Tech Titans Tackle Terrorism: Tech giants Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Google via YouTube will further their joint counter-terrorism efforts by forming the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, centering its focus on working with other players in the fight against terrorism, commissioning research and sharing technological solutions to curtail the content’s prevalence.
Give Kids the World Wide Web: Facebook is backing a new bill proposed by the California legislature that would give internet access to youth in juvenile detention facilities and foster care homes and allow them to develop computer literacy and communication skills
Search Warrant Stress: The fight between Facebook and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as the BCA sought access to the Facebook accounts and metadata of Philando Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, in the days following the deadly shooting shed light on the difficult position of social media companies when faced with search warrants for user data and the differences in compliance between tech and telecommunications companies with such requests.
Now You See Me: Snapchat’s new location-sharing Snap Map feature has raised concerns that users can unwittingly broadcast their exact real-world position in the app, though the company states that precise location data is deleted after a short period of time.
Information Security and Cyberthreats
Public Health Policy Meets Privacy: In its 17 point framework, the World Health Organization outlines the costs and benefits, such as potential patient privacy risks and tracking spread of diseases respectively, for countries’ adoption of the guidelines but emphasizes the importance and necessity for global ethical and responsible public health information collection and analysis.
Cyber Ceasefire: In a suspected effort to be harder on China, Canada signed an agreement with China agreeing not to conduct economic cyber espionage against the other, including hacking corporate secrets and proprietary technology, but the agreement does not address intelligence gathering via state-sponsored hacks.
Muddled Motivations: After another global cyberattack caused computer systems to fail around the world but yielded a small payout for the attackers, security experts are questioning whether the prospect of financial gain takes a backseat to other goals such as spreading an attack more quickly or sending a political message.
Copying Coachella? Urban Outfitters says it did not infringe on the music festival Coachella’s trademark, arguing that its use of the mark in advertising is not confusing to consumers and that other infringement allegations should be directed at its legally distinct subsidiary, Free People.
Tweet Takedown: Twitter suspended several popular music blogs after they tweeted footage from awards shows and another blog that tweeted the track list for a forthcoming hip-hop album, leading to both speculation that Twitter will suspend individual accounts for alleged copyright violations and calls for more transparent account suspension guidelines.
Free Expression and Censorship
Net Neutrality Noisemaker No More: In the ongoing fight for net neutrality, a voice that was once a vocal proponent is now notably silent; Tumblr and its CEO David Karp have barely engaged in the current discussion for net neutrality, and some suspect this change is due to Tumblr’s new parent company, Verizon Wireless, an opponent of net neutrality.
Halting Hate Speech: German police raided homes and interrogated 36 citizens accused of using hate speech on Facebook and Twitter, including incendiary political comments and harassment based on sexual orientation, in the midst of a pending German law that would impose a fine of up $53 million on social media platforms that do not remove prohibited speech.
Patent Predicament: While proponents of the proposed STRONGER Patent Act believe that the legislation will better protect patent owners’ rights, critics argue that the Act would remove a mechanism for challenging bad patents and actually discourage inventors from conducting research and development in the United States.
On the Lighter Side
Robo Reporting Gone Awry: A robot reporter used by the Los Angeles Times called Quakebot reported that a 6.8 earthquake hit Los Angeles last Wednesday, which it did but in 1925; the robot reports on earthquakes via the U.S. Geological Survey’s website but due to a USGS staffer’s mistaken alert during an update of historical data, the robot in turn messed up.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP
Fellow, Fordham CLIP
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP