ACLU Sues Federal Agencies for Records on Social Media Surveillance

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued seven federal agencies, seeking to obtain records on how the government surveils people on social media. The lawsuit seeks to compel the Justice Department (DOJ), FBI, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), State Department and others to turn over documents related to their social media surveillance, including the guidelines they use and their communications with social media platforms and private businesses.

Facebook Extending Political Advertising Rules to EU, Other Countries

Facebook Inc. told Reuters that it would extend some of its political advertising rules and tools for curbing election interference to India, Nigeria, Ukraine and the European Union before significant votes in the next few months. As the largest social media service in nearly every big country, Facebook since 2016 has become a means for politicians and their adversaries to distribute fake news and other propaganda.

Facebook Removes Hundreds of Pages from Russia Linked to State-Owned Media

Facebook said it had removed hundreds of pages that originated in Russia for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on its site, including a network of accounts that touched on regional weather and sports but actually served as a way for Russian state-owned media to secretly reach social media users. The tech giant’s latest takedown included more than 300 pages that primarily targeted regions including Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

  • Read the article: The Washington Post

Apple CEO Calls for FTC to 'Establish a Data-Broker Clearinghouse'

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook called on the Federal Trade Commission to track data brokers and monitor how they use people’s digital information, the latest privacy push by the iPhone maker. Cook joined other technology company executives in calling for federal privacy legislation, but added his own specific idea in a column published by Time.

After Protests, Roku Quickly Reverses Decision to Allow Infowars Channel

Streaming device maker Roku pulled the plug on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars channel after having it among its content offerings for less than a day. Roku had added Infowars, which had been banned back in August from many online outlets including Apple Podcasts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Periscope, Spotify, Stitcher and YouTube.

Fortnite Flaw Allowed Hackers to Use Players' Credit Cards on File

Epic Games, the maker of the hit online battle royal title, acknowledged that a flaw in the game’s log-in system could have allowed hackers to impersonate real players and purchase in-game currency using the credit cards on file. Hackers could then have siphoned off those purchases from hijacked accounts into other accounts they controlled, according to security researchers.

Bills Would Ban Sale of U.S. Chips to Some Chinese Telecom Companies

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced bills that would ban the sale of U.S. chips or other components to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., ZTE Corp. or other Chinese telecommunications companies that violate U.S. sanctions or export control laws. The proposed law was introduced shortly before the Wall Street Journal reported federal prosecutors were investigating allegations that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile U.S. Inc. and other U.S. businesses.

Judge Rules Against Forced Use of Biometric Features in Facebook Case

A federal judge in Oakland ruled that law enforcement agencies cannot force people to use biometric features such as facial-recognition to unlock their phones and other devices in a case that highlights the fight between Big Tech and law enforcement over users’ privacy. The decision arose out of an extortion case in which two suspects allegedly used Facebook Messenger to threaten that if a man didn’t give them money, they would distribute embarrassing video of him.

Attorney General Nominee Wants Antitrust Review of Social Media Companies

President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, said at his first confirmation hearing that he would look into whether Silicon Valley social media companies were abusing their market position to stifle competition and what the Justice Department’s role should be on the issue of consumer data privacy. The question that prompted the response came from junior Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) who dedicated his allotted time to asking Barr about issues surrounding data privacy and the centralized power companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have on the market.

Eastern European Hackers Charged with Breaking Into SEC Database

A group of Eastern Europeans broke into the SEC’s company filings database, stole nonpublic information, and then made illicit trades worth over $4.1 million, the agency and DOJ said Jan. 15 .Oleksandr Ieremenko hacked the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR e-filing system in 2016, then passed the information he obtained to a group of Ukrainian and Russian traders who used it to make a profit, according to two cases in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Appeals Court Upholds VirnetX 's $440 Million Patent Verdict Against Apple

A U.S. appeals court upheld a judgment worth $440 million that was won by intellectual property licensing firm VirnetX Inc. against Apple Inc. in a patent infringement case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Apple’s appeal of a 2016 jury verdict originally valued at $302 million that grew to $440 million with interest, enhanced damages, and other costs.

German Court Dismisses Qualcomm's Patent Lawsuit Against Apple

A patent lawsuit filed by Qualcomm Inc. against Apple Inc was thrown out by a German court, in a reversal for the U.S. chipmaker after it won a recent court ban on the sale of some iPhones in the country. The regional court in the city of Mannheim dismissed the Qualcomm suit as groundless in an initial verbal decision, saying the patent in question was not violated by the installation of its chips in Apple’s smartphones.

Justice Department Opinion Could Create Limits for Online Gambling

The Justice Department issued a legal opinion that could further restrict online gambling even as some states have been moving to embrace it — a restriction long sought by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who controls one of the world’s largest casino empires. The opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which will probably be tested in the courts, reversed an Obama-era opinion that declared that the Wire Act applied only to sports gambling.

Huawei Fires Employee Arrested in Poland for Spying Charges

The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has fired an employee who was arrested in Poland on charges of spying for the Chinese government, saying in a statement late Saturday that the worker had brought “disrepute” to the company. Huawei said that the alleged actions that the employee, Wang Weijing, had been accused of had nothing to do with the company.

Germany to Ban Facebook from Collecting User Data from Third Parties

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office intends to ban Facebook from collecting user data from third parties, the newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported. This will also prohibit data sharing between WhatsApp and Instagram, which Facebook owns. Germany is concerned that Facebook users didn’t know they agreed to be tracked across the internet when they signed up for the firm’s offerings.

Publisher Files Trademark Suit Against Netflix Over 'Choose Your Own Adventure'

Chooseco, LLC, the childrens' book publisher that owns the trademark to "Choose Your Own Adventure," has filed a lawsuit against Netflix over the immersive film, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. According to a complaint filed in Vermont federal court on Friday, Chooseco has been using the mark since the 1980s and has sold more than 265 million copies of its Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Top YouTube Results for Ruth Bader Ginsburg Include Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories about the health of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have dominated YouTube, illustrating how the world’s most popular video site is failing to prevent its algorithm from helping popularize viral hoaxes and misinformation. More than half of the top 20 search results for her initials, “RBG,” on Wednesday pointed to false far-right videos, some claiming doctors are using mysterious illegal drugs to keep her alive, according to a review by The Washington Post.