CLIP-ings: July 13, 2018

Internet Governance

Are You A Human? A month after federal net neutrality rules expired, the FCC is taking steps to combat the comment fraud that plagued the agency’s net neutrality proceedings; Chairman Ajit Pai wrote to lawmakers that the FCC is planning to implement a CAPTCHA system and rebuild the Electronic Comment Filing System.

Customs IT System May Import Problems: Tasked with replacing the U.K.’s outdated CHIEF customs system, the Customs Declaration System (CDS) is drawing public concern as its August and November deadlines approach; the project highlights the political, fiscal, and technological pressures such projects face, especially where ongoing “Brexit” talks require readiness for various scenarios.


Dear Facebook, Guess What Happened: The Federal Court of Justice in Germany has ruled that parents are entitled to access their daughter’s Facebook account after her death; the court compared online data to private diaries and letters that are typically passed down to heirs after death and stated that they should be treated the same.

Who’s Watching Who? Smart TV companies like Samba TV, the New York Times reports, are drawing public concern as their increasingly sophisticated tracking technology allows them to collect ever growing amounts of data from consumers and market it to advertisers; these TVs’ capabilities allow manufacturers to track everything appearing on the screen, deduce political leanings, and detect other connected devices – allowing advertisers to target consumers ever more precisely.

Trading Data for Oil: In a bid to entice consumers to share their driving data, Mitsubishi has released a new app which tracks driving patterns and rewards good drivers with badges they can trade in for prizes, like oil discounts; this information is then shared with insurance companies, potentially increasing or lowering rates according to a consumer’s risk profile.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Facebook Fined Over Cambridge Analytica Data Breaches: Following publication of its investigative report, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Facebook “£500,000 for lack of transparency and security issues relating to the harvesting of data,” in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998; Commissioner Denham warned that this “very serious contravention… would face a much higher fine [under the GDPR, effective as of May 25, 2018].”

A Dark Trade: U.S. Air Force MQ9 Reaper drone schematics, training courses on tanks, and live border camera footage are some of the sensitive military materials intelligence researchers say to have found for sale on the dark web – starting at as little as $150; it is believed hackers took advantage of a router vulnerability known since 2016, underscoring the importance of virtual, as well as physical, security.

Intellectual Property

Tattling on the Copycats: YouTube is rolling out a tool for creators that will allow them to see if their videos are being stolen and uploaded by other users; once alerted, the creators can either contact the thief, ask YouTube to remove the copy, or do nothing.

Free Expression and Censorship

Introducing “Real News”: On Wednesday, Facebook announced the first slate of news shows that aim to deliver “trustworthy, informative and local” news; Facebook will be airing daily briefings and deep coverage by handpicked outlets which includes ABC News, CNN, Bloomberg, Univision, Attn, Mic, and controversially—Fox News.

Popularity Should Not Be Bought: On Thursday, Twitter began removing tens of millions of accounts that appear automated or fake in an effort to remedy the pervasive problem of users buying fake followers on Twitter to bolster their reputation; Twitter is expecting the total combined follower count on the platform to drop by around 6 percent as a result.

Practice Note

Cyberthreats to Financial Services: IntSights Cyber Intelligence, a leader in enterprise cyber risk analytics useful to compliance and risk teams alike, released a report outlining five critical threats to financial services: state-sponsored cyberthreats, increased extortion through third party software providers, fake social media profiles and applications, hackers moving to private peer-to-peer channels, and phishing-as-a-service; the study also notes that existing laws and regulations tend to prioritize “direct […] already-known cyber attacks […] neglect[ing] indirect threats that target their customers.”

On the Lighter Side

Oops Shouldn’t Have “Liked” That Photo of the American Flag: Facebook’s algorithm for its advertising platform accidentally tagged 65,000 Russian users as “interested in treason;” Facebook has since removed the interest category.

Job and Fellowship Opportunities

From time-to-time, CLIP-ings will highlight career opportunities in the information law field. Please note the following:

Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is seeking a Project Lead to join their Data Policy Project Team in San Francisco.

The Forum’s Data Policy project aims to define, through a process of international multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation baseline norms, principles and protocols for the collection, appropriate use, and protection of data. The Project Lead will be an integral part of the Data Policy project team and contribute to the successful delivery of the data policy project and workstreams.

For more information and the online application, click here.

The Second Northeast Privacy Scholars Workshop is calling for submissions.

Jointly organized by the Innovation Center for Law and Technology at New York Law School and the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham University School of Law, and generously sponsored by Microsoft, the Workshop offers privacy scholars from diverse fields the opportunity to receive extensive, constructive commentary on their works in progress.

For more information, see here. Online submissions are due September 7th, 2018 by 5pm Eastern.

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

Mindy Nam
William Ioas
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP