CLIP-ings: March 13, 2020

Internet Governance

YouTube Allows Some Content Creators To Monetize Coronavirus Content: Reversing its previous position, YouTube will now allow select content creators, including news organizations and a “limited number of channels,” to display advertisements on coronavirus-related videos.

Thousands Of Political Ads On Facebook Had Inaccurate Payment Disclosures: A New York University study of the social media site’s Ad Library found over $37 million worth of political ads with inaccurate or misleading disclosures about the ads’ sponsors; over 19,000 ads were found to be posted by “inauthentic communities” comparable to the Internet Research Agency, the Russia-backed organization believed to be responsible for the 2016 Democratic National Committee email hack.

Privacy

U.S. House Votes To Approve Extension Of The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: The bill, which will now go to the Senate, extends key provisions of the Act allowing the FBI to investigate suspected terrorism or espionage by foreign powers; the bill also includes additional privacy protections and harsher penalties for violating the Act. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cybercriminals Expected To Exploit Coronavirus Pandemic: According to a RiskIQ study of past outbreaks and patterns of phishing and malware attacks, cyber-criminal activity using social engineering is expected to increase as a result of a heightening interest in coronavirus news.

Anonymous Secret Sharing App Left 900 Million User Records Exposed: Whisper, an app used by over 30 million people per month to anonymously post personal secrets, unintentionally exposed identifying user information—including that of children—on a searchable online database for years; the database, which included information such as age, location, ethnicity, and residence, has since been removed by Whisper.

Intellectual Property

EU Plans Expansive “Right To Repair” Electronics Legislation: In an attempt to curb electronic waste and “decoupl[e] economic growth from extraction of primary resources,” the European Commission plans to introduce legislation designed to compel electronics producers to “create products that last longer, include as many recycled materials as possible and are easier to reuse, repair and recycle.” 

Free Expression and Censorship

Biden Clip Prompts Twitter and Facebook To Apply Fact-Checking Labels: An edited video shared by President Trump in which former Vice President Biden appeared to say that Trump would be re-elected was labeled “partly false” by Facebook fact-checkers and also resulted in the first use of Twitter’s “manipulated video” tag.

On the Lighter Side

Wuhan Students Try To Kick Remote Learning App From App Store: In an inventive attempt to get out of their online classes spurred by coronavirus-related school closures, students in Wuhan bombarded the App Store with one-star reviews of remote learning app DingTalk because they mistakenly believed apps with one-star ratings would be taken off the App Store.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: March 6, 2020

Internet Governance

Cellphone Carriers Face $200 Million Fine For Selling Location Data: The Federal Communications Commission approved the proposed fines against T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint after finding that the carriers violated the Telecommunications Act by not protecting the confidentiality of customers’ location information.

YouTube Sees Success In Curbing Conspiracy Theories: After announcing its plan to crack down on “borderline content” in January 2019, a new study conducted by UC Berkeley finds that conspiracy theories are now 40 percent less likely to appear in users’ video recommendations.

Privacy

Russian Court Rules Facial Recognition Technology Does Not Violate Privacy: A court in Moscow determined that the city’s 105,000-camera facial recognition system—most recently leveraged to enforce coronavirus quarantines and identify individuals at “mass events and protests”—does not violate citizens’ privacy.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Chinese Nationals Assisted North Korean Hackers In Laundering Stolen Cryptocurrency: After stealing over $250 million in cryptocurrency in 2018, North Korean hackers relied on assistance from two Chinese nationals to launder $100 million of it through methods such as prepaid iTunes gift cards.

Intellectual Property

Lawmakers Look To Hold Amazon And eBay Accountable For Counterfeits: Though the retail giants have spent hundreds of millions of dollars targeting the issue, products on the sites such as “knockoff beauty products that cause people’s eyelashes to fall out, and counterfeit cellphone chargers that can cause fires” still remain, prompting lawmakers to hold a hearing and introduce a bill that would make retailers liable for counterfeits sold on their sites. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Dispute Over President’s Speech Raises Questions About Facebook Fact-Checking: A Facebook fact-checking partner’s decision to flag as “false” articles on the platform concerning President Trump’s use of the word “hoax” in connection with coronavirus has stirred questions about how Facebook has designed its fact-checking procedures.

Practice Note

Ninth Circuit Rules That A Privacy Violation Is A Concrete Injury: Though the court affirmed approval of a settlement challenged by Facebook users suing the company for scanning their private messages, the court rejected Facebook’s argument that the users lacked standing, and instead found that Facebook’s conduct resulted in concrete injury under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the California Invasion of Privacy Act.

On the Lighter Side

Google Hides Musical Treat In Smartwatch: The mini drum sequencer, an Easter egg left by the tech company in its Wear OS device, allows wearers to create their own sick beats using “a colorful four-by-four grid.”

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 28, 2020

Internet Governance

China Cracks Down On Sharing Of Coronavirus Information: The Chinese government has started censoring posts related to the coronavirus outbreak on platforms like WeChat and Twitter, even if such posts are benign or uncritical of the government’s response.

Privacy

New Study Quantifies Value Of Online Privacy: The study by the Technology Policy Institute asked Facebook users across six countries how much they would want to be paid in exchange for Facebook to be able to share their personal information with third-parties; German users valued privacy the highest overall by desiring around $8.00 per month for Facebook to have the right to share their contact information.

ICE Runs Facial Recognition On Millions Of Maryland Drivers: Immigrant rights and privacy advocates are alarmed after the state of Maryland, which permits undocumented immigrants to obtain special driver’s licenses, allowed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to search millions of driver’s license photos without a warrant. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Facial Recognition Technology Startup Clearview AI Lost Entire Client List To Hackers: The client list, which was obtained through a security flaw that Clearview says has since been fixed, includes law enforcement agencies, police departments, and banks; the startup has been subject to scrutiny for scraping billions of photos from social media platforms for its facial recognition technology. 

Intellectual Property

Uber Forced To Face $1 Billion Trade Secrets Suit: The trial will proceed to a second phase, in which a new jury will decide the merits of plaintiff Kevin Halpern’s claims that leaders at Uber “made off with his trade secrets,” after lawyers for the ridesharing platform failed to convince a jury that Halpern’s suit was time-barred. 

Free Expression and Censorship

John Oliver Episode Criticizing Indian Prime Minister Modi Blocked By Disney: The episode was blocked on India’s largest streaming service, Disney-owned Hotstar; India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which regulates media distributed in the country, has said the government was not involved in the censorship of the episode.

Practice Note

Google Prevails Against Conservative Group In YouTube Censorship Suit: The Ninth Circuit ruled against conservative non-profit Prager University in its suit alleging that Google unconstitutionally censored its videos by tagging those “on such topics as abortion, gun rights, Islam and terrorism for its ‘Restricted Mode’ setting” after finding that YouTube is not a government entity and therefore not subject to First Amendment scrutiny.

On the Lighter Side

Landlord Throws Out Drug Dealer’s Codes For $58 Million In Bitcoin: After he was convicted for drug-related crimes, many of the possessions in Clifton Collins’ Ireland apartment were sent to a dump by his landlord, including a fishing rod case containing the codes to $58M in Bitcoin; Collins may take some comfort in knowing Ireland’s Criminal Asset Bureau had already planned to seize the cryptocurrency.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 21, 2020

Internet Governance

Facebook Changes Its Sponsored Content Policy Following Bloomberg Meme Campaign: After Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg paid a number of Instagram influencers to post sponsored memes, Facebook and its subsidiary, Instagram, lifted a previous ban on “branded content” for political campaigns; under the new policy, such content will have to be clearly marked as sponsored.

Privacy

Congress Demands Information From Amazon Related To Ring Partnerships With Police: Amazon’s video doorbell subsidiary, Ring, has partnered with over 900 police departments since 2018, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday requested more information on the nature of the partnerships; the inquiry follows an announcement from Amazon last week that it would tighten Ring’s privacy controls after a January study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation found that Ring shared customer information with Facebook and Google without user consent. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Israeli Soldiers Targeted By Hamas Malware Scam: The Palestinian militant organization targeted Israeli soldiers on social media by posing as young women and asking them to install malware-infected chat apps on their devices; the Israeli Defense Force says it has detected the malware infections and taken down Hamas’ hacking infrastructure.

Intellectual Property

Peloton To Allow Free Trade-In Of Competitor Flywheel’s Bikes: Following a settlement two weeks ago under which Flywheel agreed to stop using Peloton’s patented leadership board technology, Flywheel has discontinued its online service and Peloton has announced a new program allowing Flywheel customers to trade in their bikes for “like-new” Peloton bikes. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Maine Privacy Law Faces First Amendment Challenge From ISPs: In their lawsuit against the state, broadband providers argue that a provision requiring that they obtain opt-in consent before “using, disclosing, selling, or permitting access to customer personal information” infringes their First Amendment right to “advertis[e] or market[ ] non-communications-related services to their customers,” and “offer[ ] price discounts, rewards in loyalty programs, or other cost-saving benefits in exchange for a customer’s consent to use their personal information.” 

Attorney General Reviews Online Platform Immunity: At a recent public meeting held by the Justice Department, Attorney General Barr questioned whether, given a “changing technological landscape,” broad immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is “necessary at least in its current form.”

Practice Note

Federal Judge Dismisses Huawei’s Equipment Ban Challenge: Unpersuaded by Huawei’s argument that it was unconstitutional for Congress to bar U.S. federal agencies from buying the company’s products, the court noted that contracting with the federal government is a privilege, not a constitutionally protected right.

On the Lighter Side

New Bracelet Jams Microphoned Devices: Designed by researchers at the University of Chicago, the “chunky” microphone-studded bracelet emits ultrasonic signals to render human voices incomprehensible to speech-detecting and recording devices such as digital assistants.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 14, 2020

Internet Governance

France Fines Apple €25 Million For Slowing Down Old iPhones: The country’s General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control determined that Apple misled consumers by not informing them that the throttling, which was introduced to prevent unexpected shutdowns as a result of battery degradation, would lead to the slower performance of iPhones with older batteries; Apple has since notified users and provided an option to turn off throttling in newer software updates. 

Privacy

Facebook Delays Launch Of Dating Service After Not Meeting European Privacy Requirements: The Irish Data Protection Commission “conducted an inspection” of the social media giant’s Dublin offices after Facebook failed to give EU data regulators proper advance notice that its dating service would launch in the EU on February 13th and failed to demonstrate that it had performed the legally required privacy risk assessment.

Senator Gillibrand Proposes Creation Of Data Protection Agency: The New York Senator introduced on Thursday the Data Protection Act of 2020, which would create a federal agency dedicated to protecting consumer privacy and enforcing data protection. 

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Chinese Military Denies Hacking Equifax, Calls Accusations “Legal Bullying”: After four Chinese military officers were charged with hacking the credit reporting agency in 2017 (a breach that exposed over 145 million people’s personal data), China’s Ministry of National Defense demanded that the U.S. repeal its charges to “avoid another destructive step in the relationship between the two countries and militaries.”

CIA-Owned Encryption Company Spied On Clients: Recently leaked documents show that from 1951 until at least 2008, the CIA secretly owned and operated encryption company Crypto AG, which enabled the intelligence agency to decrypt and read all messages sent by Crypto AG’s hundreds of clients, which ranged “from the Vatican to Iran.”

Intellectual Property

Huawei Sues Verizon For Patent Infringement: The Chinese telecommunications giant is suing Verizon for over $1 billion, claiming that the top U.S. wireless carrier profited $29.8 billion in 2018 alone from the unauthorized use of 12 Huawei patents; Verizon says the claims are without merit and calls the lawsuits “nothing more than a PR stunt.” 

Free Expression and Censorship

UK Government Appoints Social Media Content Regulator: Citing a desire to “protect children and vulnerable people online” while balancing accountability and free expression, the British government has appointed the media watchdog Ofcom to regulate content on large social media platforms; Ofcom is specifically tasked with ensuring that platforms adhere to their respective terms and conditions. 

On the Lighter Side

SpaceX Launches Rocket Rideshare: The rocket and spacecraft company is now allowing users to book their spot on a rocket for prices starting at $1 million; users are asked to specify their desired orbit, travel date, weight, and any add-on services they would like to purchase.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: February 7, 2020

Internet Governance

Twitter To Label Deceptively Edited Content Ahead Of 2020 Election: Joining Facebook and Google in an effort to better regulate misleading content published on their platforms, Twitter announced it will start labeling “synthetic or deceptively edited forms of media” and will remove any “deliberately misleading” content it believes is intended to cause harm.

Privacy

Tech Companies Send Cease-And-Desist Letters to Facial Recognition Technology Company: Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter maintain that Clearview AI’s practice of scraping billions of photos from their platforms to populate its facial recognition database violates their policies; Clearview argues that the First Amendment protects its right to collect the public information.

Kenyan Court Halts Government’s Digital ID Plans: The country’s high court is delaying the government’s implementation of a countrywide biometric registry, registration in which would be a prerequisite for access to certain rights and public services, until there is “an appropriate and comprehensive regulatory framework” in place to protect ethnic minorities from discrimination and maintain the security of user data.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Google Confirms Users’ Private Videos Were Accidentally Sent To Strangers: Google recently notified a subset of Google Photos users that their private videos were exported to other users’ accounts due to a technical issue with the company’s Takeout data-downloading service in late November; the issue has since been fixed and Google has apologized to the affected users.

Intellectual Property

Flywheel Agrees Its Technology Infringed Peloton’s Patented Leaderboard System: The two at-home fitness companies have agreed to settle a September 2018 patent infringement case filed by Peloton; Flywheel has admitted its stationary bikes infringed Peloton’s patented technology and says it will stop using the leaderboard system within 60 days. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Twitter Moves To Quash Subpoena For A User’s Identity By Devin Nunes’s Lawyer: The social media platform is attempting to block the subpoena from Representative Nunes’s lawyer, which seeks to reveal the identity of the parody Twitter account ‘Devin Nunes Cow’, on the bases that disclosure would violate the Stored Communications Act and that the accountholder’s identity is unrelated to the case, which is a defamation suit between other parties.

Practice Note

Ancestry.com Rejects Police Warrant For User DNA: The genealogy website rejected a law enforcement warrant seeking access to the company’s 15 million DNA profiles on undisclosed technical grounds; law enforcement agencies have increasingly sought access to the records of DNA profiling companies for investigations, but receive varying levels of cooperation from different companies.

On the Lighter Side

“Amazon Dating” Provides Expedited Date Delivery: The parody site, which is unaffiliated with Amazon, displays a range of “singles” and other Valentine’s Day Easter eggs.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 31, 2020

Internet Governance

UK To Allow Huawei To Supply 5G Network Infrastructure: Despite protests from the Trump Administration, which has banned the use of Huawei’s technology in the United States due to national security concerns, the UK announced on Tuesday that it will allow Huawei and other “high-risk vendors” to supply equipment for its national 5G infrastructure, citing a lack of alternatives and an existing reliance on Huawei’s technology by major network operators within the country.

Privacy

Facebook To Prompt Users To Examine Privacy Settings: The social network plans to direct 2 billion users to its updated Privacy Checkup tool, through which users can learn who can see their data and adjust their privacy preferences; the platform has also given users access to its new Off-Facebook Activity tool, where they can view a summary of their data being used by third-party sites and delete that data.

London Police Begin Using Live Facial Recognition Technology To Locate “Serious Offenders”: The technology will initially be deployed in targeted areas and is intended to supplement police’s discretion in engaging with individuals; privacy groups contend that the development threatens civil liberties, and an independent review of the technology has called into question the technology’s ability to accurately identify individuals.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Over Half Of NFL Team Twitter Accounts, Along With ESPN And UFC Accounts, Hacked: Activity on the compromised accounts during the two-day hack promoted the hacking group OurMine, which later took responsibility; tweets sent out from official NFL team accounts proclaimed that the hacking collective had returned and that “everything is hackable.” 

Intellectual Property

UK Says It Will Not Implement EU Copyright Directive: Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the UK will not implement the new Copyright Directive, which it originally voted to approve in 2019, after leaving the EU; the Directive, which imposes a “link tax” and requires platforms to identify and remove infringing content, is currently being transposed into the national laws of other EU member states. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook, Google, And Twitter Work To Halt The Spread Of Coronavirus Misinformation: As social media users begin to make unsubstantiated posts about the coronavirus’ spread, such as that it developed because of Chinese dietary habits or that oregano oil and colloidal silver are curative, the three tech giants are taking action to stop their powerful social media platforms from becoming echo-chambers for misinformation about the quickly spreading disease. 

Practice Note

Facebook Settles Facial Recognition Lawsuit For $550 million: In a case filed in 2015, Illinois Facebook users accused the site of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by using the platform’s photo “Tag Suggestions” function to collect and store the biometric data of millions of users without their consent; this week, the company announced that it had reached a $550 million settlement pending approval from the district court.

On the Lighter Side

Introducing Vine 2.0, Byte: For those of you who may find yourselves re-watching YouTube videos such as “Vines I Quote Every Day,” or “Iconic Vines That Changed the World,” with a yearning sense of nostalgia, look no further than Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann’s TikTok competitor and Vine spinoff, Byte, which announced on Twitter last week, “today we’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and a new community for people who love them.”

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Brittany Thomas
Sean Conners
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: January 24, 2020

Internet Governance

France Offers To Suspend Its Digital Tax In Response To Proposed U.S. Tariffs: A new French tax that is seen by some to unfairly target U.S. tech companies spurred threats of retaliatory tariffs on certain French products; an unnamed source within the French Finance Ministry confirmed France would suspend down payments of the tax until December as a gesture of goodwill and to enable further negotiation.

Privacy

Newly Revealed Facial Recognition App Threatens To Erode Anonymity: The app, created by Clearview AI, relies on a database of three billion images ostensibly scraped from social media profiles and other online sources to identify individuals based on their photograph by revealing other photos of the person as well as links to the sources where those photos appear; the app has been licensed to over 600 law enforcement and security companies in the past year.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

UN Seeks Investigation After Evidence Ties Saudi Crown Prince To Hack Of Jeff Bezos’ Phone: UN investigators have discovered a report from a private security consultant detailing the hack of Bezos’ phone last May and tracing the breach to spyware sent by the Crown Prince’s WhatsApp account; the same investigators suggest the hack may have been part of an effort to influence coverage of the muder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist for the Bezos-owned Washington Post. 

Microsoft “Misconfiguration” Leaves More Than 250 Million Customer Service Records Vulnerable: Microsoft disclosed and corrected a database error that left exposed customer service chat logs dating as far back as 2005; in response, Microsoft will begin contacting affected users and also plans to audit its internal security system.

Intellectual Property

Court Overturns Patent Ruling In Favor Of Nintendo, Ending Seven Year Litigation: The action filed by iLife Technology in 2013 alleged that the Nintendo Wii’s motion-sensing controller infringed six of its patents and resulted in an award of $10.1 million in damages to iLife. 

Free Expression and Censorship

Journalist Glen Greenwald Charged With Cybercrimes In Brazil: The charges come after Greenwald published stories that included “leaked” messages containing content embarassing to public officials as part of an effor to expose public corruption; Greenwald states the Brazilian Federal Police cleared him of any wrongdoing just two months ago, and that prosecutors’ allegations that he “encouraged” the hacking of officials’ phones is retaliatory.

Practice Note

Appeals Court Refuses To Reopen 3D-Printed Gun Publishing Suit: The Texas-based nonprofit Defense Distributed sought to reopen its 2018 suit against the State Department, the Secretary of State, and other officials, seeking government approval to publish online plans for its 3D-printed gun; Defense Distributed is still facing ongoing litigation after 20 states and the District of Columbia filed suit to block publication of the plans.

On the Lighter Side

Seattle County To Host The First U.S. Election Offering Smartphone Voting: In an effort to boost voter turnout, King County, Washington, will allow electronic voting from its blockchain-based smartphone app for the upcoming board of supervisors election; the county hopes to overcome numerous challenges and security risks that have hindered online voting for years.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Lawrence Keating
Editorial Fellow

CLIP-ings: January 17, 2020

Internet Governance

Online Retailers Face Antitrust Probe In India: In response to a complaint filed by a group that represents small- and medium-sized businesses, the Competition Commission of India will investigate whether Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart promote “preferred sellers” over smaller sellers in violation of the country’s competition laws.

Privacy

Dating Data Shared: A recent report reveals that popular online dating services such as Grindr, OkCupid, and Tinder send data about users’ gender, ethnicity, location, and personal dating preferences to advertisers, marketing services, and location data brokers in ways that may run afoul of data privacy laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and California’s newly effective California Consumer Privacy Act.

Third-Party Trackers Not Welcome On Chrome: Google has announced that as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative to make web use more private and secure, the Chrome browser will stop supporting third-party tracking cookies by 2022; the policy change will affect how web tracking and advertising works on the platform.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Burisma Becomes Victim Of Apparent Russian Hack: A Silicon Valley security firm discovered that the Ukrainian gas company, which is at the center of the Trump impeachment proceedings, was infiltrated in a hack that employed tactics similar to those used by Russian hackers from a military intelligence unit; while it is unclear how much data was obtained through the hack, it raises concerns that Russia may be prying for information that could be used to meddle in the 2020 election.

Intellectual Property

Chinese Court Affords Copyright Protection To AI-Generated Content: A court in Shenzhen ruled that an AI-generated financial report produced by tech giant Tencent was entitled to copyright protection after another online platform duplicated the report on its own website; the court found that the work had a “certain originality” and that it met the legal requirements to be considered a “written work” entitled to copyright protection.

Free Expression and Censorship

Digital Art Falls Victim To Instagram’s False Information Warning Feature: The feature, which notifies users that third-party fact checkers have determined that a post contains false information, has begun to flag postings of digitally manipulated art and has hid those postings from Instagram’s Explore and Hashtag pages.

Practice Note

GrayKey Enables iPhone Access By Law Enforcement: A newly discovered search warrant suggests that the FBI has access to a tool—GrayKey—that can retrieve data from iPhones, including the latest 11 Pro Max model, even when they are locked; the discovery raises questions about the FBI, President Trump, and Attorney General Barr’s motivations for pressuring Apple to assist in unlocking the devices owned by the Pensacola, Florida, naval base shooting suspect.

On the Lighter Side

Spotify Curates Content For Canines: After surveying UK listeners and finding that nearly three-quarters of them play music for their pets, Spotify has created a playlist and a podcast for dogs to listen to when their owners aren’t home.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP



CLIP-ings: January 10, 2020

Internet Governance

New Cambridge Analytica Documents Leaked: A former employee-turned-whistleblower has begun to leak a trove of over 100,000 documents showing that the now-defunct company was a “global operation that worked with governments, intelligence agencies, commercial companies and political campaigns to manipulate and influence people,” and that it had even worked for a Ukrainian political party in 2017 while under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Privacy

Ring Adds Privacy Dashboard: In response to recent criticism of its privacy and security practices, the home security system has added a privacy dashboard to its app that allows users to alter privacy and security settings, including by setting up two-factor authentication and managing law enforcement’s ability to request video clips.

YouTube Implements Children’s Privacy Changes: As part of a settlement with the FTC over alleged Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act violations, the streaming service has effected changes that include removing targeted advertising, push notifications, and other community-oriented features from videos designated by creators as “made for kids”; content creators complain that a lack of guidance makes it difficult to determine whether they may be in violation of the new policies.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

FBI Again Seeks Apple Help To Unlock Device: Armed with a court order permitting it to search iPhones allegedly belonging to the suspected gunman at a Florida naval base last month, the FBI has requested that Apple help it unlock the password-protected devices; the Bureau has sought similar help from Apple in the past, but ultimately found alternative ways into the devices in those cases.

TikTok Vulnerabilities Discovered: A cybersecurity research firm discovered “multiple vulnerabilities” in the popular video-sharing app that would allow hackers to upload and delete videos from users’ accounts, change the privacy settings of users’ existing videos, and redirect users to malicious websites that mimic TikTok’s homepage; the vulnerabilities were disclosed to TikTok parent ByteDance and have since been patched. 

Intellectual Property

Airbnb Owns User-Profiling Patent: Airbnb has patented “trait analyzer” software that scours the web for information about users’ behavioral and personality traits to gauge their “trustworthiness” and ultimately to calculate their compatibility with various hosts.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Deepfake Ban Met With Skepticism: On Monday, the social network announced that it will ban deepfakes on its platform, including content created by artificial intelligence and content that has been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone”; lawmakers, however, say that the prohibition does not go far enough, as it likely does not cover content created using “widely available editing software.”

On the Lighter Side

AI That Makes You Smile: A newly announced AI toothbrush, which is driven by an app that provides “real-time tracking and coaching,” has proven to improve gum health in clinical trials.

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

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP