CLIP-ings: June 11, 2021

Internet Governance

Senate Passes Comprehensive Tech And Manufacturing Bill: The bipartisan legislation, which responds to increasing competition from China, would authorize $250 billion for technology research and development and would restrict the purchase and use of certain technologies from the country.

El Salvador Becomes First Nation To Adopt Bitcoin: The cryptocurrency is now legal tender after the country’s legislature adopted it in an effort to make it easier for Salvadorans across the world to send money back home to family and friends; most Salvadorans lack traditional banking and rely on remittances that account for nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP.   
Privacy

Report Finds Privacy Tech Industry At “Inflection Point”: A report by the Future of Privacy Forum finds that as consumers become more connected, and as regulatory compliance becomes a growing need for companies, privacy technology has become a multi-billion-dollar market sector. 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Major Websites Briefly Forced Offline After Bug Triggered: The vast outage took place as a result of a hidden bug in a software deployment from Fastly, a cloud computing service provider used by many web publishers; Fastly immediately patched the bug and has initiated system reviews to prevent against future outages, but the incident draws attention to the potential dangers of the consolidation of cloud services.

Biden Revokes Trump-Era Ban On Chinese Apps, But Calls For Supply Chain Security: President Biden revoked the executive order intended to ban TikTok, WeChat, and other Chinese apps on the basis that they share Americans’ information with Chinese authorities; in his own executive order, Biden called for an evaluation of threats to the information supply chain and instructed the Commerce Department to develop recommendations for protecting Americans’ information from foreign adversaries. 
Intellectual Property

Facebook Delays Taking Cut Of Creators’ Revenue: The company announced that it will wait until 2023 before taking a portion of earnings generated by users who share content or promote events, and stoked its ongoing feud with Apple by noting that when revenue sharing does begin, Facebook’s cut will be less than the 30 percent that Apple takes from app developers.
Practice Note

FTC Settles With MoviePass Over Deceptive Practices: The now-defunct company, which once allowed subscribers to see unlimited movies in theaters for $10 per month, is alleged to have changed customer passwords and blocked accounts outright to keep users from being able to take advantage of the service; under the settlement, the company’s parents and principals are barred from further misrepresenting their business practices.  
On the Lighter Side

Apple Nearly Revives The Away Message For Texts: Apple’s Focus, a feature that allows users to set notification filters for certain apps to minimize distraction, now notifies texters when you have Focus mode engaged so they know you’re away. 
Olivier Sylvain Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
Tom Norton Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: June 4, 2021

Internet Governance

Digital Wallets Coming Soon To The EU: Within a year, the EU plans to roll out bloc-wide technology that will allow citizens to store things like driver’s licenses, payment cards, and passwords digitally to make access to public and private services more efficient.

SCOTUS Limits Computer Fraud And Abuse Act Scope: In Van Buren v. United States, the Court overturned the conviction of a police officer who searched his department’s license plate database for purposes outside the scope of his official duties, concluding that the CFAA’s “exceeds authorized access” clause applies to only “those who obtain information from particular areas in the computer—such as files, folders or databases—to which their computer access does not extend,” and “does not cover those who . . . have improper motives for obtaining information that is otherwise available to them;” the Court noted that to adopt a broader reading of the statute would criminalize a vast swath of ordinary computing activity. 
Privacy

Privacy Advocacy Group Issues Cookie-Banner Complaints To 500 Companies: The Max Schrems-led privacy group NOYB issued the complaints, alleging that the companies’ cookie banners violate the GDPR by making it difficult for users to opt out of tracking cookies; NOYB has developed an automated system to analyze cookie banners and generate complaints for GDPR noncompliance, and plans to issue draft complaints to 10,000 of Europe’s most-visited sites in an effort to get them to change their practices before resorting to formal proceedings.

Amazon Ring’s Neighbors App Gets Transparency Update: In response to concerns about law enforcement access to Ring home-surveillance-device information, beginning on June 7th, law enforcement agencies will no longer be permitted to email Ring users directly to solicit footage; law enforcement will only be able to request footage via a public bulletin, through posts by verified profiles that include criteria such as case number and agency contact information. 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Russian Cybercrime Group REvil Responsible For JBS Hack: The White House and the FBI have confirmed that the notorious group was behind the recent attack that crippled JBS, a Brazilian company that supplies nearly one-fifth of the world’s meat. 

NYC’s MTA Hacked: The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates the New York City subway system, announced that it was the victim of a cyberattack; the hackers, who are suspected of being part of a Chinese espionage operation, exploited a vulnerability in the Pulse Connect Secure VPN system and made their way into the MTA’s systems, but did not make away with any data.
Free Expression & Censorship

Instagram And Facebook Respond To Accusations Of Suppressing Pro-Palestinian Viewpoints: In the wake of the recent conflict in Gaza, Instagram will change its algorithm to give equal weight to original and shared content after employees complained that the old algorithm, which favored original posts over shared ones, had the effect of suppressing pro-Palestinian content; at Facebook, employees have called for a third-party audit of the company’s moderation practices related to Muslim and Arab content.
Practice Note

Amazon Nixes Arbitration And Allows Consumers To Sue In Court: After receiving thousands of individual arbitration demands from customers who use the company’s Echo device, Amazon did away with the arbitration clause in its terms of service, and now invites aggrieved customers to file suit in court.  
On the Lighter Side Another Famous Meme Sells As NFT: The 14-year-old “Charlie bit me” video, which is one of the most-viewed internet videos of all-time, has sold as an NFT for over £500,000; the brothers who appear in the video plan to use the money to attend university.  
Olivier Sylvain Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
Tom Norton Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: May 28, 2021

Internet Governance

D.C. Attorney General Brings Antitrust Suit Against Amazon: The suit alleges that Amazon’s practice of blocking third-party sellers from selling their products on other platforms amounts to a monopoly practice that violates the District of Columbia’s Antitrust Act.
Privacy

WhatsApp Sues India’s Government Over Message-Traceability Law: The country’s Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, which is intended in part to track the origins of misinformation, requires messaging apps such as WhatsApp to identify the “first originator of information”; WhatsApp argues that a requirement that it trace messages would threaten end-to-end encryption and jeopardize user privacy.

Privacy Groups In EU And UK Sue Clearview AI: The lawsuits in the UK, France, Austria, Greece, and Italy allege that the controversial facial-recognition company’s practice of scraping photos from across the internet to populate its database of more than three billion images violates the GDPR. 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Crime App Citizen Targeted In Large-Scale Scraping Incident: A hacktivist scraped from the crime-reporting app and posted online data including incident location information, police radio audio files, images, and more; while the data is publicly accessible on the app itself, the aggregation and centralization of it on the web reveals how much data Citizen processes, and could potentially be useful for tracking the app’s adoption and use.
Free Expression & Censorship

Florida Law Prohibits Tech Companies From Banning Politicians: The new law, which is intended to curb the “censorship” of conservative individuals and viewpoints by tech companies, makes it unlawful for such companies to de-platform political candidates or news outlets and grants Floridians the right to sue over content moderation decisions; violators are subject to daily fines of up to $250,000, but the law is likely to be challenged.

Facebook Plans To Limit Distribution Of Content Of Users Who Post Misinformation: While the social network already limits the visibility of posts containing misinformation, it will now begin to limit the reach of all content from users found to routinely post misinformation on the platform.
Practice Note

USPTO Makes .DOCX Preferred Filing Format: The move is part of an effort to “modernize and streamline [the] patent application system,” by, among other things, making it easier for the Office to automatically process submissions; users who wish to file using .PDF format will be subject to a fee.  
On the Lighter Side TikTok

Gets A New Voice: The popular video-streaming platform updated the audio of its text-to-voice feature after the actor whose voice was used for the original version of the feature sued, alleging that TikTok used her voice without authorization.  
Olivier Sylvain Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
Tom Norton Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: May 21, 2021

Internet Governance

Cryptocurrency Values Plummet As China Reinforces Ban: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrency values dropped by up to 30% after China’s Internet Finance Association announced that the country’s financial institutions cannot engage in business related to cryptocurrencies on account of their volatility. 

FTC, States, Allege Frontier Communications Misrepresented Internet Speeds: In a new lawsuit, the Commission and six state attorneys general allege that the company charged or attempted to charge consumers for internet rates that the company did not actually provide.
Privacy

Amazon Extends Ban On Law Enforcement Use Of Facial Recognition Software: After announcing nearly a year ago that it would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using the controversial Rekognition system for at least one year, Amazon has now extended the ban indefinitely. 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Consumer Reports And Advocacy Organizations Create Dark Patterns Tipline: The newly created tipline is designed to be a resource for consumers and a tool for collecting examples of dark patterns to inform advocacy work.

Colonial Pipeline Confirms Paying $4.4m Ransom To Resume Service: The company’s CEO acknowledged the payment, noting that the decision to pay came after consultation with experts familiar with DarkSide, the criminal group behind the hack.
Free Expression & Censorship

Twitter Scraps Image-Cropping Algorithm Over Bias: The social media company will largely abandon the algorithm, whose automatically generated previews of photos accompanying tweets were found to favor white people over black people and women over men.
Practice Note

Apple Moves To Dismiss Epic’s “Essential Facilities” Claim: As the antitrust trial between the companies wages on, Apple argues that Epic has failed to offer proof that it has violated the essential facilities doctrine, an element of antitrust law that prevents companies from implementing bottlenecks to exclude competitors, by preventing Epic from accessing iOS.  
On the Lighter Side

New Deepfake Technique May Make Film Overdubbing A Thing Of The Past: A new deepfake technology syncs actors’ lips and facial movements with foreign-language dialogue to make it appear that the actor is delivering their lines in the foreign language.  
Olivier Sylvain Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
Tom Norton Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: May 14, 2021

Internet Governance

Biden Teams With Uber And Lyft To Offer Free Transportation To Vaccination Sites: As part of its plan to vaccinate 70% of U.S. adults by July 4, the administration has reached agreements with the ridesharing companies through which they’ll offer free rides to vaccine-getters in exchange for data about nearly 80,000 vaccination sites across the country.

EU’s Second-Highest Court Rejects €250 Million Tax Bill For Amazon: The ruling by the General Court of the European Union amounted to a win for the tech giant against the European Commission, which levied the tax in response to Amazon’s allegedly unlawfully funneling revenue from EU sales through a Luxembourg-based subsidiary.
Privacy

German Data Protection Authority Bans Facebook From Processing WhatsApp Data: The ban comes in response to the Facebook-owned messaging app’s rollout of new terms of use, which the regulator maintains are illegal because they require users to either consent or be cut off from using the service. 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Colonial Pipeline Resumes Operations As Biden Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order: The major fuel artery, which shut down for five days after being targeted in a cyberattack, is back online; on the heels of the attack, President Biden signed an executive order to “improve the nation’s cybersecurity” by creating a “playbook” to protect federal networks and strengthen breach response.
Intellectual Property

YouTube Shorts Will Pay Content Creators $100 Million Over The Next Year: The Google-owned video service’s new payment program is designed to incentivize creators to continually post to its platform as a way to compete with TikTok and Snapchat, which began paying content creators in 2020.
Free Expression & Censorship

Proposed UK Law Would Prohibit Tech Companies From Discriminating Based On Political Views: The proposed Online Safety Bill includes an anti-censorship clause that would require tech companies to protect “democratically important” content by prohibiting discrimination based on political viewpoint and require that companies adopt and evenhandedly apply policies for protecting such content.

Instagram Blames Removal Of Posts About Al-Aqsa Mosque On “Enforcement Error”: Posts about the mosque, which has been at the center of ongoing clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians, were removed or restricted after the holy site’s name was confused with those of terrorist organizations appearing on the platform’s list of Dangerous Organizations and Individuals; Facebook later clarified that the mosque’s name on its own does not violate company policies.
On the Lighter Side

Paralyzed Individual Writes Using Thoughts, Assisted By Neural Implants: Two implants in the premotor cortex, the area of the brain thought to be responsible for forming intentions to perform motor movements, translated the paralyzed study participant’s thoughts about forming characters into legible, on-screen letters.  
Olivier Sylvain Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
Tom Norton Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: May 7, 2021

Internet Governance

N.Y. Attorney General Finds FCC Was Flooded With Fake Comments In Lead-up To 2017 Net Neutrality Repeal: A years-long investigation resulted in a report that concludes that nearly 18 million of the 22 million public comments received regarding the net neutrality roll-back order were fake and the product of an industry effort to influence the Federal Communications Commission’s decision making.

Labor Department Rescinds Trump-proposed “Independent Contractor Rule”: The withdrawal of the Rule, which would have made it easier for gig-economy companies like Uber and Lyft to classify workers as independent contractors, signifies a policy shift toward stronger worker protections such as guaranteed wage and overtime pay.

Privacy

School Apps Found To Share Student Data: A recent study by nonprofit technology group Me2B Alliance found that 60 percent of mobile apps used in schools across the country transmit student data to third parties through the use of software development kits, which collect and share user data with analytics and marketing firms. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Peloton Leaves Sensitive User Data Exposed: A bug in the home-workout company’s API left exposed customer profiles that included personal information such as age, location, birthday, and workout data; the bug, which was discovered by a security researcher, has now been patched.

Intellectual Property

Musicians Implore Spotify To Not Implement Speech-recognition Tech: 180 musicians and human rights activists have asked the streaming service to never “use, license, sell, or monetize” a recently patented technology that would enable it to recommend music based on listeners’ “emotional state, gender, age, or accent,” arguing that the technology is “emotionally manipulative, discriminatory against trans and non-binary people, violates privacy and data security, and exacerbates inequality in the music industry.”

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Oversight Board Upholds Trump Ban, But Punts Ultimate Decision Back To Facebook: The Board concluded that the social network was correct to ban the former President for violating the site’s terms of service in posts related to the January 6th Capitol riots, but found the indefinite ban to be “vague” and “standardless”; the Board has given Facebook six months to determine an appropriate duration for the ban.

Practice Note

Ninth Circuit Denies Snapchat Section 230 Defense In Case Alleging Negligent Design: The court found that Section 230 does not provide immunity from allegations that Snapchat knew or should have known that its “speed filter,” which superimposed a user’s current speed on their Snaps and rewarded users for reaching certain speeds, would encourage people to drive their vehicles dangerously fast; the plaintiffs in the case are the parents of three boys who were killed in a high-speed car crash in which the speed filter was a factor.

On the Lighter Side

AI System Reduces Food Waste By 40 Percent: A grocery store in Poland is attempting to reduce food waste by using AI to automatically lower the prices of perishable food items as they approach their sell-by dates.

Olivier Sylvain Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: April 30, 2021

Internet Governance

Federal Court Could Review Trump’s Potential Interference In Awarding Of Military Contract: The Court of Federal Claims declined to dismiss Amazon’s claims alleging that the former President interfered to award Microsoft a $10 billion contract with the Defense Department to modernize the military’s cloud-computing systems until the court resolves a claim brought by Amazon alleging that it was overlooked during contract deliberations due to former President Trump’s animosity toward Jeff Bezos.

Privacy

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Feature Rolls Out: Apple’s latest iPhone update, which implements a new requirement that that app developers obtain consent before tracking users across apps and websites, has been released after nearly a year of delay; the feature has been touted as an “obvious baseline” by privacy advocates, while other stakeholders such as Facebook argue that it will make it more expensive for small businesses that rely on lucrative ad campaigns to easily target customers. 

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Defense Department Grants Control Of 175 Million Military IP Addresses To A Florida Startup: Shortly before former President Trump left the White House, the Defense Department gave 175 million dormant military IP addresses to a mysterious Florida startup founded in September 2020 as part of a “pilot effort” to study “potential vulnerabilities” in them, according to the director of the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service.

DC’s Metropolitan Police Department Confirmed Data Breach Following A Ransomware Attack: The hackers, suspected of being the group Babuk, released screenshots of 250G of stolen data, which includes details about arrests made after the January Capitol riots and information about persons of interest and informants; the attack is believed to be part of a wider trend targeting government bodies, with twenty-six government agencies hit by ransomware attacks in this year.

Intellectual Property

UK Court Will Hear Copyright Infringement Suit Brought By Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor: London’s High Court agreed to hear a copyright infringement suit against the operator and publisher of bitcoin.org (known as Cobra) brought by Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who proclaims to be the anonymous inventor of bitcoin and alleges that Cobra’s use of the bitcoin.org domain and its hosting of a white paper that outlines the technology behind the cryptocurrency violates copyright.

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook And Twitter Censor Posts As India Suffers Through Another Wave Of Covid-19 Cases: Facebook India claims it blocked a hashtag calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “by accident,” denying claims that the Indian government had requested that the tech company remove it; last weekend, Twitter was ordered by the Indian government to take down 52 tweets that criticized the government’s handling of the pandemic.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case That May Clarify Public School Students’ Off-Campus Free Speech Rights: In a case brought by a high school cheerleader who was banned from the cheerleading team after posting a profane photo of herself and a friend that was taken outside the school setting, the Supreme Court must weigh in on the extent to which public schools can discipline students for speech that occurs off-campus; the Court is expected to issue a ruling this summer that will clarify a 1969 precedent holding that students don’t “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

On the Lighter Side

“Disaster Girl” Becomes An NFT: The trending meme known as Disaster Girl, which depicts then-4-year-old Zoe Roth smiling devilishly in front of a burning building, has become an NFT and was sold by Roth for 180 Ethereum (currently, approximately $473,000).  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: April 23, 2021

Internet Governance

New York State Will Offer Affordable Broadband Plans For Low-Income Households: Governor Cuomo signed a bill that caps the price of broadband options at $15 for regular broadband and $20 for high-speed broadband for those who qualify as low-income customers in New York, potentially benefiting over 7 million people in 2.7 million households.

Privacy

TikTok Sued For Violating Children’s Privacy In UK And European Union: A former Children’s Commissioner for England is representing the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit against TikTok before London’s High Court that alleges that the popular service illegally harvests children’s private information in violation of UK and European Union data protection law; if successful, the suit could lead to “billions of pounds” in damages against the company.

Senate Proposes To Ban Law Enforcement From Purchasing Data From Data Brokers Without Warrants: The proposed Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act, which is supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, would prohibit law enforcement agencies from purchasing from private companies and data brokers information that would otherwise require a warrant to obtain.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

MIT Researchers Advocate That Vaccine Passports Should Use “Dumb Technology”: Experts and organizations are proposing that fraud-proof vaccination credentials should be developed with simple technology that minimizes any external access to users’ sensitive information beyond their identity and vaccination status.

Facebook Hopes To Normalize Mass Data-Scraping: After over 500 million users’ phone numbers were exposed online in January, leaked internal documents reveal that the social media giant expects more scraping incidents in the long term and that it plans to attempt to “normalize” incidents involving data scraping activity.

Free Expression & Censorship

U.S. Postal Service Tracks And Shares American’s Social Media Posts: As part of a secret surveillance effort, the Postal Service’s law enforcement arm has been monitoring social media posts for “inflammatory” content related to “planned protests occurring domestically and internationally” and distributing findings to other government agencies; experts are puzzled about why the Postal Service has been engaging in social media surveillance. 

Practice Note

FTC Issues Guidance On Selling And Using Racist Algorithms: In a recent blog post, the Commission suggested that selling or using algorithms that produce discriminatory outcomes could qualify as an unfair or deceptive practice and could potentially be the subject of enforcement.

On the Lighter Side

Amazon Opens Augmented Reality Hair Salon: The company has opened Amazon Salon in the UK, where clients can use an augmented reality app to try on different hair styles before committing to a cut.

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: April 16, 2021

Internet Governance

Secret Google Project Benefitted Company’s Own Ad-Buying System Using Historical Bid Data: An inadvertently unredacted document filed in response to an antitrust lawsuit in Texas revealed that Google secretly operated “Project Bernanke,” which leveraged past bid data collected from advertisers using its digital advertising exchange to benefit its own ad system, allegedly creating an “unfair competitive advantage over rivals” and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Privacy

Virginia Bill Bans Use And Purchase Of Facial Recognition Technology For Most Police Departments: House Bill 2031, which bars local police departments in the state from using or buying facial-recognition technology without legislative approval, will go into effect on July 1; airport police and Virginia State Police, however, are not covered under the ban.

Apple And Google Reject UK’s Covid-19 Test And Trace App Update: Both tech companies rejected the NHS’s latest update because it allowed the app to ask users to log venue check-ins after testing positive for the virus, which required the collection of information about users’ location—a function that the two firms explicitly banned in their agreements with health authorities using their contact-tracing software.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Treasury Department Sanctions Russia For Election Interference And Hacking: In response to interference in the 2020 election and participation in the SolarWinds hack, President Biden signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on Russia; under the order, the Treasury Department sanctioned 32 entities and individuals for “carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election” and blacklisted six Russian companies for providing support to the Russian intelligence agency for its cyber activities.

Man Charged With Plotting To Blow Up Amazon Data Center: A Texas man’s plot to “kill off about 70% of the internet” by blowing up an Amazon data center in Virginia was foiled by the F.B.I after a concerned citizen provided police with the individual’s email address and “alarming” statements that he posted on a forum used for organizing militia groups.

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Loophole Enables Global Politicians To Fabricate Popular Support: A former Facebook employee alleges that a loophole in the platform allows governments and politicians to create fake supporters to amplify the appearance of popularity and criticize opponents using Facebook’s Pages feature, and that the company selectively responds to instances of such activities based on public relations risk.

Practice Note

Leaked Draft Proposal Reveals That EU Might Ban Some Uses Of Artificial Intelligence: The document proposes regulation that would prohibit AI use for mass surveillance and social credit scoring, and would require member states to implement assessment boards to test high-risk AI systems; policymakers plan to officially announce the draft proposal on April 21.

On the Lighter Side

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Trains Monkey To Play “Mind Pong” With Brain-Chip Implant: The brain-chip startup released a video of a monkey playing a Pong-like video game totally hands-free and using only its thoughts after having chips implanted in its motor cortex, regions that coordinate hand and arm movements in the brain.

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: April 9, 2021

Internet Governance

Justice Thomas Criticizes Digital Platforms’ Moderation Powers: In a concurring opinion to a decision that vacated a previous ruling finding former President Trump’s blocking of Twitter users unconstitutional, Justice Thomas argued that the “concentrated control” of Big Tech gives digital platforms too much control over speech moderation decisions and that protections afforded by Section 230 should be “pared back.”

Privacy

Apple’s New Privacy Feature Rejects Apps That Collect User Data Without Consent: As part of Apple’s effort to implement its new App Tracking Transparency program, which allows users to opt out of being tracked, the company has begun to reject apps that use software development kits (SDKs) that employ methods such as device fingerprinting to track users across the web without their consent for deep analysis or advertising purposes.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Private Data From 533 Million Facebook Accounts Exposed Online: The personal data of Facebook users in 106 countries, including their email addresses and telephone numbers, was leaked for free after being harvested through an underreported vulnerability that was discovered and purportedly fixed in 2019.

Trump Campaign Used Dark Patterns To Scam Users To Donate More Money Than Intended: By using deceptive user interface designs such as pre-checked checkboxes and buried fine print, the Trump campaign tricked donors into making recurring weekly or monthly donations instead of intended one-time donations; last month, California banned certain dark patterns, and other lawmakers and regulators have taken steps to curb their use.

Intellectual Property

Google’s Use Of Oracle’s APIs Constituted Fair Use: The Supreme Court decided that Google’s use of Oracle’s application programming interfaces to develop the Android platform  amounted to a non-infringing, “fundamentally transformative use,” thus ending the decade-long dispute between the two companies.

Free Expression & Censorship

Twitch’s New Policy Will Take Disciplinary Actions Based On Off-Platform Misconduct: The company’s updated Off-Service Conduct Policy announces that the platform will investigate users’ off-service or offline offenses, including violent or terroristic acts, as part of its enforcement of its Hateful Conduct and Harassment policy, which is designed in part to ensure the Twitch Community’s safety.

Practice Note

Supreme Court Sides With Facebook And Narrows The Scope Of Federal Robocalls Ban: In an unanimous decision, the Court adopted a narrow reading of the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act and ruled that the notification system Facebook employs to text users about suspicious logins does not run afoul of the Act, which is designed to curb robocalls and automated texts.

On the Lighter Side

As Yahoo Answers Shuts Down, Users Save The Best “Bad” Questions For Posterity: The question-and-answer platform, a place to which people often turned to ask embarrassing questions they didn’t want to ask friends and family, is shutting down forever after being active for more than 15 years.

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows