: The Federal Trade Commission has asked nine companies that specialize in collecting and selling consumer data online to provide information about their business practices.
Strengthening the Great Firewall: China is employing new technology to discover and block the encrypted channels that its citizens and businesses use to bypass the country’s censors.


Children’s Privacy Update: The FTC published a new set of rules intended to clarify the types of activity permitted under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, including restrictions on the collection of photographs and geolocation information.
VPPA Amendment: The House of Representatives voted to amend the Video Privacy Protection Act so that companies like Netflix may share their users’ viewing history with companies like Facebook upon receiving users' informed consent.

Intellectual Property

Instagram Users in Revolt: After announcing changes to its terms of service that many believed would allow Instagram to sell users’ photographs without their consent, the Facebook-subsidiary backed away from the changes and tried to reassure its users.
Apple Patent Denied: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has preliminarily rejected Apple’s “pinch-to-zoom” patent—the very patent the tech giant relied on in its legal battle against Samsung.

Free Expression & Censorship

Permit Pseudonyms Online: A German state has ordered Facebook to immediately change its policy of forcing users to use their real names on the social network.
Leniency for Drunken Tweeting:  Social network users who post offensive, obscene or false material online may be less likely to face prosecution in the United Kingdom if they promptly delete the offending post and express remorse upon sobering up.

Practice Notes

The New Rules and You: Eric Goldman helps you determine whether the FTC’s new set of COPPA regulations apply to your website or app.

On the Lighter Side

Happy HoLOLdays: It’s the most wonderful memes of the year.

Editorial Fellows:  Megan Bright & Jordan Kovnot