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

CLIP-ings: November 22, 2019

Internet Governance

FCC Chairman Proposes Public Auction Of Spectrum With Potential For 5G Use: The C-band block of spectrum is currently used by satellite companies to deliver video and radio programming to U.S. households and is regarded as the most likely short-term source for 5G technology; major satellite providers advocated for a private sale of the spectrum to wireless providers, which drew criticism from some lawmakers.

Privacy

Uber Will Start Taking Audio Recordings Of Rides: The new functionality, which will be tested in Mexico and Brazil next month before a yet-scheduled U.S. launch, is designed to ensure both driver and passenger safety; recordings will be encrypted, and while neither riders nor drivers will be able to listen to them, they may be made available to law enforcement.

Instagram Sends Cease And Desist Letter To App That Provides Access To Private Profiles Without Users’ Permission: The Ghosty app, which has been downloaded over 500,000 times since April, provides access to private Instagram accounts and also harvests users’ data to find the private profiles they follow, in violation of Instagram’s terms.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Google Confirms Camera Vulnerability Affecting “Hundreds of Millions”: The security team Checkmarx has revealed a security defect in Android mobile devices that would allow hackers to take photos, make sound recordings, and access user GPS information remotely; Checkmarx was able to develop a functional app capable of exploiting the vulnerability without requiring any special permissions from users other than basic storage access.

Intellectual Property

Supreme Court To Hear Google v. Oracle Copyright Dispute: The Court will decide whether Google is liable to pay Oracle billions of dollars over its use of Oracle’s software code in Android phones; a trial court found in 2016 that Google did not violate copyright law because it had made fair use of the code, but the Federal Circuit overturned the jury verdict last year.

Free Expression and Censorship

Iran Gradually Restoring Internet After Five-Day Shutdown: Sources report the loss in connectivity began last Friday evening, with limited and sporadic connection which is now being restored in “some areas”; protests in multiple cities across Iran began after the government announced a ration on gasoline and a price increase of at least 50%.

Practice Note

Alleged Drug Dealer Charged With Theft After Removing Police GPS Device From His Car: After realizing the device was no longer transmitting data, police obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s home on probable cause that the device had been stolen, and found both the device and methamphetamines; should the Indiana Supreme Court, which heard oral argument in the case earlier this month, find that the defendant’s removal of the device is not theft, all evidence obtained during the search will be inadmissible. 

On the Lighter Side

“Robot Lawyer” Service Launches New Tool To Help Customers Understand License Agreements: Called “Do Not Sign,” the AI tool lets users upload, scan, or copy and paste the URLs of license agreements they wish to review; it then highlights clauses that users should know about, such as data collection opt-out information or service cancellation loopholes.

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

CLIP-ings: November 15, 2019

Internet Governance

Government Demands For Facebook User Data Reach A New High: The number of demands rose 16% during the first half of this year compared to the previous six months—the highest recorded amount since Facebook began reporting the figure in 2013; more than two-thirds of U.S. government requests came with gag orders preventing Facebook from notifying users their data had been sought.

Privacy

Whistleblower Reveals Secret Transfer Of Medical Data To Google From Healthcare Provider: Leaked documents show that the U.S.’s second largest healthcare provider, Ascension, is planning to transfer the medical records of up to 50 million Americans to Google under Project Nightingale; more than 10 million records, which have not been de-identified, have already passed to Google with no effort to notify patients or doctors.

Suspicionless Border Searches Held Unlawful: The District of Massachusetts decided that customs agents’ longstanding practice of searching travelers’ electronic devices without a warrant or reasonable suspicion of a crime violates the Fourth Amendment; the number of searches, which can require travelers to disclose any social media accounts, has been steadily increasing in recent years.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

WhatsApp Makes Novel Legal Argument In Anti-Hacking Lawsuit: The complaint alleges that Israeli cyber-surveillance firm NSO Group Technologies bypassed WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption by hacking the phones of WhatsApp users to obtain already-decrypted messages; WhatsApp contends that NSO falsely agreed to WhatsApp’s terms of service and breached the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by using its servers to stage the attack, even though the users’ phones—not WhatsApp’s servers—were the target of the attacks. 

Intellectual Property

Supreme Court Will Consider “Booking.com” Trademark Case: The USPTO, which is appealing a Fourth Circuit decision allowing the trademark, argues that the mere addition of “.com” to the generic word “booking” does not make the name distinctive.

USPTO Seeks Comments On AI’s Effect On Copyright Law: Questions posed by the USPTO in the Federal Register seek to address difficult issues related to content created by AI without human contribution, including authorship, ownership, and how to treat potential copyright infringement by AI.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook, YouTube Remove Content Naming Alleged Trump Impeachment Whistleblower: Following a recent decision to remove political ads featuring the whistleblower’s name, Facebook is now removing other content purporting to name the whistleblower on the basis that the content violates the platform’s rules against coordinating harm; Twitter, in contrast, has stated that tweeting the name does not violate the platform’s rules.

On the Lighter Side

20 Hacks Of IT Provider Discovered Only After Hacker Maxes Out Provider’s Storage: The FTC is suing Utah-based InfoTrax Systems for failing to detect the 20 attacks which took place over a 22-month period and allowed the hacker to access the data of 1 million customers.

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

CLIP-ings: November 8, 2019

Internet Governance

TikTok Attracts Further Congressional And Regulatory Scrutiny: TikTok was criticized this week after it declined to appear at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing investigating links between big tech companies and the Chinese government; the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has also commenced a national security review of TikTok owner ByteDance’s acquisition of the social media app Musical.ly, which later merged into TikTok.

California’s Attorney General Reveals Investigation Into Facebook’s Privacy Practices: The investigation was made public in court documents alleging that the social media company failed to comply with subpoenas seeking information related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Privacy

Florida State Court Approves Warrant To Search DNA Database Of Over 1.2 Million Users: The warrant, which authorized a Florida detective to search the database of DNA site GEDmatch, is believed to be the first authorizing the search of a consumer DNA database for genetic information; the development has stoked concerns that law enforcement, which historically has been “deliberately cautious about approaching [DNA] sites with court orders,” will now be encouraged to request similar warrants for larger sites.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Former Twitter Employees Charged With Leaking Personal Information To Saudi Royal Family: Two individuals who worked for Twitter from 2013 to 2015 have been charged with leaking as many as 6,000 profile records to Saudi officials claiming to represent the royal family, including records related to critics of the royal family and murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Researchers Command Alexa And Other Voice Assistants Via Laser: Using equipment estimated to cost less than $400, researchers were able to silently issue voice commands to smart speakers by encoding the command in the intensity of the laser beam and shining it on the device’s microphone to trigger the microphone’s diaphragm; the study raises security concerns as researchers successfully ordered products through Amazon and took control of smart home devices.

Intellectual Property

Judge Rules Against Netflix, Hulu’s Motion To Dismiss In DivX Patent Infringement Suit: DivX, one of the internet’s first high-quality video streaming enablers, allege in separate suits that Netflix and Hulu infringe a number of its patents covering video compression technology; the Judge rejected both Netflix and Hulu’s arguments that the DivX patents fail the Alice test on the basis that the arguments rest on “factual disputes that are better resolved on a more robust record after the scope of the claims is better understood.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Lawsuit Against Facebook Alleges Discriminatory Advertising Again: The proposed class action alleges that Facebook enabled advertisers of loans, life insurance, and other financial services to target users by age and gender; the lawsuit follows a settlement between Facebook and civil rights groups earlier this year in which the company agreed that advertisers of housing, employment, and credit would no longer be able to target users based on age, gender, or ZIP code.

On the Lighter Side

FTC Releases Informational Brochure To Help Keep Social Media Influencers On Brand: In an effort to remind influencers about best practices and necessary disclosures, the FTC has released a new brochure and video to educate influencers; in response to public pressure, the FTC has been increasingly scrutinizing influencers, sending more than 90 letters to infringing individuals in 2017.

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

CLIP-ings: November 1, 2019


Internet Governance

FCC Proposes Rule Requiring Telecoms To Remove Huawei And ZTE Equipment: The proposal, which cites national security concerns, would prohibit telecommunications giants from using money received from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment from the Chinese companies, and would also require removal of any banned products that have already been installed.

Privacy

Australian Government Considers Face Verification For Pornography Viewers: While conducting an inquiry into age controls for restricting access to online porn and gambling, the Department of Home Affairs has proposed using the country’s Face Verification Service—which “matches a person’s photo against images used on one of their evidence of identity documents”—to assist in age verification; a similar proposal was dropped in the United Kingdom earlier this month.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Senators Ask Intelligence Community To Investigate TikTok Over National Security Concerns: In a recent letter to the Acting Director of National Intelligence, Senators Tom Cotton and Chuck Schumer requested an assessment of the national security risks posed by the video app popular with young people; the letter notes that TikTok’s parent company is required to adhere to Chinese law and may be required to support and cooperate with intelligence work directed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Officials Confirm India Nuclear Power Plant Hack: Following initial denials of any breach, officials from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited now confirm that its Kudankulam Plant was exposed to malware; while it is unclear if any data was actually stolen, the attack has been attributed to North Korean state actors.

Intellectual Property

U.K. Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over English Courts’ Jurisdiction To Set Global Licensing Rates For Multinational Patent Portfolios: Unwired Planet International, a U.S. firm that licenses patents related to wireless technology, won a ruling in the English courts that Huawei infringed various of its patents; the U.K.’s Supreme Court will now decide whether it is appropriate for the country’s courts to set global licensing rates in a case that will have international impact as to whether national courts can set the terms for global patent licenses. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter Announces Ban On All Political Advertising: The ban, which takes effect on November 22, was announced amidst ongoing criticism of Facebook’s position on political advertising; Twitter’s ban will affect candidate ads and issue ads, but will not apply to ads encouraging voter registration.

Instagram Imposes Ban On Fictional Depictions Of Self-Harm: In response to public pressure, Instagram has expanded its ban on content depicting self-harm and suicide to include fictional portrayals, such as comics or memes; under the policy update, accounts that share self-harm-related content will not be featured on the platform’s search or explore functions. 

On the Lighter Side

California Man Enters Gubernatorial Race So He Can Run False Ads On Facebook: To protest Facebook’s policy of allowing politicians to run factually inaccurate ads, a San Francisco political activist is now running for Governor so he run his own false ads about Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, and other Facebook executives.

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