CLIP-ings: April 16, 2021

Internet Governance

Secret Google Project Benefitted Company’s Own Ad-Buying System Using Historical Bid Data: An inadvertently unredacted document filed in response to an antitrust lawsuit in Texas revealed that Google secretly operated “Project Bernanke,” which leveraged past bid data collected from advertisers using its digital advertising exchange to benefit its own ad system, allegedly creating an “unfair competitive advantage over rivals” and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.


Virginia Bill Bans Use And Purchase Of Facial Recognition Technology For Most Police Departments: House Bill 2031, which bars local police departments in the state from using or buying facial-recognition technology without legislative approval, will go into effect on July 1; airport police and Virginia State Police, however, are not covered under the ban.

Apple And Google Reject UK’s Covid-19 Test And Trace App Update: Both tech companies rejected the NHS’s latest update because it allowed the app to ask users to log venue check-ins after testing positive for the virus, which required the collection of information about users’ location—a function that the two firms explicitly banned in their agreements with health authorities using their contact-tracing software.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Treasury Department Sanctions Russia For Election Interference And Hacking: In response to interference in the 2020 election and participation in the SolarWinds hack, President Biden signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on Russia; under the order, the Treasury Department sanctioned 32 entities and individuals for “carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election” and blacklisted six Russian companies for providing support to the Russian intelligence agency for its cyber activities.

Man Charged With Plotting To Blow Up Amazon Data Center: A Texas man’s plot to “kill off about 70% of the internet” by blowing up an Amazon data center in Virginia was foiled by the F.B.I after a concerned citizen provided police with the individual’s email address and “alarming” statements that he posted on a forum used for organizing militia groups.

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Loophole Enables Global Politicians To Fabricate Popular Support: A former Facebook employee alleges that a loophole in the platform allows governments and politicians to create fake supporters to amplify the appearance of popularity and criticize opponents using Facebook’s Pages feature, and that the company selectively responds to instances of such activities based on public relations risk.

Practice Note

Leaked Draft Proposal Reveals That EU Might Ban Some Uses Of Artificial Intelligence: The document proposes regulation that would prohibit AI use for mass surveillance and social credit scoring, and would require member states to implement assessment boards to test high-risk AI systems; policymakers plan to officially announce the draft proposal on April 21.

On the Lighter Side

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Trains Monkey To Play “Mind Pong” With Brain-Chip Implant: The brain-chip startup released a video of a monkey playing a Pong-like video game totally hands-free and using only its thoughts after having chips implanted in its motor cortex, regions that coordinate hand and arm movements in the brain.

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows