Privacy Law Blog

Category Archives: Mobile Privacy

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California Gives the Fourth Amendment a 21st Century Makeover

The average American today generates more media than they did at any other point in history, and the ease with which our communications, photos, and videos are sent and stored digitally means most of us have more media stored in the cloud or on a single digital device than previous generations would have created in … Continue Reading

District Court Rules That Smartphone Passcodes Are Testimonial; Protected by Fifth Amendment

In Securities and Exchange Commission v. Huang, the district court held that the Fifth Amendment protected two former employees against having to disclose their personal passcodes for company-issued smartphones to government officials.  The decision, likely subject to appellate review, exemplifies the competing interests at play as individuals increasingly use company-issued smartphones for business and personal … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Rules that “Pocket Dials” May Not Be Entitled to an Expectation of Privacy

In a move that may strike fear into the hearts of mobile phone owners everywhere, the Sixth Circuit recently ruled that a person’s “pocket dials” – those inadvertent calls made from a person’s mobile phone, generally when the phone is in its owner’s pocket, and alternatively referred to as “butt dials” – may not be … Continue Reading

Digital Advertising Alliance Will Begin Enforcing Its Mobile Privacy Guidance in September

On Thursday, the Digital Advertising Alliance (“DAA”) announced that it will enforce its previously issued “Application of Self-Regulatory Principles to the Mobile Environment” (the “Mobile Guidance”) beginning September 1, 2015. Although the Mobile Guidance was initially issued in July 2013, enforcement was delayed pending the DAA’s implementation of an effective choice mechanism for the mobile … Continue Reading

AT&T Pays $25 Million in FCC Settlement

In the largest ever data security enforcement action taken by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), AT&T agreed to pay $25 million to resolve an investigation into consumer privacy violations at its call centers in Mexico, Colombia, and the Philippines. The FCC announced the settlement on April 8, 2015, stating that phone companies are expected to “zealously guard” their customers’ … Continue Reading

New Jersey bill to prohibit unsolicited text message advertisements pending Governor signature

A New Jersey bill which prohibits unwanted text message advertisements has been sent to the Governor for final consideration.   A. 617, which passed unanimously in the Assembly June 26 and in the Senate Sept. 22, if signed into law, would make it illegal to send a text message advertisement to a New Jersey resident if it … Continue Reading

Court Holds That Prior Notice is Required to Record Cell Phone Conversations

Last month, a federal district court in the Northern District of California issued an order that may affect the policies of any company that records telephone conversations with consumers. The trouble began when plaintiff John Lofton began receiving calls from Collecto, Verizon’s third-party collections agency, on his cell phone.  The calls were made in error … Continue Reading

Honoring Do-Not-Track Browser Signals

We’re all familiar with the ads that pop up on the side of our browsers, personalized to highlight things we might be interested in based on our web browsing activity.  Marketers and advertisers regularly track consumers’ online activities, interests and preferences and use the information they collect to create targeted ads, meant to appeal to … Continue Reading

FTC Issues Recommendations on Mobile Data Disclosures, Urges Mobile Industry To Act

Data use and sharing disclosures on mobile devices need work, the FTC said in a staff report released last week.  The report recommends ways that actors in the mobile marketplace—such as mobile operating system providers, application developers, advertising networks, and analytics companies—can inform consumers of data collection and sharing practices.  While the FTC tailors recommendations … Continue Reading

HHS Announces New Patient Privacy and Security Protections

On January 17, 2013, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the final omnibus rule that among other things (1) increases patient privacy protections; (2) provides individuals with new rights to receive a copy of their electronic medical record in an electronic form;  and (3) provides individuals with the right to … Continue Reading

California Attorney General Issues Recommendations for Mobile Ecosystem Stakeholders

Ever on the forefront of consumer privacy protection, California is again making news in the privacy world with the California Attorney General’s recent publication of “Privacy on the Go: Recommendations for the Mobile Ecosystem,” which includes privacy recommendations for app developers, app platform providers, mobile ad networks, makers of operating systems and mobile carriers.  With … Continue Reading

Keep An Eye On Those Shiny, New Mobile Devices!

As physicians, nurses, therapists and health care providers continue to utilize new smart phones, tablets, and laptops in caring for patients, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has responded with educational videos, worksheets and guidance to help health care providers  create a “culture of compliance and awareness” and to protect patients’ Protected Health … Continue Reading

HIPAA Privacy In The Aftermath Of Sandy: Be Prepared For The Next Emergency

As health care providers, patients, family members, friends, and disaster relief agencies such as the American Red Cross continue to grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy it is important to be mindful of privacy regulations and to prepare in advance for the next emergency. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  of 1996 (“HIPAA” … Continue Reading


In March of this year, Taco Bell Corp. joined the ranks of companies that have been sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"), not for sending an unsolicited text message to a consumer in the first instance, but for sending a confirmatory message when a consumer chose to opt out of receiving future messages. … Continue Reading

GSMA Releases Privacy Design Guidelines to Increase Privacy Considerations for Mobile Apps

A month after the Mobile Marketing Association released its Mobile Application Privacy Policy Framework (which we blogged about here), the GSM Association (GSMA) announced the release of its Privacy Design Guidelines for Mobile Application Development. The guidelines seek to provide developers with specific design points meant to enhance mobile application users’ abilities to guard personal information … Continue Reading

Finally, A Home for Mobile App Privacy Policies – But One With A Financial “Catch”

On February 22, 2012, California's Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris, entered into an agreement with several leading providers of mobile devices and app stores to increase consumer privacy protection for mobile applications or "apps." Under the agreement's terms, these companies have agreed to redesign their app stores to provide a location for app developers to display their privacy policies. … Continue Reading