CLIP-ings: September 4, 2020

Internet Governance

Courts Hold Amazon Liable For Faulty Products: Multiple court rulings have found the e-commerce giant responsible for defective products sold by third-party merchants on its marketplace, especially when third-party merchants disappear, due to its significant role as part of the distribution chain. 
Privacy

Ninth Circuit Rules NSA’s Telephone Metadata Program Illegal And Possibly Unconstitutional: Almost seven years after the appeal of a criminal terror-fundraising case against four Somali immigrants, the unanimous three-judge panel held that the metadata program is illegal, but that the metadata collection played a minor role in the case and did not taint the evidence introduced by the government at trial under established Fourth Amendment standards.

Amazon Surveils Its Flex Delivery Drivers In Private Facebook Groups: Following the discovery of official company documents, Amazon has confirmed that it employs staff to track and monitor private social media groups used by Amazon Flex workers in order to keep tabs on complaints and discussions about strikes against the retailing giant.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Russians Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation: After months of warnings by the F.B.I., Facebook and Twitter now confirm that the Internet Research Agency, the Russian group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election, is actively repeating its efforts from four years ago to disrupt the November 2020 election by feeding conspiracy theories designed to alienate Americans through a network of fake user accounts and fringe news sites.
Intellectual Property

Apple’s App Store Practices Spark Criticism From Facebook: Highlighting Apple’s strict controls over what it allows onto the App Store, and by extension, user’s iPhones, CEO Mark Zuckerberg reproached Apple last week for its purported anti-competitive practices, such as denials of certain features of Facebook apps and the removal of Fortnight, despite having recently shared in the scrutiny of a Congressional hearing targeting monopolistic tech giants.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Touts Improved Ability To Detect And Remove Misinformation As Myanmar Elections Loom: Taking a lesson from its past failure to prevent misinformation campaigns which led to expressions of hate against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, Facebook has implemented technological and human monitoring of information sharing, verification, and controls in order to prevent false and misleading claims from interfering with the country’s upcoming November 8th general election. 

Practice Note

Kik Finds Protection Under Section 230 Despite FOSTA Claim: In a case involving the exposure of a minor to unsolicited nude photos on the popular messaging app, the Southern District of Florida held that the scienter requirements of sections 1591 and 1595 of the anti-sex-trafficking act FOSTA had not been met and thus Kik was entitled to immunity under Communications Decency Act section 230.
On the Lighter Side

Birth Of A Virtual Nation: Almost thirty years ago, an energetic head of the White House Office of Media Affairs, a sketch of a website based on a White House tour, a major telecom, Socks the cat, and others combined to help drive a confluence of emerging internet technology to spawn the White House’s first website.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

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: 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

CLIP-ings: January 17, 2020

Internet Governance

Online Retailers Face Antitrust Probe In India: In response to a complaint filed by a group that represents small- and medium-sized businesses, the Competition Commission of India will investigate whether Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart promote “preferred sellers” over smaller sellers in violation of the country’s competition laws.

Privacy

Dating Data Shared: A recent report reveals that popular online dating services such as Grindr, OkCupid, and Tinder send data about users’ gender, ethnicity, location, and personal dating preferences to advertisers, marketing services, and location data brokers in ways that may run afoul of data privacy laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and California’s newly effective California Consumer Privacy Act.

Third-Party Trackers Not Welcome On Chrome: Google has announced that as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative to make web use more private and secure, the Chrome browser will stop supporting third-party tracking cookies by 2022; the policy change will affect how web tracking and advertising works on the platform.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Burisma Becomes Victim Of Apparent Russian Hack: A Silicon Valley security firm discovered that the Ukrainian gas company, which is at the center of the Trump impeachment proceedings, was infiltrated in a hack that employed tactics similar to those used by Russian hackers from a military intelligence unit; while it is unclear how much data was obtained through the hack, it raises concerns that Russia may be prying for information that could be used to meddle in the 2020 election.

Intellectual Property

Chinese Court Affords Copyright Protection To AI-Generated Content: A court in Shenzhen ruled that an AI-generated financial report produced by tech giant Tencent was entitled to copyright protection after another online platform duplicated the report on its own website; the court found that the work had a “certain originality” and that it met the legal requirements to be considered a “written work” entitled to copyright protection.

Free Expression and Censorship

Digital Art Falls Victim To Instagram’s False Information Warning Feature: The feature, which notifies users that third-party fact checkers have determined that a post contains false information, has begun to flag postings of digitally manipulated art and has hid those postings from Instagram’s Explore and Hashtag pages.

Practice Note

GrayKey Enables iPhone Access By Law Enforcement: A newly discovered search warrant suggests that the FBI has access to a tool—GrayKey—that can retrieve data from iPhones, including the latest 11 Pro Max model, even when they are locked; the discovery raises questions about the FBI, President Trump, and Attorney General Barr’s motivations for pressuring Apple to assist in unlocking the devices owned by the Pensacola, Florida, naval base shooting suspect.

On the Lighter Side

Spotify Curates Content For Canines: After surveying UK listeners and finding that nearly three-quarters of them play music for their pets, Spotify has created a playlist and a podcast for dogs to listen to when their owners aren’t home.

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: January 10, 2020

Internet Governance

New Cambridge Analytica Documents Leaked: A former employee-turned-whistleblower has begun to leak a trove of over 100,000 documents showing that the now-defunct company was a “global operation that worked with governments, intelligence agencies, commercial companies and political campaigns to manipulate and influence people,” and that it had even worked for a Ukrainian political party in 2017 while under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Privacy

Ring Adds Privacy Dashboard: In response to recent criticism of its privacy and security practices, the home security system has added a privacy dashboard to its app that allows users to alter privacy and security settings, including by setting up two-factor authentication and managing law enforcement’s ability to request video clips.

YouTube Implements Children’s Privacy Changes: As part of a settlement with the FTC over alleged Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act violations, the streaming service has effected changes that include removing targeted advertising, push notifications, and other community-oriented features from videos designated by creators as “made for kids”; content creators complain that a lack of guidance makes it difficult to determine whether they may be in violation of the new policies.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

FBI Again Seeks Apple Help To Unlock Device: Armed with a court order permitting it to search iPhones allegedly belonging to the suspected gunman at a Florida naval base last month, the FBI has requested that Apple help it unlock the password-protected devices; the Bureau has sought similar help from Apple in the past, but ultimately found alternative ways into the devices in those cases.

TikTok Vulnerabilities Discovered: A cybersecurity research firm discovered “multiple vulnerabilities” in the popular video-sharing app that would allow hackers to upload and delete videos from users’ accounts, change the privacy settings of users’ existing videos, and redirect users to malicious websites that mimic TikTok’s homepage; the vulnerabilities were disclosed to TikTok parent ByteDance and have since been patched. 

Intellectual Property

Airbnb Owns User-Profiling Patent: Airbnb has patented “trait analyzer” software that scours the web for information about users’ behavioral and personality traits to gauge their “trustworthiness” and ultimately to calculate their compatibility with various hosts.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Deepfake Ban Met With Skepticism: On Monday, the social network announced that it will ban deepfakes on its platform, including content created by artificial intelligence and content that has been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone”; lawmakers, however, say that the prohibition does not go far enough, as it likely does not cover content created using “widely available editing software.”

On the Lighter Side

AI That Makes You Smile: A newly announced AI toothbrush, which is driven by an app that provides “real-time tracking and coaching,” has proven to improve gum health in clinical trials.

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: January 3, 2020

Internet Governance

Brazil Fines Facebook For Sharing User Data: The country’s Ministry of Justice fined the social network an amount equal to $1.6 million after finding that Facebook improperly made the data of 443,000 users available to developers of the app “thisisyourdigitallife,” which was at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Uber And Postmates Challenge California Freelancer Law: In a lawsuit filed Monday, the companies argue that the law, which would require that ridesharing, delivery, and similar “gig work” companies classify their workers as employees rather than contractors in some situations, denies exemptions for such companies “on the basis of lack of equal protection and due process under both federal and state law”; on Tuesday, a California federal judge temporarily enjoined the law’s taking effect.

Privacy

New California Privacy Law Takes Effect: The law took effect on January 1, 2020, but companies have different interpretations of how the law applies and what they must do to comply with it.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

U.S. Army Bans TikTok On Government-Issued Devices: The ban comes after the Defense Department labelled the app a “security risk” over suspicion about its Chinese parent, ByteDance; the U.S. Navy also recently banned the app, and lawmakers asked U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the app for “national security concerns” in October of last year.

Employee Error Leads To Wyze Data Leak: The employee removed security protocols from a database that included user email addresses, Wi-Fi network information, Wyze device information, and other data related to 2.4 million users of the home surveillance system.

Intellectual Property

Apple Faces Patent Suit Over Apple Watch Heart Monitor: A New York University cardiologist has sued the company, alleging that the heart-monitoring technology it uses in its Apple Watch violates his “patented method for detecting atrial fibrillation.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Removes Misleading HIV Prevention Ads: Following pressure from LGBTQ+ groups and health organizations, Facebook has removed false and misleading ads about HIV prevention medications; a large number of the ads were run by plaintiffs’ lawyers who sought potential clients by falsely advertising that certain medications led to kidney or liver damage.

On the Lighter Side

Cops And Robots: A North Carolina couple called the police one night after they thought they heard a burglar in their home, only to find that their recently acquired Roomba vacuum cleaner had turned itself on and was bumping into the walls.

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: 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 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