CLIP-ings: February 14, 2020

Internet Governance

France Fines Apple €25 Million For Slowing Down Old iPhones: The country’s General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control determined that Apple misled consumers by not informing them that the throttling, which was introduced to prevent unexpected shutdowns as a result of battery degradation, would lead to the slower performance of iPhones with older batteries; Apple has since notified users and provided an option to turn off throttling in newer software updates. 

Privacy

Facebook Delays Launch Of Dating Service After Not Meeting European Privacy Requirements: The Irish Data Protection Commission “conducted an inspection” of the social media giant’s Dublin offices after Facebook failed to give EU data regulators proper advance notice that its dating service would launch in the EU on February 13th and failed to demonstrate that it had performed the legally required privacy risk assessment.

Senator Gillibrand Proposes Creation Of Data Protection Agency: The New York Senator introduced on Thursday the Data Protection Act of 2020, which would create a federal agency dedicated to protecting consumer privacy and enforcing data protection. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Chinese Military Denies Hacking Equifax, Calls Accusations “Legal Bullying”: After four Chinese military officers were charged with hacking the credit reporting agency in 2017 (a breach that exposed over 145 million people’s personal data), China’s Ministry of National Defense demanded that the U.S. repeal its charges to “avoid another destructive step in the relationship between the two countries and militaries.”

CIA-Owned Encryption Company Spied On Clients: Recently leaked documents show that from 1951 until at least 2008, the CIA secretly owned and operated encryption company Crypto AG, which enabled the intelligence agency to decrypt and read all messages sent by Crypto AG’s hundreds of clients, which ranged “from the Vatican to Iran.”

Intellectual Property

Huawei Sues Verizon For Patent Infringement: The Chinese telecommunications giant is suing Verizon for over $1 billion, claiming that the top U.S. wireless carrier profited $29.8 billion in 2018 alone from the unauthorized use of 12 Huawei patents; Verizon says the claims are without merit and calls the lawsuits “nothing more than a PR stunt.” 

Free Expression and Censorship

UK Government Appoints Social Media Content Regulator: Citing a desire to “protect children and vulnerable people online” while balancing accountability and free expression, the British government has appointed the media watchdog Ofcom to regulate content on large social media platforms; Ofcom is specifically tasked with ensuring that platforms adhere to their respective terms and conditions. 

On the Lighter Side

SpaceX Launches Rocket Rideshare: The rocket and spacecraft company is now allowing users to book their spot on a rocket for prices starting at $1 million; users are asked to specify their desired orbit, travel date, weight, and any add-on services they would like to purchase.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 7, 2020

Internet Governance

Twitter To Label Deceptively Edited Content Ahead Of 2020 Election: Joining Facebook and Google in an effort to better regulate misleading content published on their platforms, Twitter announced it will start labeling “synthetic or deceptively edited forms of media” and will remove any “deliberately misleading” content it believes is intended to cause harm.

Privacy

Tech Companies Send Cease-And-Desist Letters to Facial Recognition Technology Company: Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter maintain that Clearview AI’s practice of scraping billions of photos from their platforms to populate its facial recognition database violates their policies; Clearview argues that the First Amendment protects its right to collect the public information.

Kenyan Court Halts Government’s Digital ID Plans: The country’s high court is delaying the government’s implementation of a countrywide biometric registry, registration in which would be a prerequisite for access to certain rights and public services, until there is “an appropriate and comprehensive regulatory framework” in place to protect ethnic minorities from discrimination and maintain the security of user data.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Google Confirms Users’ Private Videos Were Accidentally Sent To Strangers: Google recently notified a subset of Google Photos users that their private videos were exported to other users’ accounts due to a technical issue with the company’s Takeout data-downloading service in late November; the issue has since been fixed and Google has apologized to the affected users.

Intellectual Property

Flywheel Agrees Its Technology Infringed Peloton’s Patented Leaderboard System: The two at-home fitness companies have agreed to settle a September 2018 patent infringement case filed by Peloton; Flywheel has admitted its stationary bikes infringed Peloton’s patented technology and says it will stop using the leaderboard system within 60 days. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter Moves To Quash Subpoena For A User’s Identity By Devin Nunes’s Lawyer: The social media platform is attempting to block the subpoena from Representative Nunes’s lawyer, which seeks to reveal the identity of the parody Twitter account ‘Devin Nunes Cow’, on the bases that disclosure would violate the Stored Communications Act and that the accountholder’s identity is unrelated to the case, which is a defamation suit between other parties.

Practice Note

Ancestry.com Rejects Police Warrant For User DNA: The genealogy website rejected a law enforcement warrant seeking access to the company’s 15 million DNA profiles on undisclosed technical grounds; law enforcement agencies have increasingly sought access to the records of DNA profiling companies for investigations, but receive varying levels of cooperation from different companies.

On the Lighter Side

“Amazon Dating” Provides Expedited Date Delivery: The parody site, which is unaffiliated with Amazon, displays a range of “singles” and other Valentine’s Day Easter eggs.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 31, 2020

Internet Governance

UK To Allow Huawei To Supply 5G Network Infrastructure: Despite protests from the Trump Administration, which has banned the use of Huawei’s technology in the United States due to national security concerns, the UK announced on Tuesday that it will allow Huawei and other “high-risk vendors” to supply equipment for its national 5G infrastructure, citing a lack of alternatives and an existing reliance on Huawei’s technology by major network operators within the country.

Privacy

Facebook To Prompt Users To Examine Privacy Settings: The social network plans to direct 2 billion users to its updated Privacy Checkup tool, through which users can learn who can see their data and adjust their privacy preferences; the platform has also given users access to its new Off-Facebook Activity tool, where they can view a summary of their data being used by third-party sites and delete that data.

London Police Begin Using Live Facial Recognition Technology To Locate “Serious Offenders”: The technology will initially be deployed in targeted areas and is intended to supplement police’s discretion in engaging with individuals; privacy groups contend that the development threatens civil liberties, and an independent review of the technology has called into question the technology’s ability to accurately identify individuals.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Over Half Of NFL Team Twitter Accounts, Along With ESPN And UFC Accounts, Hacked: Activity on the compromised accounts during the two-day hack promoted the hacking group OurMine, which later took responsibility; tweets sent out from official NFL team accounts proclaimed that the hacking collective had returned and that “everything is hackable.” 

Intellectual Property

UK Says It Will Not Implement EU Copyright Directive: Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the UK will not implement the new Copyright Directive, which it originally voted to approve in 2019, after leaving the EU; the Directive, which imposes a “link tax” and requires platforms to identify and remove infringing content, is currently being transposed into the national laws of other EU member states. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook, Google, And Twitter Work To Halt The Spread Of Coronavirus Misinformation: As social media users begin to make unsubstantiated posts about the coronavirus’ spread, such as that it developed because of Chinese dietary habits or that oregano oil and colloidal silver are curative, the three tech giants are taking action to stop their powerful social media platforms from becoming echo-chambers for misinformation about the quickly spreading disease. 

Practice Note

Facebook Settles Facial Recognition Lawsuit For $550 million: In a case filed in 2015, Illinois Facebook users accused the site of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by using the platform’s photo “Tag Suggestions” function to collect and store the biometric data of millions of users without their consent; this week, the company announced that it had reached a $550 million settlement pending approval from the district court.

On the Lighter Side

Introducing Vine 2.0, Byte: For those of you who may find yourselves re-watching YouTube videos such as “Vines I Quote Every Day,” or “Iconic Vines That Changed the World,” with a yearning sense of nostalgia, look no further than Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann’s TikTok competitor and Vine spinoff, Byte, which announced on Twitter last week, “today we’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and a new community for people who love them.”

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 24, 2020

Internet Governance

France Offers To Suspend Its Digital Tax In Response To Proposed U.S. Tariffs: A new French tax that is seen by some to unfairly target U.S. tech companies spurred threats of retaliatory tariffs on certain French products; an unnamed source within the French Finance Ministry confirmed France would suspend down payments of the tax until December as a gesture of goodwill and to enable further negotiation.

Privacy

Newly Revealed Facial Recognition App Threatens To Erode Anonymity: The app, created by Clearview AI, relies on a database of three billion images ostensibly scraped from social media profiles and other online sources to identify individuals based on their photograph by revealing other photos of the person as well as links to the sources where those photos appear; the app has been licensed to over 600 law enforcement and security companies in the past year.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

UN Seeks Investigation After Evidence Ties Saudi Crown Prince To Hack Of Jeff Bezos’ Phone: UN investigators have discovered a report from a private security consultant detailing the hack of Bezos’ phone last May and tracing the breach to spyware sent by the Crown Prince’s WhatsApp account; the same investigators suggest the hack may have been part of an effort to influence coverage of the muder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist for the Bezos-owned Washington Post. 

Microsoft “Misconfiguration” Leaves More Than 250 Million Customer Service Records Vulnerable: Microsoft disclosed and corrected a database error that left exposed customer service chat logs dating as far back as 2005; in response, Microsoft will begin contacting affected users and also plans to audit its internal security system.

Intellectual Property

Court Overturns Patent Ruling In Favor Of Nintendo, Ending Seven Year Litigation: The action filed by iLife Technology in 2013 alleged that the Nintendo Wii’s motion-sensing controller infringed six of its patents and resulted in an award of $10.1 million in damages to iLife. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Journalist Glen Greenwald Charged With Cybercrimes In Brazil: The charges come after Greenwald published stories that included “leaked” messages containing content embarassing to public officials as part of an effor to expose public corruption; Greenwald states the Brazilian Federal Police cleared him of any wrongdoing just two months ago, and that prosecutors’ allegations that he “encouraged” the hacking of officials’ phones is retaliatory.

Practice Note

Appeals Court Refuses To Reopen 3D-Printed Gun Publishing Suit: The Texas-based nonprofit Defense Distributed sought to reopen its 2018 suit against the State Department, the Secretary of State, and other officials, seeking government approval to publish online plans for its 3D-printed gun; Defense Distributed is still facing ongoing litigation after 20 states and the District of Columbia filed suit to block publication of the plans.

On the Lighter Side

Seattle County To Host The First U.S. Election Offering Smartphone Voting: In an effort to boost voter turnout, King County, Washington, will allow electronic voting from its blockchain-based smartphone app for the upcoming board of supervisors election; the county hopes to overcome numerous challenges and security risks that have hindered online voting for years.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Lawrence Keating
Editorial Fellow

CLIP-ings: January 17, 2020

Internet Governance

Online Retailers Face Antitrust Probe In India: In response to a complaint filed by a group that represents small- and medium-sized businesses, the Competition Commission of India will investigate whether Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart promote “preferred sellers” over smaller sellers in violation of the country’s competition laws.

Privacy

Dating Data Shared: A recent report reveals that popular online dating services such as Grindr, OkCupid, and Tinder send data about users’ gender, ethnicity, location, and personal dating preferences to advertisers, marketing services, and location data brokers in ways that may run afoul of data privacy laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and California’s newly effective California Consumer Privacy Act.

Third-Party Trackers Not Welcome On Chrome: Google has announced that as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative to make web use more private and secure, the Chrome browser will stop supporting third-party tracking cookies by 2022; the policy change will affect how web tracking and advertising works on the platform.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Burisma Becomes Victim Of Apparent Russian Hack: A Silicon Valley security firm discovered that the Ukrainian gas company, which is at the center of the Trump impeachment proceedings, was infiltrated in a hack that employed tactics similar to those used by Russian hackers from a military intelligence unit; while it is unclear how much data was obtained through the hack, it raises concerns that Russia may be prying for information that could be used to meddle in the 2020 election.

Intellectual Property

Chinese Court Affords Copyright Protection To AI-Generated Content: A court in Shenzhen ruled that an AI-generated financial report produced by tech giant Tencent was entitled to copyright protection after another online platform duplicated the report on its own website; the court found that the work had a “certain originality” and that it met the legal requirements to be considered a “written work” entitled to copyright protection.

Free Expression and Censorship

Digital Art Falls Victim To Instagram’s False Information Warning Feature: The feature, which notifies users that third-party fact checkers have determined that a post contains false information, has begun to flag postings of digitally manipulated art and has hid those postings from Instagram’s Explore and Hashtag pages.

Practice Note

GrayKey Enables iPhone Access By Law Enforcement: A newly discovered search warrant suggests that the FBI has access to a tool—GrayKey—that can retrieve data from iPhones, including the latest 11 Pro Max model, even when they are locked; the discovery raises questions about the FBI, President Trump, and Attorney General Barr’s motivations for pressuring Apple to assist in unlocking the devices owned by the Pensacola, Florida, naval base shooting suspect.

On the Lighter Side

Spotify Curates Content For Canines: After surveying UK listeners and finding that nearly three-quarters of them play music for their pets, Spotify has created a playlist and a podcast for dogs to listen to when their owners aren’t home.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP



CLIP-ings: January 10, 2020

Internet Governance

New Cambridge Analytica Documents Leaked: A former employee-turned-whistleblower has begun to leak a trove of over 100,000 documents showing that the now-defunct company was a “global operation that worked with governments, intelligence agencies, commercial companies and political campaigns to manipulate and influence people,” and that it had even worked for a Ukrainian political party in 2017 while under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Privacy

Ring Adds Privacy Dashboard: In response to recent criticism of its privacy and security practices, the home security system has added a privacy dashboard to its app that allows users to alter privacy and security settings, including by setting up two-factor authentication and managing law enforcement’s ability to request video clips.

YouTube Implements Children’s Privacy Changes: As part of a settlement with the FTC over alleged Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act violations, the streaming service has effected changes that include removing targeted advertising, push notifications, and other community-oriented features from videos designated by creators as “made for kids”; content creators complain that a lack of guidance makes it difficult to determine whether they may be in violation of the new policies.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

FBI Again Seeks Apple Help To Unlock Device: Armed with a court order permitting it to search iPhones allegedly belonging to the suspected gunman at a Florida naval base last month, the FBI has requested that Apple help it unlock the password-protected devices; the Bureau has sought similar help from Apple in the past, but ultimately found alternative ways into the devices in those cases.

TikTok Vulnerabilities Discovered: A cybersecurity research firm discovered “multiple vulnerabilities” in the popular video-sharing app that would allow hackers to upload and delete videos from users’ accounts, change the privacy settings of users’ existing videos, and redirect users to malicious websites that mimic TikTok’s homepage; the vulnerabilities were disclosed to TikTok parent ByteDance and have since been patched. 

Intellectual Property

Airbnb Owns User-Profiling Patent: Airbnb has patented “trait analyzer” software that scours the web for information about users’ behavioral and personality traits to gauge their “trustworthiness” and ultimately to calculate their compatibility with various hosts.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Deepfake Ban Met With Skepticism: On Monday, the social network announced that it will ban deepfakes on its platform, including content created by artificial intelligence and content that has been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone”; lawmakers, however, say that the prohibition does not go far enough, as it likely does not cover content created using “widely available editing software.”

On the Lighter Side

AI That Makes You Smile: A newly announced AI toothbrush, which is driven by an app that provides “real-time tracking and coaching,” has proven to improve gum health in clinical trials.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP



CLIP-ings: January 3, 2020

Internet Governance

Brazil Fines Facebook For Sharing User Data: The country’s Ministry of Justice fined the social network an amount equal to $1.6 million after finding that Facebook improperly made the data of 443,000 users available to developers of the app “thisisyourdigitallife,” which was at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Uber And Postmates Challenge California Freelancer Law: In a lawsuit filed Monday, the companies argue that the law, which would require that ridesharing, delivery, and similar “gig work” companies classify their workers as employees rather than contractors in some situations, denies exemptions for such companies “on the basis of lack of equal protection and due process under both federal and state law”; on Tuesday, a California federal judge temporarily enjoined the law’s taking effect.

Privacy

New California Privacy Law Takes Effect: The law took effect on January 1, 2020, but companies have different interpretations of how the law applies and what they must do to comply with it.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

U.S. Army Bans TikTok On Government-Issued Devices: The ban comes after the Defense Department labelled the app a “security risk” over suspicion about its Chinese parent, ByteDance; the U.S. Navy also recently banned the app, and lawmakers asked U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the app for “national security concerns” in October of last year.

Employee Error Leads To Wyze Data Leak: The employee removed security protocols from a database that included user email addresses, Wi-Fi network information, Wyze device information, and other data related to 2.4 million users of the home surveillance system.

Intellectual Property

Apple Faces Patent Suit Over Apple Watch Heart Monitor: A New York University cardiologist has sued the company, alleging that the heart-monitoring technology it uses in its Apple Watch violates his “patented method for detecting atrial fibrillation.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Removes Misleading HIV Prevention Ads: Following pressure from LGBTQ+ groups and health organizations, Facebook has removed false and misleading ads about HIV prevention medications; a large number of the ads were run by plaintiffs’ lawyers who sought potential clients by falsely advertising that certain medications led to kidney or liver damage.

On the Lighter Side

Cops And Robots: A North Carolina couple called the police one night after they thought they heard a burglar in their home, only to find that their recently acquired Roomba vacuum cleaner had turned itself on and was bumping into the walls.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: December 20, 2019

Internet Governance

U.K. To Establish New Tech Regulator: The agency will reportedly enforce a new code of conduct aimed at large technology firms and will oversee consumers’ access to data; the country’s competition regulator has also recommended the introduction of new rules to address digital advertising.

Privacy

Genealogy Website To Share Customers’ Genetic Data With GlaxoSmithKline: DNA testing service 23andMe will provide the genetic information of its 5 million customers to the pharmaceutical company as part of a $300 million deal; by agreeing to 23andMe’s terms and conditions, consumers consent to their DNA being used for medical research.

Federal Court Dismisses Challenge To NSA’s Upstream Surveillance Program: The Wikimedia Foundation, owner of Wikipedia, alleged that the NSA was illegally conducting bulk surveillance; the district court held that while Wikimedia could show its content was probably traveling through NSA-monitored connection points, Wikimedia could not prove that the content was being surveilled because the issue could not be litigated without jeopardizing the confidentiality of NSA technology.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

New Jersey’s Largest Hospital System Paid Hackers To End Ransomware Attack: The attack on Hackensack Meridian Health, which took place in early December, crippled the provider’s scheduling, billing, labs, and radiology systems for nearly five days and forced hospitals to reschedule non-emergency appointments and surgeries.

New Orleans Declares State Of Emergency In Response To Cyberattack: The city shut down most of its computers after detecting ransomware and phishing emails on its network; officials have not indicated whether any data was stolen, and a forensic investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Free Expression and Censorship

Instagram Expands Fact-Checking Feature, But Politicians’ Posts Will Be Exempt: The social media company will engage third-party organizations to assess the truthfulness of photo and video content on its app; material that is determined to be false will be covered by a warning blocking the content, which users must tap through to view the post.

Italian Court Orders Facebook To Reinstate Neo-Fascist Political Party’s Account: Facebook removed CasaPound’s account because it violated the social media company’s policy against spreading hate speech; the court held that the removal “prevented political pluralism” and ordered that the page be restored in Italy, although it may remain inaccessible from overseas.

Practice Note

Standard Data Transfer Clauses Deemed Legal In EU: An advisory opinion by the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union determined that the standard contract clauses used by Facebook and other firms to transfer personal data to data processors in third countries are valid; such transfers could still be blocked, however, if EU data protection standards are not met in those countries.

On the Lighter Side

College Takes “Old School” Approach, Issues New Passwords For 38,000 Email Accounts By Hand: A German university was forced to provide new passwords for all student and staff email accounts after it was targeted in a malware attack.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Alison Gordon
Editorial Fellow

CLIP-ings: December 13, 2019

Internet Governance

Senators Raise Possibility Of New Encryption Legislation: At a judiciary committee hearing on Tuesday attended by representatives from Facebook and Apple, senators indicated they will pass legislation to regulate encryption unless tech companies can agree with law enforcement over weakening existing encryption protections; Facebook and Apple have expressed concerns about the impact that such a move would have on privacy and data security.

Privacy

FTC Finds Cambridge Analytica Deceived Facebook Users: The regulator also found that the now-defunct company engaged in deceptive practices under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, and issued an order prohibiting Cambridge Analytica from misrepresenting its privacy practices or participating in the Privacy Shield framework.

Genealogy Website GEDmatch Acquired By Verogen: The free genealogy website used by 1.3 million consumers was bought by Verogen, a forensic genomics firm that specializes in DNA testing services for law enforcement; earlier this month, it was reported that a Florida detective had obtained a warrant to search the entire GEDmatch database—including data from individuals who opted out of cooperating with law enforcement.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

44 Million Microsoft Accounts Vulnerable To Hacking Due To Use Of Compromised Passwords: Microsoft’s identity threat research team uncovered the vulnerability in early 2019 after checking credentials that were compromised in breaches of Microsoft consumer and enterprise accounts; Microsoft announced that it has forced password resets for affected consumer accounts, that no further action is required by consumers, and that it will alert enterprise account administrators so that credential resets can be implemented.

Intellectual Property

German Court Bans WhatsApp, Instagram, And Facebook Apps For Violating Patents: In a “provisionally enforceable” judgment, a Munich court ruled that existing versions of the apps violate patents held by Blackberry; Facebook has prepared updates to the apps to remove the offending features and will introduce the updates if Blackberry seeks to enforce the ban.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Fires Contractor Who Received Bribes To Reactivate Banned Ad Accounts: The contractor was paid to reactivate accounts connected to Ads Inc., a marketing firm that placed ads making false claims about celebrities to trick customers into signing up for monthly subscriptions to products that were initially advertised as free trials.

Practice Note

Supreme Court Rules USPTO Cannot Claim Employees’ Salaries As Costs In Defending Civil Actions: The Court held that Patent Code section 145’s provision that a patent applicant pay “all expenses of the proceedings” does not encompass the salaries of attorneys and paralegals employed by the USPTO to defend the Office in federal trials over patent grants.

On the Lighter Side

Walmart Will Trial Driverless Grocery Deliveries In Houston: A pilot program will begin in the next few weeks, but it may be some time before the service becomes widely available, as challenges such as the vehicles’ slow speed and their ability to navigate through inclement weather still must be addressed.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Alison Gordon
Editorial Fellow

CLIP-ings: December 6, 2019

Internet Governance

EU Antitrust Regulator Commences Preliminary Investigations Into Google, Facebook: The regulator is investigating how the two companies gather, process, use, and monetize data; numerous antitrust investigations into big tech are currently underway, including a separate EU investigation launched last month into Facebook’s marketplace service and its impact on the classified ads market.

Privacy

China Requires Facial Scan With Phone Registration Or SIM Card Purchase: A new policy enacted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology requires customers to submit a facial scan for the ostensible purpose of tying consumer identities to devices to thwart SIM card switching; the policy follows a trend of Chinese government measures to strengthen state surveillance through the use of facial recognition technology.

Proposed Class Action Alleges TikTok Secretly Sending User Info To China: The lawsuit alleges that TikTok has been sharing personal data stored in the app, including unpublished videos stored on the app, contact lists, and location information in violation of federal computer fraud law and California’s constitutional right to privacy; the suit follows recent reports that the U.S. government is investigating whether the app poses a national security threat. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Russian Law Requires Pre-Installed Software On Devices Sold Within The Country:The Russian government will release a list of applications that must be installed on all cell phones, computers, and smart TVs prior to sale; the law has been presented as a means of helping Russian IT firms compete with international companies, and also cites convenience for consumers. 

Intellectual Property

Facebook Removes UK Election Ad For Violating Intellectual Property Policy: The social network determined that the Conservative Party’s ad, which contained video footage of BBC journalists making statements about Brexit without making clear that the statements were quoting politicians’ remarks, violated its intellectual property policy by using the BBC’s footage without permission. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Issues First Corrective Notice Under Singapore’s Fake News Law: The Singaporean government directed Facebook to publish under a user’s post a notice indicating that the government had determined that the post, which alleged election rigging and noted the arrest of a supposed whistleblower, contained false information; in publishing the notice, Facebook called for a “measured and transparent approach” to the implementation of the law and referred to the government’s assurances that the law would not impact free expression.

Practice Note

District Court Rejects Tortious Interference Claim Resulting From Twitter Ban: The court dismissed a Twitter user’s claim that the defendant’s reporting of her posts amounted to tortious interference, holding that the user’s relationship with her followers was not a protected business relationship with identifiable customers, but rather a relationship with the community at large; the court also rejected a claim that the ban interfered with the user’s contract with Twitter, holding that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protected Twitter’s ability to “exercise traditional editorial functions, such as moderating content on its platform.”

On the Lighter Side

“I’m Walkin’ Here!” FedEx’s New AI-Powered Robots Hit Streets Of NYC For Special Event: Bystander videos show FedEx’s “SameDay Bots,” also known as “Roxos,” as they make their way around New York City using artificial intelligence, motion sensors, and stair-climbing wheels; the impromptu display incited backlash on social media expressing concern for sidewalk congestion and pedestrian safety.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Alison Gordon
Lawrence Keating
Editorial Fellows