CLIP-ings: June 5, 2020

Internet Governance

Senator Cruz Accuses Twitter Of Violating Iran Sanctions: In a May 29 letter to the Department of Justice and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senator Cruz called for a criminal investigation into the social media company for not blocking Iranian leaders’ accounts, which Cruz claimed violated the Iran sanctions rooted in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). 

Privacy

Google Faces $5 Billion Class Action Lawsuit For Tracking Users In “Private” Mode: A class action lawsuit filed against Google in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleges that the company violates “wiretapping and privacy laws” by  tracking information such as “consumer browsing history and other web activity data” despite users browsing in “incognito” or “private” mode. 

California Reveals Privacy Law Enforcement Strategy: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released the proposed regulations for the California Consumer Privacy Act, though their definitions of key terms such as “sale of data,” “third-party cookies,” and the entities subject to the law—uncertainties which tech giants could exploit to avoid liability—raise early doubts about enforcement effectiveness. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Zoom To Provide End-To-End Encryption For Paying Users Only: Zoom announced that it will provide full encryption privacy services only to paying users who can be verified, as well as non-profit organizations “that require the added security”; the move comes as part of an effort to keep “illegal and abusive content” off the platform.

Intellectual Property

Major Publishers Sue Internet Archive For Permitting Free Access To Millions Of Books: Numerous publishers from the Association of American Publishers filed suit in New York federal court against the Internet Archive and five others for copyright infringement, alleging that the scanning, reproducing, and distributing “digital bootleg [works] online” as part of the Internet Archive’s Open Library amounts to “mass infringement;” plaintiffs seek both an injunction and $150,000 in statutory damages per infringement. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Lawsuit Filed Against President Trump For Recent Social Media Executive Order: On June 2, the Center for Democracy and Technology filed a lawsuit against President Trump, alleging that his executive order restricting social media platforms’ ability to censor misinformation and curb online violence was purely “retaliatory” and in violation of the First Amendment.

Practice Note

California Limits Fees For Public Record Requests: After a local police department charged $3,000 in “redaction fees” for body camera footage from a UC Berkeley protest, the California Supreme Court narrowed the circumstances in which government agencies can charge fees for public record requests to exclude the cost of any privacy redactions made in the process of fulfilling those requests.  

On the Lighter Side

Researchers Analyze Why We Stretch Our Words Online: A pair of applied mathematicians from the University of Vermont published a study of 100 billion Tweets concluding that users tend to extend two- and double-letter words, such as “aw” and “finally,” to convey a broad range of emotions and attract attention in a limited space; the findings will be “critical” in training AI chatbots to better parse human-written text. 

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