CLIP-ings: February 19, 2021

Internet Governance

Maryland Becomes The First State To Impose A Tax On Digital Advertising Revenue: Maryland passed a bill to impose a “Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax” of up to 10 percent of the annual gross revenues of “digital advertising services” that target users within the state; proceeds from the tax will contribute to an education fund for Maryland public schools.

Facebook Limits Australian Access To News Content: In response to a proposed law in Australia that would require Facebook and other digital giants to pay for news content published on their platforms, Facebook has decided to block Australian users’ access to Australian news, and also prohibit the sharing of Australian news for both its Australian and international users; Google, which has threatened to pull its search engine from the country in response to the legislation, has begun to strike deals with news publishers.


European Consumer Group Alleges TikTok Violates GDPR: Europe’s leading consumer advocacy group filed a formal complaint with European consumer protection authorities against TikTok, alleging that the social media company is violating the GDPR by, among other things, having “ambiguous” and fluid privacy policies, employing defective consent mechanisms, and subjecting children to the harms of hidden marketing.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Disaster Scammers Steal Account Numbers During Texas Snowstorm: As many Texans struggle without electricity due to the winter storm, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas warns Texans not to hand over private account numbers to social media scammers who are posing as electricity workers to steal account information.

Three North Korean Hackers Indicted By DOJ For Hacking Banks And U.S. Government Agencies: The suspected military intelligence hackers have been charged by the Department of Justice after hacking banks and cryptocurrency companies around the world and making away with more than $1.3 billion, as well as sensitive data from U.S. government contractors and agencies.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google Potentially Gave Online Advertisers The Option To Exclude Nonbinary Audiences: Despite its online advertising policies against gender discrimination, Google’s advertiser options allegedly allowed online advertisers, including employers and landlords, to keep their ads from being shown to users categorized as having “unknown gender”; Google stated that it will make updates to “restrict advertisers from targeting or excluding users” based on their “unknown gender” characterization. 

Practice Note

Federal Judge Rules Citibank Is Not Entitled To The Return Of $500M Mistakenly Transferred: Citibank blamed the erroneous loan repayment on financial software Flexcube’s confusing user interface, but a federal judge ruled that the recipient creditors were within their rights to assume the transfer was repayment, and noted that it would be reasonable for creditors to assume that a sophisticated bank like Citibank would not send out such a large sum by accident.  

On the Lighter Side

Start-Ups Aim To Simulate Real-Life Gatherings Virtually: Several virtual-meeting start-ups, inspired by consumer demand to recreate chance encounters in the workplace, allow users to explore and interact with one another on virtual maps.  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows