CLIP-ings: May 22, 2020

Internet Governance

State And Federal Attorneys General Coordinate Antitrust Investigation Against Google: The tech giant is under government scrutiny for alleged monopolistic behavior in the online advertising market arising from how Google uses the considerable amount of data it holds on individual users to place ads across the internet; a charging decision will likely be issued by the end of this summer.

Privacy

Apple And Google Release Secure Contact-Tracing Software: On May 20, the companies announced that 22 countries and a number of U.S. states were granted access to their jointly produced contact-tracing software; the firms publicly asserted that measures to ensure user privacy, such as blocking requests for geographic location data and applying strict encryption standards, will be enforced on states and countries that have access to the technology.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

EasyJet Could Face Large Fines If Negligence Caused Customer Data Breach: EasyJet has warned customers about potential scam emails after announcing that the data of over 9 million customers was breached in a hack of the airline’s database; “accessed” information includes email addresses, travel details, and 2,208 customers’ credit and debit card information.

Intellectual Property

Nintendo Fights To Protect Its Intellectual Property From Hackers: Nintendo filed two suits against defendants who sell products that allow gamers to play pirated games on Nintendo’s Switch devices; the company seeks a permanent injunction and a $2,500 penalty per enabled violation.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Not Liable For Hosting Terrorist Content: The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a decision of the Second Circuit which held that Facebook was not liable for knowingly hosting the accounts of terrorist groups and promoting those accounts algorithmically; the case was originally brought in 2016 by the families of five Americans affected by Palestinian attacks in Israel.

Practice Note

California District Court Signals Support For Privacy Claims In Suit Involving Google Assistant: Although it granted Google’s motion to dismiss in a recent class action alleging that the company’s voice-activated assistant tool actively listened to and recorded conversations after misperceiving voice commands, a California federal district court permitted the plaintiffs to amend their complaint, and suggested plaintiffs may have an expectation of privacy when using the device in settings “reasonably understood to be private.”

On the Lighter Side

HBO Beats Netflix To First Official Relationship With Simultaneous Streaming Provider: In light of the COVID-19 lockdown, HBO and HBO Go have announced an official relationship with Scener, a Chrome extension for Mac, Windows, and Chromebook that allows up to 20 people to stream movies and shows together through a shared viewing screen with video chatting features.

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 15, 2020

Internet Governance

Warrant Requirement For Web Browsing Data Rejected: The Senate narrowly voted against a bipartisan amendment to the Patriot Act that would have expressly prohibited the government from obtaining individuals’ web browsing data without a warrant.

New York City Approves Fee Capping For Food Delivery Services: A bill passed by the New York City Council prohibits third-party food delivery services from charging restaurants fees of over twenty percent during states of emergency such as the coronavirus pandemic; Mayor de Blasio supports the bill, which would impose a fine of $1,000 per restaurant per day on delivery services that violate it.

Privacy

Google Faces Suit Brought By Max Schrems: Through his organization Noyb, the privacy activist filed a complaint with Austria’s data protection authority alleging that Google unlawfully tracks users through the use of tracking IDs without first obtaining their consent.

TikTok In The Privacy Crosshairs Again: A group of consumer advocacy groups have filed a complaint against TikTok with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that the popular video-sharing site violated a February 2019 consent decree by failing to remove videos created by users under 13 and violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by unlawfully collecting information from those users.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

COVID-19 Work Under Threat Of Digital Espionage: The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a joint statement warning that Chinese hackers are attempting to steal from U.S-based research organizations intellectual property, data, and research on vaccines, treatments, and testing for COVID-19.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Settles Suit With Content Moderators: The social media network will pay $52 million to a class of more than 11,0000 current and former content moderators who alleged to have developed PTSD, depression, and other ailments after they were tasked with reviewing content including “graphic murders, animal cruelty, sexual abuse, child abuse, and other horrifying footage, while being provided with little to no managerial or mental health support and hard-to-meet quotas under shifting guidelines.”

Practice Note

France Requires Swift Removal Of Illegal Content From Social Media: Under a law passed Wednesday, social media sites must remove child abuse- and terrorism-related content within 60 minutes and other harmful content within 24 hours; violators are subject to fines of up to 1.25 million euros, or four percent of global revenue for repeat offenders.

On the Lighter Side

A Different Type Of Tweeting: A quick-thinking officer from the Boston Police Department used a peacock mating call app on his cell phone to lure a bird that escaped from the city’s Franklin Park Zoo.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: May 8, 2020

Internet Governance

EU Publishes Cookie Consent Guidelines: In a set of updated guidelines published this week, the European Data Protection Board has undertaken to improve cookie consent practices by banning “cookie walls,” which require users to consent to cookie policies before viewing content, and by clarifying that basic interactions such as scrolling or swiping do not amount to consent.

States Consider House Arrest Tech To Curb COVID-19 Spread As Country Reopens: States including Hawaii, Kentucky, and West Virginia have contemplated the use of GPS tracking devices, smartphone apps, and similar technology to ensure that COVID-19-infected individuals stay home, though the use of such technologies for public health purposes remains “uncharted territory.”

Privacy

Surveillance Planes Take Flight Over Baltimore: An operation that began in secret in 2016 entered its second, public phase last week; the privately funded operation, which is in a six-month trial period and will focus on surveillance related to shootings, homicides, robberies, and carjackings, is viewed by privacy advocates as the “most comprehensive surveillance ever imposed on an American city in the history of the country.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Unsecured Database Of Popular Adult Platform Exposed 10.88 Billion Records: A security review site found that adult-streaming platform CAM4 left a server publicly exposed, and as a result revealed over 7 terabytes of personal information, including names, sexual orientations, payment details, and transcripts of user emails and chats; there is no evidence, however, that the database was accessed by hackers.

Intellectual Property

ICANN Rejects Proposed Sale Of Public Interest Registry To Ethos Capital: After a contentious review process, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers blocked the sale of the Public Interest Registry, which handles “.org” domains, to private equity firm Ethos Capital, in part on the basis that the sale would “change [ ] the fundamental public interest nature of PIR to an entity that is bound to serve the interests of its corporate stakeholders, and which has no meaningful plan to protect or serve the .org community.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Tumblr Clamps Down On Hate Speech In Reblogs Of Terminated Posts: In response to feedback from users, Tumblr announced that it will remove reblogs of posts that have already been taken down for containing “hate speech from Nazi or other white supremacist groups” as a way to curb the spread of such speech on its platform.

Twitter Will Prompt Users To Clean Up Their Language: In an effort to dissuade users from tweeting “offensive or hurtful language,” Twitter will begin showing users prompts urging them to reconsider their word choices before sending a tweet if language in the tweet matches language in posts that have been reported.

On the Lighter Side

A Modern Twist On A Classic: One nostalgic typist created a contraption that makes his computer keyboard sound and feel like an old-fashioned typewriter.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: May 1, 2020

Internet Governance

Disney Plus Asserts Twitter Users Are Subject To Disney Terms Of Service: The media giant’s twitter account spurred confusion after suggesting users who tweet with the hashtag #MayThe4th and mention @DisneyPlus are subject to its terms of service and agree to Disney’s use of any message shared in such tweets; legal experts have questioned the validity of Disney’s claims.

Amazon Loses Appeal In France To Sell More Than Essential Goods: The Versailles Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling limiting Amazon’s delivery services to essential goods until a proper health and risk evaluation to protect workers from COVID-19 is conducted with French unions; the technology giant currently faces a fine of €100,000 for any delivery made in violation of the ruling.

Privacy

Apple And Google Promise To Shut Down Coronavirus Tracker When Pandemic Ends: The tech giants have issued a revised plan for their joint contract-tracing effort that includes a promise to end the service when the pandemic has been “sufficiently contained,” as well as stronger encryption specifications to prevent the identification or digital fingerprinting of individuals.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Nintendo Hack Exposed Over 160,000 Accounts: The gaming company announced last week that the accounts were exposed starting in early April, and that hackers were able to access individuals’ date of birth, region, and email address; the hackers also used users’ PayPal or credit card information to buy items on Nintendo’s platform such as “V-bucks,” the virtual currency associated with the popular game Fortnite.

Intellectual Property

Jay-Z Responds To YouTube Deepfakes With Copyright Strikes: The hip-hop mogul’s entertainment agency, Roc Nation, claims that the AI-generated videos replicating Jay-Z’s voice rapping the “Book of Genesis and the infamous Navy Seal copypasta meme” amount to unlawful copyright infringement; though YouTube initially removed the content, the videos were reinstated after the platform determined Roc Nation’s DMCA takedown requests were incomplete.

Free Expression and Censorship

U.S. Army Reservist Falsely Accused Of Being Coronavirus Patient Zero In Viral Misinformation Campaign: Maatje Benassi, the subject of a viral conspiracy promoted by YouTube “misinformation peddler” George Webb and the Chinese Communist Party, has tried to get the viral content removed, but First Amendment speech protections and YouTube’s legal immunities have left her with seemingly little legal recourse.

Twitter Says Trump’s Disinfectant Statements Do Not Violate Coronavirus Misinformation Policies: While the social media platform has blocked hashtags related to the use of disinfectant as a coronavirus cure, a spokesperson for the company said that videos of President Trump proffering the idea of ingesting disinfectant to treat the virus do not violate its policies because the statements reflect “a wish for a cure rather than a call to action.”

On the Lighter Side

Library Of Congress Launches Free Audio-Mixing Website: Created by DJ and computer scientist Brian Foo, “Citizen DJ” allows users to access “roughly 3 million sound recordings spanning centuries” and remix them to create their own tracks.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: April 24, 2020

Internet Governance

Facebook Will Add Location Information For High-Reach Posts And Notify Users Of False Information: To increase the reliability and authenticity of information posted on Facebook and Instagram, the social media giant has begun adding location information to high-reach posts ahead of the 2020 elections; the tech company will also start alerting users when they have interacted with harmful or false information related to the coronavirus pandemic on their newsfeed.

Privacy

Israel Stops The Use Of Phone Tracking Technology To Enforce Coronavirus Quarantines: Citing privacy concerns, an Israeli parliamentary oversight committee halted the use of phone tracking technology after finding that the practice did not help police enforce quarantines; the country is still using similar technology for its contact tracing efforts.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Security Lapse Exposed Clearview AI’s Proprietary Information: A security researcher discovered an exposed server containing the facial recognition technology company’s source code, secret keys, cloud storage credentials, Slack tokens, and copies of its apps; the company asserts that the breach “did not expose any personally identifiable information, search history, or biometric identifiers,” and that remedial measures have been taken to prevent further vulnerabilities.

Small Business Administration Breach May Affect Almost 8,000 Applicants: Small business owners that applied for a CARES Act loan through the SBA’s website may have had their personal information, including their Social Security numbers and financial information, exposed by a flaw that caused the application portal to display another individual’s information when an applicant clicked their browser’s “back” button.

Intellectual Property

Australia Decides Big Tech Must Pay For Reusing News Content: Citing the need to “protect consumers, improve transparency and address the power imbalance between the parties,” the country’s government is poised to enact a mandatory code requiring tech giants such as Google and Facebook to pay for reusing snippets of original news content generated by domestic publishers and provide publishers with a share of any generated ad revenue.

Free Expression and Censorship

Eventbrite Blocks Coronavirus Lockdown Protests: The event-hosting site revealed that it would remove from its platform any event that would violate social distancing guidelines, effectively barring people from using the site to organize protests and rallies aimed at convincing government officials to end shelter-in-place orders and reopen the economy.

Practice Note

Twitter May Not Reveal Government Surveillance Requests In Transparency Report: After a six-year legal battle in which the social media giant argued that it has free-speech rights to “reveal the extent of U.S. government surveillance,” a federal judge denied Twitter’s plea to reveal the requests on the basis that disclosure “would be likely to lead to grave or imminent harm to the national security.”

On the Lighter Side

New York Allows Virtual Weddings Amid Coronavirus Lockdown: As the state continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order that allows residents to receive their marriage licenses remotely and authorizes clerks to perform wedding ceremonies via videoconference.

In Memoriam

Fordham CLIP is sad to announce the passing of Professor Joel Reidenberg, the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair in Law and CLIP’s founder and Academic Director. Professor Reidenberg was a pioneer in the field of information law, and was a colleague, mentor, and friend to many.  He will be remembered not only for his influence in law, but also for his unrelenting kindness, compassion, energy, and enthusiasm. CLIP invites you to read more about Professor Reidenberg’s life and work here

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: April 17, 2020

Internet Governance

Senator Blumenthal Raises Concerns Over Apple And Google’s Contact Tracing Technology: Apple and Google have teamed up to develop contact tracing technology designed to help contain the spread of coronavirus by alerting users after they’ve come in contact with a contagious person; Senator Blumenthal has warned the companies that they must balance consumer privacy with the needs of public health officials.

Supreme Court To Hear Cases Via Teleconference, Relaxes Paper Filing Rules: After delaying oral arguments last month due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court will hear cases over teleconference in May and will live stream oral arguments; the Court also relaxed its rules for paper filings and service in an effort to protect the health and safety of personnel amid the outbreak.

Privacy

Half Of Americans Have Opted Out Of Products Or Services Due To Privacy Concerns: According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 52% of Americans have decided not to use a product or service because of the amount of personal information it collected; the study also found that Americans who were victims of hacking or fraud were more likely to opt out of services due to privacy concerns.

Singapore Bans Use Of Zoom In Schools Following Security Incidents: After a series of “very serious incidents” in the first weeks of home-based learning involving “Zoombombing,” Singapore has discontinued the use of teleconferencing service for remote learning; the move follows a series of security and privacy incidents for Zoom, as other schools and regions have also banned use of the service for learning. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Zoom Allows Users To Choose Routing Region: After the Taiwanese government banned Zoom due to concern about the flow of its data through China, the video-conferencing platform is now allowing users of paid accounts to opt out of having their data routed through selected regions. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Amazon Halts Delivery In France: The Nanterre Court of Justice ruled that the e-commerce giant must assess the “occupational risks inherent in the COVID-19 epidemic” at its French warehouses and is now limited to delivering only essential goods; in response, Amazon has suspended operations in the country pending a review of COVID-19 risks in its facilities.

Practice Note

Court Reverses Order Requiring Facebook To Turn Over Murder Victim’s Data: California’s Court of Appeal reversed a trial court decision that ordered Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to produce the victim’s social media messages to the defendants; the Court of Appeal found that the lower court had failed to “consider all the relevant factors” identified by the state’s Supreme Court before permitting the defendants to access the data.

On the Lighter Side

Unemployed Gamers Turn To Full-Time Video Game Coaching: As unemployment surges due to the coronavirus pandemic, some newly unemployed gamers are using their passion to earn extra money as video game coaches.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: April 10, 2020


Internet Governance

“Zoombombing” Now Considered A Federal Offense: The trend of gaining access to Zoom meetings and broadcasting disruptive content is now punishable by fines and possible imprisonment in Michigan, according to a press release posted on the state’s U.S. Attorney’s Office website; victims of teleconference hacking can report incidents to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.  

EU To Create Common Rules For Coronavirus Tracking Apps: In an effort to streamline coronavirus tracking efforts across the region while maintaining privacy and data protection standards, the EU Commission and member states are creating a “toolbox” of common rules for the creation and use of mobile apps designed to track the spread of coronavirus.

Privacy

Google Releases Location Data To Assist With Coronavirus Response: The tech firm is releasing a series of “Community Mobility Reports,” which include aggregated, anonymized location history data intended to help public health officials better understand changes in trips to essential businesses and inform decisions regarding regional store hours and delivery service offerings.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

New York City Bans Zoom From Public Schools: Following a series of security and privacy issues with Zoom, New York City’s Department of Education banned the teleconference service in all city schools and is transitioning to Microsoft’s Teams service for remote learning.

Intellectual Property

France Rules Google Must Pay For Reusing News Content: The French competition authority has ordered Google to negotiate with publishers and provide them payment for its use of snippets of their content in its search results; Google had unilaterally removed snippets from search results as a way of avoiding payments to publishers under the EU’s new copyright measures, but the French authority found this tactic to amount to an abuse of Google’s dominant market position.

Free Expression and Censorship

YouTube Limits 5G-Coronavirus Conspiracy Videos: The social media company announced it would remove content connecting 5G to the coronavirus pandemic from the platform for violating its policies against videos promoting “medically unsubstantiated methods” of preventing coronavirus infections.

WhatsApp Restricts Message Forwarding To Limit Spread of False Information: Amid scrutiny for its role in spreading disinformation about the coronavirus, the messaging app announced that it will be attempting to minimize the dispersion of false information by restricting users’ ability to send “frequently forwarded messages” (i.e., messages that have been sent through a chain of five users) to only a single chat at a time. 

On the Lighter Side

New Hinge Feature Encourages Virtual Dates: In the wake of a recent surge in virtual dating, the popular dating app unveiled a new “Date from Home” feature to ease the transition from in-app texting to video calls; the feature allows users to indicate to matches their readiness to have a video call. 

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP



CLIP-ings: April 3, 2020

Internet Governance

African Governments Partner With Tech Companies To Fight Coronavirus Misinformation: Several African countries have partnered with Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter to combat misinformation as coronavirus infections now total around 6,000 on the continent; some countries, including Kenya and South Africa, have also resorted to punitive measures, threatening jail time and large fines for the spread of false information.

Privacy

With Massive Uptick In Users, Zoom Promises To Fix Privacy And Security Flaws: Citing a series of privacy and security concerns, including vulnerabilities that allowed users to hijack cameras and “Zoombomb” meetings, Zoom announced a 90-day feature freeze as it plans to focus on fixing privacy and security issues to better accommodate its 200 million daily users.

Washington Governor Signs Facial Recognition Technology Law: The law, signed on Tuesday, is the first U.S. state law to limit the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement and requires, among other things, that government agencies obtain a warrant before running facial recognition scans. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Marriott Discloses New Security Breach: After a 2018 breach impacted over 500 million guests, Marriott said the latest breach exposed the personal information of 5.2 million guests, including names, birthdates, and phone numbers; Marriott said it does not believe any payment information was leaked. 

Intellectual Property

National Emergency Library’s Expanded Offering Raises Piracy Concerns: In response to increased demand from educators who are now teaching remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, the Internet Archive-affiliated digital library suspended waitlists for access to its collection of 1.4 million scanned books and ebooks; some authors and publishers have criticized the policy change and accuse the Emergency Library of “acting as a piracy site.”

Free Expression and Censorship

“Fake News” Banned By Vietnamese Government: Effective April 15, a new law will restrict social media users from posting or sharing content the government deems to be misinformation; the law, which empowers authorities to impose substantial fines and force users to remove posts, also prohibits a swath of other content including posts “encouraging unsound customs, promoting depraved cultural products,” or disclosing state secrets.

Practice Note

Judge Rules Call Of Duty Can Depict Humvees Without A License: A New York district court judge ruled that unlicensed depictions of Humvees in the popular video game did not infringe Humvee maker AM General’s trademark because the vehicle’s presence in the game was intended to promote realism rather than to trade on the Humvee brand.

On the Lighter Side

A Micro-Mini Purse For Your Airpods: Twelve South, a company that exclusively makes accessories for Apple products, debuted a purse designed to hold Airpods and Airpods only; priced at $49, the miniature leather satchel is equipped with both a side strap and a finger-sized top handle.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP


CLIP-ings: March 27, 2020

Internet Governance

Tech Companies Partner With WHO For Coronavirus Hackathon: Facebook, Microsoft, and TikTok are among the tech companies participating in #BuildforCOVID19, a global hackathon aimed at finding software solutions for the coronavirus pandemic; the winning projects will be announced on April 3.

Privacy

Smartphone GPS Data Shows American Social Distancing Patterns: Unacast, a human mobility insights company, uses smartphone GPS location data collected from apps to gauge the extent to which people are staying put and generate a “Social Distancing Scoreboard” that grades adherence to social distancing guidelines by county across the United States; grades have varied greatly, with some localities such as Washington, D.C. receiving an “A” rating, while others like Wyoming earn an “F.” 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cybersecurity Experts Fight Coronavirus-Related Hacks: With an uptick in phishing scams and other hacking attempts designed to exploit the coronavirus pandemic, a group of over 400 international cybersecurity experts formed the “COVID-19 CTI League” to fight hacking and ransomware attacks targeted at health organizations and other “frontline responders.” 

Intellectual Property

Google v. Oracle Supreme Court Oral Arguments Delayed Due To Coronavirus: For the first time since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the Supreme Court has postponed hearing oral arguments, delaying the $8 billion copyright case between the tech giants. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Namecheap Blocks Registration Of Domains Containing Coronavirus-Related Words: In an effort to prevent potential abuse, fraud, and misinformation, the domain registrar has temporarily blocked all domain requests that contain words including “coronavirus,” “covid,” or “vaccine;” legitimate companies and website owners will still be allowed to apply for domains containing the blocked words by making a request through Namecheap’s customer support team.

Twitter Locks Account For Promoting Unfounded Coronavirus Advice: The platform temporarily locked The Federalist’s account after the news site tweeted an article encouraging people to deliberately infect themselves in controlled-quarantine coronavirus gatherings similar to “medical chickenpox parties”; Twitter concluded that the post violated its rules regarding COVID-19 content, which prohibit posts that “go[ ] directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.”

Practice Note

Surge In Lawyers Working From Home Increases Risk Of Smart-Devices Hearing Confidential Conversations: Though companies such as Amazon and Google have stated that their digital assistants are designed to record and store conversations only when voice-activated, lawyers are being warned to remove or turn off the devices when working from home given that the devices can often activate in error.

On the Lighter Side

Spanish Police Arrest Man For “Hunting Pokemon” During Lockdown: A 77 year-old man dedicated to “catching them all” was arrested for playing Pokemon Go outside, in violation of the Spanish government’s coronavirus lockdown orders.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP


CLIP-ings: March 20, 2020

Internet Governance

Israel Turns To Cellphone Location Data To Fight Coronavirus: Israel’s internal security agency has received authorization to use cellphone location data to “retrace the movements of individuals who test positive for the virus, and identify others who should be quarantined”; reports suggest that government researchers in the United States have been in talks with tech companies such as Facebook and Google on how to leverage their users’ data to help curb the virus’s spread in the U.S.

EU Asks Streaming Services To Downgrade From High-Definition: European Union officials are asking online streaming platforms such as Netflix to switch to standard-definition streaming to preserve bandwidth and prevent strain on the internet’s functioning during a time when many are working and learning from home due to coronavirus-related quarantines or lockdowns.

Privacy

House FISA Bill Delayed After Senate Extends Existing Surveillance Tools: On Monday, the Senate agreed to extend for 77 days a set of existing government surveillance tools to gain time to review the House-approved USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020, which would update and renew domestic surveillance rules under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Security Firm Discovers Malware Disguised As Coronavirus-Tracking App: Mobile app security company Lookout discovered a malware app that mimics Johns Hopkins’ legitimate coronavirus-tracking app and allows attackers to access a device’s photos, videos, and location, as well as to enable its camera.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Spam Filter Bug Blocks Legitimate Coronavirus News: Users who attempted to share legitimate news about coronavirus from outlets such as The Atlantic and The Times of Israel had their posts flagged as spam; Facebook contends that the issue arose as the result of a bug in the company’s spam filter.

TikTok Adds Content Advisory Council Following Content Suppression: The popular video-sharing app announced that a council of health and safety experts with expertise in areas such as misinformation, hate speech, and bullying will help form content policies for the app; the announcement comes after TikTok was discovered to have instructed its content moderators to suppress videos from users who appeared to be “too ugly or too poor.”

Practice Note

Department Of Health And Human Services Loosens HIPAA Penalties In Wake Of Coronavirus: To enable greater patient assessment while limiting the risk of infection through the use of telehealth services, the Department will waive penalties for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that could otherwise result from medical professionals’ use of non-HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing services such as FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, and Skype.

On the Lighter Side

The Show Must Go On(line): Conan O’Brien will become the first of the late-night talk show hosts to attempt to return to the air from coronavirus-imposed self-isolation by filming his segment using an iPhone and dialing in guests via Skype.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP