CLIP-ings: March 27, 2020

Internet Governance

Tech Companies Partner With WHO For Coronavirus Hackathon: Facebook, Microsoft, and TikTok are among the tech companies participating in #BuildforCOVID19, a global hackathon aimed at finding software solutions for the coronavirus pandemic; the winning projects will be announced on April 3.

Privacy

Smartphone GPS Data Shows American Social Distancing Patterns: Unacast, a human mobility insights company, uses smartphone GPS location data collected from apps to gauge the extent to which people are staying put and generate a “Social Distancing Scoreboard” that grades adherence to social distancing guidelines by county across the United States; grades have varied greatly, with some localities such as Washington, D.C. receiving an “A” rating, while others like Wyoming earn an “F.” 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cybersecurity Experts Fight Coronavirus-Related Hacks: With an uptick in phishing scams and other hacking attempts designed to exploit the coronavirus pandemic, a group of over 400 international cybersecurity experts formed the “COVID-19 CTI League” to fight hacking and ransomware attacks targeted at health organizations and other “frontline responders.” 

Intellectual Property

Google v. Oracle Supreme Court Oral Arguments Delayed Due To Coronavirus: For the first time since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the Supreme Court has postponed hearing oral arguments, delaying the $8 billion copyright case between the tech giants. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Namecheap Blocks Registration Of Domains Containing Coronavirus-Related Words: In an effort to prevent potential abuse, fraud, and misinformation, the domain registrar has temporarily blocked all domain requests that contain words including “coronavirus,” “covid,” or “vaccine;” legitimate companies and website owners will still be allowed to apply for domains containing the blocked words by making a request through Namecheap’s customer support team.

Twitter Locks Account For Promoting Unfounded Coronavirus Advice: The platform temporarily locked The Federalist’s account after the news site tweeted an article encouraging people to deliberately infect themselves in controlled-quarantine coronavirus gatherings similar to “medical chickenpox parties”; Twitter concluded that the post violated its rules regarding COVID-19 content, which prohibit posts that “go[ ] directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.”

Practice Note

Surge In Lawyers Working From Home Increases Risk Of Smart-Devices Hearing Confidential Conversations: Though companies such as Amazon and Google have stated that their digital assistants are designed to record and store conversations only when voice-activated, lawyers are being warned to remove or turn off the devices when working from home given that the devices can often activate in error.

On the Lighter Side

Spanish Police Arrest Man For “Hunting Pokemon” During Lockdown: A 77 year-old man dedicated to “catching them all” was arrested for playing Pokemon Go outside, in violation of the Spanish government’s coronavirus lockdown orders.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP