CLIP-ings: October 16, 2020

Internet Governance

European Union Draws “Hit List” Of Big Tech Companies To Curb Market Power: As part of an effort to foster competition in the technology space, EU regulators are targeting up to 20 large Internet companies—including Facebook and Apple—by ordering them to be more transparent on how they gather information, and in extreme cases, breaking up companies that intrude on the trading practices of smaller competitors. 

Reverse Engineering Reveals Undocumented Backdoor In Kids’ Smartwatch: Researchers at Norwegian security company Mnemonic found that a smartwatch designed exclusively for children has an undiscovered functionality that allows someone “to remotely capture camera snapshots, wiretap voice calls, and track locations in real time;” exploiting this back door, however, would be difficult without knowledge of both a unique factory-set encryption key and the phone number assigned to the watch.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Hackers Gained Access To Twitter Accounts In High-Profile Attack By Posing As Company IT Officials: According to an investigative report by New York regulators, hackers who took over several celebrity accounts in July, including those belonging to Barack Obama and Elon Musk, did so by by pretending to assist Twitter employees with VPN problems; the hackers directed employees to a phishing website that looked identical to the legitimate Twitter VPN website and used the fake website to steal the employee’s login credentials to gain access to Twitter’s backend. 
Intellectual Property

Possible Expansion Of Massachusetts Right-To-Repair Law May Have Significant Reach: Whether original equipment manufacturers must share automobile telematics—data from cars’ internal sensors transmitted to vehicle makers in real-time—with independent mechanics will be on the ballot for Massachusetts voters this November; just as the original law’s passage in 2013 forced automakers to adopt a nationwide right-to-repair standard, the expansion could have wide-ranging ramifications.
Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook And Twitter Restrict Distribution Of Suspect Hunter Biden Story: A New York Post story based on emails said to have been provided by Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, and purported to have come from a computer owned by Hunter Biden, has raised suspicions as to its veracity, prompting Facebook to reduce the article’s distribution as it undergoes fact-checking review and Twitter to ban linking to the story pursuant to its policy against hacked materials.

Yelp Initiates User Alert For Businesses Accused Of Racist Behavior: Yelp has announced that upon detecting a sudden influx of reviews for a business, the review site will post an alert and temporarily disable further reviews; upon a subsequent determination of “resounding evidence” of racist behavior, the site will then update the alert to reflect such accusation and provide a link to a credible news article.
Practice Note

Ohio Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal Of Facebook From Murder Suit: In affirming dismissal, the Court found that Facebook did not have a duty to warn the victim of the murderer’s intentions, which he articulated in a post on the social networking site, because no special relationship existed between Facebook and the victim.
On the Lighter Side

Machine-Learning Algorithm Flags Pile Of Onions As Overtly Sexual: A Canadian garden store was surprised to find that a seemingly innocuous advertisement for its Walla Walla onion seeds had been rejected by the social network’s computer-vision algorithm for “overtly sexualized positioning;” object-recognition tests performed by an outside researcher pointed to a particular onion in the middle of the ad’s visual display as triggering the rejection.
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