CLIP-ings: September 25, 2020

Internet Governance

Twitter’s And Zoom’s Algorithms Face Racial-Bias Problems: A Ph.D student’s Twitter thread exposing a flaw in Zoom’s algorithm that would remove his black colleague’s head in videos with a virtual background revealed a similar “cropping bias” in the algorithm that Twitter uses to generate photo previews in tweets.

YouTube May Be Forced To Acknowledge Mental Health Consequences Of Content Moderation In Pending Litigation: A proposed class-action lawsuit against the video site alleges that it violated California law by failing to ensure safe work conditions for content moderators and failing to inform them of the job’s potential negative effects on their mental health.
Privacy

Instagram User Files Suit Alleging iPhone Camera Surveillance: Filed in the United States District Court in San Francisco, the complaint alleges monitoring via unconsented camera activation by the Instagram iPhone app; Instagram owner Facebook has previously denied that users’ iPhone cameras are accessed or that content is recorded in such instances, and called the notification of camera use a bug.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Amnesty International Report Cites Sales Of Surveillance Technology To China As Cause For EU Export Reform: In a report that notes the human rights risks associated with selling digital surveillance technologies to known persecutors of ethnic groups, Amnesty International urges European Union lawmakers to update the bloc’s export regulations to require that exporters conduct human rights due diligence. 
Intellectual Property

Facebook Rights Management Platform To Be Extended To Image Owners: Facebook has adapted its system for safeguarding music and video rights to give a select group of partners the ability to claim ownership over and control the use of their images on Facebook and Instagram; particular attention is being given to how current Instagram use may be affected before opening the tool up to all users. 
Free Expression and Censorship

Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement Shows How Digital Technology Can Promote Civil Participation: After the success of vTaiwan, a public discussion platform where experts, government parties, and citizens deliberated contentious issues, Taiwanese public officials created a government-managed platform called Join to host debates on divisive issues and give Taiwanese citizens an opportunity to participate in the legislative process.

Practice Note

In Suit Brought By Vermont Attorney General, Court Denies Clearview AI Section 230 Immunity Or First Amendment Protection: The Vermont Superior Court rejected Clearview AI’s attempt to portray itself as an interactive computer service provider publishing third party information and denied the company’s motion to dismiss, noting that the basis of the state’s claims are the means by which the company acquired photographs, its use of facial recognition technology, and its allegedly deceptive statements.
On the Lighter Side

Scientists In India Built A Tree-Climbing Coconut-Harvesting Robot: Owing to the shortage of coconut harvesters in the country, Indian scientists have built a coconut-harvesting device that can climb tree trunks and cut ripe coconuts with its circular saw blade. 
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: September 18, 2020

Internet Governance

Facebook Granted Judicial Review Of Probe Into Its Transatlantic Data Transfers: After arguing that it had been unfairly targeted and that its Standard Contractual Clause had not been invalidated, Facebook was granted leave by the Irish High Court for judicial review of the Irish Data Protection Commission’s recent order threatening Facebook’s ability to transfer information from the European Union to the United States.

Oracle Foretells Partnership With TikTok: With the waning of Microsoft’s interest, Oracle has swept in to rescue TikTok in the face of President Trump’s mandate that the popular app be sold or shut down in the United States; experts believe Oracle and TikTok may be uniquely suited to each other given the goodwill between Trump and Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison, as well as Oracle’s cloud services and record of security.
Privacy

Singapore Distributes Bluetooth Contact-Tracing Tokens To Contain Spread Of Covid-19: Singapore’s government rolled out a hardware version of its existing contact-tracing app to citizens who are less likely to own a smartphone; like the app, information stored on the token is purged regularly to alleviate privacy concerns. 

Revenge Porn Reports Surge During Lockdown: Following lockdown in the United Kingdom, reports of non-consensual pornography made to a government-funded helpline have increased by 22 precent from 2019 despite coronavirus restrictions easing.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

20,000 Terabytes Under The Sea: After a years-long experiment in which Microsoft submerged a large container filled with servers off the coast of Scotland, the tech giant has found the aquatic data center eight times more reliable than dry-land analogs, with decreased cooling requirements, increased power-efficiency, and the ability to provide portable, local data storage. 
Intellectual Property

U.S. Customs And Border Protection Tweets Its Seizure Of “Counterfeit Airpods”: After CBP tweeted about its seizure of “counterfeit Airpods,” thousands of Twitter users replied to inform CBP that the products were actually OnePlus Buds, legitimate wireless earbuds inspired by Apple’s sleek white wireless Airpods. 
Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter’s Labelling Of Doctored Posts Easily Missed By Twitter Users: As Election Day approaches, Twitter increasingly flags doctored videos by affixing a tiny notice that reads “Manipulated Media,” a label that is easily missed and fails to explain how the video is false, while still allowing users to share the tweet. 

Practice Note

Safety Driver Charged With Negligent Homicide In Collision Involving Autonomous Vehicle: The backup driver in a self-driving Uber vehicle has been charged with negligent homicide following the death of a woman the vehicle struck in 2018; the decision seems largely predicated on the fact that the backup driver was distracted and failed to assume timely control of the vehicle, but investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board also found deficiencies in Uber’s risk assessments and safety controls.
On the Lighter Side

Apple And Singapore Partner To Incentivize Apple Watch Users To Stay Healthy: As part of a national initiative to help Singaporeans lead healthier lives, Apple and the country announced a two-year health program that will encourage users to hit fitness goals by offering financial incentives through the Apple Watch and an iPhone app called LumiHealth. 
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: September 11, 2020

Internet Governance

Facebook First To Feel The Sting Of Decision Invalidating Privacy Shield: In the first major move by a European Union data protection authority to enforce the European Court of Justice’s July ruling invalidating the data transfer framework, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has ordered Facebook to suspend transfers of European Union users’ information to the United States or face fines amounting to 4% of the tech giant’s annual revenue.

Italy Tugs Apple, Dropbox, And Google Down To Earth: Italy’s competition authority is investigating the tech giants’ cloud storage services to analyze their disclosures about the collection and use of data, the fairness of their contract clauses, and the prevalence of English rather than Italian language contracts.
Privacy

Portland Takes A Stand Against Facial Recognition Tech: Portland’s City Council unanimously adopted two broad ordinances limiting the use of facial recognition technology by city bureaus (e.g., the Police Bureau) and private companies.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Apple Assesses Hong Kong’s National Security Law: Following Beijing’s unilateral imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong on July 1, Apple, unlike other tech giants, has not paused processing user data requests from Hong Kong authorities while it is “assessing” the new law…
Free Expression and Censorship

GitHub In China Is A Free Speech Zone For Covid-19 Information: On the Chinese internet, where social media platforms are either banned or strictly monitored, GitHub remains the “last land of free speech in China” as Chinese authorities hesitate to censor the open source platform that has become invaluable to the country’s tech industry.

Facebook Blocks Dying Man’s Broadcast While TikTok Struggles To Remove Suicide Video: Citing a desire to avoid promoting self-harm, Facebook has blocked the victim of a rare disease from livestreaming his final days after his decision to withdraw from life-sustaining treatment; meanwhile, TikTok is scrambling to prevent a shocking and graphic suicide video from popping up on user’s screens, including those of juvenile viewers.
Practice Note

Magistrate Judges Reject “Reverse” Warrants: Two federal magistrate judges have ruled that the warrants, through which police geofence the area around a crime scene, request information on devices within the geofence from providers such as Google, and then comb through disclosed data in order to narrow down a list of suspects, violate Fourth Amendment constraints and fail under Carpenter’s reasonable expectation of privacy in cell site location information.
On the Lighter Side

U.S. Companies’ Delivery Drone Operations Postponed While Quadcopter In Tel Aviv Drops Bags Of Cannabis: Despite routine experimentation and official paperwork, U.S. companies itching to expand delivery drone operations are stalled by the lack of federal regulations; meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, a quadcopter was filmed dropping bags of cannabis onto the streets.
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: 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