CLIP-ings: September 4, 2020

Internet Governance

Courts Hold Amazon Liable For Faulty Products: Multiple court rulings have found the e-commerce giant responsible for defective products sold by third-party merchants on its marketplace, especially when third-party merchants disappear, due to its significant role as part of the distribution chain. 

Ninth Circuit Rules NSA’s Telephone Metadata Program Illegal And Possibly Unconstitutional: Almost seven years after the appeal of a criminal terror-fundraising case against four Somali immigrants, the unanimous three-judge panel held that the metadata program is illegal, but that the metadata collection played a minor role in the case and did not taint the evidence introduced by the government at trial under established Fourth Amendment standards.

Amazon Surveils Its Flex Delivery Drivers In Private Facebook Groups: Following the discovery of official company documents, Amazon has confirmed that it employs staff to track and monitor private social media groups used by Amazon Flex workers in order to keep tabs on complaints and discussions about strikes against the retailing giant.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Russians Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation: After months of warnings by the F.B.I., Facebook and Twitter now confirm that the Internet Research Agency, the Russian group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election, is actively repeating its efforts from four years ago to disrupt the November 2020 election by feeding conspiracy theories designed to alienate Americans through a network of fake user accounts and fringe news sites.
Intellectual Property

Apple’s App Store Practices Spark Criticism From Facebook: Highlighting Apple’s strict controls over what it allows onto the App Store, and by extension, user’s iPhones, CEO Mark Zuckerberg reproached Apple last week for its purported anti-competitive practices, such as denials of certain features of Facebook apps and the removal of Fortnight, despite having recently shared in the scrutiny of a Congressional hearing targeting monopolistic tech giants.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Touts Improved Ability To Detect And Remove Misinformation As Myanmar Elections Loom: Taking a lesson from its past failure to prevent misinformation campaigns which led to expressions of hate against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, Facebook has implemented technological and human monitoring of information sharing, verification, and controls in order to prevent false and misleading claims from interfering with the country’s upcoming November 8th general election. 

Practice Note

Kik Finds Protection Under Section 230 Despite FOSTA Claim: In a case involving the exposure of a minor to unsolicited nude photos on the popular messaging app, the Southern District of Florida held that the scienter requirements of sections 1591 and 1595 of the anti-sex-trafficking act FOSTA had not been met and thus Kik was entitled to immunity under Communications Decency Act section 230.
On the Lighter Side

Birth Of A Virtual Nation: Almost thirty years ago, an energetic head of the White House Office of Media Affairs, a sketch of a website based on a White House tour, a major telecom, Socks the cat, and others combined to help drive a confluence of emerging internet technology to spawn the White House’s first website.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP