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 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: 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