CLIP-ings: January 10, 2020

Internet Governance

New Cambridge Analytica Documents Leaked: A former employee-turned-whistleblower has begun to leak a trove of over 100,000 documents showing that the now-defunct company was a “global operation that worked with governments, intelligence agencies, commercial companies and political campaigns to manipulate and influence people,” and that it had even worked for a Ukrainian political party in 2017 while under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.


Ring Adds Privacy Dashboard: In response to recent criticism of its privacy and security practices, the home security system has added a privacy dashboard to its app that allows users to alter privacy and security settings, including by setting up two-factor authentication and managing law enforcement’s ability to request video clips.

YouTube Implements Children’s Privacy Changes: As part of a settlement with the FTC over alleged Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act violations, the streaming service has effected changes that include removing targeted advertising, push notifications, and other community-oriented features from videos designated by creators as “made for kids”; content creators complain that a lack of guidance makes it difficult to determine whether they may be in violation of the new policies.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

FBI Again Seeks Apple Help To Unlock Device: Armed with a court order permitting it to search iPhones allegedly belonging to the suspected gunman at a Florida naval base last month, the FBI has requested that Apple help it unlock the password-protected devices; the Bureau has sought similar help from Apple in the past, but ultimately found alternative ways into the devices in those cases.

TikTok Vulnerabilities Discovered: A cybersecurity research firm discovered “multiple vulnerabilities” in the popular video-sharing app that would allow hackers to upload and delete videos from users’ accounts, change the privacy settings of users’ existing videos, and redirect users to malicious websites that mimic TikTok’s homepage; the vulnerabilities were disclosed to TikTok parent ByteDance and have since been patched. 

Intellectual Property

Airbnb Owns User-Profiling Patent: Airbnb has patented “trait analyzer” software that scours the web for information about users’ behavioral and personality traits to gauge their “trustworthiness” and ultimately to calculate their compatibility with various hosts.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Deepfake Ban Met With Skepticism: On Monday, the social network announced that it will ban deepfakes on its platform, including content created by artificial intelligence and content that has been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone”; lawmakers, however, say that the prohibition does not go far enough, as it likely does not cover content created using “widely available editing software.”

On the Lighter Side

AI That Makes You Smile: A newly announced AI toothbrush, which is driven by an app that provides “real-time tracking and coaching,” has proven to improve gum health in clinical trials.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP