CLIP-ings: July 31, 2020

Internet Governance

Tech CEOs Questioned Over Anticompetitive Activity: Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Google’s Sundar Pichai were quizzed for over six hours by the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee in response to growing Congressional concerns about the potentially exploitative strategies behind their companies’ outsized success during the pandemic, such as Amazon misusing third-party sellers’ goods for its private label and Facebook allowing the spread of dangerous COVID misinformation across its site.  
Privacy

Instagram Bug Causes Unintentional Camera Access: A new iOS 14 privacy feature that shows when an application is using a device’s camera or microphone has exposed an alleged “bug” on Instagram that engages the camera whenever the app is open, such as when a user is “scrolling through the photo feed.”

Facial Recognition Algorithms Defeated By Mask Wearers: The National Institute for Standards and Technology confirmed in a new study that wearing a face mask over the nose and mouth raises error rates in even relatively accurate face-to-ID-photo facial recognition systems from 5 to 50 percent, depending on the algorithm used.  
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Drizzly Confirms Data Breach: The leading alcohol-delivery service recently notified customers that 2.5 million users’ information was obtained by hackers, including email addresses, dates of birth, passwords, and “in some cases, delivery addresses;” while the company assured customers that no financial data was obtained by the hackers, “a listing on a dark web marketplace” has Drizzly customers’ credit card numbers listed for sale at $14.  
Intellectual Property

Tesla Sues Rivian For Trade Secret Theft: The electric carmaker challenged its rival in California state court over confidential hiring, management, and manufacturing documents former Tesla employees may have illegally shared with Rivian after being hired away by them.
Free Expression and Censorship

Trump’s Mass Text Messages Blocked By Wireless Carriers: After Trump’s reelection campaign sent 1 million text messages in a peer-to-peer format, anti-spam monitors used by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile were triggered to block the texts as spam; while the campaign insists that it is in compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act guidelines, “the messages didn’t include clear opt-out language” and may have lacked user consent.

Practice Note

New York Ordered To Pay Unemployment To Rideshare Drivers: Echoing similar recent decisions from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts courts, a New York federal judge issued a preliminary injunction ordering the New York Department of Labor to immediately begin approving unemployment claims for the state’s many rideshare drivers.  

On the Lighter Side

Viewers Judge Tech CEOs’ Testimonies, And Their Rooms: While CEOs Cook, Bezos, Pichai, and Zuckerburg testified virtually before Congress regarding potential antitrust violations, viewers took the liberty of evaluating the CEOs’ various office spaces, ranking Pichai the highest, and Cook the lowest.  
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

CLIP-ings: July 24, 2020

Internet Governance

UK Uber Drivers Sue For Data Access: A group of drivers from four UK cities claim that Uber violated GDPR data access provisions by failing to adequately explain how company algorithms profile and manage drivers, and by refusing to allow drivers to store performance data compiled on them by a “management algorithm” in a separate, union-administered “data trust” that would assist in fairer collective bargaining negotiations.
Privacy

Facial Recognition Banned In New York Schools: In response to the Lockport City School District’s use of facial recognition as a security measure in K-12 schools, the New York legislature passed a moratorium that bans schools statewide from using “facial recognition and other forms of biometric identification until 2022.” 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Public Officials’ Private Messages Obtained In Twitter Hack: Twitter confirmed that the direct messages of several dozen accounts ensnared in a cryptocurrency scam last week, reportedly including those of Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders, were compromised in the attack.
Intellectual Property

Spotify And Universal Music Group Reach Worldwide Licensing Agreement: Through the multi-year agreement, Spotify will retain a license to UMG’s entire catalog; UMG will additionally assist the streaming platform in developing marketing tools to increase music monetization beyond streaming royalties alone.

Instacart Sues Competitor For Photo Theft: In a suit filed last week, the grocery delivery service claimed that Uber’s own grocery service, Cornershop, reused thousands of Instacart’s images of various goods without permission and “tried to hide the origin of its catalog images by modifying their file names.”
Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Ramps Up Disinformation Controls: Facebook’s third-party fact-checking contractors announced they would begin labeling political posts and directing viewers of those posts to “official info” about voting as part of the company’s “election integrity efforts;” the company itself nonetheless exercised its power to overrule other such labels on a number of conservative posts dismissing climate change as a matter of “opinion.”

Twitter Bans Thousands Of QAnon Accounts: In an attempt to curb the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories that violate Twitter’s policies against “behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” the social media platform banned over 7,000 accounts “associated with QAnon,” and similarly blocked over 150,000 accounts from appearing in trends, recommendations, or from otherwise being highlighted.
On the Lighter Side

California Bar Exam Details Change: The California Bar exam has been moved online, will be administered in October, and requires a lower score to pass; in addition, recent law school graduates will be able to “temporarily practice law without passing the exam.”
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

CLIP-ings: July 17, 2020

Internet Governance

France’s Parliament Passes Age-Verification Requirement For Adult Sites: In an effort to limit access to pornography by children under the age of eighteen, the French parliament passed new legislation requiring stronger age-verification measures by adult websites; while the sites can decide for themselves how to verify age, the most common measure is expected to be the provision of credit card information. 

Apple’s Irish Tax Bill Remains Unsettled: An EU intermediate appellate court overturned a decision ordering Apple to pay $14.9 billion in back taxes to Ireland on the ground that the European Commission “did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard” that Apple received an unfair advantage by not paying; nonetheless, roughly $15 billion will remain in Apple’s escrow account until any final appeal concludes. 

Privacy

EU High Court Invalidates U.S.-EU Privacy Shield: The Court of Justice of the European Union struck down the  data-sharing agreement, stating that it does not adequately protect EU citizens’ data from surveillance by U.S. authorities.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Twitter Accounts Targeted And Hacked By Bitcoin Scam: The Twitter accounts of Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Kanye West, and other high-profile individuals and businesses were hacked in what is believed to be a “coordinated social engineering attack on Twitter employees”; through the compromised accounts, the hackers directed users to transfer Bitcoin with the false promise of sending back double the amount in return, and ultimately made out with an estimated $100,000.

Intellectual Property

Facebook To Launch Officially Licensed Music Videos: To compete with YouTube, the social network negotiated with music publishers so that it could automatically post artists’ videos to their Facebook pages. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Instagram And Facebook Ban All Content Promoting Conversion Therapy: In response to a petition for the removal of content advertising conversion therapy services, Instagram and Facebook will no longer permit posts that “advertise or promote the practice.” 

Practice Note

Supreme Court To Hear Facebook Robocall CaseThe U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a case alleging that Facebook violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending unwanted texts to a user; the case will clarify what forms of automated communication will be considered “automated, unsolicited, and unwanted” messages barred under the TCPA. 

On the Lighter Side

Google Launches AI Hieroglyphics Translator: Google released the AI-powered “Fabricius” program on its Arts and Culture app, which enables users to upload images of the ancient Egyptian symbols to match them with a database of known hieroglyphics based on existing historical records and definitions and to “translate their own words and emojis into shareable hieroglyphs.” 

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

CLIP-ings: July 10, 2020

Internet Governance

Facebook Oversight Board Will Not Be Ready Until Fall 2020: Facebook’s Oversight Board, “which will independently oversee content moderation,” will not be operational until “late fall,” making it unlikely that the Board will be able to help moderate information on Facebook platforms until after the 2020 presidential election.

Privacy

Facebook Shared User Data With Over 5,000 App Developers: Facebook announced this week that a review of data usage in recent months revealed that third-party app developers were able to access an unknown amount of data from accounts belonging to users who had not logged into the Facebook app in more than 90 days, in violation of a company policy disallowing external apps from accessing a user’s data if they did not routinely provide login credentials and grant permission for third-party access to their account. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Stringent Hong Kong National Security Law Riles Western Tech: A new mandate issued by the Chinese government last week requiring online platforms to turn over user data to the government without a court order prompted major U.S. tech companies to announce they would pause processing any such requests; the requirement puts many of them in precarious positions given the extensive business ties they maintain with China.

Intellectual Property

Twitter Removes Trump’s Tweet For Copyright Infringement: After turning a photograph of himself into a meme, President Trump’s tweet was removed from the platform for copyright infringement after The New York Times filed a takedown notice as a rightsholder to the photograph.

Free Expression and Censorship

United States Considers Banning TikTok: Due to increasing concern about the “handling of user data” and the relationship between TikTok’s parent company and the Chinese government,  U.S. lawmakers are “considering a ban” on the popular platform.

Practice Note

Supreme Court Bans Robo-Call Debt Collections: Justice Kavanaugh delivered an opinion striking down an exception to a federal ban on debt collection robocalls that allowed contact for a broad range of debts “owed to or guaranteed by” the U.S. government on the ground that the exception violated the First Amendment by “favoring debt-collection speech over other speech.”

On the Lighter Side

Airbnb Sets Restrictions For Users Under 25: In an effort to reduce “the number of unauthorized house parties,” and in light of new COVID-19 precautions, Airbnb has set new restrictions on some users under the age of 25; while many will not be affected, those with fewer than three positive reviews are no longer allowed to book entire homes in their geographic area.

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

CLIP-ings: July 3, 2020

Internet Governance

UK Regulator Recommends Forming New Tech-Focused Agency: Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority proposed that the national government create a specialized antitrust unit to manage tech companies’ control over smaller industries that depend on them for web traffic and user data, enforce transparency, and increase overall public trust. 

Privacy

TikTok And 32 Other Apps Use Clipboard To Access Private Information: Despite TikTok’s pledge to curb the practice in March, the company continues to access information that is stored on the user’s clipboard (where devices store cut or copied data), including “passwords, cryptocurrency wallet addresses, account-reset links, and personal messages.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Twitter Using Technology To Detect Bots: To help eliminate “bad actors” on the site, Twitter challenges and suspends millions of accounts every month by using technology to monitor users’ behaviors and detect patterns indicative of fake accounts.

UC San Francisco Reveals Details Of Ransomware Negotiation: Following a ransomware attack on its IT infrastructure by the Netwalker hacking group, details of a ransom negotiation orchestrated through the hackers’ dark-web chat platform were made public in a rare glimpse into the mechanics of resolving a large-scale cyberattack.

Intellectual Property

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Trademark For “Booking.com”In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the travel site’s name is eligible for federal trademark protection, reasoning that “because [the name] is not generic to consumers, it is not generic” and is therefore entitled to protection to prevent copycat sites from misleading potential customers. 

Google Will Absorb The Cost Of News Paywalls: In an effort to provide greater access to “high-quality” news, Google will pay publishers to license their content, covering the cost of subscription paywalls often used by news sites to monetize content; Google has already signed publishers in Australia, Germany, and Brazil. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Ad Boycott Gathers Steam: Honda and Unilever joined over 100 companies halting  advertising on Facebook this week as part of the “Stop Hate for Profit” civil rights campaign, which is designed to pressure the social media company to take more concrete steps to end hate speech and misinformation on its platform. 

On the Lighter Side

More Than 1,000 Phrases Incorrectly Trigger Voice-Activated Digital AssistantsNew research finds that Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant devices can be incorrectly triggered by over a thousand words and word-sequences, including “Montana,” “election,” and “hey Jerry.”

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: June 26, 2020

Internet Governance

Senators Propose Transparency-Focused Section 230 Reform: A bipartisan bill released by the Senate Communications, Technology, Innovation and Internet Subcommittee this week proposes that the Communications Decency Act be amended to require internet companies to publicly document their moderation practices, remove harmful posts and activity within strict timeframes, and publish quarterly reports on what enforcement actions are taken.
Privacy

Michigan Man Wrongfully Arrested On Faulty Facial Recognition Data: Detroit Police arrested an African-American man on larceny charges after the multimillion-dollar facial recognition system the state contracted with mismatched his driver’s license photo to a low-resolution store surveillance camera image taken at the time of the theft; the man was released when it became clear there was no other evidence besides the mismatched photo that could have implicated him, and the Michigan ACLU is now investigating.

Boston City Council Unanimously Bans Facial Recognition: Citing concerns with false matches and racial bias, council members preemptively banned future use of broad facial recognition systems by city law enforcement, though a limited exception was allowed for facial recognition and matching evidence generated to investigate specific crimes.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

New York City Passes Public Oversight Of Surveillance Technology Act: Last week, the New York City Council passed by a 44-6 vote the POST Act, which will force the NYPD “to divulge the existence of its entire public surveillance capability” and will similarly require the department to outline policies regarding those capabilities’ use. 
Intellectual Property

Apple To Produce All New Macs On Apple Silicon: After years of using Intel processors, Apple announced a full transition to its own silicon processors within the next two years; consumers will be able to purchase the first silicon Mac by the end of the year.
Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter Uses New “Manipulated Media” Tag On Trump’s Tweet: After President Trump shared a poorly edited video representing a fake CNN news report, Twitter used a new tag to label Trump’s tweet as “manipulated media;” though the marker does not remove the content, the video has since been taken down by the social media site due to a “copyright complaint over its misuse.”
Practice Note

Indiana Supreme Court Rules Police Cannot Demand Phones Be Unlocked: The state’s highest court held that the Fifth Amendment protected a woman from being forced to unlock her phone and reveal potentially incriminating data to the police, reasoning that such compelled unlocking is “testimonial.”
On the Lighter Side

TikTok Teens And K-Pop Fans Reserve Trump Rally Tickets To Leave Stadium Empty: In an effort to skew the anticipated turnout for Trump’s rally in Tulsa, teens on TikTok followed the lead of K-Pop fans by reserving tickets to the rally without the intent to attend.
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

CLIP-ings: June 19, 2020

Internet Governance

DOJ Proposes Communications Decency Act Reform: A proposal to reform CDA Section 230, which currently immunizes online services from liability for user-created content, recommends that Congress amend the law to deny immunity to sites that “purposely facilitate criminal activity,” require sites to log and keep reports of reported bad activity for law enforcement in order to “maintain their existing level of rights,” and curtail the sites’ content moderation powers. 

Google Expands Policies To Prevent Discriminatory Targeted Advertising: Though Google previously barred targeting advertisements based on “race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation,” the company has announced it will further fight unlawful discrimination “by barring housing, employment and credit ads” from targeting users based on “their postal code, gender, age, parental status, or marital status.” 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Former eBay Executives Charged With Cyberstalking Critics: Six former eBay executives were charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses after harassing a Massachusetts couple who edit a blog that critiqued the company; the executives mailed, among other things, “a bloody pig Halloween mask”  to the couple’s home, sent threatening Twitter messages, and allegedly surveilled the couple “in their home and community.”  

Zoom Applies End-To-End Encryption To All Communications: The videoconferencing service announced that all user communications would be encrypted end-to-end by default; the decision reverses Zoom’s prior policy  that offered only paid users such privacy protections. 

Privacy

Microsoft Pitched Facial Recognition To Federal Law Enforcement: Emails obtained by the ACLU reveal that in 2017, Microsoft’s Cognitive Services Group pitched facial-recognition and other AI products to the DEA, months before the company called for “public regulation and corporate responsibility” in that field; last week, the company pledged to not sell the technology to police departments. 

Intellectual Property

Google Countersues Sonos For Speaker Patent Infringement: In January 2020, Sonos sued Google for patent infringement, alleging that Google stole Sonos’s technology for “multiroom network speaker systems”; Google now countersues Sonos for infringement of Google’s “mesh networking, echo cancellation, DRM, content notifications, and personalized speech” patents. 
Free Expression and Censorship

Fox News Removes Manipulated Protest Images From Site: After the Seattle Times discovered that Fox inserted “altered and misleading” pictures  in its online coverage of Seattle’s civil rights marches, the news conglomerate replaced the images and posted an editor’s note explaining the retraction.
On the Lighter Side

Facebook To Launch New Feature To Block Political Ads: Facebook and Instagram will soon allow users to block all “political, electoral, and social issue” advertisements; this feature will be launched throughout the United States in the next few weeks and will be available globally by Fall of 2020. 
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

CLIP-ings: June 12, 2020

Internet Governance

Record FCC Fine Likely To Go Uncollected: A $225 million fine proposed by the FCC this week against an insurance fraud telemarketing scheme is unlikely to be paid in full, since the proposal is still subject to negotiation by the defense and, once it’s settled, the FCC must rely on the Department of Justice—which has yet to be involved in the matter–to actually collect on the final bill.
Privacy

IBM Will No Longer Develop Or Research Facial Recognition Technology: In a letter to Congress, IBM denounced the use and development of facial recognition technology for mass surveillance, stating that it perpetuates racial profiling and violates “basic human rights and freedoms”; Amazon similarly announced that it will withhold from providing the technology to police for one year in hopes that Congress will implement “stronger regulations.”
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Google Confirms Hackers Are Targeting Biden And Trump Campaigns: Google security researchers confirmed that state-backed hackers from Iran and China have attempted to access private information from the Biden and Trump presidential campaigns; though the attempts were unsuccessful, Google warned the campaigns to take further security precautions.  

Georgia Launches Investigation Into Polling Machine Problems: Georgia’s Secretary of State announced an investigation into the technical problems plaguing the new voting machines used in the state’s Democratic primaries last week, which prevented many from voting by creating long lines and confusion across a smaller-than-usual number of precincts. 
Intellectual Property

European Pirate Streaming Ring Discovered: EU law enforcement agency Europol raided the bases of an illegal streaming service that offered programming combined from a variety of popular mainstream platforms, including HBOGo, Amazon, and Netflix; the service was in operation for nearly six years and had roughly two million subscribers from around Western Europe.
Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Attempts To Curb “Boogaloo” Groups: In light of recent protests, Facebook has attempted to reduce the visibility of groups affiliated with the “boogaloo” movement, which is “known for advocating for violent uprising against the government”; Facebook has taken steps including banning the term “boogaloo” when paired with images of weapons and refusing to recommend the groups to members of similar groups.

EU Demands Social Media Companies Report Disinformation Management Efforts: The European Commission called for major social media companies to publish monthly reports on how they are attempting to combat disinformation and “fake news” on their platforms, in an effort to promote more accurate reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the Lighter Side

Apple Granted Patent For Socially Distant Group Selfies: The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Apple a patent for “synthetic group selfies,” which allows a user to edit and arrange multiple photos into a single image.  
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

CLIP-ings: June 5, 2020

Internet Governance

Senator Cruz Accuses Twitter Of Violating Iran Sanctions: In a May 29 letter to the Department of Justice and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senator Cruz called for a criminal investigation into the social media company for not blocking Iranian leaders’ accounts, which Cruz claimed violated the Iran sanctions rooted in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). 

Privacy

Google Faces $5 Billion Class Action Lawsuit For Tracking Users In “Private” Mode: A class action lawsuit filed against Google in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleges that the company violates “wiretapping and privacy laws” by  tracking information such as “consumer browsing history and other web activity data” despite users browsing in “incognito” or “private” mode. 

California Reveals Privacy Law Enforcement Strategy: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released the proposed regulations for the California Consumer Privacy Act, though their definitions of key terms such as “sale of data,” “third-party cookies,” and the entities subject to the law—uncertainties which tech giants could exploit to avoid liability—raise early doubts about enforcement effectiveness. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Zoom To Provide End-To-End Encryption For Paying Users Only: Zoom announced that it will provide full encryption privacy services only to paying users who can be verified, as well as non-profit organizations “that require the added security”; the move comes as part of an effort to keep “illegal and abusive content” off the platform.

Intellectual Property

Major Publishers Sue Internet Archive For Permitting Free Access To Millions Of Books: Numerous publishers from the Association of American Publishers filed suit in New York federal court against the Internet Archive and five others for copyright infringement, alleging that the scanning, reproducing, and distributing “digital bootleg [works] online” as part of the Internet Archive’s Open Library amounts to “mass infringement;” plaintiffs seek both an injunction and $150,000 in statutory damages per infringement. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Lawsuit Filed Against President Trump For Recent Social Media Executive Order: On June 2, the Center for Democracy and Technology filed a lawsuit against President Trump, alleging that his executive order restricting social media platforms’ ability to censor misinformation and curb online violence was purely “retaliatory” and in violation of the First Amendment.

Practice Note

California Limits Fees For Public Record Requests: After a local police department charged $3,000 in “redaction fees” for body camera footage from a UC Berkeley protest, the California Supreme Court narrowed the circumstances in which government agencies can charge fees for public record requests to exclude the cost of any privacy redactions made in the process of fulfilling those requests.  

On the Lighter Side

Researchers Analyze Why We Stretch Our Words Online: A pair of applied mathematicians from the University of Vermont published a study of 100 billion Tweets concluding that users tend to extend two- and double-letter words, such as “aw” and “finally,” to convey a broad range of emotions and attract attention in a limited space; the findings will be “critical” in training AI chatbots to better parse human-written text. 

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

CLIP-ings: May 29, 2020

Internet Governance

EU Prepares Tech-Focused Coronavirus Recovery Plan: A €750B pan-EU recovery package unveiled by the European Commission on May 27 will invest largely in boosting the resilience of industries linked to green and digital projects, including 5G, AI, cloud, cybersecurity, and supercomputing.

Privacy

Scheduled House Vote On Surveillance Power Withdrawn:  Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to withdraw a bill to reauthorize government foreign surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and instead opted to enter conference committee negotiations on the bill with the Senate.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Corporate C-Suites Create Cybersecurity Risks: A recent multinational study indicated that over two-thirds of surveyed executives asked for exceptions to their companies’ security protocols that endangered personal and corporate data, including requesting access to company data on unsecured personal devices and overrides of multi-factor authentication—steps that are widely seen as fundamental to protecting data from breaches and other cyberthreats.

Intellectual Property

U.S. Copyright Office Issues Report On Digital Millennium Copyright Act: In the report, the  Office identifies problem areas in the law and proposes updates including “alternate models” for notice and takedown, “harsher penalties” resulting in safe harbor revocations, clearer standards for liability, and expanded ability for rightsholders to “subpoena online service providers.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Investigating YouTube Comment Censorship: Slogans banned by the Chinese government were automatically deleted from YouTube’s comment sections over the past six months; in a public statement, Google attributed the activity to a bug in the video giant’s automated content filter system and has further clarified that the activity was “not the result of outside interference.”

President Trump Issues Executive Order About Social Media Platforms: After his Tweets about fraudulent mail-in voting were tagged by Twitter as potentially misleading, President Trump signed an executive order which, among other things, calls for the loss of immunity under Communications Decency Act section 230 for tech companies that discriminate against or impose certain access restrictions on users.

Practice Note

United States Court Of Appeals Dismisses First Amendment Claims Against Tech Giants: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed dismissal of a 2018 case brought by the nonprofit Freedom Watch and conservative user Laura Loomer alleging that Apple, Google, Twitter, and Facebook infringed upon their First Amendment rights by “intentionally and willfully” suppressing conservative content; the court held these tech companies are not “state actors” and thus cannot violate the First Amendment.

On the Lighter Side

Facebook Launches New Feature For Musical Collaboration: In the United States and Canada, Facebook will begin an invite-only, beta round of its newest feature, Collab, the TikTok-inspired app that allows users to share, discover, and “mash up original videos and music.”

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