CLIP-ings: May 7, 2021

Internet Governance

N.Y. Attorney General Finds FCC Was Flooded With Fake Comments In Lead-up To 2017 Net Neutrality Repeal: A years-long investigation resulted in a report that concludes that nearly 18 million of the 22 million public comments received regarding the net neutrality roll-back order were fake and the product of an industry effort to influence the Federal Communications Commission’s decision making.

Labor Department Rescinds Trump-proposed “Independent Contractor Rule”: The withdrawal of the Rule, which would have made it easier for gig-economy companies like Uber and Lyft to classify workers as independent contractors, signifies a policy shift toward stronger worker protections such as guaranteed wage and overtime pay.


School Apps Found To Share Student Data: A recent study by nonprofit technology group Me2B Alliance found that 60 percent of mobile apps used in schools across the country transmit student data to third parties through the use of software development kits, which collect and share user data with analytics and marketing firms. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Peloton Leaves Sensitive User Data Exposed: A bug in the home-workout company’s API left exposed customer profiles that included personal information such as age, location, birthday, and workout data; the bug, which was discovered by a security researcher, has now been patched.

Intellectual Property

Musicians Implore Spotify To Not Implement Speech-recognition Tech: 180 musicians and human rights activists have asked the streaming service to never “use, license, sell, or monetize” a recently patented technology that would enable it to recommend music based on listeners’ “emotional state, gender, age, or accent,” arguing that the technology is “emotionally manipulative, discriminatory against trans and non-binary people, violates privacy and data security, and exacerbates inequality in the music industry.”

Free Expression & Censorship

Facebook Oversight Board Upholds Trump Ban, But Punts Ultimate Decision Back To Facebook: The Board concluded that the social network was correct to ban the former President for violating the site’s terms of service in posts related to the January 6th Capitol riots, but found the indefinite ban to be “vague” and “standardless”; the Board has given Facebook six months to determine an appropriate duration for the ban.

Practice Note

Ninth Circuit Denies Snapchat Section 230 Defense In Case Alleging Negligent Design: The court found that Section 230 does not provide immunity from allegations that Snapchat knew or should have known that its “speed filter,” which superimposed a user’s current speed on their Snaps and rewarded users for reaching certain speeds, would encourage people to drive their vehicles dangerously fast; the plaintiffs in the case are the parents of three boys who were killed in a high-speed car crash in which the speed filter was a factor.

On the Lighter Side

AI System Reduces Food Waste By 40 Percent: A grocery store in Poland is attempting to reduce food waste by using AI to automatically lower the prices of perishable food items as they approach their sell-by dates.

Olivier Sylvain Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton Executive Director, Fordham CLIP