CLIP-ings: July 19, 2019

Internet Governance

House And Senate Committees Hold Antitrust Hearings On Amazon, Apple, Facebook And Google: The tech companies’ market power and Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, Libra, were the main focus of this week’s hearings; G7 leaders and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have also expressed skepticism about Libra, and a draft bill targeting the cryptocurrency, the Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act, is circulating in the House Financial Services Committee.

Privacy

FaceApp Revives In Popularity Despite Privacy Concerns: The Russian photo-editing app, which allows users to upload photos and make their subjects appear older or younger, is being criticized because uploaded photos are processed in the cloud rather than on local devices; the app can also access photos on Apple devices even where the user’s photo permission setting would prevent any access.

FTC Proposes $5 Billion Fine For Facebook’s Role In Cambridge Analytica Scandal: The fine follows an investigation into whether Cambridge Analytica’s accessing of approximately 87 million Facebook users’ data violated an earlier consent decree; while the fine is the largest ever proposed by the FTC against a tech company, and its largest ever for a privacy violation, some Senators have labeled it “woefully inadequate.”

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Bulgarian Tax Agency Hack Exposes Bulgarian Taxpayers’ Personal And Financial Data: A 20-year-old cybersecurity worker has been arrested in connection with the hack, which is believed to have exposed the data of the majority of Bulgaria’s adult population; depending on the extent of the breach, the tax agency may face a fine of up to 20 million euros.

Intellectual Property

Qualcomm, DOJ, Seek Temporary Pause In Patent Licensing Litigation: The chipmaker is asking the Ninth Circuit to stay a May District Court ruling which found that Qualcomm broke antitrust law by charging cellphone makers high fees for rights to its wireless equipment; the government has requested a pause in the proceedings due to national security interests stemming from Qualcomm’s position as a supplier of 5G technology.

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Granted “Shadowbanning” Patent: The patent covers the process by which moderators can demote or hide comments in online forums without the commenter’s knowledge; although the feature is designed to manage offensive content, it stokes concern about social media companies’ control over speech, as reflected in a letter from two Republican Senators to the FTC this week asking it to investigate technology companies’ alleged censorship practices.

Practice Note

USPTO Announces New Rule Requiring All Foreign Trademark Applicants, Registrants And Parties To Be Represented By U.S. Counsel: The rule, announced earlier this month, takes effect on August 3 and is expected to affect tens of thousands of foreign-domiciled participants to USPTO proceedings; the rule is a response to a recent surge in fraudulent, inaccurate, and bad faith submissions.

On the Lighter Side

Uber Passengers Inadvertently Charged 100 Times The Advertised Price: The glitch, which triggered fraud alerts and maxed out customers’ credit cards, affected passengers in San Diego and Washington, with one rider charged $9,672 for a $96.72 fare.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Robert Chislett
Alison Gordon

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: July 12, 2019

Internet Governance

FCC Preempts San Francisco Broadband Ordinance: The Commission voted three to two to block an ordinance prohibiting building owners from denying ISPs access to a building’s existing wiring; opponents of the FCC’s proposed order criticize its potentially anticompetitive effect.

Privacy

FBI, ICE Use Facial Recognition Software To Search Driver’s License Databases: Facial recognition technology-assisted searches designed to identify suspects, witnesses, and bystanders that are reportedly conducted without warrants or court orders face scrutiny following a House Homeland Security Committee hearing this week; the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has also announced it will investigate the use of facial recognition software in aviation security.

Victim Of Electric Scooter Hit-And-Run Seeks User Data From Chicago Scooter Companies: A cyclist injured in the collision petitioned ten scooter companies for data on all riders in the area at the time of the incident; the case tests companies’ promises to protect riders’ privacy and data.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

British Airways And Marriott Face Record GDPR Fines For Data Breaches: The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office has proposed fines on British Airways and Marriott of $230 million and $124 million, respectively, in response to data breaches discovered in 2018.

Intellectual Property

Patent Rejected For Smartphones-As-Remote Controls: The Federal Circuit upheld the PTAB’s rejection of smart home technology manufacturer Universal Electronics’ patent for connecting smartphones to televisions for use as remote controls on the basis that the invention was obvious based on a combination of earlier inventions.

Free Expression & Censorship

Federal Court Rules President Trump’s Twitter Blocking Unconstitutional: The Second Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that the President’s blocking of Twitter users amounts to an unconstitutional restriction of speech under theFirst Amendment’s public forum doctrine; the public’s right to criticize politicians online has spurred two lawsuits filed by New York politicians against Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for similar management of her official Twitter account.

Practice Note

California Senate Committee Amends Three Of Five CCPA Bills Now Pending Final Approval: Three of five business-backed bills were pushed forward with consumer-friendly amendments that, among other things, increase the transparency of employer surveillance practices and provide greater information for consumers who wish to contact online businesses regarding data use.

On the Lighter Side

Tesco Supermarkets Soon To Implement Cashierless Stores: Cameras and sensors powered by artificial intelligence will detect products selected by customers and automatically charge customers as they leave the store.  

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Robert Chislett
Alison Gordon

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: June 28, 2019

Internet Governance

Disclosing Profit Gained From User Data: A bipartisan team of senators has introduced the Dashboard Act, a bill that would require technology companies with more than 100 million monthly users to disclose the types of data being collected from consumers and the revenue gained from its monetization; the bill has attracted attention because it proposes an obligation for social media companies to inform users of how much revenue their data provides from their use of “free” social media services.

Privacy

Healthcare Partnership Faces HIPAA Suit: Google and the University of Chicago Medical Center, which collaborate to use artificial intelligence to predict patients’ future medical events, face a lawsuit in Illinois federal court alleging that the hospital’s sharing of certain medical records, along with Google’s ability to personally identify patients, violate HIPAA patient privacy standards.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Florida City Pays Bitcoin Ransom After Cyber Attack: Lake City, Florida, voted in an emergency city council meeting to pay hackers a ransom demand of 42 bitcoins worth nearly $500,000; Riviera City, Florida, suffered from a similar ransomware attack one week earlier and similarly agreed to pay 65 bitcoins valued at $600,000.

Telecom Companies Fall Victim To “Operation Soft Cell”: In a large-scale cyberattack now spanning over seven years, hackers have stolen sensitive data from more than a dozen major mobile carriers; the data theft operation, which is believed to be state-sponsored, has penetrated mobile carriers in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East by breaching networks and potentially enabling access to the data of millions of customers.

Intellectual Property

Supreme Court Declines To Hear Digital First Sale Doctrine Case: The justices denied a petition of certiorari from now-shuttered online music service ReDigi Inc. in a case concerning consumers’ ability to resell digital copies of music and other works without violating copyright law; ReDigi aimed to let users resell MP3s by employing technology that purportedly allowed only a single copy of a song file to exist at any one time, but previous copyright infringement lawsuits against ReDigi held that the digital version of the first sale doctrine did not apply because ReDigi technically created new copies of works for the online marketplace.

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Agrees To Share Identification Data Of Hate Speech Suspects With French Authorities: Facebook has agreed with French authorities that it will provide identity data on users suspected of engaging in hate speech; while Facebook has previously taken the position that it was not legally obliged to provide such data, the company agreed to the arrangement after engaging in ongoing dialogue with the French administration.

Practice Note

USPTO Partners Up To Streamline International Patent Applications: For the second year, the USPTO’s Collaborative Patent Cooperation Treaty Collaborative Search and Examination pilot program will hold a second round of applications in which patent examiners from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea, and China collaborate to process applications.

On the Lighter Side

Audio Surveillance Fail: A recent report reveals that an “aggression detector” audio surveillance system installed by some schools confuses laughter for aggressive behavior.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Robert Chislett
Alison Gordon

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: June 21, 2019

Internet Governance

Senate Calls Facebook To Testify About Cryptocurrency: In response to the expected 2020 release of Facebook’s Libra, a blockchain-enabled global cryptocurrency project, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a hearing to gather information about the project and to assess potential data privacy and consumer concerns; European regulators are also calling for scrutiny of the planned financial system, while Facebook has claimed that the project will provide financial inclusion to unbanked populations in developing countries.

Privacy

YouTube Under Investigation For Potential Violations Of Children’s Privacy Laws: After complaints by parent and consumer advocacy groups that YouTube collected data from children under 13 without parental consent and made inappropriate search engine recommendations, the F.T.C. is investigating whether the video-streaming platform has violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Georgia Supreme Court Addresses Car Data Privacy: The Georgia Supreme Court will determine whether a Georgia man’s reckless driving conviction should be reversed on the basis that law enforcement’s collection of data from his vehicle’s “black box” at the time of the crash required a warrant.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Database Of Medical Information Left Exposed By Marketing Company: An online marketing company that helps law firms generate leads from prospective personal injury claimants maintained an unsecured database of nearly 150,000 records containing private health and financial information submitted by potential clients; the database was taken down after researchers discovered the vulnerability.

Intellectual Property

Movie Sanitizing Service Is Liable For Copyright Damages: A jury determined that movie streaming service VidAngel, which ripped movies from DVD copies, scrubbed them of sex, violence, or similar content, and then streamed sanitized versions for a family audience, must pay $62 million in damages to Warner Brothers, Disney, and Twentieth Century Fox for copyright infringement.

Free Expression & Censorship

Twitch Sues Anonymous Users For Uploading Objectionable Content: The live-streaming platform is suing 100 anonymous users for allegedly violating its terms of service by uploading content such as video footage of the Christchurch mosque shootings and hardcore pornography; Twitch seeks to identify the individuals involved, ban them from its service, and obtain damages for the losses it incurred as a result of the objectionable content.

Practice Note

Email Services Not Subject To European Telecommunications Regulations: The European Court of Justice has ruled that email services such as Gmail are not “electronic communications services” and therefore not subject to strict EU telecom privacy obligations; the Court distinguished a recent ruling that Skype’s voice-over IP function qualifies as an “electronic communications service” on the basis that Google—unlike Skype, which contracts with telecoms to deliver calls—merely uploads and receives data and does not provide a means of transmitting messages for the purposes of telecom regulation. 

On the Lighter Side

Cat Filter Enhances Pakistani Media Conference: Cat ears and whiskers were “accidentally” applied to the face of Pakistan’s Provincial Information Minister during livestream coverage of a media conference.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Robert Chislett
Alison Gordon

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: June 14, 2019

Internet Governance

G20 Drafts Digital Tax Rules For Global Tech Giants: In response to corporate tax loopholes that allow multinational technology firms to funnel sales through low-tax jurisdictions, G20 finance ministers have released an official statement agreeing to establish common rules that would create a global digital tax regime; the United States has expressed concern that the efforts unfairly target U.S.-based internet companies.

Privacy

Maine Enacts Online Privacy Law To Protect Consumer Data: The Act to Protect the Privacy of Online Consumer Information, now one of the country’s strongest privacy laws, requires ISPs to obtain explicit consent from consumers before selling their data and prohibits ISPs from refusing service or offering discounts to coerce consumers into consenting.


Amazon Faces Class Actions For Recording Children’s Voices: A proposed federal class action and a similar suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court allege that Amazon’s Alexa records and “voiceprints” the voices of children who use the device without first obtaining consent, in violation of eight states’ recording laws; the suits claim that Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices are capable of distinguishing registered users’ voices from other voices, but that Amazon has neglected to take measures to limit the recording and storage of nonuser dialogue.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Cyberattack On U.S. Customs And Border Protection Compromises Traveler Photos: Hackers obtained photos of travelers’ faces and license plates from a federal subcontractor, which was using the data to improve facial recognition technology designed to identify vehicle occupants; the breach highlights the potential conflicts between federal surveillance practices and the privacy interests of Americans.

Intellectual Property

Investment Management Computer Program Too Abstract To Qualify For Patent Protection: The Federal Circuit affirmed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to reject a patent application for an investment management program that relies on standard computer procedures; the court agreed that the application did not meet the test set out in Alice v. CLS Bank because it did not propose an inventive concept, but rather merely automated the allocation of investment returns within a common fund.

Free Expression & Censorship

France Criminalizes Publication Of Judicial Data Analytics: The French government has banned the publication of data analysis of judicial decision-making, including patterns of judicial decisions used by legal tech companies to predict litigation outcomes; violation of the ban is now a criminal offense punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

Practice Note

Search Engines Held Not Liable For Map Results Derived From Fake Third Party Content: The D.C. Circuit affirmed dismissal of a claim against Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft concerning the alleged manipulation of online map results by sham companies; the court agreed that the Communications Decency Act shielded the search engines from liability for the search results that were generated by neutral algorithms.

On the Lighter Side

Google Maps Tests New “Off-Route” Feature For Taxi Rides: The new feature alerts taxi passengers if their driver diverts from the fastest route.

Joel R. Reidenberg

Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of LawFounding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP


Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP


Robert Chislett
Alison Gordon

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: June 7, 2019

Internet Governance

House Judiciary Subcommittee Pushes Antitrust Investigation Of Tech Industry: Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google will be called to testify as part of a wide-ranging probe over the tech industry’s perceived concentration and misuse of market power and the resulting impact on local journalism, consumer privacy, and market entry for startups; the hearing is being conducted in addition to three separate antitrust inquiries simultaneously pursued by the executive branch, the Justice Department, and the F.T.C.

PrivacyS

New York Privacy Act Receives Pushback From Big Tech: A bill recently introduced by New York State senator Kevin Thomas that would create a private right of action and would require online businesses to act as “data fiduciaries” would become one of the strongest privacy laws in the country if passed.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

EU Embassy In Moscow Falls Victim To Multi-Year Cyber Attack: A leaked internal document reveals that the EU Embassy in Moscow was compromised by sophisticated cyber-attacks to its unclassified network as early as February 2017; the European External Action Service, the EU’s foreign and security policy agency, did not discover the attack until this April, shortly before the EU Parliament elections.

Intellectual Property

Uber Faces Patent Infringement Claim: A former Georgia Institute of Technology professor is suing the company for allegedly infringing his 2004 patent over a system that combines cellphones, GPS, and auto-billing technology to facilitate ridesharing; the former professor also sued Lyft last July for infringement of the same patent.

Free Expression & CensorshipS

EU Court Signals That Facebook May Be Required To Remove Content Worldwide: The European Court of Justice’s legal adviser issued an advisory opinion indicating that Facebook could be ordered to remove content that is identical or “equivalent” to content that is hateful, defamatory, or otherwise illegal; Facebook argues that the opinion, if followed, would have far-reaching implications for how states maintain sovereignty and uphold freedom of expression.

CNN And Reuters Fall Victim To Chinese Government Censorship: Upon the 30th anniversary of Beijing’s pro-democracy uprising and subsequent Tiananmen Square massacre, the Cyberspace Administration of China has blocked CNN and has pressured the financial information firm Refinitiv to block Thomson Reuters stories from its Eikon news software; the Chinese government has also denied visas to journalists who have published articles critical of the nation’s leadership.

Practice Note

D.C. Court Allows Privacy Case Against Facebook To Proceed: In a suit stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the D.C. Superior Court rejected Facebook’s argument that the court lacked jurisdiction over the company, as well as its alternative argument that the action should be stayed pending resolution of the F.T.C.’s investigation of the company and a separate class-action; the ruling allows the D.C. Attorney General to begin obtaining evidence that Facebook has violated the District’s consumer-protection and privacy laws.

On the Lighter Side

Teens’ Use Of AirDrop Confuses Unsuspecting Adults: Adults are increasingly getting caught in the crossfire of teenagers’ use of Apple’s AirDrop feature.


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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Robert Chislett
Alison Gordon

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: May 17, 2019

Internet Governance

Status Of Uber Drivers Further Edged Toward Independent Contractors: The Office of the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board advised in a public opinion that Uber drivers are independent contractors and not Uber employees; the opinion aligns with recent court rulings, a Department of Labor opinion, and Uber’s own stance on driver classification.

Privacy

San Fran Set To Ban City Use Of Facial Recognition: San Francisco officials voted on an ordinance that would prohibit city personnel from purchasing and using facial recognition technology and would require city departments to submit surveillance technology policies for public vetting; the ordinance, which is a response to the increase in discomfort around facial recognition technology, aims to protect marginalized groups that could be harmed by the technology’s implementation.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

WhatsApp Breach May Have Targeted Human Rights Group: WhatsApp reports that a breach of its platform in which spyware was installed through the app’s voice messaging system may have been the act of a government implementing surveillance technology developed by a private company; WhatsApp believes that the “serious security vulnerability” targeted human rights groups.

Tracking Software Planted In Attorney Email: Defense counsel for a U.S. Navy Seal officer charged with war crimes and his platoon commander claim that military prosecutors installed tracking software in emails sent to the defense team and a reporter, allegedly to discover the source of leaks to the media.

Free Expression & Censorship

White House Introduces Online Tool For Reporting Censorship: The White House created a tool for people to report instances where they feel they’ve been censored or banned on social media platforms due to political bias; the tool allows users to share screenshots of censored posts and provide explanations of enforcement actions taken against them.

France And New Zealand Spearhead Pledge To Reduce Terrorist Content Online: Tech companies including Microsoft, Amazon, and YouTube, as well as 17 national governments and the EU, signed the “Christchurch Call,” a collaborative pledge to combat the rise of terrorist content online; the White House, citing free speech concerns, declined to sign.

Practice Note

App Store Antitrust Lawsuit Allowed To Proceed: The Supreme Court ruled that iPhone owners are allowed to attempt to prove that Apple exercises monopoly power in the retail market for the sale of apps and has used that power unlawfully to force iPhone owners to pay higher-than-competitive prices for apps; the Court rejected Apple’s argument that it is a mere intermediary and thus not subject to suit as missing the economic reality of the relationship between Apple and app developers.

On the Lighter Side

Do Space “Pirates” Justify The Space Force? Twitter users, including Elon Musk, respond creatively to Senator Ted Cruz’s opening remarks before the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space supporting the need for a Space Force.


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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Quinn Nicholas D’Isa
Editorial Fellow, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: May 10, 2019

Internet Governance

Spotify And Apple Clash Over Antitrust: The EU will launch a formal antitrust investigation against Apple after Spotify complained that Apple’s practices of taking a cut of Spotify subscriptions made through the App Store and blocking Spotify from implementing “experience-enhancing upgrades” disadvantages Spotify to Apple Music’s benefit.

FTC Privacy Penalty Disagreement: According to a New York Times report, the Federal Trade Commission’s five commissioners disagree about the size and scope of the fine to be levied against Facebook for recent privacy violations, as well as about whether CEO Mark Zuckerberg should be held personally liable; the case is being watched as a litmus test for how forcefully the United States will police one of its most influential tech companies.

Privacy

State-Held Biometric Data Deletion: UK tax authority HM Revenue & Customs will delete customer voice records collected through the Voice ID biometric voice security system after being informed by the Information Commissioner’s Office that its failure to provide customers with information about how their voice data would be processed and to offer customers the opportunity to give or withhold explicit consent violated the GDPR.

Facebook Content Labeling Project Revealed: As part of a project to understand how users’ posts are changing over time, Facebook has employed contractors to manually categorize photos, status updates, and other content according to five different “dimensions”; though Facebook responded to reports of the project by ensuring that its legal teams approve all labeling efforts, some contend that the project may run afoul of the GDPR.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Team Effort To Beat Misinformation Campaigns: FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate panel that the Bureau’s relationship with Silicon Valley has “changed dramatically” over past years, and that the FBI and social media companies will continue to work together to curb foreign influence campaigns leading up to the 2020 election.

$41 Million Bitcoin Theft: Hackers employed “phishing, viruses and other attacks” to steal $41 million worth of Bitcoin from cryptocurrency Binance in what is the latest in a string of similar thefts.

Free Expression & Censorship

Fake Account Takedown Continues: As part of its effort to combat misinformation on its platform, Facebook removed 118 fake accounts tied to Russia for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” such as impersonating others and misrepresenting the accounts’ purposes; the fake accounts were behind Facebook pages and groups dedicated to politics in Austria, the Baltics, Germany, Spain, Ukraine and the UK. 

On the Lighter Side

What Seems To Be The Problem . . . Officer? A new “telepresence robot” that extends forward from a police cruiser to a pulled-over vehicle allows for a two-way audiovisual communication between a police officer and the vehicle’s driver without either having to exit their car. 

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 3, 2019

Internet Governance

Facebook Offers Data On Election Influence: The company announced that it will provide “privacy-protected Facebook data” from APIs and other sources to more than 60 academics for the purpose of researching the social network’s role in instances of election interference across the world.

Privacy

FTC And Facebook Working Toward Settlement: A week after Facebook announced that it expects to be fined up to $5 billion by the FTC for privacy violations, reports have emerged that tentative settlement terms between the parties would require Facebook to create a privacy committee, appoint an external assessor, and appoint a head compliance officer to oversee the company’s privacy compliance efforts.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Vodafone Discovered Vulnerabilities In Huawei Equipment: Newly-released 2009 and 2011 security briefings from Vodafone Group reveal that the telecom discovered hidden backdoors in software that could have granted Huawei unauthorized access to the network that provides internet service in Italy, as well as in certain broadband network gateways; Vodafone and Huawei said that they worked together to resolve the issues upon their discovery.

Florida Voting Equipment Compromised: Senator Marco Rubio confirmed that Russian hackers infiltrated at least one Florida county’s electronic voting system during the 2016 presidential election by mimicking emails from the company that provided the voting equipment; according to Rubio, the hackers were “in a position” to alter voter records.

Intellectual Property

SCOTUS Seeks Input On Google Appeal: The Supreme Court has asked the Trump administration to weigh in on whether the Court should consider the company’s appeal of a Federal Circuit ruling that revived Oracle’s case alleging that Google impermissibly copied code from the Java programming language to create Android.

Free Expression & Censorship

Clarifying What’s Tweet-able For Tesla: A federal judge approved a proposed settlement between the SEC and Tesla CEO Elon Musk that prohibits Musk from tweeting about Tesla’s finances, proposed mergers and acquisitions, and yet-unreleased production and delivery figures without first obtaining pre-approval from the company’s lawyers; this new settlement comes after Musk settled 2018 securities fraud charges related to tweets about taking Tesla private.

Practice Note

Taking Tweets With You: A Missouri federal district court declined to dismiss a conversion claim brought by a plaintiff against one of its former employees after the former employee changed the handle of a Twitter account that he used in connection with his work with plaintiff to reflect his affiliation with a new employer, the plaintiff’s direct competitor.

On the Lighter Side

Undersea Espionage: Could a GoPro harness-wearing beluga whale encountered by fisherman off Norway’s coast be a Russian spy?


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: April 26, 2019

Internet Governance

Facebook Expects Massive Civil Fine For Data Debacles: Facebook warned investors that it expects to incur a fine as high as $5 billion for its mishandling of user data; the civil fine would be the largest ever imposed by the Federal Trade Commission on a tech company for data-related misconduct.

Privacy

Mental Health Apps Share User Data Without Consent: A new study revealed that free anti-depression and smoking cessation apps collect and share users’ mental health data without disclosing the practice in their privacy policies; many of the apps studied shared information that could lend insights into individuals’ online behavior, and some even shared sensitive data such as “health diary entries” and “self reports about substance use.”

NSA Recommends Ending Phone Surveillance Program: The National Security Agency has recommended that the White House end the massive phone surveillance program that collects data from text messages and phone calls in the United States on the basis that “the logistical and legal burdens of maintaining the program outweigh any intelligence benefits it brings.”

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Wi-Fi Hotspot Finder App Exposes 2 Million Network RecordsThe database for an Android app that allows users to search for nearby Wi-Fi networks and upload information about their own network for others to use left exposed records containing Wi-Fi network names, precise geolocations, basic service set identifiers, and network passwords.

Intellectual Property

YouTube Content Filters Strike Time 100 Event: Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group blocked YouTube’s livestream of the Time 100 Summit on copyright grounds—possibly because YouTube’s ContentID filtering system was triggered by a Taylor Swift performance or by the interlude music that played between presenters.

Free Expression & Censorship

Funding Cut For Right-Wing Militia Group: PayPal and GoFundMe have shut down all fundraising campaigns for the United Constitutional Patriots on the basis that that UCP violates the companies’ policies by supporting hate or violence and allegedly using the funds to purchase guns; UCP denies that it used donations to purchase weapons and says that the cutoff has “killed” its resources.

Sri Lanka Temporarily Shuts Down Access To Social Media: Following the deadly attacks on Easter Sunday, the Sri Lankan government temporarily shut down all access to social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Instagram to prevent the spread of misinformation.

On the Lighter Side

No Facial Recognition In The Subway: The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority has assured straphangers that monitors in the city’s subways that track riders’ faces are fake, and are simply a trick to deter fare evasion


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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Praatika Prasad
Quinn Nicholas D’Isa
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP