CLIP-ings: September 10, 2021

Internet Governance

High Court Of Australia Finds Media Companies Liable For Third-Party Comments On Their Facebook Posts: In a defamation case brought against three major publishing companies, the court reasoned that the companies’ facilitating and encouraging the posting of third-party comments on their posts “rendered them publishers of those comments” who should “bear the legal consequences” of them.

Documents Reveal LAPD Officers Collect Citizens’ Social Media Info: Internal documents recently obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice reveal that officers are instructed to collect the social media account information of every person they interview, regardless of whether they are arrested or accused of a crime; the information is said to be critical for use in “investigations, arrests, and prosecutions,” but privacy advocates warn that it aids in the expansion of network surveillance and predictive policing.

WhatsApp Messages Capable Of Review Despite End-To-End Encryption: A recent investigation by ProPublica revealed that end-to-end-encrypted messages sent through the app may be subject to AI or human review if a recipient flags a message as “improper”; the report also reveals that Facebook, the messaging service’s owner, may share unencrypted message metadata with law enforcement and others.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Howard University Closes In Response To Ransomware Attack: The university cancelled classes and shut down its network early this week to evaluate the impact of a ransomware attack; on Wednesday, Howard partially reopened as it continues to investigate the hack.

New Zealand Banks And Post Offices Hit In Continuing DDoS Attack: A distributed denial-of-service attack that began last week against one of the country’s largest ISPs has seemingly continued, with banks, post offices, and a weather forecaster targeted in a new wave of activity; government officials have said little about who is responsible for the attacks.
Intellectual Property

Spotify Playlist Creators Face Takedown Abuse: According to playlist curators, the music streaming service doesn’t do enough to curb bad actors, who report popular playlists so that their own playlists get more visibility once the reported ones are removed.
Free Expression and Censorship

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Bans Social Media Companies From Censoring Some Content: Under new rules issued this week, platforms may only remove certain specified content and would have to obtain a court order to remove other content, which makes it more challenging for social media sites to moderate misinformation around topics such as COVID-19 and election fraud; the rules are provisional in nature and will expire after 120 days unless the country’s congress makes them permanent, which analysts expect won’t happen, as numerous lawsuits are already underway to block the measures.
On the Lighter Side

Show Me Where It Hurts, Using Emojis: A team of researchers is exploring the use of emojis and similar iconography to assist in creating “standardisation, universality and familiarity” in medical diagnosis and recovery.
Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP