CLIP-ings: October 29, 2021

Internet Governance

Facebook Under “Government Investigations” Following Release Of Internal Documents By Whistleblower: In an earnings filing this week, the social network acknowledged that it “became subject to government investigations and requests” in September; while Facebook provided no specifics, the Federal Trade Commission is reportedly “looking into” whether the company violated a 2019 settlement agreement, and the company has implemented a legal hold to instruct employees not to delete documents and communications.

Biden Finalizes FCC Picks: After a long delay that forced a 2-2 deadlock between Commission democrats and republicans, President Biden named acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to permanent chair, and appointed Gigi Sohn as Commissioner.

Users Under 18 May Have Their Photos Removed From Google Search Results: As part of a new safety initiative, minors (or their parents, guardians, or legal representatives) will be allowed to ask Google to remove their photos from search results; exceptions exist for photos concerning “compelling public interest or newsworthiness,” and users must be under 18 at the time a request is made.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

State Department Readies Cybersecurity Bureau: In what amounts to the latest step by the Biden administration to strengthen national cybersecurity efforts, the State Department will announce a new Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy to “confront global cybersecurity challenges.”

Microsoft Warns That SolarWinds Hackers Still Active, Targeting More Companies: The company announced that since July, it has informed more than 140 IT products and solutions providers that Nobelium, the Russian state-sponsored group behind the SolarWinds hack, attempted to compromise their systems; Microsoft believes that 14 of the attempts were successful, but that early detection should “mitigate the fallout.”
Intellectual Property

U.S. Copyright Office Expands Right To Repair: New exemptions to Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “anti-circumvention” provisions create protections for the “diagnosis, maintenance, and repair” of certain consumer devices that “rely on software to function.”
Free Expression and Censorship

Internal Documents Show That Facebook Struggles With Moderating Misinformation: Internal company documents disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission reveal that the social network’s systems for moderating anti-vaccine comments operate poorly, and that in earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, global health organizations turned down free advertising space on the platform over concerns that the ads would instigate more anti-vaccine content.
On the Lighter Side

Would You Like Fries With Your AI? McDonald’s and IBM announced a partnership designed to automate the fast food chain’s drive-throughs.
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Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP