CLIP-ings: August 17, 2018

Internet Governance

Cap on Cabs: Major De Blasio signed a bill on Tuesday that will cap the total number of drivers working for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services in NYC; the cap will last for a year while the city studies the effects of the ride-hailing industry on the city.

The Turkish Boycott: Turkish President Recep Erdogan has declared that sanctions will be placed on U.S. electronic goods, including iPhones, in an effort to promote production and exportation of the country’s own goods; Erdogan has also been calling on the Turks to exchange U.S. dollars into lira in order to “maintain the dignity” of the currency.  


Tracking Down Welfare Fraud: Sacramento welfare investigators with the Department of Human Assistance have been tracking license plates to identify fraud, reported the Sacramento Bee on Friday; Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that DHA had not implemented the mandated privacy and use policies for its use of the license plate data.

Behavioral Biometrics: A growing number of banks and online retailers are secretly tracking user’s behavior biometrics—which includes scrolling and typing behavior— in attempts to identify fraudulent users; while companies designing the underlying software laud the solution as an accurate and nonintrusive security measure, privacy experts are concerned about the lack of consumer protections.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Uber Seeks Help: After encountering a series of security-related scandals in the past year, Uber has hired Matt Olsen, the former general counsel of the NSA and director of the National Counterterrorism Center; Olsen’s priority is to increase transparency and unify the security team within the company.

“Dereliction of Duty”: Following last week’s report which found the alleged DDOS attack on the agency’s comment system to be made up, several lawmakers sent a letter to Chairman Ajit Pai stating that his ignorance of the falsehood signified a “dereliction of [his] duty”; the FCC has until August 28th to respond to several questions in the letter which includes the exact date when his office first became aware that the events were possibly not an attack.

Intellectual Property

When You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Steal Their Identity? Carol Becker, an elected official on the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxations raised controversy by registering a business and a trademark for “Wedge LIVE,” the name of a blog that frequently criticized her; according to the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, her trademark filings were cancelled after an outpouring of support for the blog.

Free Expression and Censorship

Time-Out For Infowars: Following the lead of other social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook, Twitter has temporarily disabled Alex Jone’s account to a read-only mode that only allows browsing; some are criticizing the actions that platforms have taken against Jones as internet censorship.

Google’s Secret Project: About a thousand Google employees have signed a letter opposing Google’s plan to build a censored search and news app for China; the letter called for increased transparency, arguing that the employees currently “do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions” about their work, projects, and employment.

Policy Against “Credible Violence”: Facebook is training AI to remove content calling for violence against Rohingya people in Myanmar; although Facebook had been reluctant to remove content in the past, it recently updated its policy to allow removal of content with the “potential to contribute to imminent violence or physical harm” and have been undertaking similar strategies in other countries like Sri Lanka and India.

On The Lighter Side

An Easy Fix? A new Kickstarter project called TechDen attempts to curve children’s smartphone addictions with a smart box that stores smartphones and sends notifications to parents.


Job and Fellowship Opportunities

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

Bureau of Internet & Technology at the NYS Attorney General’s Office seeks tech-savvy Attorney and Engineer.

The Bureau of Internet & Technology at the NYS Attorney General’s Office investigates and litigates cutting-edge law & tech issues, e.g., bots, data security/breach, privacy, online safety, consumer protection, and more.  This past year alone, our investigations and lawsuits have included:

–   submission of fake comments on net neutrality to the FCC;

–   data breaches at Equifax and Uber;

–   bot-related fraud on social media and in the resale of concert tickets;

–   online tracking of children;

–   suing Charter/Time Warner for false claims about internet speeds;

–   and more:

Summary of position (engineer):  Our office highly values engineers who make it possible for us to tackle complex, data-intensive problems that others are not capable of addressing.  A substantial portion of the work will be on projects with the Bureau of Internet & Technology, one of the only government agencies focused exclusively on investigating and holding accountable people and entities that use technology for illegal ends; while the remainder of the work will be on tech-heavy matters for other bureaus within the office (for example, using Bayesian modeling to determine racial bias in online offerings to consumers; using machine learning to identify key communications and images relevant to cases).  Ideal candidates are experienced with, and expert in, programming and web development tools (JAVA, Python, PHP, SQL, Ruby) and Linux command line tools and container tech (Docker, etc.).

To apply:

Summary of position (attorney):  We seek an experienced, tech-savvy litigator to join our team. The ideal candidate has a technical education or background, or experience working in tech or with technology.

To apply:

We intend to fill the positions quickly, so we hope to hear from interested candidates soon.

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.

The Ringer Copyright Honors Program with the U.S. Copyright Office is accepting applications.

The Ringer Honors Program is a distinguished public service opportunity for attorneys in the early stages of their career who have strong interest and a demonstrated record of academic or practical success in copyright law.

For more information, see here. Applications are open through September 15th, 2018.

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