CLIP-ings: October 23, 2020

Internet Governance

Department Of Justice Initiates Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google: The suit alleges that Google has captured 90 percent of the search market across a variety of applications and devices, including those offered by Apple and other competitors, by means of various agreements and business practices; Google contends that its behavior is not exclusionary and that users still have a choice of rival services.

EU Regulator Investigates How Instagram Protects Kids’ Personal Information: After reports that Instagram may be exposing minors’ email addresses and phone numbers after offering the option to switch their private accounts to business accounts, Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner initiated a probe to monitor how Facebook is processing children’s personal data on Instagram and whether the tech company is adequately protecting kids’ privacy on its social media platforms.
Privacy

Tens Of Thousands Of Women’s Photos Converted To Nudes Via Deepfake Bot, Shared Online: Cybersecurity company Sensity AI reports that an “ecosystem” of users are sharing pictures of women after harvesting them from sources such as social media and running them through a deepfake software on the messaging app Telegram that replaces the subject’s clothed body with a naked one; over 100,000 women’s pictures have been so altered and shared, and some appear to depict underage persons.

Belgian Data Protection Authority Finds Self-Governing Framework For Ad Tracking Non-Compliant With GDPR: The Belgian DPA found that the system of popups used by Google and other online companies for obtaining various consents allows personal information to be swapped without authorization, broadcasts users’ locations and activity, fails to offer ways to limit use of personal information, and does not adequately protect “special category” user data; furthermore, the industry standards body’s own privacy policy was found to violate the GDPR, and the same body has failed to appoint a data protection officer.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Iran And Russia In Possession Of Voter Information, Warn Heads Of Intelligence: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and other top intelligence officials warn of efforts by Iran to undermine voter confidence, such as the distribution of threatening emails claiming to have come from the far-right group Proud Boys to Democratic voters in swing states.
Intellectual Property

Twitch Notifies Users Of Copyright Infringement And Deletes Their Content Without Guidance On How To Appeal: In response to receiving 1,800 copyright infringement notices in June alone, streaming platform Twitch sent many of its users Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices claiming that the users’ content violated copyright law, but failed to provide an option for users to appeal by filing a counter-notification before deleting the alleged content permanently.
Free Expression & Censorship

Misinformation Also Thrives In Spanish: Experts have found that misinformation in Spanish is being widely spread in America, particularly in South Florida, in order to suppress support for presidential candidate Joe Biden in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign.
On the Lighter Side

AOC Hosted A Livestream On Twitch To Get Out The Vote: Drawing a peak viewership of about 438,000, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez played and streamed the popular game “Among Us” to connect with younger Americans and implore them to register to vote.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: October 16, 2020

Internet Governance

European Union Draws “Hit List” Of Big Tech Companies To Curb Market Power: As part of an effort to foster competition in the technology space, EU regulators are targeting up to 20 large Internet companies—including Facebook and Apple—by ordering them to be more transparent on how they gather information, and in extreme cases, breaking up companies that intrude on the trading practices of smaller competitors. 
Privacy

Reverse Engineering Reveals Undocumented Backdoor In Kids’ Smartwatch: Researchers at Norwegian security company Mnemonic found that a smartwatch designed exclusively for children has an undiscovered functionality that allows someone “to remotely capture camera snapshots, wiretap voice calls, and track locations in real time;” exploiting this back door, however, would be difficult without knowledge of both a unique factory-set encryption key and the phone number assigned to the watch.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hackers Gained Access To Twitter Accounts In High-Profile Attack By Posing As Company IT Officials: According to an investigative report by New York regulators, hackers who took over several celebrity accounts in July, including those belonging to Barack Obama and Elon Musk, did so by by pretending to assist Twitter employees with VPN problems; the hackers directed employees to a phishing website that looked identical to the legitimate Twitter VPN website and used the fake website to steal the employee’s login credentials to gain access to Twitter’s backend. 
Intellectual Property

Possible Expansion Of Massachusetts Right-To-Repair Law May Have Significant Reach: Whether original equipment manufacturers must share automobile telematics—data from cars’ internal sensors transmitted to vehicle makers in real-time—with independent mechanics will be on the ballot for Massachusetts voters this November; just as the original law’s passage in 2013 forced automakers to adopt a nationwide right-to-repair standard, the expansion could have wide-ranging ramifications.
Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook And Twitter Restrict Distribution Of Suspect Hunter Biden Story: A New York Post story based on emails said to have been provided by Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, and purported to have come from a computer owned by Hunter Biden, has raised suspicions as to its veracity, prompting Facebook to reduce the article’s distribution as it undergoes fact-checking review and Twitter to ban linking to the story pursuant to its policy against hacked materials.

Yelp Initiates User Alert For Businesses Accused Of Racist Behavior: Yelp has announced that upon detecting a sudden influx of reviews for a business, the review site will post an alert and temporarily disable further reviews; upon a subsequent determination of “resounding evidence” of racist behavior, the site will then update the alert to reflect such accusation and provide a link to a credible news article.
Practice Note

Ohio Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal Of Facebook From Murder Suit: In affirming dismissal, the Court found that Facebook did not have a duty to warn the victim of the murderer’s intentions, which he articulated in a post on the social networking site, because no special relationship existed between Facebook and the victim.
On the Lighter Side

Machine-Learning Algorithm Flags Pile Of Onions As Overtly Sexual: A Canadian garden store was surprised to find that a seemingly innocuous advertisement for its Walla Walla onion seeds had been rejected by the social network’s computer-vision algorithm for “overtly sexualized positioning;” object-recognition tests performed by an outside researcher pointed to a particular onion in the middle of the ad’s visual display as triggering the rejection.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: October 9, 2020

Internet Governance

16-Month Congressional Investigation Finds Tech Giants Hold Monopoly Power In Key Business Sectors: After analyzing one million documents and interviewing experts in Big Tech as part of an investigation into Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook’s dominance in the marketplace, the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel reported that the companies’ anticompetitive conduct has undermined potential competition and hindered innovation.
Privacy

H&M Faces Second-Largest Fine For Breaching GDPR: Following a year-long investigation of H&M’s employee surveillance practices, the Data Protection Authority of Hamburg found the company illegally kept excessive and extensive records on the illnesses, religions, and family issues of its employees at its Nuremberg service center.

IRS Criminal Investigation Unit Reveals Mass Purchase Of Location Data: In a briefing to Senators Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren, the unit explained that the IRS had purchased a data collection from Venntel, a company which resells location data acquired from mobile app advertisers; the use of such datasets may circumvent warrant requirements, as the data does not include users’ cell phone numbers.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Grindr Fixes Security Vulnerability: After initially ignoring a security researcher’s warnings that he had discovered a security vulnerability in the app’s password reset functionality, Grindr, a dating app that keeps track of the sexuality and HIV status of its users, has fixed its password reset algorithm “before it was exploited by any malicious parties.”
Intellectual Property

Trial Court Finds Cisco Guilty Of Infringing Cybersecurity Patents: A U.S. District Judge imposed a fine of nearly $2 billion on the company after ruling that Cisco willfully infringed four cybersecurity patents held by Centripetal Networks that had been disclosed to Cisco under a non-disclosure agreement when the parties were discussing potential partnership.
Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Classifies QAnon As Militarized Social Movement, Imposes Broad Ban: While continuing to allow individuals to post about QAnon on their personal pages, Facebook has banned all organized QAnon content, including accounts, pages, and groups, categorizing the far-right conspiracy group as an “identified militarized social movement” prohibited by the social media giant’s terms of service.

YouTube Deletes Tweet Mocking Content Creators’ Long Videos: After mocking creators for making long videos as a way to better monetize their content under the site’s advertisement policies, YouTube apologized in a follow-up tweet for “miss[ing] the mark.”
Practice Note

Supreme Court To Decide Google v. Oracle: In a ten-year legal battle centering on the copyrightability of APIs—basic pieces of code which facilitate software interoperability—the Court will decide whether Oracle’s APIs enjoy copyright protection and, if so, whether Google’s implementation was nevertheless fair use; significant interests have weighed in on both sides, and the ultimate outcome has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way the computer industry innovates.
On the Lighter Side

Researchers Track Poachers By Stuffing Transmitters In 3D-Printed Sea Turtle Eggs: Inspired by the HBO series The Wire, wildlife biologists developed the InvestEGGator, an inexpensive, 3D-printed egg that houses technology that transmits location data to Costa Rican authorities so that they can monitor the trafficking of turtle eggs in the country.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: October 2, 2020

Internet Governance

IRS May Add New Question On Form 1040 For Reporting Cryptocurrency Profits: To increase compliance with reporting rules regarding cryptocurrency earnings and crack down on deliberate tax evasion, the IRS is considering adding a prominent question to the Form asking taxpayers if at any time during 2020, they had received, sold, exchanged, or otherwise acquired any financial interest in virtual currency.
Privacy

Pay By Palm With Amazon One: After an initial, one-time scan of a user’s palm and credit card, customers of Amazon Go retail stores can charge purchases simply by holding their hand over a contactless palm-reading device at checkout; Amazon asserts the scans are encrypted, stored securely in the cloud, and that palms are more private than other forms of biometric identification.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Seeing Through Deepfakes: FakeCatcher, a new tool developed by Intel and researchers from Binghamton University, detects deepfake videos by analyzing the subtle shifts in skin color that occur as a result of the heartbeat underneath, as deepfake software typically produces signature heartbeat discrepancies as a result of stitching together an assemblage of multiple source fragments.
Intellectual Property

3-D Copy Of Michelangelo’s David Will Be Centerpiece At Next World Fair: After winning a copyright battle banning the commercial use of images of David in 2017, the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Florence museum and home of the 17-foot statue since 1873, authorized the only 3-D printed copy to be showcased at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Near Termination Of Popular Guitar Teacher’s Channel Due To Copyright Claims Highlights Risks Of Publishing On Third-Party Platforms: Despite being a profitable content maker, Gareth Evans was unable to get YouTube’s help to defend against a series of takedown requests until his Reddit post about his struggles caught the internet’s attention; the incident reflects the pitfalls of building a presence on third-party platforms, which may offer limited support, overlook smaller partners, and employ copyright protection systems that rely on flagging content after it has been posted instead of upfront vetting.
Free Expression and Censorship

Cornell University Study Finds Trump The Largest Driver Of Coronavirus Misinformation: In a study of 38 million articles about the Covid-19 pandemic in English-language media from around the world, Cornell researchers identified 11 topics of misinformation, with mentions of Trump making up nearly 38 percent of the overall “misinformation conversation;” in  a “miracle cures” category, Trump’s promotion of anti-malarial drugs and disinfectants as potential treatments for Covid-19 accounted for more misinformation than the other 10 topics combined.

Practice Note

TikTok Ban Enjoined By Federal District Court: The United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted TikTok’s injunction against the Trump administration’s proposed ban on the basis that TikTok users’ content constitutes “information or informational materials” and “personal communications,” which the administration may not restrict according to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
On the Lighter Side

Biden For President Campaign Releases Snapchat Lens To Encourage Early Voting In Key Swing States: Ahead of the November presidential election, the Biden team is targeting 18- to 34-year-olds using Snapchat filters that don users in aviators and Biden-Harris swag and set off digital fireworks with the message “Vote Early for Biden-Harris” when the USPS logo is scanned.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 25, 2020

Internet Governance

Twitter’s And Zoom’s Algorithms Face Racial-Bias Problems: A Ph.D student’s Twitter thread exposing a flaw in Zoom’s algorithm that would remove his black colleague’s head in videos with a virtual background revealed a similar “cropping bias” in the algorithm that Twitter uses to generate photo previews in tweets.

YouTube May Be Forced To Acknowledge Mental Health Consequences Of Content Moderation In Pending Litigation: A proposed class-action lawsuit against the video site alleges that it violated California law by failing to ensure safe work conditions for content moderators and failing to inform them of the job’s potential negative effects on their mental health.
Privacy

Instagram User Files Suit Alleging iPhone Camera Surveillance: Filed in the United States District Court in San Francisco, the complaint alleges monitoring via unconsented camera activation by the Instagram iPhone app; Instagram owner Facebook has previously denied that users’ iPhone cameras are accessed or that content is recorded in such instances, and called the notification of camera use a bug.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Amnesty International Report Cites Sales Of Surveillance Technology To China As Cause For EU Export Reform: In a report that notes the human rights risks associated with selling digital surveillance technologies to known persecutors of ethnic groups, Amnesty International urges European Union lawmakers to update the bloc’s export regulations to require that exporters conduct human rights due diligence. 
Intellectual Property

Facebook Rights Management Platform To Be Extended To Image Owners: Facebook has adapted its system for safeguarding music and video rights to give a select group of partners the ability to claim ownership over and control the use of their images on Facebook and Instagram; particular attention is being given to how current Instagram use may be affected before opening the tool up to all users. 
Free Expression and Censorship

Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement Shows How Digital Technology Can Promote Civil Participation: After the success of vTaiwan, a public discussion platform where experts, government parties, and citizens deliberated contentious issues, Taiwanese public officials created a government-managed platform called Join to host debates on divisive issues and give Taiwanese citizens an opportunity to participate in the legislative process.

Practice Note

In Suit Brought By Vermont Attorney General, Court Denies Clearview AI Section 230 Immunity Or First Amendment Protection: The Vermont Superior Court rejected Clearview AI’s attempt to portray itself as an interactive computer service provider publishing third party information and denied the company’s motion to dismiss, noting that the basis of the state’s claims are the means by which the company acquired photographs, its use of facial recognition technology, and its allegedly deceptive statements.
On the Lighter Side

Scientists In India Built A Tree-Climbing Coconut-Harvesting Robot: Owing to the shortage of coconut harvesters in the country, Indian scientists have built a coconut-harvesting device that can climb tree trunks and cut ripe coconuts with its circular saw blade. 
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 18, 2020

Internet Governance

Facebook Granted Judicial Review Of Probe Into Its Transatlantic Data Transfers: After arguing that it had been unfairly targeted and that its Standard Contractual Clause had not been invalidated, Facebook was granted leave by the Irish High Court for judicial review of the Irish Data Protection Commission’s recent order threatening Facebook’s ability to transfer information from the European Union to the United States.

Oracle Foretells Partnership With TikTok: With the waning of Microsoft’s interest, Oracle has swept in to rescue TikTok in the face of President Trump’s mandate that the popular app be sold or shut down in the United States; experts believe Oracle and TikTok may be uniquely suited to each other given the goodwill between Trump and Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison, as well as Oracle’s cloud services and record of security.
Privacy

Singapore Distributes Bluetooth Contact-Tracing Tokens To Contain Spread Of Covid-19: Singapore’s government rolled out a hardware version of its existing contact-tracing app to citizens who are less likely to own a smartphone; like the app, information stored on the token is purged regularly to alleviate privacy concerns. 

Revenge Porn Reports Surge During Lockdown: Following lockdown in the United Kingdom, reports of non-consensual pornography made to a government-funded helpline have increased by 22 precent from 2019 despite coronavirus restrictions easing.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

20,000 Terabytes Under The Sea: After a years-long experiment in which Microsoft submerged a large container filled with servers off the coast of Scotland, the tech giant has found the aquatic data center eight times more reliable than dry-land analogs, with decreased cooling requirements, increased power-efficiency, and the ability to provide portable, local data storage. 
Intellectual Property

U.S. Customs And Border Protection Tweets Its Seizure Of “Counterfeit Airpods”: After CBP tweeted about its seizure of “counterfeit Airpods,” thousands of Twitter users replied to inform CBP that the products were actually OnePlus Buds, legitimate wireless earbuds inspired by Apple’s sleek white wireless Airpods. 
Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter’s Labelling Of Doctored Posts Easily Missed By Twitter Users: As Election Day approaches, Twitter increasingly flags doctored videos by affixing a tiny notice that reads “Manipulated Media,” a label that is easily missed and fails to explain how the video is false, while still allowing users to share the tweet. 

Practice Note

Safety Driver Charged With Negligent Homicide In Collision Involving Autonomous Vehicle: The backup driver in a self-driving Uber vehicle has been charged with negligent homicide following the death of a woman the vehicle struck in 2018; the decision seems largely predicated on the fact that the backup driver was distracted and failed to assume timely control of the vehicle, but investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board also found deficiencies in Uber’s risk assessments and safety controls.
On the Lighter Side

Apple And Singapore Partner To Incentivize Apple Watch Users To Stay Healthy: As part of a national initiative to help Singaporeans lead healthier lives, Apple and the country announced a two-year health program that will encourage users to hit fitness goals by offering financial incentives through the Apple Watch and an iPhone app called LumiHealth. 
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 11, 2020

Internet Governance

Facebook First To Feel The Sting Of Decision Invalidating Privacy Shield: In the first major move by a European Union data protection authority to enforce the European Court of Justice’s July ruling invalidating the data transfer framework, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has ordered Facebook to suspend transfers of European Union users’ information to the United States or face fines amounting to 4% of the tech giant’s annual revenue.

Italy Tugs Apple, Dropbox, And Google Down To Earth: Italy’s competition authority is investigating the tech giants’ cloud storage services to analyze their disclosures about the collection and use of data, the fairness of their contract clauses, and the prevalence of English rather than Italian language contracts.
Privacy

Portland Takes A Stand Against Facial Recognition Tech: Portland’s City Council unanimously adopted two broad ordinances limiting the use of facial recognition technology by city bureaus (e.g., the Police Bureau) and private companies.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Apple Assesses Hong Kong’s National Security Law: Following Beijing’s unilateral imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong on July 1, Apple, unlike other tech giants, has not paused processing user data requests from Hong Kong authorities while it is “assessing” the new law…
Free Expression and Censorship

GitHub In China Is A Free Speech Zone For Covid-19 Information: On the Chinese internet, where social media platforms are either banned or strictly monitored, GitHub remains the “last land of free speech in China” as Chinese authorities hesitate to censor the open source platform that has become invaluable to the country’s tech industry.

Facebook Blocks Dying Man’s Broadcast While TikTok Struggles To Remove Suicide Video: Citing a desire to avoid promoting self-harm, Facebook has blocked the victim of a rare disease from livestreaming his final days after his decision to withdraw from life-sustaining treatment; meanwhile, TikTok is scrambling to prevent a shocking and graphic suicide video from popping up on user’s screens, including those of juvenile viewers.
Practice Note

Magistrate Judges Reject “Reverse” Warrants: Two federal magistrate judges have ruled that the warrants, through which police geofence the area around a crime scene, request information on devices within the geofence from providers such as Google, and then comb through disclosed data in order to narrow down a list of suspects, violate Fourth Amendment constraints and fail under Carpenter’s reasonable expectation of privacy in cell site location information.
On the Lighter Side

U.S. Companies’ Delivery Drone Operations Postponed While Quadcopter In Tel Aviv Drops Bags Of Cannabis: Despite routine experimentation and official paperwork, U.S. companies itching to expand delivery drone operations are stalled by the lack of federal regulations; meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, a quadcopter was filmed dropping bags of cannabis onto the streets.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 4, 2020

Internet Governance

Courts Hold Amazon Liable For Faulty Products: Multiple court rulings have found the e-commerce giant responsible for defective products sold by third-party merchants on its marketplace, especially when third-party merchants disappear, due to its significant role as part of the distribution chain. 
Privacy

Ninth Circuit Rules NSA’s Telephone Metadata Program Illegal And Possibly Unconstitutional: Almost seven years after the appeal of a criminal terror-fundraising case against four Somali immigrants, the unanimous three-judge panel held that the metadata program is illegal, but that the metadata collection played a minor role in the case and did not taint the evidence introduced by the government at trial under established Fourth Amendment standards.

Amazon Surveils Its Flex Delivery Drivers In Private Facebook Groups: Following the discovery of official company documents, Amazon has confirmed that it employs staff to track and monitor private social media groups used by Amazon Flex workers in order to keep tabs on complaints and discussions about strikes against the retailing giant.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Russians Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation: After months of warnings by the F.B.I., Facebook and Twitter now confirm that the Internet Research Agency, the Russian group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election, is actively repeating its efforts from four years ago to disrupt the November 2020 election by feeding conspiracy theories designed to alienate Americans through a network of fake user accounts and fringe news sites.
Intellectual Property

Apple’s App Store Practices Spark Criticism From Facebook: Highlighting Apple’s strict controls over what it allows onto the App Store, and by extension, user’s iPhones, CEO Mark Zuckerberg reproached Apple last week for its purported anti-competitive practices, such as denials of certain features of Facebook apps and the removal of Fortnight, despite having recently shared in the scrutiny of a Congressional hearing targeting monopolistic tech giants.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Touts Improved Ability To Detect And Remove Misinformation As Myanmar Elections Loom: Taking a lesson from its past failure to prevent misinformation campaigns which led to expressions of hate against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, Facebook has implemented technological and human monitoring of information sharing, verification, and controls in order to prevent false and misleading claims from interfering with the country’s upcoming November 8th general election. 

Practice Note

Kik Finds Protection Under Section 230 Despite FOSTA Claim: In a case involving the exposure of a minor to unsolicited nude photos on the popular messaging app, the Southern District of Florida held that the scienter requirements of sections 1591 and 1595 of the anti-sex-trafficking act FOSTA had not been met and thus Kik was entitled to immunity under Communications Decency Act section 230.
On the Lighter Side

Birth Of A Virtual Nation: Almost thirty years ago, an energetic head of the White House Office of Media Affairs, a sketch of a website based on a White House tour, a major telecom, Socks the cat, and others combined to help drive a confluence of emerging internet technology to spawn the White House’s first website.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: August 28, 2020

Internet Governance

TikTok Sues The United States Government: The video-sharing app filed suit against the U.S. Government following the Trump Administration’s executive order under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to “ban the company’s American operations” for its alleged connection to the Chinese government; in the suit, TikTok alleges, among other things, that it has been denied its Due Process rights under the Fifth Amendment “to argue it isn’t a national security threat.”
Privacy

Facebook Criticizes New Apple iOS System For Enhanced Privacy: In a recent blog post, Facebook warned that a new feature of Apple’s upcoming software update that “requires app developers to notify users if their app collects a unique device code” soFacebook advertisers can send targeted ads to consumers on non-Facebook webpages essentially makes users manually opt in to being tracked by Facebook and potentially damages a key revenue stream for the social media monolith.

Clearview AI Used By Numerous Police Agencies: A recent interview with the CEO of the controversial facial recognition technology company revealed that more than 2,400 police agencies throughout the country, including agencies in New York, Miami, and Philadelphia, have entered into license agreements with Clearview AI for access to information used to identify protestors and other persons of interest.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Former Uber Security Chief Charged For Covering Up Hack: The Department of Justice indicted Joe Sullivan for covering up the 2016 hack that exposed the private information of over 50 million ride-sharing users by paying the hackers $100,000 and having them sign a nondisclosure agreement; Sullivan is charged with obstruction of justice for failing to follow California’s laws requiring public disclosure of the hack.
Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Removes Group Following Thai Government Order: Facebook took down the “Royalist Marketplace,” a group of over a million members dedicated largely to discussing the Thai government and monarchy, at the request of the country’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society; Facebook later issued a statement protesting the action as having a “chilling effect” on the Thai peoples’ ability to express themselves.

Facebook Failed To Censor Kenosha Guard Group Prior To Shooting: The social media platform failed to censor posts “inciting violence” by the “self-proclaimed militia group the Kenosha Guard” prior to the deadly shooting in Kenosha, WI, despite at least two reports that the group was violating community standards by issuing a “call to arms;” the group was not removed by Facebook until more than nine hours after the shooting for violating the platform’s “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy.”
Practice Note

Ride-Sharing Continues In California After Court-Ordered Reprieve: Shortly before Uber and Lyft threatened to shut down across the state, a California state judge issued an emergency stay of an order that would have required Lyft, Uber, and other ride-sharing companies to classify their drivers as employees.
On the Lighter Side

Network Outages Cause “Zoom Day” For U.S. Schoolchildren: A widespread outage of Zoom’s service early in the week disrupted schooldays and meetings across North America and Europe, giving students an unexpected “snow day” for the COVID era.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Isabel Brown
Caroline Vermillion
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: August 21, 2020

Internet Governance

Trump Extends TikTok’s Deadline: Following the original executive order requiring the sale of TikTok to a U.S.-based company within 45 days, President Trump has since extended the deadline to 90 days, with sale now required by November 12th; companies such as Microsoft and Twitter have “been in talks to acquire TikTok.”

Facebook Objects To Apple Store Fees: The social media giant has outwardly opposed Apple’s fees, which take 30 percent “for purchases that take place within apps running on iPhones,” stating that such fees dramatically hurt small businesses trying to sell products or services through Facebook’s in-app features.
Privacy

Clearview AI Wins $224,000 ICE Contract: An ICE division focused on “cross-border criminal activity” entered into a software licensing agreement with Clearview AI, the controversial facial recognition company that has faced broad scrutiny for its questionable methods of collecting data for its face-matching database. 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

235 Million Social Media Profiles Exposed In Data Leak: Profiles details of 100 million Instagram users, 42 million TikTok users, and 4 million YouTube users were exposed on an unsecured database; despite being publicly available information, the profiles are now more valuable to scammers engaged in phishing campaigns because they were “leaked in aggregate as a well-structured database.”
Intellectual Property

Google Campaigns Against Australian Revenue-Sharing Rule: In response to a proposed law intended to require it to pay media outlets to display their content, Google published an open letter criticizing the regulation and also created a pop-up message to launch on all Australian users’ searches that argues that the regulation would endanger the quality of search results and risk user data being “handed over to big news businesses.”
Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Removes 790 QAnon Extremist Group Accounts: Under the aegis of a new, more comprehensive moderation policy directed towards “borderline violent content” rolled out this summer, Facebook eliminated nearly 800 groups associated with the anti-government fringe movement and further curtailed the group’s ability to organize using the platform.
Practice Note

Ninth Circuit Favors FCC In Preemption Case: A three-judge panel ruled that several cities’ ordinances imposed excessive fees on wireless carriers deploying 5G networks, and were therefore preempted by FCC “just compensation” rules capping such locality fees at a discrete amount based on the actual public cost of building 5G network infrastructure in an area.
On the Lighter Side

Google Maps To Provide More Detail: The widely used app plans to add more “granularity and detail” to street-level views of New York City, San Francisco, and London in the coming months, including sidewalk locations, street signage, and road width; outside of these major cities, all users will see an improvement to colors representing “how natural features are presented.”
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Isabel Brown
Caroline Vermillion
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP