CLIP-ings: November 5, 2021

Internet Governance

Former Google Employee Joins FTC As AI Policy Advisor: Meredith Whittaker, whose work at Google and on New York City’s Automated Decision Systems Task Force focused on algorithmic equity and transparency, will join the Commission as Senior Advisor on AI; in 2018, Whittaker organized a walkout at Google in protest of the company’s handling of alleged sexual harassment. 

Congress Called To Regulate Stablecoins Like Banks: A report by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets advocates that issuers of stablecoins—a type of digital asset tied to traditional currencies that is often used to facilitate transactions of other cryptocurrencies—be regulated “akin to insured depository institutions” to ensure consumer trust and mitigate “risks to the broader financial system.”

Facebook Halts Facial Recognition System: In the wake of increasing scrutiny from lawmakers and users around the globe that has led to costly lawsuits and fines in recent years, the company announced that it will be “shutting down its facial recognition system and deleting the facial recognition templates of more than 1 billion people”; the company also said that it nevertheless still views the technology as a “powerful tool,” and will “continue working on [it] and engaging outside experts.”

Clearview AI Found To Have Violated Australian Privacy Law: Following a joint investigation with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner found that Clearview’s photo- and data-scraping practices violate the Australian Privacy Act 1988; in a statement, the country’s Information and Privacy Commissioner said that Clearview’s “covert collection of . . . sensitive information is unreasonably intrusive and unfair,” and “carries significant risk of harm to individuals, including vulnerable groups . . . .”
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Commerce Department Adds NSO Group To Entity List Over Pegasus Spyware: According to the Department, NSO Group “developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used these tools to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers,” and as a result, it will now be restricted in its use of American technology; NSO’s Pegasus spyware was discovered on the devices of journalists and activists earlier this year.
Intellectual Property

Video Game Modifier Pleads Guilty To Anticircumvention Charges: The 51-year-old Canadian national will pay $4.5 million to Nintendo for his role in a conspiracy to hack popular gaming consoles and “develop[ ], manufacture[ ], market[ ], and [sell] a variety of circumvention devices that allowed the enterprise’s customers to play pirated versions of copyrighted video games.”
Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Removes Comprehensive Troll Farm Run By Nicaraguan Government: According to a Facebook report, multiple Nicaraguan government institutions—including the country’s Social Security Institute and Supreme Court—were connected to a network of fake accounts across multiple social media platforms, as well as “a complex network of media brands”; Facebook called the case unique in that it is a first-of-its-kind “whole-of-government operation.”
On the Lighter Side

Apple Plans “Crash Detection” Feature For iPhones And Apple Watches: The feature, which will rely on devices’ built-in accelerometer and other sensors, will detect suspected car crashes and automatically dial 911.
Ron Lazebnik
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP