CLIP-ings: May 29, 2020

Internet Governance

EU Prepares Tech-Focused Coronavirus Recovery Plan: A €750B pan-EU recovery package unveiled by the European Commission on May 27 will invest largely in boosting the resilience of industries linked to green and digital projects, including 5G, AI, cloud, cybersecurity, and supercomputing.


Scheduled House Vote On Surveillance Power Withdrawn:  Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to withdraw a bill to reauthorize government foreign surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and instead opted to enter conference committee negotiations on the bill with the Senate.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Corporate C-Suites Create Cybersecurity Risks: A recent multinational study indicated that over two-thirds of surveyed executives asked for exceptions to their companies’ security protocols that endangered personal and corporate data, including requesting access to company data on unsecured personal devices and overrides of multi-factor authentication—steps that are widely seen as fundamental to protecting data from breaches and other cyberthreats.

Intellectual Property

U.S. Copyright Office Issues Report On Digital Millennium Copyright Act: In the report, the  Office identifies problem areas in the law and proposes updates including “alternate models” for notice and takedown, “harsher penalties” resulting in safe harbor revocations, clearer standards for liability, and expanded ability for rightsholders to “subpoena online service providers.”

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Investigating YouTube Comment Censorship: Slogans banned by the Chinese government were automatically deleted from YouTube’s comment sections over the past six months; in a public statement, Google attributed the activity to a bug in the video giant’s automated content filter system and has further clarified that the activity was “not the result of outside interference.”

President Trump Issues Executive Order About Social Media Platforms: After his Tweets about fraudulent mail-in voting were tagged by Twitter as potentially misleading, President Trump signed an executive order which, among other things, calls for the loss of immunity under Communications Decency Act section 230 for tech companies that discriminate against or impose certain access restrictions on users.

Practice Note

United States Court Of Appeals Dismisses First Amendment Claims Against Tech Giants: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed dismissal of a 2018 case brought by the nonprofit Freedom Watch and conservative user Laura Loomer alleging that Apple, Google, Twitter, and Facebook infringed upon their First Amendment rights by “intentionally and willfully” suppressing conservative content; the court held these tech companies are not “state actors” and thus cannot violate the First Amendment.

On the Lighter Side

Facebook Launches New Feature For Musical Collaboration: In the United States and Canada, Facebook will begin an invite-only, beta round of its newest feature, Collab, the TikTok-inspired app that allows users to share, discover, and “mash up original videos and music.”

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Isabel Brown
Caroline Vermillion
Editorial Fellows