Initial Celebrity Offerings: This week the Securities and Exchange Commission warned celebrities and media personalities to stop promoting initial coin offerings on social media because the failure to “disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion” of these possible securities is unlawful and a violates of anti-touting laws and possibly anti-fraud rules.
Trafficking Triumph: After a group of major internet companies reached a compromise with the government to support increased crackdowns on websites involved in sex trafficking in exchange for protection from a potential floodgate of litigation, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee voted to amend a section of the Communications Decency Act to include the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.
Photo Fears: Facebook has announced a pilot program aimed at potential victims of revenge porn in which users voluntarily upload nude photos of themselves to create a digital footprint; the company claims that doing so will prevent future uploads of any copies of the photo, but raises concerns that the images might not be permanently deleted even if Facebook claims that they will not be stored.
Rogue Ratios: Silicon Valley’s technology companies have a peculiar habit of providing low level employees with high level access, providing opportunities such as the recent temporary deactivation of President Trump’s Twitter account by a rogue and disgruntled employee; with employee to customer ratios like 1:84,658 for Twitter and 1:89,358 for Facebook, the value of each individual user is diminished and the potential for abuse is increased.
Information Security and Cyberthreats
Mysterious Methods: In a security hearing before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer admitted that the company still lacks specifics about tactics used in a Russian state-sponsored cyberattack that compromised three billion Yahoo! user accounts beginning in 2013.
Data Dangers: Not all enterprises read the terms of service agreements when they begin using various cloud services providers, making them unaware of whether their service provider has the consented-upon right to scan through their company’s stored data and documents.
Hijacking the Home: A Delaware judge has issued a preliminary injunction against Ring Protect, forcing it to temporarily cease sales of technology used in its home security platform because it purchased this technology that was originally developed for ADT.
Copyright Cash: A music tech startup called Kobalt, known for its platform that allows artists to track plays of their music and collect royalties, has launched a $600 million fund to buy music copyrights and collect royalties on those rights that allow the company to raise additional funds for its business.
Free Expression and Censorship
Controlled Content: YouTube Kids has redesigned the functionality of its website to provide parents with more controls to protect their kids from inappropriate content, such as allowing the children’s accounts to be connected to the parent’s administrator account, turning off the searching feature, and setting passcodes to prevent parental control settings from being changed.
No-Chill China: Despite blocking access to Facebook for its citizens, the Chinese government and its state media agencies are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on content posted on Facebook to disseminate pro-China news and propaganda focused on the country’s stability and prosperity and aimed at audiences outside its borders.
Mo’ Money Mo’ Influence: Efforts to prevent Russia’s covert influence via social media may benefit from utilizing the lessons learned in developing anti-money laundering laws, as both activities thrive in the shadows and utilize legitimate enterprise facades, specifically by enforcing transparency and accountability as to the source of the information, as was the case with anti-money laundering laws.
On The Lighter Side
35,000 Tweet: As many Twitter users react to the company’s decision to double the potential length of a tweet to 280 characters, one user was able to sidestep Twitter’s automatic link shortening tools and post a 35,000-character tweet that has since been deleted.
Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe
This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!
From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:
Tech is Integral to Social Business Success in France: Social entrepreneurship is a growing movement in France, supported politically by President Macron and financially by private individuals and global NGOs, that capitalizes on the tech community to allow immigrants to participate as economic contributors; projects include apps that use peer participation and artificial intelligence to make the administrative visa process more efficient, communication platforms for interested volunteers, and training programs to develop social ventures.
France Welcomes the ‘Robo-Taxi’: French startup Navya Technologies will soon begin testing its “robo-taxi” in Paris, a vehicle constructed as a wholly autonomous system rather than modeling the functions of an existing car; Navya will begin sales in the third quarter of 2018 and intends to develop a complete line-up of autonomous vehicles, but potential buyers ranging from Uber to Apple already have their own autonomous car-development plans.
Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:
Extra! Extra! (Don’t) Read All About It! Under a new proposed bill in Italy, police officers listening to wiretapped conversations relevant to trials will only be permitted to pass “relevant” parts of the conversations to prosecutors, leaving transcripts not deemed “relevant” sealed; the bill represents a government effort to prohibit the media from publishing supposedly irrelevant news bits to sensationalize trials and attract readers with flashy, albeit misleading, headlines which could ultimately harm trials and destroy reputations.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP
N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP