France Fines Apple €25 Million For Slowing Down Old iPhones: The country’s General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control determined that Apple misled consumers by not informing them that the throttling, which was introduced to prevent unexpected shutdowns as a result of battery degradation, would lead to the slower performance of iPhones with older batteries; Apple has since notified users and provided an option to turn off throttling in newer software updates.
Facebook Delays Launch Of Dating Service After Not Meeting European Privacy Requirements: The Irish Data Protection Commission “conducted an inspection” of the social media giant’s Dublin offices after Facebook failed to give EU data regulators proper advance notice that its dating service would launch in the EU on February 13th and failed to demonstrate that it had performed the legally required privacy risk assessment.
Senator Gillibrand Proposes Creation Of Data Protection Agency: The New York Senator introduced on Thursday the Data Protection Act of 2020, which would create a federal agency dedicated to protecting consumer privacy and enforcing data protection.
Information Security and Cyberthreats
Chinese Military Denies Hacking Equifax, Calls Accusations “Legal Bullying”: After four Chinese military officers were charged with hacking the credit reporting agency in 2017 (a breach that exposed over 145 million people’s personal data), China’s Ministry of National Defense demanded that the U.S. repeal its charges to “avoid another destructive step in the relationship between the two countries and militaries.”
CIA-Owned Encryption Company Spied On Clients: Recently leaked documents show that from 1951 until at least 2008, the CIA secretly owned and operated encryption company Crypto AG, which enabled the intelligence agency to decrypt and read all messages sent by Crypto AG’s hundreds of clients, which ranged “from the Vatican to Iran.”
Huawei Sues Verizon For Patent Infringement: The Chinese telecommunications giant is suing Verizon for over $1 billion, claiming that the top U.S. wireless carrier profited $29.8 billion in 2018 alone from the unauthorized use of 12 Huawei patents; Verizon says the claims are without merit and calls the lawsuits “nothing more than a PR stunt.”
Free Expression and Censorship
UK Government Appoints Social Media Content Regulator: Citing a desire to “protect children and vulnerable people online” while balancing accountability and free expression, the British government has appointed the media watchdog Ofcom to regulate content on large social media platforms; Ofcom is specifically tasked with ensuring that platforms adhere to their respective terms and conditions.
On the Lighter Side
SpaceX Launches Rocket Rideshare: The rocket and spacecraft company is now allowing users to book their spot on a rocket for prices starting at $1 million; users are asked to specify their desired orbit, travel date, weight, and any add-on services they would like to purchase.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP