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Sending User Info To China: The lawsuit alleges that TikTok has been sharing personal data stored in the app, including unpublished videos stored on the app, contact lists, and location information in violation of federal computer fraud law and California’s constitutional right to privacy;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

CLIP-ings: October 25, 2019

Internet Governance

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Speaks Out Against State And Local Internet Regulation: At a live press event for The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Pai vocalized concerns that a patchwork regulatory system will stifle innovation and create market uncertainty; Pai’s comments follow a recent federal court decision that approved the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, but allowed states to pass their own regulation.

Privacy

House Antitrust Hearing Focuses On Tech Companies’ Potential Harm To Consumer Privacy: As part of its investigation into major tech companies, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony last Friday that Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon hold vast amounts of consumer data, giving them an advantage over rivals; the testimony also explored how the big tech companies’ market dominance enables them to get away with aggressive data collection.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Department Of Defense Ends Use Of Floppy Disks In Nuclear Weapons System: The communication infrastructure used to transmit emergency action messages for nuclear command centers is being upgraded to a highly-secure, solid state digital storage mechanism; while the outdated technology currently in use reportedly poses a lower security risk, maintenance has become increasingly difficult as replacement parts are no longer available.

Twitter Announces Plan To Introduce Policy Against Deepfakes, Will Seek User Input: Following a recent trend by tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon, Twitter announced it will introduce rules to address “synthetic and manipulated media;” before implementing the policy, Twitter will seek feedback from users to help refine the rules.

Intellectual Property

House Passes Controversial Copyright Small Claims Bill: In a 410-6 vote, the House approved the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act, or CASE Act, which is designed to improve access to copyright protections for content producers such as photographers and artists in the digital age by creating a tribunal of “Copyright Claims Officers” responsible for resolving alleged infringements.

Free Expression and Censorship

TikTok Removes ISIS Content: The social media platform popular among young users removed content promoting the terrorist organization that has been shared by nearly two dozen accounts; the videos, some of which are set to catchy songs and employ fun filters, highlight a growing concern about the distribution of propaganda through social media.

Practice Note

Georgia Supreme Court Holds Warrant Was Required To Obtain Data From Crashed Car: In Mobley v. State, the state’s highest court held that the trial court erred in declining to suppress electronic data taken at the scene of a vehicle collision, reasoning that the “physical intrusion of a personal motor vehicle” by law enforcement without a warrant was an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment.

On the Lighter Side

U.K. Hospital Inadvertently Converts Patient’s Message Into Its Own Voicemail Greeting: The hospital also routed inbound calls to the individual who left the message, causing patients to call and share personal information relating to their own healthcare.

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: October 18, 2019

Internet Governance

Libra Association Loses A Quarter Of Its Membership As More Companies Abandon The Project: Seven companies have now withdrawn from the association formed to spearhead Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, which has been the subject of intense legislative and regulatory scrutiny; the 21 remaining members will meet in Switzerland next week to finalize the association’s governing charter and initial membership.

Privacy

California Publishes Draft Regulations That Address How Businesses Must Comply With New Consumer Privacy Law: The proposals include requiring companies to display a “Do Not Sell My Info” link on homepages and mobile apps, providing paper notices on data collection (for businesses with physical stores), and providing consumers with at least two ways to find or delete data that has been collected about them; the deadline for comments on the draft regulations is December 6.

Apple “Safe Browsing” Mode Stokes Privacy Concerns Over Data Sharing With Chinese Tech Giant: The default browsing mode, which is designed to protect users from malicious websites, allows Safari to send browser history information to Tencent, which has close ties with the Chinese government. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Online Trust Audit Finds 70% Of Presidential Campaign Websites Fail To Adequately Protect User Data: Of the 23 candidate websites surveyed, only seven were found to provide sufficient privacy and security protections; notably, a survey of each website’s privacy statement showed that all websites either engage in “free sharing” of user data or have no privacy statement at all. 

Intellectual Property

Facebook And Libra Subsidiary Face Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Over Logo: A startup bank is suing Facebook, Calibra (the Facebook subsidiary formed to manage Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency), and the design agency that made the Calibra logo in federal court in New York; curiously, the design agency is also responsible for creating the plaintiff-bank’s logo three years ago.

Twitter Temporarily Suspends Notorious Pro-Trump Meme Creator Over Copyright Violation: Known as “Carpe Dunktum,” the Twitter user has since re-uploaded much of his older content, which has been featured on the President’s Twitter feed on numerous occasions; although it is unknown which post was specifically flagged, it is believed the violation occurred in connection with his posting of a recent fictional video depicting Trump killing off critical journalists.

Free Expression and Censorship

House Energy and Commerce Committee Considers Use Of Section 230 Language In Trade Agreements: In a hearing this week, the committee considered the implications of inserting language from section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives online platforms legal immunity for content posted by third parties, into a recent trade pact with Japan and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

On the Lighter Side

Google Chief Recommends Warning Visitors Who Enter Your Home About Active Smart Speakers: The statement by the senior VP of hardware was made during a BBC interview regarding the lineup of Google’s new devices; the executive noted that he has already adopted the practice in his own 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

Alison Gordon
Lawrence Keating
Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: October 11, 2019

Internet Governance

PayPal Withdraws Support For Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency: The online payment systems company has withdrawn from an organization overseeing the creation and rollout of Libra, which continues to attract scrutiny from legislators: Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Financial Services on October 23, and two Democratic Senators have written to Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe warning them to expect a high level of scrutiny should they decide to become involved with Libra.

Privacy

Declassified FISA Rulings Reveal FBI Violated Americans’ Privacy In Mass Surveillance Searches: In one of several rulings disclosed by the Director of National Intelligence this week, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found that FBI searches were inconsistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment; the court pointed specifically to the FBI’s failure to differentiate which search terms specifically concerned U.S. residents, as well as to a number of incidents dating back to 2017 in which large-scale searches improperly captured information about Americans.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

U.S., UK, And Australia Call On Facebook To Halt Plans For End-To-End Encryption: In an open letter to Facebook, representatives from the three countries asked Facebook not to proceed with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services; the letter emphasizes the need to balance data security with the need for law enforcement to access information for criminal investigations.

Twitter Admits To Using Security Credentials For Targeted Advertising: In a statement released Tuesday, Twitter admitted to using phone numbers and email addresses provided as part of its two-step authentication process to serve targeted ads to an unknown number of users; the revelation comes less than a year after Facebook received a $5 billion FTC fine for engaging in the same practice.

Intellectual Property

SCOTUS Declines To Hear University of Wisconsin’s Appeal In Patent Dispute Against Apple: The Supreme Court declined to review a district court’s decision to throw out a $506.1 million verdict for Wisconsin, which the University’s licensing body was awarded after a jury in 2015 found that Apple violated its 1998 patent on a “predictor circuit” that assists processors in quickly executing computer programs.

Free Expression and Censorship

Apple Removes Apps From Chinese App Store And Hides Taiwanese Flag Emoji From Hong Kong Users: In response to complaints from the Chinese government, Apple has blocked an app that tracked the locations of police and protestors in Hong Kong and also removed the Quartz news app due to its coverage of the protests; Apple has also hidden the Taiwanese flag emoji , which was otherwise accessible worldwide except in mainland China.

Blizzard Bans Gaming Streamer After Vocalizing Support For Hong Kong During Livestream: The Hong Kong player known as “blitzchung” will forfeit any prize money earned in the competition, and will be ineligible from further participating for one year; the ban is seen as overly partisan and has incited online criticism of Blizzard, which is partially owned by Chinese investors.

On the Lighter Side

Instagram Says Goodbye To The “Following” Tab: Introduced in 2011 so that users could connect with mutual friends, Instagram says the feature is rarely used today, and that its removal will curb unwanted prying; a live update has already been released replacing Following with Activity, which is more focused on individual users.

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: October 4, 2019

Internet Governance

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC’s Repeal Of Net Neutrality Regulations: The court also held that the FCC could not prevent states from passing their own laws to protect net neutrality; five states have already enacted legislation or regulations protecting net neutrality, and thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have introduced bills or regulations to the same effect.

Privacy

English Court Of Appeal Allows “Safari Workaround” Class Action Against Google To Proceed: The case alleges that Google bypassed iPhone users’ privacy settings to track their web habits between 2011 and 2012; the court found that the plaintiffs could properly hold Google accountable for “deliberate misuse of personal data without consent” if their claims can be proven.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

FBI Investigates Alleged Hacking Attempt Into West Virginia’s Mobile Voting App: The app allows voters who are active military or registered to vote abroad to cast their votes from their phones; the app’s co-founder and CEO announced that a group had attempted to access the system during the 2018 Midterm Elections, and reported the incident to law enforcement to investigate.

Intellectual Property

Blackberry Loses Patent Protection Under Alice: In patent infringement litigation between Facebook, Twitter, Snap, and BlackBerry over BlackBerry’s mobile messaging and targeted advertising patents, a California District Court judge concluded that four of the patents were invalid under the Alice decision.

Google Side-Steps EU Copyright Directive’s New Link Tax: In response to France’s establishment of a link tax, Google, which would be obligated under the Directive to pay for displaying “snippets” of publishers’ copyright-protected material alongside its search results, is instead updating how search results are displayed; results will now appear without a “snippet” by default, leaving publishers to opt-in to including additional information.

Free Expression and Censorship

CJEU Rules That Individual Countries Can Order Facebook To Take Down Offensive Material Globally: Following its ruling last week that limited the reach of the “right to be forgotten,” the Court of Justice of the European Union found that courts in EU member states may require Facebook to remove on a global scale content that is “defamatory or otherwise illegal.”

Practice Note

Active Consent Is Required For Cookie Use In The EU: The Court of Justice of the European Union set a higher standard for user consent to ad tracking cookies by holding that pre-checked tick-boxes and cryptic consent agreement forms are invalid; the court did not, however, consider “cookie-walls” on websites that require users to accept cookie agreements prior to accessing the site.

On the Lighter Side

CIA To Retire Its Network Of Secure Fax Machines: Vendors will instead communicate with the Agency via its new cloud-based web service, Gray Magic, which is currently in beta; the CIA hopes to lead the intelligence community in a renewed wave of cloud-based services.

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: September 27, 2019

Internet Governance

CJEU Rules The Right To Be Forgotten Limited To The European Union: The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the EU’s Right to Be Forgotten does not require Google and other search engines to remove links to inadequate or irrelevant personal information from its search results globally, but instead that search engines are only obligated to remove such results within EU member states.

Privacy

Google Assistant To Receive Update After Backlash Over Recorded Audio: Google will “vastly reduce” the amount of recorded audio it collects from is voice-activated assistant and will no longer store recordings by default following July reports that a contractor leaked private audio recordings; Google, which had purportedly been using the recordings to improve its translation service, will now give consumers the choice of whether to share recordings or not.

Australia To Catch Distracted Drivers With New Mobile Phone Detection Cameras: Photos taken by the new cameras will be subject to AI review, then human verification, to confirm which drivers will be fined for driving while using their phones; the government of New South Wales plans to roll out as many as 45 cameras by December 2019.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Russian Nationalist Hacker Pleads Guilty To Largest Bank Hack In U.S. History: Between 2012 and 2015, Andrei Tyurin stole more than 100 million consumer records as part of a conspiracy to commit a variety of criminal schemes including wire and securities fraud; in 2014, Tyurin hacked JPMorgan to access the data of over 80 million victims, making it the biggest theft of consumer data from a single financial institution in the U.S.

Recent Malware Campaign Against Uyghur Muslims Revealed To Have Targeted Tibetan Officials: Users posing as representatives from Amnesty International and The New York Times sent malicious links over WhatsApp capable of installing spyware to access sensitive information; although the attacks were thought to be confined to Apple iOS devices, research shows Tibetan officials were attacked on Android devices as well.

Intellectual Property

Sprint Argues To SCOTUS That $140 Million Patent Infringement Award Is Reasonable: In response to Time Warner Cable’s petition to review the judgment resulting from its infringement of Sprint’s internet calling patents, Sprint argued that the Federal Circuit correctly determined that the judgment was backed by sufficient evidence and that the award did not “contravene the principles of apportionment.”

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Will Not Remove Lies Or Hate Speech Posted By Politicians: As part of an effort to avoid election interference, Facebook will not fact check or censor newsworthy posts by politicians, even if the content constitutes hate speech or violates other of the social network’s policies; the company’s head of global policy and communications said that it will be up to users to “judge what politicians say themselves.”

On The Lighter Side

Match.com Sued For Leading On Its Non-Paying Users : The FTC alleges that the dating site allowed non-paying users, who are unable to read or respond to messages, to subscribe in response to messages received from accounts that Match knew to be fraudulent but which it had not yet deleted.

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 Fellow