CLIP-ings: April 30, 2021

Internet Governance

Federal Court Could Review Trump’s Potential Interference In Awarding Of Military Contract: The Court of Federal Claims declined to dismiss Amazon’s claims alleging that the former President interfered to award Microsoft a $10 billion contract with the Defense Department to modernize the military’s cloud-computing systems until the court resolves a claim brought by Amazon alleging that it was overlooked during contract deliberations due to former President Trump’s animosity toward Jeff Bezos.

Privacy

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Feature Rolls Out: Apple’s latest iPhone update, which implements a new requirement that that app developers obtain consent before tracking users across apps and websites, has been released after nearly a year of delay; the feature has been touted as an “obvious baseline” by privacy advocates, while other stakeholders such as Facebook argue that it will make it more expensive for small businesses that rely on lucrative ad campaigns to easily target customers. 

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Defense Department Grants Control Of 175 Million Military IP Addresses To A Florida Startup: Shortly before former President Trump left the White House, the Defense Department gave 175 million dormant military IP addresses to a mysterious Florida startup founded in September 2020 as part of a “pilot effort” to study “potential vulnerabilities” in them, according to the director of the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service.

DC’s Metropolitan Police Department Confirmed Data Breach Following A Ransomware Attack: The hackers, suspected of being the group Babuk, released screenshots of 250G of stolen data, which includes details about arrests made after the January Capitol riots and information about persons of interest and informants; the attack is believed to be part of a wider trend targeting government bodies, with twenty-six government agencies hit by ransomware attacks in this year.

Intellectual Property

UK Court Will Hear Copyright Infringement Suit Brought By Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor: London’s High Court agreed to hear a copyright infringement suit against the operator and publisher of bitcoin.org (known as Cobra) brought by Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who proclaims to be the anonymous inventor of bitcoin and alleges that Cobra’s use of the bitcoin.org domain and its hosting of a white paper that outlines the technology behind the cryptocurrency violates copyright.

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook And Twitter Censor Posts As India Suffers Through Another Wave Of Covid-19 Cases: Facebook India claims it blocked a hashtag calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “by accident,” denying claims that the Indian government had requested that the tech company remove it; last weekend, Twitter was ordered by the Indian government to take down 52 tweets that criticized the government’s handling of the pandemic.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case That May Clarify Public School Students’ Off-Campus Free Speech Rights: In a case brought by a high school cheerleader who was banned from the cheerleading team after posting a profane photo of herself and a friend that was taken outside the school setting, the Supreme Court must weigh in on the extent to which public schools can discipline students for speech that occurs off-campus; the Court is expected to issue a ruling this summer that will clarify a 1969 precedent holding that students don’t “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

On the Lighter Side

“Disaster Girl” Becomes An NFT: The trending meme known as Disaster Girl, which depicts then-4-year-old Zoe Roth smiling devilishly in front of a burning building, has become an NFT and was sold by Roth for 180 Ethereum (currently, approximately $473,000).  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows