CLIP-ings: August 30, 2019

Internet Governance

German Court Suspends Cartel Regulator’s Restrictions On Facebook Data Integration: A Dusseldorf court suspended an order by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office that would have created a structural separation of Facebook’s businesses by banning the company from combining data across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp without user consent; the Office has indicated that it intends to appeal the suspension.

FTC, AT&T, Settle Data Throttling Lawsuit: The 2014 lawsuit alleged that AT&T failed to inform consumers with unlimited plans that their data speeds would be reduced after they used a certain amount of data each month; the parties have sought a 90-day stay to allow the FTC to vote on the settlement.


Sweden Imposes First GDPR Fine On Municipality For High School’s Trialing Of Facial Recognition Technology: The school claimed that it obtained students’ consent for a pilot program to use facial recognition technology to monitor student attendance; the Swedish Data Protection Authority found that it was nevertheless unlawful to collect the students’ data due to a “clear imbalance between the data subject and the controller.”

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Sensitive Bioterrorism Defense Data Stored On Insecure Website For Over A Decade: The Department of Homeland Security stored the information, which included the public locations of air samplers used to detect airborne biological weapons, results of tests for possible pathogens, and response plans that would be implemented in the event of a bioterrorism attack, on a website that was vulnerable to attacks by hackers; the website has now been shut down, but officials do not know whether hackers obtained access to the data.

Intellectual Property

Former Waymo Engineer Indicted For Autonomous Vehicle Trade Secrets Theft: The DOJ filed a 33-count indictment against Anthony Levandowski, alleging that he stole trade secrets relating to self-driving car technology from Google’s Waymo before leaving to found his own company that was later acquired by Uber; Levandowski pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in federal court in California.

Publishers Sue Audible Over Speech-To-Text Feature: Seven book publishers have filed a lawsuit against the audiobook company alleging that its new “Captions” feature, which uses machine learning to transcribe spoken words into written ones so users can follow the text of an audiobook, violates copyright law because Audible does not hold licenses to reproduce written versions of the books; Audible contends that the feature “was never intended to be a book,” and emphasizes that it differs from a book in that users cannot flip through pages of text but must wait for text to be generated as they listen along.

Free Expression & Censorship

College Student’s Visa Cancelled Over Friends’ Social Media Posts: U.S. Customs and Border Protection cancelled a Harvard student’s visa at the airport due to U.S.-critical posts on his friends’ social media accounts, even though the student had not interacted in any way with the content; the student is seeking to challenge the decision.

On The Lighter Side

Court Orders Man Claiming To Be Bitcoin Inventor To Pay $5 Billion In Bitcoin: A U.S. district court in Florida has ordered Craig Wright to pay half of his Bitcoin holdings to the estate of a deceased programmer involved in the creation of the cryptocurrency; experts have questioned Wright’s claim that he invented Bitcoin, and the court did not decide the question.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Alison Gordon
Editorial Fellow