CLIP-ings: December 21, 2018

Internet Governance

D.C. Sues Facebook Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal: The Attorney General of the District of Columbia sued Facebook for its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal; the lawsuit comes in the wake of a New York Times report revealing that the company gave major technology firms including Apple, Netflix, and Amazon special access to users’ personal data and granted them exceptions to its privacy policies.

Uber Loses Appeal Over Drivers’ Employment Status: The U.K. Court of Appeal dismissed Uber’s appeal against employment tribunal rulings that Uber drivers should be classified as workers rather than as independent contractors; if upheld by the Supreme Court, the decision would require Uber to classify all of its drivers as workers, entitling them to workers’ rights such as minimum wage, sick days, and paid holidays.


Consumer Groups Allege Google Misleads Kids: A group of consumer, privacy, and public health groups filed a complaint asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google’s marketing of children’s apps in its Google Play Store; the complaint alleges that Google’s endorsement of certain “Family” apps as child-appropriate is misleading because some apps appear to violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, contain adult content, require children to watch video advertisements, and  encourage children to make in-app purchases.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

U.S. Issues More Sanctions On Russian Hackers: The U.S. Treasury Department issued sanctions against 15 Russian military intelligence officers for their involvement in multiple campaigns against the U.S., including nine members of Russia’s intelligence service who were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for their alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election; the sanctions were imposed days after a report detailed Russia’s political disinformation campaign on U.S. social media was more far-reaching than previously understood, with troll farms working to discourage people from voting and exploiting political and racial divisions to help elect Trump in 2016.

EU Investigates Hacked Diplomatic Communications: The European Union is investigating a cyber hack of its diplomatic communications, allegedly by hackers working for China’s People’s Liberation Army; for years, hackers downloaded thousands of communications that revealed concerns about “the Trump administration, struggles to deal with Russia and China, and the threat of Iran reviving its nuclear program.”

Intellectual Property

German Court Grants Qualcomm’s Injunction Against Apple: Apple will stop selling certain models of the iPhone in German stores after a German court ruled that the phones’ use of a combination of chips from Intel and Qorvo violates a Qualcomm “envelope tracking” patent.

Free Expression and Censorship

Google’s Dragonfly Suspended Indefinitely: Development of the censored search engine has been put on hold after an internal rift forced Google engineers to shut down a crucial data analysis system that involved examining queries that Chinese users entered into Beijing-based search engine

Practice Note

European Court Will Decide Responsibility For Facebook “Like” Button: The European Court of Justice heard arguments in a case that will decide whether websites that embed data-collecting widgets such as Facebook’s “Like” button are jointly responsible for complying with data collection requirements under the GDPR.

On The Lighter Side

Parrot Befriends Alexa: A mischievous parrot named Rocco was caught using Amazon’s Alexa to order snacks and other items.

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

Tom Norton 
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Tommine McCarthy 
Subrina Chowdhury 
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP