CLIP-ings: March 12, 2021

Internet Governance

UK Investigates The App Store’s Terms For Anti-Competitiveness: The Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into the App Store in response to complaints from app developers such as Epic Games alleging that Apple uses its market position for distributing apps to set unfair terms that restrict competition among app developers.

Privacy

Activists Sue Clearview AI In California Court Over Privacy Violations: The lawsuit alleges that Clearview has violated the state’s constitution by building a facial recognition database consisting of the biometric data of 3 billion people harvested without consent via web scraping; Clearview now offers access to its database to more than 2,000 law enforcement agencies and private companies.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Cyberattack Of SITA Compromised Thousands Of Passengers’ Frequent Flier Information: The global aviation IT firm, which acts as an intermediary for inter-airline data transfer, was hit with a cyberattack that affected its Passenger Service System servers, which store frequent flier information of the Star Alliance, the world’s largest alliance of prominent airlines, including information such as membership number and tier status.

Microsoft Exchange Servers’ Critical Vulnerabilities Exploited by Hackers: Four critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s servers for the widely used email and calendar service were exploited by hackers including Hafnium, an alleged “state-sponsored actor” from China, to gain access to emails and address books of over 250,000 organizations globally, including governments, academic institutions, and businesses.

Intellectual Property

App Creator Accuses Apple Of Copyright Infringement For Skin-Tone Emojis: The creator of iDiversicons, an app that allows users to copy and paste different skin-tone emojis, is one of many mobile app developers who have accused big tech companies like Apple of incorporating ideas from other applications into its own operating system; despite initially learning of the diverse-emoji concept through iDiversicons, Apple subsequently rolled out its own skin-tone emoji options and made the app virtually obsolete..

Free Expression & Censorship

Digital Creators Innovate To Further Monetize Their Social Media Presence: As the digital market gets more competitive, creators are finding new ways to monetize their followings; from letting fans pay to vote in a poll to control a creator’s lifestyle choices to selling creator scandals as NFTs, creators are letting fans take more control of their personal lives for monetization..

Practice Note

Court Rejects Apple’s And T-Mobile’s Argument To Push Consumer Claims Into Arbitration: In a lawsuit where consumers claim that a flaw in the iPhone operating system, in conjunction with recycled T-Mobile phone numbers, have violated both companies’ privacy policies, a New York district judge has rejected Apple’s request to move the dispute to arbitration because “Apple is not a party to the T-Mobile [terms and conditions] agreement” and cannot enforce it.

On the Lighter Side

Jack Dorsey Auctions His First Tweet As An NFT For Charity: The Twitter CEO and co-founder plans to donate the proceeds from the NFT auction to Give Directly’s Africa Response fund for COVID-19 relief; currently, the highest bid is $2.5 million.  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: February 26, 2021

Internet Governance

Federal Judge’s Ruling Allows California To Enforce Net Neutrality Law: A California federal judge rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction by telecommunications providers to stop California’s net neutrality law, allowing the state to enforce the 2018 law that would ensure equal access to internet content.

U.K. Supreme Court Classifies Former Uber Drivers As Employees: The Court issued a unanimous decision classifying 25 former Uber drivers as “workers” entitled to employment benefits such as minimum wage while they worked for the company; while the ruling is limited to the 25-driver group, it nevertheless sets a precedent for more litigation over the employment status of gig workers in the country.

Privacy

WhatsApp Will Limit App Functionality If Users Do Not Accept New Privacy Policy: WhatsApp announced that starting May 15th, users will not be able to send or read messages through the app if they do not agree to the service’s new privacy terms, which outline how WhatsApp can share private messages with parent company Facebook and utilize that data for advertising.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

A “Bug” In Prison Software Keeps Arizona Inmates Behind Bars Despite Earning Early Release: A flaw in Arizona’s Correctional Information System inmate management software renders the program incapable of calculating early release dates, which forces Arizona prison employees to manually calculate early release credits earned by inmates who, under Arizona’s SB 1310 program, could be eligible for early release if they were convicted solely on certain drug charges and participated in self-improvement programs offered by the state.

Phishing Scams Targeted At Postmates Drivers Drain Their Weekly Earnings: Scammers claiming to be Postmates employees call gig workers to obtain login details for the accounts in which the company deposits drivers’ weekly earnings so that funds can be siphoned out, and drivers now ask for more safeguards, such as having a unique caller ID for calls originating from the company.

Intellectual Property

Twitch Dubbed Metallica’s Livestreamed Performance To Avoid Copyright Issues: During a livestream of the BlizzCon video game conference, Twitch overdubbed Metallica’s performance of its classic songs with generic, “copyright-free” music due to concerns over copyright infringement.

Free Expression & Censorship

TikTok Took Down 89 Million Videos, Some Of Which Had Shared Election And COVID-19 Misinformation: In its latest transparency report, the social media company revealed that from July to December 2020, it took down 347,225 videos for sharing election misinformation and 51,505 videos for spreading COVID-19 misinformation; however, some of the videos already had hundreds of thousands of views before they were removed.

On the Lighter Side

SEC Bans Trading Of The Long Blockchain Corp’s Stock: The company, formerly known as The Long Island Iced Tea Corp, diversified its iced tea business by investing in blockchain technologies but now has had its stock registration revoked by the SEC for failure to report on its financials since 2018.

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows

CLIP-ings: February 12, 2021

Internet Governance

Nevada Invites Technology Companies To Form “Alternative Local Governments”: A proposed bill in Nevada would allow companies working on emerging technologies to form local governments in “Innovation Zones,” which would have authorities similar to those of counties, including the power to impose taxes and provide government services.

New Section 230 Reform Would Restrict Immunity For Online Platforms: If passed, the proposed SAFE TECH Act update to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act would lift immunity for platforms in cases alleging stalking, harassment, or intimidation, as well as cases relating to advertisements and wrongful death;  critics of the bill argue that it is too broad and would likely result in “potentially dire” unintended consequences for the internet as we know it.   

Privacy

Eleventh Circuit Denies Standing Based On Future Harm Theory In Data Breach Incidents: The Eleventh Circuit joined four other circuits and denied a plaintiff standing in a data breach case on the basis that his allegations of an increased risk of future harm were too speculative;  in a separate case before the Supreme Court, technology companies filed an amicus brief that implores the Court to prohibit “abusive no-injury class action lawsuits.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Water Treatment Plant In Florida Hacked Due To Weak Security Practices: A Florida water treatment plant network that was hacked last week left itself vulnerable to an attack by lacking a firewall and employing poor password security; through the hack, an attacker was able to increase the sodium hydroxide content in the water supply for 15,000 people to poisonous levels before a plant operator noticed and reversed the change. 

Intellectual Property

Microsoft Patent Enables Virtual Conversations With Deceased Or Fictional Personalities: Microsoft was recently granted a patent for technology that would cull an individual’s “social data” to train a chatbot to converse in the personality of that individual, but the company says it doesn’t plan to create a product from the technology due to AI ethics concerns. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Plans To Remove Posts With Erroneous Claims About Vaccines: Whereas the social network had only “downranked” misleading claims about certain vaccines in the past, Facebook recently announced it will remove any false claims about vaccines that have been debunked by the World Health Organization and other leading health institutes.

Facebook’s Algorithm Is Blocking Ads By Adaptive Fashion Brands: By misidentifying adaptive fashion advertisements as the promotion of “medical and health products and services including medical devices,” Facebook’s automated intelligence system routinely rejects these ads and blocks them from the social media platform.

On the Lighter Side

From Kitten Filters To Upside-Down Heads, Attorneys Fumble In Video-Conferencing Meetings: In the latest news of video-conferencing mishaps, Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer appeared up-side down in a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee, while earlier this week, a Texas attorney had trouble removing his kitten filter during a Zoom court appearance. 

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows