CLIP-ings: August 24, 2018

Internet Governance

Fight Over Net Neutrality Continues: This week saw 23 State Attorneys General file a brief for Government Petitioners in Mozilla Corp., et al., v. FCC, Docket No. 18-1051 (D.C. Cir. 2018) seeking to vacate the FCC’s roll back of net neutrality; the brief labels the FCC order as “arbitrary and capricious,” allowing “internet service providers to put their profits before consumers while controlling what we see, do, and say online.”

End Secret Profiling: Responding to the FTC’s request for public comments on “implications associated with the use of algorithmic decision tools, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics,” the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) advises the FTC to “increase accountability for the automated processing of personal data through algorithmic transparency.”

Alternatively – Self-Regulate: In its continued efforts to weed out fake news, electoral interference, and ideological actors (Alex Jones), Facebook has created a new, undisclosed, algorithm to predict user “trustworthiness;” the reputation score supposedly avoids the bias inherent in a user-dependent reporting scheme but prompts questions about composition and score sharing.


The Constitution as a Privacy Shield: In the wake of a Reuters’ overview of the current state of China’s growing tech-based surveillance state, TechDirt highlights that the United States, an otherwise similarly security-inclined country, can still count on the Constitution to protect individual rights; is it enough? As put by one of its drafters, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” Benjamin Franklin.

Letting The Cameras Do The Work: Washington Dulles International Airport, one of the first 14 airports to implement a facial recognition technology, has caught its first imposter–a Brazilian man using a fraudulent French passport–merely three days after the launch of its facial comparison program; The US Customs and Border Protection is hoping to replace boarding passes and IDs with facial recognition in the future.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

  • Microsoft v. Russian Hackers: Microsoft raised the alarm on Monday when it spotted and neutralized 6 websites attempting to impersonate conservative think tanks; the event marks the twelfth time Microsoft has used a U.S. court order to take down Russian group APT28-backed domains (84 fake websites removed thus far) attempting to hack politicians and spark discord online.

Australia bans Huawei: Following the advice of its security agencies, Australia has banned Chinese telecoms firm Huawei from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network; Australia cited risks of foreign interference and hacking in Australian politics as the reason for the decision.

Free Expression and Censorship

  • Apple Removes 25,000 apps from App Store: Following increasing negative state media coverage in China, Apple has reportedly removed thousands of apps running counter to Chinese regulations which label activities like gambling as illegal.  

Taylor v. Twitter: The California Court of Appeal for the First District ruled in favor of Twitter last week stating that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects service provider’s decision to restrict third party content on its platform; Goldman discusses the implications of the decision in this blog post.

On The Lighter Side

  • There May Be Hope For This Generation: A report released by the Pew Research Center found that 54 percent of teens are concerned that they spend too much time on their smartphones; 52 percent of teens have also undertaken measures to cut down on their cell phone use, to the relief of the majority of parents that worry about their teens’ phone usage.  


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