CLIP-ings: April 30, 2021

Internet Governance

Federal Court Could Review Trump’s Potential Interference In Awarding Of Military Contract: The Court of Federal Claims declined to dismiss Amazon’s claims alleging that the former President interfered to award Microsoft a $10 billion contract with the Defense Department to modernize the military’s cloud-computing systems until the court resolves a claim brought by Amazon alleging that it was overlooked during contract deliberations due to former President Trump’s animosity toward Jeff Bezos.

Privacy

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Feature Rolls Out: Apple’s latest iPhone update, which implements a new requirement that that app developers obtain consent before tracking users across apps and websites, has been released after nearly a year of delay; the feature has been touted as an “obvious baseline” by privacy advocates, while other stakeholders such as Facebook argue that it will make it more expensive for small businesses that rely on lucrative ad campaigns to easily target customers. 

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Defense Department Grants Control Of 175 Million Military IP Addresses To A Florida Startup: Shortly before former President Trump left the White House, the Defense Department gave 175 million dormant military IP addresses to a mysterious Florida startup founded in September 2020 as part of a “pilot effort” to study “potential vulnerabilities” in them, according to the director of the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service.

DC’s Metropolitan Police Department Confirmed Data Breach Following A Ransomware Attack: The hackers, suspected of being the group Babuk, released screenshots of 250G of stolen data, which includes details about arrests made after the January Capitol riots and information about persons of interest and informants; the attack is believed to be part of a wider trend targeting government bodies, with twenty-six government agencies hit by ransomware attacks in this year.

Intellectual Property

UK Court Will Hear Copyright Infringement Suit Brought By Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor: London’s High Court agreed to hear a copyright infringement suit against the operator and publisher of bitcoin.org (known as Cobra) brought by Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who proclaims to be the anonymous inventor of bitcoin and alleges that Cobra’s use of the bitcoin.org domain and its hosting of a white paper that outlines the technology behind the cryptocurrency violates copyright.

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook And Twitter Censor Posts As India Suffers Through Another Wave Of Covid-19 Cases: Facebook India claims it blocked a hashtag calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “by accident,” denying claims that the Indian government had requested that the tech company remove it; last weekend, Twitter was ordered by the Indian government to take down 52 tweets that criticized the government’s handling of the pandemic.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case That May Clarify Public School Students’ Off-Campus Free Speech Rights: In a case brought by a high school cheerleader who was banned from the cheerleading team after posting a profane photo of herself and a friend that was taken outside the school setting, the Supreme Court must weigh in on the extent to which public schools can discipline students for speech that occurs off-campus; the Court is expected to issue a ruling this summer that will clarify a 1969 precedent holding that students don’t “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

On the Lighter Side

“Disaster Girl” Becomes An NFT: The trending meme known as Disaster Girl, which depicts then-4-year-old Zoe Roth smiling devilishly in front of a burning building, has become an NFT and was sold by Roth for 180 Ethereum (currently, approximately $473,000).  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: April 9, 2021

Internet Governance

Justice Thomas Criticizes Digital Platforms’ Moderation Powers: In a concurring opinion to a decision that vacated a previous ruling finding former President Trump’s blocking of Twitter users unconstitutional, Justice Thomas argued that the “concentrated control” of Big Tech gives digital platforms too much control over speech moderation decisions and that protections afforded by Section 230 should be “pared back.”

Privacy

Apple’s New Privacy Feature Rejects Apps That Collect User Data Without Consent: As part of Apple’s effort to implement its new App Tracking Transparency program, which allows users to opt out of being tracked, the company has begun to reject apps that use software development kits (SDKs) that employ methods such as device fingerprinting to track users across the web without their consent for deep analysis or advertising purposes.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Private Data From 533 Million Facebook Accounts Exposed Online: The personal data of Facebook users in 106 countries, including their email addresses and telephone numbers, was leaked for free after being harvested through an underreported vulnerability that was discovered and purportedly fixed in 2019.

Trump Campaign Used Dark Patterns To Scam Users To Donate More Money Than Intended: By using deceptive user interface designs such as pre-checked checkboxes and buried fine print, the Trump campaign tricked donors into making recurring weekly or monthly donations instead of intended one-time donations; last month, California banned certain dark patterns, and other lawmakers and regulators have taken steps to curb their use.

Intellectual Property

Google’s Use Of Oracle’s APIs Constituted Fair Use: The Supreme Court decided that Google’s use of Oracle’s application programming interfaces to develop the Android platform  amounted to a non-infringing, “fundamentally transformative use,” thus ending the decade-long dispute between the two companies.

Free Expression & Censorship

Twitch’s New Policy Will Take Disciplinary Actions Based On Off-Platform Misconduct: The company’s updated Off-Service Conduct Policy announces that the platform will investigate users’ off-service or offline offenses, including violent or terroristic acts, as part of its enforcement of its Hateful Conduct and Harassment policy, which is designed in part to ensure the Twitch Community’s safety.

Practice Note

Supreme Court Sides With Facebook And Narrows The Scope Of Federal Robocalls Ban: In an unanimous decision, the Court adopted a narrow reading of the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act and ruled that the notification system Facebook employs to text users about suspicious logins does not run afoul of the Act, which is designed to curb robocalls and automated texts.

On the Lighter Side

As Yahoo Answers Shuts Down, Users Save The Best “Bad” Questions For Posterity: The question-and-answer platform, a place to which people often turned to ask embarrassing questions they didn’t want to ask friends and family, is shutting down forever after being active for more than 15 years.

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: April 2, 2021

Internet Governance

Congress Questioned Big Tech About Spread Of Misinformation: During the five-hour congressional hearing in which the CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified regarding their platforms’ handling of misinformation and extremism, only Jack Dorsey acknowledged that Twitter might have played a part in spreading misinformation that contribution to the January 6th Capital riot, while Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai avoided answering the question directly; other questions focused on the spread of COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation on the platforms. 

Privacy

Google Begins Origin Trial To Replace Third-Party Tracking Cookies With FLoC Alternative: The tech company has started testing its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) technology as a replacement for third-party tracking cookies so that ad companies can continue targeting specific demographics while protecting targeted users’ identities; FLoC, which runs locally, analyzes browsing data to group users into cohorts with shared interests so that advertisers may deliver relevant ads without necessitating the use of tracking cookies or the sharing of browsing data with Google. 

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Mobile Carriers Fixed SMS Routing Loophole To Prevent Hacking: After an investigation revealed that hackers could pay as little as $16 to reroute SMS text messages then leverage that access to break into online accounts, major carriers such as T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T have begun to take measures to patch the security vulnerability. 

Twitter Bans Fake Amazon Accounts Impersonating Warehouse Employees: As the union vote count by Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama is underway, a series of anti-union tweets from several Twitter accounts praised Amazon’s working conditions; the company has since confirmed that many of the accounts are fake accounts that violate Twitter’s terms. 

Intellectual Property

Facebook Video Creators Claim The Platform Shorted Them Thousands of Dollars In Its Revenue-Sharing Model: Several Facebook video creators have been receiving monthly payments for their content that are inconsistent with projections provided by the company’s revenue estimation tool for content creators; Facebook has since apologized, citing “a technical issue” that has prevented certain video creators from receiving their full payouts. 

Free Expression & Censorship

Apple’s Latest iOS Update Fixes Bug That Blocks Web Searches Including The Term “Asian”: The iOS 14.5 Beta version that was released to developers last week remedies a year-old bug that blocks web searches including the term “asian” when the device’s adult-content filter is engaged; the bug became apparent as searches for “Stop Asian Hate” increased in the wake of anti-Asian violence across the country. 

Facebook Removed Lara Trump’s Interview With Donald Trump: After blocking Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the Capitol riot in January, Facebook recently removed a post by Lara Trump in which she interviews the former President.

On the Lighter Side

An Alleged Italian Mafia Fugitive Arrested After Posting Cooking Tutorials Online: The fugitive, who was hiding from Italian police in the Dominican Republic, was identified by his tattoos in the cooking tutorials he posted on YouTube.  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: March 19, 2021

Internet Governance

Uber Will Treat Its UK Drivers As “Workers” While Spain Plans To Grant Gig Economy Drivers Employee Rights: Following a UK Supreme Court decision that categorized 25 former Uber drivers as “workers”—a unique classification that grants entitlements to some, but not all of the rights of employees—Uber says that it will now classify all of its drivers with the same status, entitling them to employment benefits such as minimum wage guarantees; similarly, Spain will likely become the world’s first country to formally give gig economy delivery drivers employee rights.

Privacy

French Competition Watchdog Rejects Request To Stall Apple’s iOS 14 Privacy Protections: France’s competition authority rejected a request from online advertising lobby groups to delay the implementation of Apple’s anti-tracking controls on iOS14 on the basis that the authority did not view the privacy update as an abusive practice; however, the watchdog announced that it will still continue to investigate whether the tech company’s transparency updates give it an unfair advantage. 

California Approves New Regulations Under CCPA To Prohibit The Use Of “Dark Patterns”: The State approved regulations designed to strengthen consumer protections under the California Consumer Privacy Act by prohibiting websites from employing “confusing language or unnecessary steps” to thwart users from exercising their data privacy rights under the Act.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Hackers Robbed Thousands Of Dollars From NFT Art Collectors: Numerous users of Nifty Gateway, an NFT digital art marketplace, claimed that their accounts were hacked to purchase thousands of dollars worth of artwork and that they had been robbed of their existing art collection.

Intellectual Property

Wikipedia Hopes To Charge Big Tech For Using Its Content: Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that runs Wikipedia, will offer tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon a paid service for accessing and re-publishing content from Wikipedia’s public database. 

Free Expression & Censorship

Big Tech Combats COVID-19 Ads And Vaccine Misinformation: Through improving its automated detection technology and implementing new misinformation policies, Google has blocked more than 99 million fake COVID-19 ads on topics ranging from vaccine doses to counterfeit N95 masks; similarly, in its fight to remove misleading anti-vaccine theories, Facebook data scientists found that half of the most “vaccine-hesitant” posts on the platform can be attributed to merely 111 accounts.

Practice Note

Second Circuit Affirms That Vimeo Is Immune From Suit For Banning Account: The court affirmed dismissal of a suit brought by a pastor whose account was banned for promoting conversion therapy, reasoning that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunized Vimeo for its good-faith restriction of objectionable content. 

On the Lighter Side

A New Tool Will Help You Self-Sabotage Zoom Meetings: If you need an excuse to escape your next Zoom call, this free web widget will let you add a variety of distracting effects to your audio feed, such as echoes, crying babies, barking dogs, and weeping. 

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: March 5, 2021

Internet Governance

Ahead Of Other Major Powers, China Tests New Forms Of Digital Currency: China’s Central Bank is testing the electronic Chinese Yuan in cities such as Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing, where recipients of 200 electronic yuan have only a few weeks to spend it through the eCNY app before the digital money disappears; some economists worry the eCNY could provide the Chinese government a way to monitor citizens’ transactions. 

The FCC Subsidizes Low-Income Households For High-Speed Internet Adoption: The Federal Communications Commission approved $3.2 billion for eligible low-income households that may be “at risk of digital disconnection,” with eligible households entitled to receive up to $50 per month ($75 per month for households on Native American land) for broadband service, plus a one-time $100 discount on a computer or tablet.

Privacy

Virginia Becomes Second State To Pass A Comprehensive Data Privacy Law: Following in the footsteps of California, Virginia passed the Consumer Data Protection Act, which will become effective in 2023; although similar to California’s consumer privacy laws, Virginia’s law is viewed as weaker, as it contains no specific revenue threshold for application and lacks a private right of action, among other things.  

TikTok Settles Privacy Class-Action For $92 Million: The settlement resolves 21 class-action lawsuits alleging that TikTok used facial recognition technology to collect users’ biometric, gender, ethnicity, and age data without consent, and also harvested and sold other “highly sensitive personal data” in violation of multiple federal and state privacy and consumer protection laws. 

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Google Cloud Plans To Offer Cyber Insurance Designed For Google Cloud Customers: Leveraging a partnership with Allianz and Munich Re, Google Cloud will roll out a cyber insurance product, Cloud Protection +, embedded in its Cloud services for users in the U.S., indicating that cyber insurance might become more mainstream in businesses in the future.

Intellectual Property

Federal Jury Rules Intel Infringed Two Patents, Must Pay $2.18 Billion: Intel Corp. must pay VLSI Technology LLC one of the largest patent-damages awards in U.S. history for infringing two patents related to chip-making technology, despite Intel’s claims that it never infringed any of the patents and one of the patents covers the work of Intel engineers.

Free Expression & Censorship

On Facebook, Right-Wing Misinformation Has Higher Engagement Than Other Political Content: In assessing five months of Facebook post data from August 2020 to January 2021, researchers found that far-right sources of misinformation had the highest average number of interactions per post compared to sources promoting content reflecting views falling elsewhere on the political spectrum, but noted that further research is needed to determine why right-wing content achieves higher engagement.

On the Lighter Side

Plastic Surgeon In Surgery Attends Traffic Court Via Zoom: A judge postponed a virtual traffic court hearing after observing the defendant performing surgery on a patient while appearing in court.  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: February 19, 2021

Internet Governance

Maryland Becomes The First State To Impose A Tax On Digital Advertising Revenue: Maryland passed a bill to impose a “Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax” of up to 10 percent of the annual gross revenues of “digital advertising services” that target users within the state; proceeds from the tax will contribute to an education fund for Maryland public schools.

Facebook Limits Australian Access To News Content: In response to a proposed law in Australia that would require Facebook and other digital giants to pay for news content published on their platforms, Facebook has decided to block Australian users’ access to Australian news, and also prohibit the sharing of Australian news for both its Australian and international users; Google, which has threatened to pull its search engine from the country in response to the legislation, has begun to strike deals with news publishers.

Privacy

European Consumer Group Alleges TikTok Violates GDPR: Europe’s leading consumer advocacy group filed a formal complaint with European consumer protection authorities against TikTok, alleging that the social media company is violating the GDPR by, among other things, having “ambiguous” and fluid privacy policies, employing defective consent mechanisms, and subjecting children to the harms of hidden marketing.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Disaster Scammers Steal Account Numbers During Texas Snowstorm: As many Texans struggle without electricity due to the winter storm, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas warns Texans not to hand over private account numbers to social media scammers who are posing as electricity workers to steal account information.

Three North Korean Hackers Indicted By DOJ For Hacking Banks And U.S. Government Agencies: The suspected military intelligence hackers have been charged by the Department of Justice after hacking banks and cryptocurrency companies around the world and making away with more than $1.3 billion, as well as sensitive data from U.S. government contractors and agencies.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Potentially Gave Online Advertisers The Option To Exclude Nonbinary Audiences: Despite its online advertising policies against gender discrimination, Google’s advertiser options allegedly allowed online advertisers, including employers and landlords, to keep their ads from being shown to users categorized as having “unknown gender”; Google stated that it will make updates to “restrict advertisers from targeting or excluding users” based on their “unknown gender” characterization. 

Practice Note

Federal Judge Rules Citibank Is Not Entitled To The Return Of $500M Mistakenly Transferred: Citibank blamed the erroneous loan repayment on financial software Flexcube’s confusing user interface, but a federal judge ruled that the recipient creditors were within their rights to assume the transfer was repayment, and noted that it would be reasonable for creditors to assume that a sophisticated bank like Citibank would not send out such a large sum by accident.  

On the Lighter Side

Start-Ups Aim To Simulate Real-Life Gatherings Virtually: Several virtual-meeting start-ups, inspired by consumer demand to recreate chance encounters in the workplace, allow users to explore and interact with one another on virtual maps.  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: February 5, 2021


Internet Governance

China’s New Media Policy Requires Self-Publishers To Obtain Accreditation: China’s new media regulation, which requires that self-publishers obtain the Internet News Information Permit “and other relevant accreditation” before publishing news about politics, threatens to put an end to the careers of independent journalists who have recently gained popularity for publishing work that news organizations have rejected.

U.K. Launches Inquiry Into Uber’s Acquisition Of Autocab For Its Effect On Competition: U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is investigating Uber’s decision to acquire Autocab, U.K.-based software company that operates a ride-sharing platform that directly rivals Uber, over concerns that the acquisition will decrease competition in ride-sharing services.

Privacy

Amazon’s Transparency Report Reveals A Record High Number Of Government Demands For User Data In The Last Half Of 2020: Amazon processed 27,664 demands for user data from government authorities all over the world—an 800 percent increase from the first half of the year—and handed over data containing user content in 52 cases; more than 2,000 local law enforcement departments in the U.S. now participate in Amazon’s Ring network, and Amazon complied with more than 1,000 government efforts to obtain Ring video footage despite the device owners’ denial of access.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Apple iOS 14 Upgrade Features Changes That Address Zero-Click iMessage Attacks: Researchers discovered that Apple has updated the operating system to address vulnerabilities in the iMessage app that allow for “zero-click” attacks, which are “interactionless” attacks that could infect an iPhone without recipients clicking a link or downloading a file, by implementing structural changes, including establishing a “quarantine zone” where incoming messages are examined before being released into the iOS environment.

Free Expression and Censorship

India Warns Twitter To Comply With New Delhi’s Request To Block Accounts: After Twitter lifted its block of high-profile accounts in India, which was initially levied in compliance with New Delhi’s request in the wake of ongoing protests by farmers in the country, India warned the social media company not to “assume the role of a court and justify non-compliance.”  

Facebook Might Enable Advertisers To Choose What News Stories Appear Around Ads: Facebook is testing a new “topic exclusion controls” tool that allows advertisers on the platform to choose what news topics that they want to keep from appearing adjacent to their  advertisements; topic options include “news and politics,” “social issues,” and “crime and tragedy.”

Practice Note

Judge Rules Tim Cook To Sit For Seven-Hour Deposition: Despite Apple’s citation of the apex doctrine, which limits the extent to which high-level, corporate executives may be deposed, a judge ruled that the Apple CEO could be deposed for up to seven hours in the company’s litigation against Epic Games.  

On the Lighter Side

Texas Sends Out Amber Alert For Chucky, The Killer Doll: Blaming a test malfunction, the Texas Department of Public Safety accidentally sent out three Amber Alerts warning the public to be on the lookout for Chucky, the serial killer doll from the Child’s Play series.  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Junyi Cui
Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: December 4, 2020

Internet Governance

Trump Lashes Out At Section 230, Threatens To Veto Annual Defense Funding Bill: Disgruntled with the provision of the Communications Decency Act that safeguards online platforms from liability for user-posted content, President Donald Trump threatened to veto the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, an omnibus defense spending bill, if it does not include a repeal of Section 230.

NLRB Alleges Google Retaliated Against Employees For Worker Organizing: After Google fired two employees last year for purportedly violating its internal policies, the National Labor Relations Board this week filed a complaint alleging that the tech giant broke labor laws by retaliating against the terminated employees for their organizing efforts.
Privacy

Amazon And Microsoft Release Tools For Increased Monitoring Of Employees: Amazon’s machine-learning-based Panorama uses computer vision to analyze camera footage and automatically detect safety and compliance issues, while Microsoft 365’s Productivity Score allows employers to track 73 metrics across Microsoft services including Word, Outlook, Skype, and Excel; after receiving a backlash about privacy concerns, Microsoft has ceased individual tracking in favor of using company-wide aggregated data. 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Google Security Researcher Discovers iPhone WiFi Vulnerability: A security researcher with Google’s Project Zero demonstrates how potential hackers can completely access a victim’s iPhone by only being within the victim’s WiFi range, without having the victim click on suspicious links or install malware; while the security flaw was fixed in May, its discovery is significant because it allowed access to a device through a single vulnerability in code.

Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Chain Targeted By Hackers: The Department of Homeland Security and IBM warn that hackers posing as executives of a legitimate participant in the vaccine effort have used spearfishing tactics to attempt to obtain the usernames and passwords of key actors in the vaccine distribution chain, which could enable access to information about the vaccine’s development and distribution.
Intellectual Property

Microsoft Files Patent To Monitor Employees’ Productivity During Work Meetings: Despite being criticized for a employing a separate “productivity-score” tool, the technology giant has filed a patent for a “meeting-insight computing system” that allows managers to perform quality control of its Office 365 software by keeping track of employees’ body language and facial expressions during real-world and virtual meetings.  
Free Expression and Censorship

Amnesty International Alleges Facebook And Google Are Complicit In Vietnam’s Censorship: After interviewing scholars and experts regarding Vietnam’s online censorship, the human rights organization published a 78-page report claiming that Vietnamese authorities are weaponizing both platforms to block content opposing the Vietnamese government.

Six Initial Cases Of Content Moderation Now Open For Public Comment Under Facebook’s New Oversight Board: In each case, a panel of five board members will make a determination as to whether the content, which ranges from alleged hate speech to nudity to misinformation, should have been removed; Facebook hopes the new board will help relieve increasing pressure over its content decisions by introducing a familiar form of governance. 
On the Lighter Side

Cowkeepers Milk Useful Analytics From Bovine Facial Recognition System: Cainthus, an Irish computer system and AI agriculture specialist, has developed a technology capable of identifying and tracking individual cows based on hide patterns and facial recognition; ultimately, the tool provides important behavior information that “drives on-farm decisions that can impact milk production, reproduction management, and overall animal health.” 
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: November 13, 2020

Internet Governance

European Commission Initiates Competition Law Enforcement Action Against Amazon: Armed with the authority to fine Amazon 10% of its global turnover, the Commission has charged the retail giant with using information about third-party seller activity on its online marketplace to gain a competitive advantage as a retailer itself; Amazon counters that its global market share is less than 1%, it faces large retailers in every country, and it has provided unrivaled support to small businesses, with over 150,000 European enterprises participating in its marketplace.

TikTok Seeks Clarity As Divestiture Deadline Looms, Administration Silent: Despite efforts at actively engaging the administration and working to resolve the issues that prompted President Trump to ban the app, TikTok has received neither substantive feedback on proposed privacy and security improvements nor a response to its subsequent application for a 30-day extension to the November 12th deadline; as a result, the service has filed a petition in a United States Court of Appeals for a review of actions by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which issued the order requiring TikTok parent company ByteDance to sell its United States assets.
Privacy

European Data Protection Board Publishes Guidance On Standard Contractual Clauses Following Schrems II: Following the July ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union that invalidated the Privacy Shield framework that many businesses relied on to transfer the personal data of European citizens from the European Union to the United States, the European Data Protection Board released a 38-page guidance on the use of Standard Contractual Clauses, one of the few remaining methods of engaging in EU-compliant data transfers to the United States.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Zoom Agrees To Upgrade Security Program In Tentative Settlement With FTC: The company has agreed to settle allegations that it has not provided end-to-end encryption for Zoom meetings outside of its “Connecter” product despite claims to the contrary; while Zoom will implement security measures to protect its user base as part of the settlement, it is not required to compensate affected users. 

Digital Rights Activist Accesses Moscow’s Facial Recognition System For Just $200: After transferring the equivalent of approximately $200 to a service advertised on Telegram that offered access to the Moscow Police’s facial recognition system, a digital rights group volunteer received a detailed report of her movements over the previous month that was based where her image had been captured by police cameras.
Intellectual Property

Twitch Apologizes For Last Month’s Vague DMCA Takedown Notices: In a blog post explaining its copyright crackdown last month, Twitch apologized for its inadequate warning emails and recommended that users use recorded music on their streams only if they own the copyrights and that they delete old videos that have copyrighted music in them.
Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Groups In Violation Of Community Standards Policies Now Risk Forced Moderation, Subsequent Removal: In a heating up of Facebook’s efforts to curtail the spread of misinformation on its platform, the social media giant will start placing groups in frequent violation of its community standards policies on non-appealable, 60-day probationary periods, during which posts to the group must be manually approved by the group’s administrators or moderators; while Facebook deems the strategy a temporary protection “during this unprecedented time,” it warns that a group that persists in violations during its probation will be banned.
On the Lighter Side

Japanese City Responds To Bear Attacks With Robowolves: In response to a rise in black bear attacks as a result of an acorn shortage in the Japanese wilderness, the city of Takikawa, Japan, installed robotic wolves to deter bear attacks.
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: October 30, 2020

Internet Governance

Section 230 Reform Could Result In A More Barren Internet Dominated By Giants: Past amendment of the law has shown that changes resulting in increased liability for user content can drive small- and mid-sized content publishers such as personal sites and social media platforms to close their virtual doors, and may also disincentivize the development of new entrants to the market; nevertheless, reform is finding varying degrees of support in Congress, with Republicans suspicious that conservative voices are being dampened, as well as among Facebook, Google, Twitter, who stand to see their current dominance further solidified.
Privacy

Facebook Orders New York University Offshoot To Cease Bulk Collection Of Advertising Information: The Tandon School of Engineering, home of the Online Transparency Project, offers an “AdObserver” tool for evaluating political ads and targeting that has proven more insightful than Facebook’s own Ad Library; however, Facebook argues the data collection performed by the AdObserver browser extension constitutes impermissible data scraping under Facebook’s terms of use and threatens users’ privacy.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Trump’s Campaign Website Hacked In Cryptocurrency Scam: A week before the 2020 Presidential Election, the Trump campaign website was hacked to display a fake FBI notice describing evidence of Trump’s alleged wrongdoings and listing two cryptocurrency wallet addresses for visitors to send funds as a way of voting on whether the incriminating documents should be released or not.

United States Hospitals Facing Large-Scale Ransomware Threat, Several Hit: Federal security agencies have warned of an “increased and imminent cybercrime threat” due to a suspected large-scale plot by a known foreign cyberthreat actor to target hospitals in the United States; several hospitals have already been struck by a Russian group’s signature Ryuk ransomware.
Intellectual Property

Users Do Not Actually Own Content Purchased On Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Argues: In support of a motion to dismiss a recent class action suit alleging unfair competition and false advertising, Amazon argues that the Prime Video Terms of Use clearly explain that a purchase of video content results in a limited license for “on-demand viewing over an indefinite period of time,” and that some content may later become unavailable due to license restrictions or other reasons.
Free Expression & Censorship

By Allying with President Trump And Using Aggressive Facebook Tactics, The Epoch Times Emerges As “A Leading Purveyor of Right-Wing Misinformation”: In its fight against China’s ruling Communist Party for banning and persecuting its members, the Epoch Times has become a growing force in right-wing media by posting pro-Trump propaganda on Facebook and by downplaying its affiliation to Falun Gong.

Facebook Removes Misleading Ads From Both Trump and Biden Campaigns: Earlier this week, Facebook removed ads from both the Trump and Biden presidential campaigns that risked misleading voters, such as ads saying “Election Day is today” that appeared in states where early voting had not yet started. 
On the Lighter Side

McDonald’s Starts A Conversation About Mental Health On Twitter: After the McDonald’s social media manager tweeted about how all the questions she receives concern the McRib sandwich and are never “how are you doing,” other companies’ accounts responded to vent and join in the conversation on mental health.
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