CLIP-ings: May 3, 2019

Internet Governance

Facebook Offers Data On Election Influence: The company announced that it will provide “privacy-protected Facebook data” from APIs and other sources to more than 60 academics for the purpose of researching the social network’s role in instances of election interference across the world.


FTC And Facebook Working Toward Settlement: A week after Facebook announced that it expects to be fined up to $5 billion by the FTC for privacy violations, reports have emerged that tentative settlement terms between the parties would require Facebook to create a privacy committee, appoint an external assessor, and appoint a head compliance officer to oversee the company’s privacy compliance efforts.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Vodafone Discovered Vulnerabilities In Huawei Equipment: Newly-released 2009 and 2011 security briefings from Vodafone Group reveal that the telecom discovered hidden backdoors in software that could have granted Huawei unauthorized access to the network that provides internet service in Italy, as well as in certain broadband network gateways; Vodafone and Huawei said that they worked together to resolve the issues upon their discovery.

Florida Voting Equipment Compromised: Senator Marco Rubio confirmed that Russian hackers infiltrated at least one Florida county’s electronic voting system during the 2016 presidential election by mimicking emails from the company that provided the voting equipment; according to Rubio, the hackers were “in a position” to alter voter records.

Intellectual Property

SCOTUS Seeks Input On Google Appeal: The Supreme Court has asked the Trump administration to weigh in on whether the Court should consider the company’s appeal of a Federal Circuit ruling that revived Oracle’s case alleging that Google impermissibly copied code from the Java programming language to create Android.

Free Expression & Censorship

Clarifying What’s Tweet-able For Tesla: A federal judge approved a proposed settlement between the SEC and Tesla CEO Elon Musk that prohibits Musk from tweeting about Tesla’s finances, proposed mergers and acquisitions, and yet-unreleased production and delivery figures without first obtaining pre-approval from the company’s lawyers; this new settlement comes after Musk settled 2018 securities fraud charges related to tweets about taking Tesla private.

Practice Note

Taking Tweets With You: A Missouri federal district court declined to dismiss a conversion claim brought by a plaintiff against one of its former employees after the former employee changed the handle of a Twitter account that he used in connection with his work with plaintiff to reflect his affiliation with a new employer, the plaintiff’s direct competitor.

On the Lighter Side

Undersea Espionage: Could a GoPro harness-wearing beluga whale encountered by fisherman off Norway’s coast be a Russian spy?

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP