CLIP-ings: October 11, 2019

Internet Governance

PayPal Withdraws Support For Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency: The online payment systems company has withdrawn from an organization overseeing the creation and rollout of Libra, which continues to attract scrutiny from legislators: Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Financial Services on October 23, and two Democratic Senators have written to Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe warning them to expect a high level of scrutiny should they decide to become involved with Libra.


Declassified FISA Rulings Reveal FBI Violated Americans’ Privacy In Mass Surveillance Searches: In one of several rulings disclosed by the Director of National Intelligence this week, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found that FBI searches were inconsistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment; the court pointed specifically to the FBI’s failure to differentiate which search terms specifically concerned U.S. residents, as well as to a number of incidents dating back to 2017 in which large-scale searches improperly captured information about Americans.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

U.S., UK, And Australia Call On Facebook To Halt Plans For End-To-End Encryption: In an open letter to Facebook, representatives from the three countries asked Facebook not to proceed with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services; the letter emphasizes the need to balance data security with the need for law enforcement to access information for criminal investigations.

Twitter Admits To Using Security Credentials For Targeted Advertising: In a statement released Tuesday, Twitter admitted to using phone numbers and email addresses provided as part of its two-step authentication process to serve targeted ads to an unknown number of users; the revelation comes less than a year after Facebook received a $5 billion FTC fine for engaging in the same practice.

Intellectual Property

SCOTUS Declines To Hear University of Wisconsin’s Appeal In Patent Dispute Against Apple: The Supreme Court declined to review a district court’s decision to throw out a $506.1 million verdict for Wisconsin, which the University’s licensing body was awarded after a jury in 2015 found that Apple violated its 1998 patent on a “predictor circuit” that assists processors in quickly executing computer programs.

Free Expression and Censorship

Apple Removes Apps From Chinese App Store And Hides Taiwanese Flag Emoji From Hong Kong Users: In response to complaints from the Chinese government, Apple has blocked an app that tracked the locations of police and protestors in Hong Kong and also removed the Quartz news app due to its coverage of the protests; Apple has also hidden the Taiwanese flag emoji , which was otherwise accessible worldwide except in mainland China.

Blizzard Bans Gaming Streamer After Vocalizing Support For Hong Kong During Livestream: The Hong Kong player known as “blitzchung” will forfeit any prize money earned in the competition, and will be ineligible from further participating for one year; the ban is seen as overly partisan and has incited online criticism of Blizzard, which is partially owned by Chinese investors.

On the Lighter Side

Instagram Says Goodbye To The “Following” Tab: Introduced in 2011 so that users could connect with mutual friends, Instagram says the feature is rarely used today, and that its removal will curb unwanted prying; a live update has already been released replacing Following with Activity, which is more focused on individual users.

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