CLIP-ings: October 22, 2021

Internet Governance

Lawmakers Accuse Amazon Of Misleading Congress: Following reports that Amazon uses third-party seller data to create and promote its own products, five members of the House Judiciary Committee claim in a letter to the company that the reporting “directly contradicts” the previous sworn testimony of Amazon representatives, including CEO Jeff Bezos; the Committee is considering referring the matter to the Department of Justice, and has offered Amazon the opportunity to “correct the record.” 

UK Competition Authority Fines Facebook $70 Million For “Deliberate” Rulebreaking Around Giphy Acquisition: The fine, which is by far the largest of its kind, was levied after the Competition and Markets Authority found that the company “consciously” failed to comply with an “initial enforcement order” related to the acquisition by “significantly limit[ing] the scope of” reporting required by the order.

Nine UK Schools Deploy Facial Recognition Tech To Speed Up Lunch Lines: The system, which ties into “encrypted faceprint templates” and students’ cashless payment accounts, has reduced transaction time to five seconds per student; although ninety-seven percent of parents have consented to the system’s implementation, privacy advocates are concerned about a lack of transparency surrounding the data use and disclosure practices of the biometrics company that provides it.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Japanese Man Pleads Guilty To Uncensoring Pornographic Videos Using Deepfake Technology: A website operator pleaded guilty to charges of violating copyright and obscenity laws after he was arrested for using artificial intelligence to digitally reconstruct genitalia in pornographic videos, which would otherwise be blurred out or pixelated, and then selling the altered content online. 

Commerce Department To Issue New Rules Towards Limiting Resale And Export Of Commercial Hacking Tools: Under the rules, American companies that wish to sell “certain items that can be used for malicious cyber activities” such as commercial spyware and other intrusion software to countries “of national security or weapons of mass destruction concern,” or to those subject to arms embargoes, must first secure a license from the Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
Free Expression and Censorship

Vienna Museum Consortium Hosts Nude Artworks On OnlyFans After Facing Censorship On Traditional Social Media Platforms: The city tourism board’s “Vienna Laid Bare” campaign comes in response to what it calls a “new wave of prudishness” on the part of other social media platforms that has led to the censorship of artworks featuring nudity under the platforms’ policies against sexually explicit content.
Practice Note

FCC Will Consider Rules Banning Robotexting: After the Commission mandated that phone companies implement technology to cut down on robocalls earlier this year, it has now signaled it will next tackle robotexts, which have generated more than 9,800 consumer complaints so far in 2021.
On the Lighter Side

What’s In A Name? After reports suggested that Facebook may be planning a re-brand, the internet was quick to joke about a potential name change for the social network.
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Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP