CLIP-ings: September 30, 2022

Internet Governance

Apple Removes Popular Russian Social Media Apps from App Store: In response to new UK sanctions on Russian oligarchs, Apple removed iOS apps developed by technology conglomerate VK and disabled the developer accounts associated with the apps.
Privacy

UK Information Commissioner’s Office Targets TikTok for Mishandling Children’s Data: The privacy regulator issued a preliminary notice of intent informing the company that it has reason to believe that TikTok unlawfully processed information from users under 13 over a two-year span and that TikTok failed to adequately notify users about the processing of “special category information” such as ethnicity, political leanings, religious beliefs, and others.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Optus Data Breach Prompts Australian Privacy Law Overhaul: Last week, the Australian telecommunications company revealed that nearly 10 million customers, or 40 percent of the country’s population, had their personal data including names, birth dates, home addresses, phone and email contacts, and passport and driver’s license numbers exposed in a hack. The country’s prime minister has since called for changes to privacy laws that would require breached companies to share details about affected customers with banks to prevent fraud.
Intellectual Property

AI-Generated Graphic Novel Receives Copyright Registration: A graphic novel by a New York-based artist may be the first AI-generated piece to be recognized by the U.S. Copyright Office. The registration documentation, however, does not reference AI and lists only the artist as author, so some speculate that there may have been an “oversight of information” during review.
Freedom of Expression and Censorship

Instagram Permanently Bans Pornhub’s Account: Following a temporary ban imposed three weeks ago, the popular account for adult content has now been removed for good. Meta, which owns Instagram, claims that the account repeatedly ran afoul of its policies over a ten-year span, while Pornhub says it received no explanation about which policies it allegedly violated and cited unequal treatment between adult-content creators and mainstream celebrities who post nudity on the platform.
Practice Note

Proposed EU Rules Would Make it Easier to Sue for AI-Inflicted Harms: The AI Liability Directive would reshape products liability laws to encompass machine-learning systems and would create the right for individuals to obtain details about organizations’ AI use to help support legal claims.
On the Lighter Side

The Dark Side Goes AI: After 91-year-old James Earl Jones decided to wind down his acting commitments, Lucasfilm has turned to a Ukrainian sound startup to “clone” his voice for Disney Plus’ Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
If you enjoy reading CLIP-ings, please consider making a contribution to Fordham CLIP. Your support provides crucial funding at a time when the study of information law and policy is more important than ever.
Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 23, 2022

Internet Governance

FTC Requests More Information About Amazon’s iRobot Acquisition: In a filing made as part of its investigation into the $1.7 billion deal, the Commission is requesting “any soliciting material published, sent or given to security holders.” The filing suggests that both Amazon and iRobot plan to cooperate with the request.
Privacy

U.S. Military Purchases Internet-Data Monitoring Tool: Recently-revealed documents show that multiple branches of the armed forces have purchased access to Augury, a privately-developed tool that provides insight into over 90 percent of all internet traffic. The office of Senator Ron Wyden received a whistleblower complaint regarding the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s warrantless purchase of data using the tool, which collects data from over 550 worldwide access points and is updated with 100 billion new records each day.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Morgan Stanley Fined $35 Million for Improperly Disposing Hard Drives Containing Customer Information: The fine will settle SEC charges that the financial services company sold off hard drives and backup tapes containing the unencrypted personal information of nearly 15 million people. According to the SEC’s complaint, Morgan Stanley failed to oversee a contractor’s data destruction services, and the unwiped devices were later sold to an IT consultant.
Intellectual Property

Getty Images Bans AI-Generated Content: The supplier of stock images imposed the ban out of concern over “unaddressed rights issues” related to the outputs of image generators, as well as out of a desire to protect Getty Image users from resulting potential legal risk.
Freedom of Expression and Censorship

Florida Petitions SCOTUS to Rule on Social Media Law: After an appeals court blocked the controversial law, which would force online platforms to host content that they would otherwise remove, Florida has asked the Court to weigh in on states’ power to compel private companies to host speech. The petition comes days after another federal appeals court upheld a similar law in Texas that prohibits platforms from banning or moderating users based on political viewpoint.
Practice Note

German Data-Retention Law Ruled Unlawful: The European Court of Justice ruled that the law, which requires telecommunications companies to store user data for up to ten weeks and share it with law enforcement, is unlawful. According to the judges, “EU law precludes the general and indiscriminate retention of traffic and location data, except in the case of a serious threat to national security.”
On the Lighter Side

Builder Drones: Inspired by bees, researchers have developed drone teams that work together to 3D-print simple structures.
If you enjoy reading CLIP-ings, please consider making a contribution to Fordham CLIP. Your support provides crucial funding at a time when the study of information law and policy is more important than ever.
Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 16, 2022

Internet Governance

California Sues Amazon For Anticompetitive Practices: A lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general alleges that the company’s agreements with third-party sellers harm competition by limiting merchants’ ability to offer their products at lower prices elsewhere. The suit alleges that Amazon engages in retaliatory conduct against sellers that forces them to keep prices high and consolidate their offerings on Amazon.

Google’s €4.1 Billion EU Fine Upheld: The European Union’s General Court upheld the fine–which is the largest the bloc has levied–against Google for imposing a set of anticompetitive restrictions on Android device manufacturers that set Google products as the default.
Privacy

Period-Tracking App Flo Releases “Anonymous Mode” in Wake of Roe v. Wade Overruling: The popular app, which has an estimated 40 million monthly users and which was once subject to Federal Trade Commission enforcement action for sharing user data, will implement a new data-relay system that allows users to use the app without having their data linked to their name, email address, or IP address.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

TikTok Mum on Whether U.S. User Data Reaches China’s Government: In response to questioning from lawmakers in Congress, the company’s Chief Operating Officer denied that TikTok is influenced by China, but avoided saying whether its parent ByteDance discloses data to the country’s government pursuant to national security law that requires companies to comply with requests for data.
Intellectual Property

EU’s AI Act Could Chill Open-Source Software, Report Warns: A report by the Brookings Institution argues that the Act, which requires developers to ensure that their open-source software is accurate, secure, and transparent about risk, could disincentivize the release of open-source material over fear of litigation in the event of error. As a result, the report warns, AI development could be driven totally into the private sector.
Freedom of Expression and Censorship

California Social Media Transparency Law Signed by Governor Newsom: The law requires social media companies to publicly post their policies on handling hate speech, misinformation, harassment, and extremism, as well as submit semiannual reports on enforcement of the policies to the state’s attorney general. The controversial law poses First Amendment problems, according to experts.
On the Lighter Side

A Slice of the Future: Pizza robots in New Jersey can whip up 300 pies per hour.
If you enjoy reading CLIP-ings, please consider making a contribution to Fordham CLIP. Your support provides crucial funding at a time when the study of information law and policy is more important than ever.
Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 9, 2022

Internet Governance

FTC Reviews Amazon’s Purchase of iRobot: The Commission has begun a “wide-ranging” review of the company’s purchase of the vacuum maker to determine if the $1.7 billion deal harms competition in the market for robot vacuums and connected devices, as well as whether data generated by iRobot’s products could give Amazon an unfair competitive advantage.
Privacy

Irish Data Protection Commission Fines Meta €405 Million Over Instagram’s Handling of Children’s Data: After a two-year investigation, the Commission found that Instagram violated the GDPR by allowing users between ages 13 and 17 to operate business accounts that publicly displayed their phone numbers and email addresses.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hackers from Conti Group Target Ukraine: A report from Google’s Threat Analytics Group suggests that former members of the cybercrime unit have participated in financially-motivated attacks against Ukraine as part of a hacking group referred to as UAC-0089. The group’s new efforts against Ukrainian government, non-profit, and humanitarian organizations match similar efforts by the Kremlin and represent the “blurring lines between financially motivated and government-backed groups in Eastern Europe.”
Intellectual Property

Andreessen Horowitz Unveils NFT Licensing Options: The venture capital firm introduced a set of licensing agreements that establish rights between NFT owners and those who create the original art underlying the NFTs.
Freedom of Expression and Censorship

Instagram Disables Account of Pornhub: After being briefly disabled in 2021, the account has gone offline again without explanation for a period of over three days. The founder of an organization dedicated to battling sex trafficking created a post on Twitter suggesting that she’d requested that the page be removed for violating the platform’s guidelines.
Practice Note

ISPs Cease Fight Against Maine Privacy Law: Telecommunications providers and related industry groups have dismissed their suit alleging that the state’s law prohibiting ISPs from using, selling, disclosing, or providing access to customers’ personal information without their opt-in consent violated the providers’ First Amendment rights.
On the Lighter Side

Cut the Lawn with Laser Precision: A YouTuber created a motor-powered, spinning laser to keep the grass trim.
If you enjoy reading CLIP-ings, please consider making a contribution to Fordham CLIP. Your support provides crucial funding at a time when the study of information law and policy is more important than ever.
Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: September 2, 2022

Internet Governance

Meta Settles Cambridge Analytica Suit: The company has agreed to settle for an undisclosed sum the case brought by users alleging that Facebook sold their personal information to third parties. The settlement comes just weeks before CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former COO Sheryl Sandberg were scheduled to be deposed.
Privacy

FTC Sues Data Broker for Selling Sensitive Location Information: In its complaint against Kochava, the Commission alleges that the company’s selling of identifiable location data, including data that could identify people seeking abortions, amounts to an unfair business practice.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Security Researchers Discover “High Severity” TikTok Vulnerability: Users of the Android version of the app may have been vulnerable to a now-patched exploit that would have given hackers access to all aspects of their accounts, including personal data and the ability to upload and modify content.
Intellectual Property

Biden Administration Restricts Sale of Sophisticated Computer Chips to China and Russia: As part of an effort toward supremacy in computing and AI, new rules require that manufacturers of graphics processing units, which are used in supercomputers that develop weapons and gather intelligence, obtain export licenses before selling certain types of chips in the two countries.
Freedom of Expression and Censorship

Truth Social Banned from Google Play: Former President Trump’s social media platform has been banned from the app store for violating its policies against content promoting threats or inciting violence. The ban makes it more challenging for Android users to download the app.
Practice Note

California Kids’ Online Privacy Law Advances: Both houses of the state’s legislature passed the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, which requires businesses to design products and services that enhance children’s’ privacy by, among other things, minimizing data collection, implementing enhanced privacy settings by default, and conducting data protection impact assessments. Critics of the law, which heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, worry that its age-verification requirements will upend internet use as we know it and will increase privacy risks.
On the Lighter Side

France Uses AI to Detect and Tax Undeclared Swimming Pools: A one-two punch of aerial photography and Google-powered image processing has helped the country discover and tax the hidden pools to generate 10 million euro.
If you enjoy reading CLIP-ings, please consider making a contribution to Fordham CLIP. Your support provides crucial funding at a time when the study of information law and policy is more important than ever.
Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP