CLIP-ings: February 22, 2019

Internet Governance

Uber Sues NYC Over Ride-Hail Cap: Uber filed a lawsuit to overturn NYC’s law that paused the issuance of new licenses to drivers for 12 months and capped the number of ride-hail drivers that can operate in the City; Uber argues that the law, which is part of the New York City Council’s efforts to give regulators more control over app-based rideshare companies, espouses a “ban first, study later” approach.

Privacy

Google Admits Its Error In Not Disclosing Nest’s In-built Mic: After it was revealed that its modular Nest Secure security system contained a previously undisclosed microphone, Google claimed that the component “was never intended to be a secret” and acknowledged that it should have been listed in the product’s technical specifications; Google says that the mic was included in the Nest for features that require security systems to pick up sounds, such as broken glass.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Etsy Error Causes Unauthorized Withdrawals From Sellers’ Bank Accounts: Following an Etsy bill payment error, large sums of money were withdrawn from sellers’ bank accounts and charged to their credit cards; Etsy says that the mishap was “related to a site change” and “was not a fraud issue,” and that all incorrect withdrawals have been refunded and the issue has been fixed.

Venezuelan Government Attempts To Hack Activists: The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is allegedly using phishing sites to trick pro-opposition activists into revealing their passwords to popular web services such as Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, and Twitter in a purported effort to identify and stop the activists.

Intellectual Property

What’s The Frequency, Donald? Twitter removed a video that President Trump tweeted in retort to the Democrats’ reaction to the State of the Union that included the song “Everybody Hurts” by rock band R.E.M. after the band and its publisher submitted a takedown request.

Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter Bug Reveals Deleted Messages: A security researcher discovered that a “functional bug” allows for the recovery of Twitter users’ direct messages after the messages—or even the account—have been deleted; this seems to contradict Twitter’s data retention policies and implicates the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Advertisers Boycott YouTube: Major brands such as Nestlé and Epic Games are boycotting advertising on YouTube because their ads appeared on innocent videos featuring minors that have become the target of pedophiles, who have “infiltrated” the videos’ comment sections; this comes after YouTube recently convinced advertisers who had left the platform over concerns about other offensive content to return by assuring them that its ability to flag questionable content had advanced.

On The Lighter Side

Apple Stays Fresh Past Expiration Date: Fordham Law Professor John Pfaff discovered a thirty-year-old Apple IIe computer in his parents’ attic and resumed where he left off in his save file for the game Adventureland after all these years.


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

CLIP-ings: February 15, 2019

Internet Governance

Trump Signs A.I. Executive Order: President Trump signed an executive order this week to establish an “American A.I. Initiative” after fears of running out of step with foreign countries in the field were promulgated by then-U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis last spring; the initiative is intended to better educate workers and improve the systems needed to develop A.I. technology.

Texas Looks To Prevent Throttling: A bill introduced in the Texas House of Representatives would make it a crime for telecommunications providers to restrict internet access in declared disaster areas; the bill joins over 100 other state-level net neutrality bills and comes after firefighters in Santa Clara County, California, experienced data throttling during the 2018 wildfires there.

Privacy

Federal Privacy Legislation Hearings Scheduled: House and Senate committees are set to hold separate hearings later this month to discuss potential data privacy and security legislation; a Government Accountability Office report that recommends that Congress consider “developing comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy that would enhance consumer protections and provide flexibility to address a rapidly evolving Internet environment” was released concurrently with the hearing announcements.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

I’m Breaching-Up With You: Internet dating application Coffee Meets Bagel announced on Valentine’s Day that users’ personal data had been compromised due to a breach; earlier this week, reports surfaced that dating application OkCupid was dealing with users’ being locked out of their accounts, potentially due to a security breach.

Intellectual Property

EU Agrees On Copyright Directive Article 13: Negotiations have resulted in agreement on the language of the copyright reform directive, which must now be formally confirmed by the European Parliament and the EU Council; the new text includes the controversial Article 13 provision that would require internet platforms to proactively block the upload of copyrighted material.

Free Expression and Censorship

Instagram Bans “Graphic” Self-Harm Images After British Teenager’s Death: Following public outrage over Instagram’s apparent influence in the suicide of 14-year old Molly Russell, Instagram announced that explicit imagery of self-harm would not be allowed on the app and that non-graphic images of self-harm would be removed from the most visible parts of the app.

Practice Note

Facebook Messenger Decryption Efforts Remain Sealed: An Eastern District of California judge ruled that details about a government effort to force Facebook to decrypt Messenger communications as part of an investigation into the MS-13 gang the government’s interests in maintaining its investigation’s secrecy outweighed the public interest in disclosure of the documents.

On The Lighter Side

Moove Over, Tinder: The newly-launched “Tudder” helps farmers find breeding matches for their cattle.

Announcement

Call for Papers for PhD students and early career researchers:

The Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) Research Group and the Brussels Privacy Hub will hold an International Workshop on the Legal Notions of Privacy and Data Protection in EU law in a Rapidly Changing World to take stock of current academic thinking and the developments in the case law and in policy making in the area, and to discuss the significance of these rights in the future.

The Workshop will give the opportunity to PhD students and early career researchers to present their research on the relationship between the EU fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.

Deadline for submission of abstracts 28 February 2019. Please send your abstract to info@brusselsprivacyhub.eu with your name, affiliation, and a short biography


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

CLIP-ings: February 8, 2019

Internet Governance

German Competition Authority Bars Facebook Plan To Streamline Data: Facebook’s move to streamline user data across WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook is being restricted by Germany’s competition authority; Facebook will now have to gain users’ permission before merging data between the applications.

Privacy

European Commission Recalls Smartwatch That Can Track Children: German firm Enox’s Safe-KID-One watch has been recalled by the European Commission because it does not comply with the Radio Equipment Directive and poses serious security risks; the app that accompanies the watch allows for unencrypted communication with its backend server, making it easy to find and change data on location history, phone numbers, and device serial numbers.

Massachusetts Lawmaker Introduces State Consumer Privacy Bill: If passed, the bill would require that businesses provide consumers with notice before collecting their data, give consumers the right to ask businesses to delete their data, allow consumers to restrict third party access to their data, and grant a private right of action to any consumer whose rights are violated—without requiring a showing of monetary or property loss.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Houston, We Have A Problem: During the recent federal government shutdown, NASA dealt with near continuous cyber threats targeting information about the Administration’s advance technology while nearly 95% of NASA staff was furloughed; after the shutdown, the Department of Homeland Security assed NASA’s security as having no “external-facing, critical issues.

Intellectual Property

Franco-German Compromise Pushes Article 13 Forward: France and Germany reached an agreement about which entities should be bound by Article 13, ending the hiatus on negotiations and pushing the EU’s copyright reform plans into the final stages; under the compromise, services that are publicly available for less than three years, have fewer than 5 million unique monthly visitors, and have less than €10 million in annual turnover are excluded from the Article’s scope.

Free Expression and Censorship

EU Has Reduced Internet Hate Speech: After the EU began cracking down on internet hate speech in 2016 through the implementation of an “opt-in code of conduct,” social media companies are analyzing and removing content flagged as hate speech faster than ever; an EU report states that 89 percent of flagged content is analyzed within 24 hours and 72 percent of the content is ultimately removed.

Practice Note

Florida Appeals Court Limits Peer-To-Peer Cryptocurrency Transactions: A unanimous three-judge panel in Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals overruled a trial judge and ruled that selling cryptocurrency directly to another person constitutes a money transmission and therefore requires registration as a payment instrument seller and money transmitter under Florida law; money transmitter rules have also been at issue in other courts with the growing cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.

On The Lighter Side

Instagram Boyfriends Obsolete: The photo app “SomeOne Very Special” helps users get flattering pictures of themselves without a dedicated Instagram boyfriend behind the camera.

 Announcements

Job and Fellowship Opportunities 

From time-to-time, CLIP-ings will highlight career opportunities in the information law field. Please note the following:

The German Marshall Fund (GMF) is accepting applications for a Fellow and Policy Manager for the new Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative (DIDI) in Washington D.C.

DIDI harnesses GMF’s extensive networks across the U.S. and Europe to bridge the gap between 20th century policies and 21st century technology.

The Fellow and Policy Manager will report to the Senior Fellow and Director of DIDI to conduct in-depth research and policy development around challenges to industry and policy related developments. The Policy Manager will be a visible spokesperson and representative of GMF and will be expected to develop the formats for high-level meetings and briefings, and track policy developments in the U.S. and Europe. This person will also grow and foster networks and partnerships, representing and presenting the initiative’s work to policy makers, funders and stakeholders at conferences in the U.S. and Europe. The position will involve a mix of research, analysis, writing, management, budgeting and grant writing..

For more information and the online application, click here.

CLIP-ings: January 25, 2019

Internet Governance

Google Pays For General Data Protection Violation: The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) fined Google 50 million for violating the GDPR by failing to meet transparency requirements regarding the use of information for ad personalization and for failing to obtain adequate user consent; Google plans to appeal the fine.   

Privacy

ACLU Brings FOIA Suit Over Government Social Media Surveillance: The American Civil Liberties Union sued seven federal agencies including the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security for failing to comply with a 2018 FOIA request seeking information about how the agencies collect and analyze information about individuals’ social media use.  

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Hacker Falsely Warns Family Of Missile Attack: A California family’s hacked Nest security camera delivered a false alert about North Korean ballistic missiles barreling towards the U.S.; in response, Nest claimed that the hack was the result of third-party activity and encouraged the use of two-factor verification to eliminate security risk.

Oklahoma Securities Commission Failed To Secure Sensitive Information: A data vulnerability within the Oklahoma Securities Commission left over three terabytes of passwords, bank transaction information, social security numbers, and emails dating back two decades available on an unprotected server and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Intellectual Property

Google News May Be Pulled In EU: Google is threatening to pull its News service from the EU if the EU’s controversial copyright directive, which would afford publishers the right to charge web platforms fees for showing snippets of news articles, passes; publishing lobbying groups are calling the threats “scaremongering” tactics.  

Free Expression and Censorship

Supreme Court Won’t Hear Defamatory Yelp Review Case: A case that could have affected web platforms’ legal protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been resolved after the Supreme Court declined to consider whether Yelp is required to remove defamatory reviews from its site.

Practice Note

NY Court Finds NYPD Glomar Response Impermissible: A New York State Supreme Court Justice ruled that the NYPD’s Glomar response to a FOIL request for information about police monitoring of Black Lives Matter activists’ social-media accounts was “impermissible” because it “would effectively eliminate any oversight over [the Department’s] handling of protesters” and “runs counter to the very purpose of freedom of information statutes.”

On The Lighter Side

ClickToPray With The Pope: During his traditional Sunday address, Pope Francis launched an app that allows people to “pray together with others,” scroll through other users’ prayers, and leave comments.  


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