CLIP-ings: November 20, 2020

Internet Governance

Austrian Supreme Court Orders Facebook To Remove A Post Globally: After losing its appeal of a 2016 case in which Eva Glawischnig-Pieszek, then-chair of Austria’s Green Party, successfully sued Facebook Ireland for the removal of defamatory comments, the Austrian Court ordered the social media giant to remove such postings and similar references on a global scale.

Recent Hearing Reveals Important Differences Between Dorsey And Zuckerberg Reflected In Their Respective Companies: In response to questions concerning the addictiveness of social media platforms and the algorithms that determine what users see, Twitter’s CEO admitted the platforms might be addictive and expressed a willingness to allow greater transparency and user choice over algorithms, whereas Facebook’s CEO was more circumspect and avoided exploring the concept of algorithmic transparency and control; both responses reflected the way in which each platform currently operates, such as Twitter’s open implementation of experimental changes and Facebook’s zealous concealment of its algorithms.
Privacy

That New Friend Request Could Be A Debt Collector: Couched in the language of an update to consumer financial protections, and with the details concealed within a 132-page document, a new rule issued by the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will allow debt collectors to approach debtors via email, text, and social media; under the rule, debt collectors are restricted from posting publicly and must comply with debtor requests to desist in contacting them through social media.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Head Of National Cybersecurity Ousted For Not Toeing Administration Line: In a firing-by-tweet, President Trump removed Christopher Krebs from his Senate-confirmed position as the inaugural director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in retaliation against Krebs’s public assurances about the integrity of the results of the elections systems and the agency’s systematic debunking of specific election fraud claims, which undercut the President’s campaign to undermine the election results; during his tenure, Krebs built up the agency he is leaving, and through his conduct, earned bipartisan respect, both for himself and the agency.
Intellectual Property

GitHub Reinstates Popular Code That Allows Users To Download Copies Of Copyrighted Material: After receiving a DMCA takedown notice from the Recording Industry Association of America in October, GitHub removed “youtube-dl,” a command-line program that could potentially be used to download copyrighted videos; however, Github has since reversed its decision, explaining that while the program listens to a few seconds of a song in order to confirm it is working properly, it does not actually download the material for distribution, and that the code has numerous “legitimate uses.”
Free Expression and Censorship

Trump’s Accusations Of Voter Fraud Continue: Since election night, President Trump has posted over 300 tweets in which he amplifies election misinformation; at a congressional hearing this week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed that Trump’s account will lose its “world leader” status, which ensures that tweets that might otherwise violate Twitter’s rules stay visible due to their public interest, once Trump is no longer President.
Practice Note

Requirements Forcing Production Of Code May Violate Constitutional Prohibitions Against Compelled Speech: Two providers of automobile dealer management systems have successfully claimed in Arizona federal court that part of the state’s 2019 Dealer Data Security Law requiring compatibility and integration with third-party systems violates First Amendment protections by forcing the production of code to meet the law’s standards; the court disagreed that Constitutionality is avoided because the law does not dictate content, stating that the plaintiffs’ allegations reach beyond regulation of conduct.
On the Lighter Side

Zoom Lifts 40-Minute Limit For Thanksgiving Meetings: As a goodwill gesture, Zoom is lifting the 40-minute limit on free video chats so families can talk for as long as they wish on Thanksgiving Day.
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: November 13, 2020

Internet Governance

European Commission Initiates Competition Law Enforcement Action Against Amazon: Armed with the authority to fine Amazon 10% of its global turnover, the Commission has charged the retail giant with using information about third-party seller activity on its online marketplace to gain a competitive advantage as a retailer itself; Amazon counters that its global market share is less than 1%, it faces large retailers in every country, and it has provided unrivaled support to small businesses, with over 150,000 European enterprises participating in its marketplace.

TikTok Seeks Clarity As Divestiture Deadline Looms, Administration Silent: Despite efforts at actively engaging the administration and working to resolve the issues that prompted President Trump to ban the app, TikTok has received neither substantive feedback on proposed privacy and security improvements nor a response to its subsequent application for a 30-day extension to the November 12th deadline; as a result, the service has filed a petition in a United States Court of Appeals for a review of actions by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which issued the order requiring TikTok parent company ByteDance to sell its United States assets.
Privacy

European Data Protection Board Publishes Guidance On Standard Contractual Clauses Following Schrems II: Following the July ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union that invalidated the Privacy Shield framework that many businesses relied on to transfer the personal data of European citizens from the European Union to the United States, the European Data Protection Board released a 38-page guidance on the use of Standard Contractual Clauses, one of the few remaining methods of engaging in EU-compliant data transfers to the United States.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Zoom Agrees To Upgrade Security Program In Tentative Settlement With FTC: The company has agreed to settle allegations that it has not provided end-to-end encryption for Zoom meetings outside of its “Connecter” product despite claims to the contrary; while Zoom will implement security measures to protect its user base as part of the settlement, it is not required to compensate affected users. 

Digital Rights Activist Accesses Moscow’s Facial Recognition System For Just $200: After transferring the equivalent of approximately $200 to a service advertised on Telegram that offered access to the Moscow Police’s facial recognition system, a digital rights group volunteer received a detailed report of her movements over the previous month that was based where her image had been captured by police cameras.
Intellectual Property

Twitch Apologizes For Last Month’s Vague DMCA Takedown Notices: In a blog post explaining its copyright crackdown last month, Twitch apologized for its inadequate warning emails and recommended that users use recorded music on their streams only if they own the copyrights and that they delete old videos that have copyrighted music in them.
Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Groups In Violation Of Community Standards Policies Now Risk Forced Moderation, Subsequent Removal: In a heating up of Facebook’s efforts to curtail the spread of misinformation on its platform, the social media giant will start placing groups in frequent violation of its community standards policies on non-appealable, 60-day probationary periods, during which posts to the group must be manually approved by the group’s administrators or moderators; while Facebook deems the strategy a temporary protection “during this unprecedented time,” it warns that a group that persists in violations during its probation will be banned.
On the Lighter Side

Japanese City Responds To Bear Attacks With Robowolves: In response to a rise in black bear attacks as a result of an acorn shortage in the Japanese wilderness, the city of Takikawa, Japan, installed robotic wolves to deter bear attacks.
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: November 6, 2020

Internet Governance

California Voters Pass Proposition 22 To Keep Rideshare Drivers As Independent Contractors: After the most expensive campaign in state history, Californians voted to create an app-based-delivery-company exception to a labor law passed last year that otherwise would have required companies such as Uber and Lyft to classify their California drivers as employees instead of independent contractors.

European Union Regulatory Proposals Would Require Internet Platforms To Open Up Their Algorithms To Oversight: Concerned about discrimination, the amplification of bias, and abusive targeting of vulnerable individuals and groups as a result of algorithmic decisionmaking, the proposals ask for more accountability and transparency around algorithms, particularly those from the most powerful internet platforms; lawmakers also seek increased user control, increased regulator access to data, and more information for users regarding ad targeting and greater reporting requirements for content moderation.
Privacy

Portland, Maine Passes Facial Recognition Ban: The new measure strengthens Portland’s existing ban on the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies and public officials by, among other things, allowing Portland citizens to sue the city for illegal surveillance and to receive $100 per violation or $1,000, depending on which amount is higher.

California Passes CPRA, Shores Up CCPA: The California Privacy Rights Act, which takes effect in January 2023, makes several substantive updates to the existing California Consumer Privacy Act, including clarifying what constitutes a “sale” of information, requiring disclosure of automated decisionmaking and data subject profiling, supplementing the list of protected data and creating a category of sensitive personal data, and providing for the formation of a data privacy authority to replace the state attorney general as the act’s enforcer, among other things.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Ransomware Attacks On United States Hospitals Stem From Google Drive Documents: After several hospitals were struck by Ryuk ransomware, analysis from security firm Sophos reported that many of the attacks were delivered by a campaign of phishing emails that contain links to Google Drive documents, which, when opened, would deliver malware content onto victims’ computers.
Intellectual Property

Massachusetts Voters Overwhelmingly Support Ballot Measure Allowing Sharing Of Vehicle Telematics: Massachusetts residents voted to expand the state’s wide-reaching right-to-repair law to require carmakers to provide owners with a platform capable of accessing their vehicle’s mechanical telematic data and sharing that data with third-party repair shops and auto-part stores; the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, which opposed the ballot measure, contends that the expansion does not significantly add to the existing law and that real-time, two-way access to vehicle data increases risk without justifiable benefit.
Free Expression & Censorship

Twitter’s Pledge To Label Misleading Tweets Could Effectively Slow Down Their Spread: After labeling one of President Trump’s tweets as constituting misleading content about the election only thirty-six minutes after it was posted, Twitter was able to quickly slow down the tweet’s overall spread as people could not easily reshare the post; according to analysis by the Election Integrity Partnership, the labeling of the tweet reduced the rate of retweets from 827 times per minute to 151 times per minute.

YouTube Took Down Multiple Livestreams Broadcasting Fake Election Results: Before polls closed anywhere in the country on Election Day, YouTube removed livestreams that broadcasted fake election results videos; similarly, TikTok deleted videos from two popular pro-Trump accounts that promoted election misinformation, including allegations that Democrats have plotted to steal the election.
Practice Note

Plaintiff’s Win Preliminary Injunction Against TikTok Ban Set To Go Into Effect November 12th: Three TikTok creators who had previously failed to sustain an argument that their livelihoods would be irreparably harmed by the Trump administration’s decision to ban the social media app successfully obtained the preliminary injunction from a Pennsylvania federal judge, who agreed with the plaintiffs that their content constitutes “informational materials,” a protected category under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the statutory authority under which the ban was invoked.
On the Lighter Side

Ball-Tracking, AI-Powered Camera Mistakenly Tracks Soccer Referee’s Bald Head Instead Of The Actual Soccer Ball: As part of the Scottish Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC soccer club’s initiative to increase social distancing by live-streaming its home games, the club replaced human camera operators with an AI camera system to better track the action on the field; however, instead of tracking the soccer ball, the AI system focused on the referee’s bald head for most of the game.
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 30, 2020

Internet Governance

Section 230 Reform Could Result In A More Barren Internet Dominated By Giants: Past amendment of the law has shown that changes resulting in increased liability for user content can drive small- and mid-sized content publishers such as personal sites and social media platforms to close their virtual doors, and may also disincentivize the development of new entrants to the market; nevertheless, reform is finding varying degrees of support in Congress, with Republicans suspicious that conservative voices are being dampened, as well as among Facebook, Google, Twitter, who stand to see their current dominance further solidified.
Privacy

Facebook Orders New York University Offshoot To Cease Bulk Collection Of Advertising Information: The Tandon School of Engineering, home of the Online Transparency Project, offers an “AdObserver” tool for evaluating political ads and targeting that has proven more insightful than Facebook’s own Ad Library; however, Facebook argues the data collection performed by the AdObserver browser extension constitutes impermissible data scraping under Facebook’s terms of use and threatens users’ privacy.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Trump’s Campaign Website Hacked In Cryptocurrency Scam: A week before the 2020 Presidential Election, the Trump campaign website was hacked to display a fake FBI notice describing evidence of Trump’s alleged wrongdoings and listing two cryptocurrency wallet addresses for visitors to send funds as a way of voting on whether the incriminating documents should be released or not.

United States Hospitals Facing Large-Scale Ransomware Threat, Several Hit: Federal security agencies have warned of an “increased and imminent cybercrime threat” due to a suspected large-scale plot by a known foreign cyberthreat actor to target hospitals in the United States; several hospitals have already been struck by a Russian group’s signature Ryuk ransomware.
Intellectual Property

Users Do Not Actually Own Content Purchased On Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Argues: In support of a motion to dismiss a recent class action suit alleging unfair competition and false advertising, Amazon argues that the Prime Video Terms of Use clearly explain that a purchase of video content results in a limited license for “on-demand viewing over an indefinite period of time,” and that some content may later become unavailable due to license restrictions or other reasons.
Free Expression & Censorship

By Allying with President Trump And Using Aggressive Facebook Tactics, The Epoch Times Emerges As “A Leading Purveyor of Right-Wing Misinformation”: In its fight against China’s ruling Communist Party for banning and persecuting its members, the Epoch Times has become a growing force in right-wing media by posting pro-Trump propaganda on Facebook and by downplaying its affiliation to Falun Gong.

Facebook Removes Misleading Ads From Both Trump and Biden Campaigns: Earlier this week, Facebook removed ads from both the Trump and Biden presidential campaigns that risked misleading voters, such as ads saying “Election Day is today” that appeared in states where early voting had not yet started. 
On the Lighter Side

McDonald’s Starts A Conversation About Mental Health On Twitter: After the McDonald’s social media manager tweeted about how all the questions she receives concern the McRib sandwich and are never “how are you doing,” other companies’ accounts responded to vent and join in the conversation on mental health.
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 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