CLIP-ings: June 4, 2021

Internet Governance

Digital Wallets Coming Soon To The EU: Within a year, the EU plans to roll out bloc-wide technology that will allow citizens to store things like driver’s licenses, payment cards, and passwords digitally to make access to public and private services more efficient.

SCOTUS Limits Computer Fraud And Abuse Act Scope: In Van Buren v. United States, the Court overturned the conviction of a police officer who searched his department’s license plate database for purposes outside the scope of his official duties, concluding that the CFAA’s “exceeds authorized access” clause applies to only “those who obtain information from particular areas in the computer—such as files, folders or databases—to which their computer access does not extend,” and “does not cover those who . . . have improper motives for obtaining information that is otherwise available to them;” the Court noted that to adopt a broader reading of the statute would criminalize a vast swath of ordinary computing activity. 

Privacy Advocacy Group Issues Cookie-Banner Complaints To 500 Companies: The Max Schrems-led privacy group NOYB issued the complaints, alleging that the companies’ cookie banners violate the GDPR by making it difficult for users to opt out of tracking cookies; NOYB has developed an automated system to analyze cookie banners and generate complaints for GDPR noncompliance, and plans to issue draft complaints to 10,000 of Europe’s most-visited sites in an effort to get them to change their practices before resorting to formal proceedings.

Amazon Ring’s Neighbors App Gets Transparency Update: In response to concerns about law enforcement access to Ring home-surveillance-device information, beginning on June 7th, law enforcement agencies will no longer be permitted to email Ring users directly to solicit footage; law enforcement will only be able to request footage via a public bulletin, through posts by verified profiles that include criteria such as case number and agency contact information. 
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Russian Cybercrime Group REvil Responsible For JBS Hack: The White House and the FBI have confirmed that the notorious group was behind the recent attack that crippled JBS, a Brazilian company that supplies nearly one-fifth of the world’s meat. 

NYC’s MTA Hacked: The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates the New York City subway system, announced that it was the victim of a cyberattack; the hackers, who are suspected of being part of a Chinese espionage operation, exploited a vulnerability in the Pulse Connect Secure VPN system and made their way into the MTA’s systems, but did not make away with any data.
Free Expression & Censorship

Instagram And Facebook Respond To Accusations Of Suppressing Pro-Palestinian Viewpoints: In the wake of the recent conflict in Gaza, Instagram will change its algorithm to give equal weight to original and shared content after employees complained that the old algorithm, which favored original posts over shared ones, had the effect of suppressing pro-Palestinian content; at Facebook, employees have called for a third-party audit of the company’s moderation practices related to Muslim and Arab content.
Practice Note

Amazon Nixes Arbitration And Allows Consumers To Sue In Court: After receiving thousands of individual arbitration demands from customers who use the company’s Echo device, Amazon did away with the arbitration clause in its terms of service, and now invites aggrieved customers to file suit in court.  
On the Lighter Side Another Famous Meme Sells As NFT: The 14-year-old “Charlie bit me” video, which is one of the most-viewed internet videos of all-time, has sold as an NFT for over £500,000; the brothers who appear in the video plan to use the money to attend university.  
Olivier Sylvain Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
Tom Norton Executive Director, Fordham CLIP