Content With a Conscience: Google offered new “Community Guidelines” for its YouTube service that places additional restrictions on content deemed offensive but not flat-out removable, such as providing a warning to users, removing user recommendations and comments, and restricting the ability to monetize the content with advertising.
All Access: The Supreme Court ruled that it is a violation of the First Amendment to ban people from the internet, recognizing a constitutional right even for individuals convicted of serious crimes to access what the Court believes is an essential forum for free speech activities.
Dangerous Diagnoses: A data mining company has been soliciting people to take part in drug trials based in part on information it collects from data brokers about their potential health conditions, raising concerns that big data is exploiting sensitive and sometimes inaccurate medical information to turn a profit.
Internet ID? Technology companies and humanitarian groups are calling for a global digital identification system they say would make it easier to travel, sign documents, and even seek asylum, backed by encryption technology supposedly robust enough to store fingerprints, medical records, and banking information in a single mobile app.
Information Security and Cyberthreats
Data Disruption Drives $1M Deposit: A South Korean web hosting company, primarily serving thousands of small businesses, paid a $1 million ransom after an eight-day data outage cyber attack.
Meet Your Moderator: Due to a bug in the company’s system, the personal accounts of over 1000 Facebook content-moderators were posted in the groups that these administrators had removed from the site.
Moody Movie: Disney-Pixar is being sued over the idea for the 2015 film Inside Out by the co-founder of the National Childhood Grief Institute for her program designed to help children manage and understand their emotions, a program that she had pitched to Disney-Pixar annually from 2005-09.
Livestream Loser: A U.S. District Judge ordered an unsuccessful plaintiff to pay the defendants’ attorneys fees as a punishment for the bogus copyright claim arising over the media outlets’ use of the plaintiff’s accidental live-stream of his child’s birth, an act protected by the fair use doctrine.
Show(room) Stopper: Fresh off the heels of its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market, Amazon has received a patent for technology that prevents “showrooming” while customers are connected to the Wi-Fi in Amazon stores by restricting access to competitors’ websites, sending targeted offers, and even alerting Amazon employees that a customer is conducting online research while in the store.
Free Expression and Censorship
Mistakenly Mature Materials: As a Pride Month Initiative, with the help of many volunteered LGBTQ employees and content creators YouTube corrected its filtration system and updated its policies for its Restricted Mode, a system designed for public institutions to prevent mature content on their computers.
Maduro Gets Mad: Twitter allegedly blocked 180 accounts linked to the Venezuelan government, pointing not to a specific violation but instead to its usual policy of blocking accounts for abuse, spam or security issues and leading Venezuelan President Maduro to say that the government will retaliate by creating “10,000 or more” accounts.
Government Speech No-Go: The Supreme Court ruled that the anti-disparagement clause, which prohibits trademark registration if the trademark brings disparagement or produces contempt to “persons living or dead,” is unconstitutional as it violated the First Amendment, and thereby curtailing the scope of the government-speech doctrine by clarifying that the approval of a government, such as the USPTO, does not categorize the private speech as government speech capable of being silenced if it is viewed as disfavored by the government.
On the Lighter Side
To Push Puss Press… Netflix has announced it’s developing interactive-storytelling childhood shows, using Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile and Buddy Thunderstruck, providing viewers many opportunities to navigate the story and choose their own ending.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP
Fellow, Fordham CLIP
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP