CLIP-ings: June 26, 2020

Internet Governance

Senators Propose Transparency-Focused Section 230 Reform: A bipartisan bill released by the Senate Communications, Technology, Innovation and Internet Subcommittee this week proposes that the Communications Decency Act be amended to require internet companies to publicly document their moderation practices, remove harmful posts and activity within strict timeframes, and publish quarterly reports on what enforcement actions are taken.
Privacy

Michigan Man Wrongfully Arrested On Faulty Facial Recognition Data: Detroit Police arrested an African-American man on larceny charges after the multimillion-dollar facial recognition system the state contracted with mismatched his driver’s license photo to a low-resolution store surveillance camera image taken at the time of the theft; the man was released when it became clear there was no other evidence besides the mismatched photo that could have implicated him, and the Michigan ACLU is now investigating.

Boston City Council Unanimously Bans Facial Recognition: Citing concerns with false matches and racial bias, council members preemptively banned future use of broad facial recognition systems by city law enforcement, though a limited exception was allowed for facial recognition and matching evidence generated to investigate specific crimes.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

New York City Passes Public Oversight Of Surveillance Technology Act: Last week, the New York City Council passed by a 44-6 vote the POST Act, which will force the NYPD “to divulge the existence of its entire public surveillance capability” and will similarly require the department to outline policies regarding those capabilities’ use. 
Intellectual Property

Apple To Produce All New Macs On Apple Silicon: After years of using Intel processors, Apple announced a full transition to its own silicon processors within the next two years; consumers will be able to purchase the first silicon Mac by the end of the year.
Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter Uses New “Manipulated Media” Tag On Trump’s Tweet: After President Trump shared a poorly edited video representing a fake CNN news report, Twitter used a new tag to label Trump’s tweet as “manipulated media;” though the marker does not remove the content, the video has since been taken down by the social media site due to a “copyright complaint over its misuse.”
Practice Note

Indiana Supreme Court Rules Police Cannot Demand Phones Be Unlocked: The state’s highest court held that the Fifth Amendment protected a woman from being forced to unlock her phone and reveal potentially incriminating data to the police, reasoning that such compelled unlocking is “testimonial.”
On the Lighter Side

TikTok Teens And K-Pop Fans Reserve Trump Rally Tickets To Leave Stadium Empty: In an effort to skew the anticipated turnout for Trump’s rally in Tulsa, teens on TikTok followed the lead of K-Pop fans by reserving tickets to the rally without the intent to attend.
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: June 12, 2020

Internet Governance

Record FCC Fine Likely To Go Uncollected: A $225 million fine proposed by the FCC this week against an insurance fraud telemarketing scheme is unlikely to be paid in full, since the proposal is still subject to negotiation by the defense and, once it’s settled, the FCC must rely on the Department of Justice—which has yet to be involved in the matter–to actually collect on the final bill.
Privacy

IBM Will No Longer Develop Or Research Facial Recognition Technology: In a letter to Congress, IBM denounced the use and development of facial recognition technology for mass surveillance, stating that it perpetuates racial profiling and violates “basic human rights and freedoms”; Amazon similarly announced that it will withhold from providing the technology to police for one year in hopes that Congress will implement “stronger regulations.”
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Google Confirms Hackers Are Targeting Biden And Trump Campaigns: Google security researchers confirmed that state-backed hackers from Iran and China have attempted to access private information from the Biden and Trump presidential campaigns; though the attempts were unsuccessful, Google warned the campaigns to take further security precautions.  

Georgia Launches Investigation Into Polling Machine Problems: Georgia’s Secretary of State announced an investigation into the technical problems plaguing the new voting machines used in the state’s Democratic primaries last week, which prevented many from voting by creating long lines and confusion across a smaller-than-usual number of precincts. 
Intellectual Property

European Pirate Streaming Ring Discovered: EU law enforcement agency Europol raided the bases of an illegal streaming service that offered programming combined from a variety of popular mainstream platforms, including HBOGo, Amazon, and Netflix; the service was in operation for nearly six years and had roughly two million subscribers from around Western Europe.
Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Attempts To Curb “Boogaloo” Groups: In light of recent protests, Facebook has attempted to reduce the visibility of groups affiliated with the “boogaloo” movement, which is “known for advocating for violent uprising against the government”; Facebook has taken steps including banning the term “boogaloo” when paired with images of weapons and refusing to recommend the groups to members of similar groups.

EU Demands Social Media Companies Report Disinformation Management Efforts: The European Commission called for major social media companies to publish monthly reports on how they are attempting to combat disinformation and “fake news” on their platforms, in an effort to promote more accurate reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the Lighter Side

Apple Granted Patent For Socially Distant Group Selfies: The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Apple a patent for “synthetic group selfies,” which allows a user to edit and arrange multiple photos into a single image.  
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 29, 2020

Internet Governance

EU Prepares Tech-Focused Coronavirus Recovery Plan: A €750B pan-EU recovery package unveiled by the European Commission on May 27 will invest largely in boosting the resilience of industries linked to green and digital projects, including 5G, AI, cloud, cybersecurity, and supercomputing.

Privacy

Scheduled House Vote On Surveillance Power Withdrawn:  Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to withdraw a bill to reauthorize government foreign surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and instead opted to enter conference committee negotiations on the bill with the Senate.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Corporate C-Suites Create Cybersecurity Risks: A recent multinational study indicated that over two-thirds of surveyed executives asked for exceptions to their companies’ security protocols that endangered personal and corporate data, including requesting access to company data on unsecured personal devices and overrides of multi-factor authentication—steps that are widely seen as fundamental to protecting data from breaches and other cyberthreats.

Intellectual Property

U.S. Copyright Office Issues Report On Digital Millennium Copyright Act: In the report, the  Office identifies problem areas in the law and proposes updates including “alternate models” for notice and takedown, “harsher penalties” resulting in safe harbor revocations, clearer standards for liability, and expanded ability for rightsholders to “subpoena online service providers.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Investigating YouTube Comment Censorship: Slogans banned by the Chinese government were automatically deleted from YouTube’s comment sections over the past six months; in a public statement, Google attributed the activity to a bug in the video giant’s automated content filter system and has further clarified that the activity was “not the result of outside interference.”

President Trump Issues Executive Order About Social Media Platforms: After his Tweets about fraudulent mail-in voting were tagged by Twitter as potentially misleading, President Trump signed an executive order which, among other things, calls for the loss of immunity under Communications Decency Act section 230 for tech companies that discriminate against or impose certain access restrictions on users.

Practice Note

United States Court Of Appeals Dismisses First Amendment Claims Against Tech Giants: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed dismissal of a 2018 case brought by the nonprofit Freedom Watch and conservative user Laura Loomer alleging that Apple, Google, Twitter, and Facebook infringed upon their First Amendment rights by “intentionally and willfully” suppressing conservative content; the court held these tech companies are not “state actors” and thus cannot violate the First Amendment.

On the Lighter Side

Facebook Launches New Feature For Musical Collaboration: In the United States and Canada, Facebook will begin an invite-only, beta round of its newest feature, Collab, the TikTok-inspired app that allows users to share, discover, and “mash up original videos and music.”

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