CLIP-ings: November 20, 2020

Internet Governance

Austrian Supreme Court Orders Facebook To Remove A Post Globally: After losing its appeal of a 2016 case in which Eva Glawischnig-Pieszek, then-chair of Austria’s Green Party, successfully sued Facebook Ireland for the removal of defamatory comments, the Austrian Court ordered the social media giant to remove such postings and similar references on a global scale.

Recent Hearing Reveals Important Differences Between Dorsey And Zuckerberg Reflected In Their Respective Companies: In response to questions concerning the addictiveness of social media platforms and the algorithms that determine what users see, Twitter’s CEO admitted the platforms might be addictive and expressed a willingness to allow greater transparency and user choice over algorithms, whereas Facebook’s CEO was more circumspect and avoided exploring the concept of algorithmic transparency and control; both responses reflected the way in which each platform currently operates, such as Twitter’s open implementation of experimental changes and Facebook’s zealous concealment of its algorithms.

That New Friend Request Could Be A Debt Collector: Couched in the language of an update to consumer financial protections, and with the details concealed within a 132-page document, a new rule issued by the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will allow debt collectors to approach debtors via email, text, and social media; under the rule, debt collectors are restricted from posting publicly and must comply with debtor requests to desist in contacting them through social media.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Head Of National Cybersecurity Ousted For Not Toeing Administration Line: In a firing-by-tweet, President Trump removed Christopher Krebs from his Senate-confirmed position as the inaugural director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in retaliation against Krebs’s public assurances about the integrity of the results of the elections systems and the agency’s systematic debunking of specific election fraud claims, which undercut the President’s campaign to undermine the election results; during his tenure, Krebs built up the agency he is leaving, and through his conduct, earned bipartisan respect, both for himself and the agency.
Intellectual Property

GitHub Reinstates Popular Code That Allows Users To Download Copies Of Copyrighted Material: After receiving a DMCA takedown notice from the Recording Industry Association of America in October, GitHub removed “youtube-dl,” a command-line program that could potentially be used to download copyrighted videos; however, Github has since reversed its decision, explaining that while the program listens to a few seconds of a song in order to confirm it is working properly, it does not actually download the material for distribution, and that the code has numerous “legitimate uses.”
Free Expression and Censorship

Trump’s Accusations Of Voter Fraud Continue: Since election night, President Trump has posted over 300 tweets in which he amplifies election misinformation; at a congressional hearing this week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed that Trump’s account will lose its “world leader” status, which ensures that tweets that might otherwise violate Twitter’s rules stay visible due to their public interest, once Trump is no longer President.
Practice Note

Requirements Forcing Production Of Code May Violate Constitutional Prohibitions Against Compelled Speech: Two providers of automobile dealer management systems have successfully claimed in Arizona federal court that part of the state’s 2019 Dealer Data Security Law requiring compatibility and integration with third-party systems violates First Amendment protections by forcing the production of code to meet the law’s standards; the court disagreed that Constitutionality is avoided because the law does not dictate content, stating that the plaintiffs’ allegations reach beyond regulation of conduct.
On the Lighter Side

Zoom Lifts 40-Minute Limit For Thanksgiving Meetings: As a goodwill gesture, Zoom is lifting the 40-minute limit on free video chats so families can talk for as long as they wish on Thanksgiving Day.
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