CLIP-ings: September 14, 2018

Internet Governance

China Opens Up Second “Internet Court”: China selected Beijing to establish its second dedicated internet court which resolves issues involving online shopping, service contracts, lending, copyrights and domains, and a third court is set to open within the month in Guangzhou; compared to the first eight months of 2017, online-related disputes were 24.4% higher during the same period this year in Beijing courts.

FTC Shuts Down Fake Military Recruitment Sites: The FTC shut down fake military recruitment websites that sold users’ information to post-secondary schools without their consent since 2010; finding the companies in breach of the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, the FTC settlement requires that the Alabama-based companies, Sunkey Publishing Inc. and LLC, relinquish their domains and pay at least $1,000,000 each in fines.


Apps Quietly Selling Location Information:  Security researchers at the GuardianApp project found that millions of iPhone users have had their location data covertly sold by at least 24 popular iPhone apps to data monetization firms that use the information to deliver targeted ads; Will Strafach, founder of GuardianApp, argues that the firms should disclose the data collection through notifications sent directly to the user instead of burying it in a hidden privacy policy.

Tech Trade Groups Introduce Federal Privacy Legislation The Internet Association and BSA|The Software Alliance, two technology trade groups, introduced federal privacy legislation proposals that recommend enabling consumers to correct or delete information under certain circumstances, take personal information to another company that provides similar services, and learn what data companies collect and use; while the groups also support preemption of state laws, some critics argue, “states are much better prepared to be nimble in the face of future threats to American consumers.”

Information Security and Cyberthreats

British Airways Hackers Behind Wave of Data Breaches: After credit card skimming malware compromised nearly 380,000 British Airways customers’ information over a three-week period, security firm RiskIQ revealed that the responsible criminal group, Magecart, was behind a bigger wave of attacks; the collective has aggregated a larger reach “than any other credit card breach to date, and isn’t stopping any day soon,” according to Yonathan Klijnsma, a threat researcher at RiskIQ

Deep Fakes Become More Advanced: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have enhanced deep fakes by developing technology that transfers the mannerisms of one person to another, such as “John Oliver’s dimple while smiling, the shape of mouth characteristic of Donald Trump, and the facial mouth lines and smile of Stephen Colbert;” the advancement increases the potential for bad actors to leverage deep fake technology as a tool to circulate nefarious political propaganda

Intellectual Property

EU’s Copyright Reform:  The European Parliament voted in favor of the Copyright Directive, which reforms online copyright with controversial initiatives, including requiring online platforms to pay media companies to link to their content (Article 11) and making the platforms verify content uploaded on their sites and remove copyrighted material (Article 13); while critics believe the law could lead to censorship and limit what people can post and share online, supporters say the provisions will give creators the opportunity to reclaim the value of their work.

TickBox Settles: Streaming TV device manufacturer TickBox agreed to pay $25 million to settle a California federal court suit brought by Universal Studios, Netflix, and other content-creating companies who claim TickBox is assisting customers in infringing their copyrighted material; TickBox also consented to a permanent injunction under which TickBox may continue as a business, but can no longer provide software that allows users to stream unlicensed movies or TV shows.

Free Expression and Censorship

Political Censorship by YouTube?  Google removed a YouTube advertisement by Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny ahead of Sunday elections for regional governors after the Central Election Commission sent a letter of complaint that the videos violate a law prohibiting political campaigning within 24 hours of an election; a Navalny aide condemned Google’s act as a “case of political censorship,” claiming the advertisements were unrelated to the elections as they encouraged citizens to protest President Vladimir Putin’s plans to raise the retirement age for state pensions.

Crackdown on Extremist Content:  The EU proposed new laws ordering social media companies to remove content promoting extremist groups or instructions on how to commit extremist offenses within one hour to avoid fines as high as 4 percent of annual turnover; the President explained the one hour deadline was proposed because “terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours after it appears online because of the speed at which it spreads.”

On The Lighter Side

Sarcastic AI:  Frustrated that your Alexa misunderstands your sarcasm? Fortunately, researchers at Oregon State University are working on developing an AI system capable of interpreting our sense of humor.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Subrina Chowdhury
Tommine McCarthy
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP