CLIP-ings: October 9, 2020

Internet Governance

16-Month Congressional Investigation Finds Tech Giants Hold Monopoly Power In Key Business Sectors: After analyzing one million documents and interviewing experts in Big Tech as part of an investigation into Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook’s dominance in the marketplace, the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel reported that the companies’ anticompetitive conduct has undermined potential competition and hindered innovation.

H&M Faces Second-Largest Fine For Breaching GDPR: Following a year-long investigation of H&M’s employee surveillance practices, the Data Protection Authority of Hamburg found the company illegally kept excessive and extensive records on the illnesses, religions, and family issues of its employees at its Nuremberg service center.

IRS Criminal Investigation Unit Reveals Mass Purchase Of Location Data: In a briefing to Senators Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren, the unit explained that the IRS had purchased a data collection from Venntel, a company which resells location data acquired from mobile app advertisers; the use of such datasets may circumvent warrant requirements, as the data does not include users’ cell phone numbers.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Grindr Fixes Security Vulnerability: After initially ignoring a security researcher’s warnings that he had discovered a security vulnerability in the app’s password reset functionality, Grindr, a dating app that keeps track of the sexuality and HIV status of its users, has fixed its password reset algorithm “before it was exploited by any malicious parties.”
Intellectual Property

Trial Court Finds Cisco Guilty Of Infringing Cybersecurity Patents: A U.S. District Judge imposed a fine of nearly $2 billion on the company after ruling that Cisco willfully infringed four cybersecurity patents held by Centripetal Networks that had been disclosed to Cisco under a non-disclosure agreement when the parties were discussing potential partnership.
Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Classifies QAnon As Militarized Social Movement, Imposes Broad Ban: While continuing to allow individuals to post about QAnon on their personal pages, Facebook has banned all organized QAnon content, including accounts, pages, and groups, categorizing the far-right conspiracy group as an “identified militarized social movement” prohibited by the social media giant’s terms of service.

YouTube Deletes Tweet Mocking Content Creators’ Long Videos: After mocking creators for making long videos as a way to better monetize their content under the site’s advertisement policies, YouTube apologized in a follow-up tweet for “miss[ing] the mark.”
Practice Note

Supreme Court To Decide Google v. Oracle: In a ten-year legal battle centering on the copyrightability of APIs—basic pieces of code which facilitate software interoperability—the Court will decide whether Oracle’s APIs enjoy copyright protection and, if so, whether Google’s implementation was nevertheless fair use; significant interests have weighed in on both sides, and the ultimate outcome has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way the computer industry innovates.
On the Lighter Side

Researchers Track Poachers By Stuffing Transmitters In 3D-Printed Sea Turtle Eggs: Inspired by the HBO series The Wire, wildlife biologists developed the InvestEGGator, an inexpensive, 3D-printed egg that houses technology that transmits location data to Costa Rican authorities so that they can monitor the trafficking of turtle eggs in the country.
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