CLIP-ings: September 13, 2019

Internet Governance

Texas Law Banning Deepfake Videos Takes Effect: The legislation prohibits the creation or distribution of videos within 30 days of an election that appear to depict “a real person performing an action that did not occur in reality” if the video is created or distributed with the intent to injure a candidate or influence the election; Texas is the second state after Virginia to criminalize deepfake videos, with similar bans currently being considered in California and by Congress.

Fifty Attorneys General Announce Google Antitrust Investigation: Following reports last week that Google would be the subject of an antitrust probe, representatives from 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have now officially launched their inquiry, which will focus on whether Google has harmed competition and consumers through its search, advertising, and other businesses; the attorneys general of California and Alabama declined to participate.


DHS Proposes New Rule To Obtain Social Media Usernames From Asylum Seekers, Immigrants, And Refugees: If implemented, the rule would require applicants to provide five years’ worth of usernames for 19 different social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube; the Department is seeking comments on the proposal until November 4.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Apple Comments On iOS Hacking Operation: In the wake of a Google report last week that iPhones were hacked in an extensive malware operation, Apple has confirmed the attack, but has clarified certain elements of the report—namely, that the attack was narrowly focused to target China’s Uyghur Muslim community, that the attack ran for approximately two months instead of two years, and that Apple was already in the process of fixing the vulnerability that enabled the attack before being notified about it by Google.

Intellectual Property

Nintendo Blocks Access To Pirated Games By Enjoining UK ISPs: As part of its long-standing fight against piracy, Nintendo sought and won an injunction that prohibits five major UK internet providers from providing access to four websites known for hosting pirated material; the effort marked a tactical change from Nintendo’s typical practice of targeting pirated content directly.

Free Expression and Censorship

Ninth Circuit Declares Montana Law Banning Political Robocalling Unconstitutional: The court found that content-specific bans on robocalling presented a threat to First Amendment rights and hampered candidates with limited resources, defeating the State’s concerns for privacy protection and busy phone lines.

Practice Note

Scraping Public Information Deemed Legal By Ninth Circuit: In a 3-0 decision, the court upheld an injunction that prohibits LinkedIn from blocking tech startup hiQ Labs from harvesting public information from user profiles; the court reasoned that it was doubtful that users had any expectation of privacy in the publicly listed information.

On the Lighter Side

Web Browser Workaround Makes Private Instagram Posts Accessible To All: By using the “Inspect Element” tool and tabbing to the “Img” selection, users can locate a URL for any previously viewed post or story, which can then be shared publicly regardless of the user’s privacy setting.

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
Lawrence Keating
Editorial Fellows