EU Antitrust Regulator Commences Preliminary Investigations Into Google, Facebook: The regulator is investigating how the two companies gather, process, use, and monetize data; numerous antitrust investigations into big tech are currently underway, including a separate EU investigation launched last month into Facebook’s marketplace service and its impact on the classified ads market.
China Requires Facial Scan With Phone Registration Or SIM Card Purchase: A new policy enacted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology requires customers to submit a facial scan for the ostensible purpose of tying consumer identities to devices to thwart SIM card switching; the policy follows a trend of Chinese government measures to strengthen state surveillance through the use of facial recognition technology.
Proposed Class Action Alleges TikTok Secretly Sending User Info To China: The lawsuit alleges that TikTok has been sharing personal data stored in the app, including unpublished videos stored on the app, contact lists, and location information in violation of federal computer fraud law and California’s constitutional right to privacy; the suit follows recent reports that the U.S. government is investigating whether the app poses a national security threat.
Information Security and Cyberthreats
Russian Law Requires Pre-Installed Software On Devices Sold Within The Country:The Russian government will release a list of applications that must be installed on all cell phones, computers, and smart TVs prior to sale; the law has been presented as a means of helping Russian IT firms compete with international companies, and also cites convenience for consumers.
Facebook Removes UK Election Ad For Violating Intellectual Property Policy: The social network determined that the Conservative Party’s ad, which contained video footage of BBC journalists making statements about Brexit without making clear that the statements were quoting politicians’ remarks, violated its intellectual property policy by using the BBC’s footage without permission.
Free Expression and Censorship
Facebook Issues First Corrective Notice Under Singapore’s Fake News Law: The Singaporean government directed Facebook to publish under a user’s post a notice indicating that the government had determined that the post, which alleged election rigging and noted the arrest of a supposed whistleblower, contained false information; in publishing the notice, Facebook called for a “measured and transparent approach” to the implementation of the law and referred to the government’s assurances that the law would not impact free expression.
District Court Rejects Tortious Interference Claim Resulting From Twitter Ban: The court dismissed a Twitter user’s claim that the defendant’s reporting of her posts amounted to tortious interference, holding that the user’s relationship with her followers was not a protected business relationship with identifiable customers, but rather a relationship with the community at large; the court also rejected a claim that the ban interfered with the user’s contract with Twitter, holding that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protected Twitter’s ability to “exercise traditional editorial functions, such as moderating content on its platform.”
On the Lighter Side
“I’m Walkin’ Here!” FedEx’s New AI-Powered Robots Hit Streets Of NYC For Special Event: Bystander videos show FedEx’s “SameDay Bots,” also known as “Roxos,” as they make their way around New York City using artificial intelligence, motion sensors, and stair-climbing wheels; the impromptu display incited backlash on social media expressing concern for sidewalk congestion and pedestrian safety.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP