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Privacy Law Blog

Category Archives: Online Privacy

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Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Accounts

Posted in Cloud Computing, Electronic Communications, Legislation, Online Privacy

Traditionally, a person’s most valuable assets to be distributed upon death consisted of tangible items such as real property, cash, jewelry and personal effects of sentimental value like photographs and letters.  However, the advent of the digital age has brought a shift from file cabinets, mailmen and photo albums to cloud storage, e-mail accounts and… Continue Reading

No Class: Hulu Users Lose Certification Motion

Posted in Data Privacy Laws, Online Privacy, Privacy Litigation, Uncategorized

After a decision denying class certification last week, claims by Hulu users that their personal information was improperly disclosed to Facebook are limited to the individual named plaintiffs (at least for now, as the decision was without prejudice). The plaintiffs alleged Hulu violated the federal Video Privacy Protection Act by configuring its website to include a… Continue Reading

The French Data Protection Authority Fines Google for Breach of French Privacy Laws

Posted in Data Privacy Laws, European Union, Online Privacy

After two years of investigation and proceedings regarding Google’s privacy policy, European Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) are now reaching their final decisions against Google. The French DPA (“CNIL”) issued ,on January 3rd 2014, a decision ruling that Google’s privacy policy did not comply with the French Data Protection laws and imposed a fine of €… Continue Reading

Where do we stand on the territorial scope of EU data protection law following the recent European Parliament vote?

Posted in Data Privacy Laws, European Union, Legislation, Online Privacy

The determination of the territorial scope of the current EU Directive n° 95/46 is still under dispute both before national Courts and the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This issue may soon become moot with the adoption of future data protection regulation, which may modify and expand the territorial scope of EU data privacy law,… Continue Reading

New California Law Impacts Use of Information from Minors, Offers Right to Delete

Posted in California, Legislation, Online Privacy

Law Targets Sites and Mobile Apps Directed to Minors, Offers “Online Eraser”      Likely to Have Nationwide Effect On July 1st of this year, new amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule) came into effect, with perhaps the most pronounced changes being the expansion of COPPA to apply to geolocation… Continue Reading

White House Posts Preliminary Cybersecurity Incentives

Posted in Data Breaches, Data Privacy Laws, National Security, Online Privacy

In February of 2013, President Obama signed an executive order with the purpose of creating a cybersecurity framework (or set of voluntary standards and procedures) to encourage private companies that operate critical infrastructure to take steps to reduce their cyber risk (see our blog here). Critical Infastructure Systems such as the electric grid, drinking water,… Continue Reading

Honoring Do-Not-Track Browser Signals

Posted in Behavioral Marketing, Mobile Privacy, Online Privacy

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

In France, Are Employers Entitled to Access Their Employees’ Personal Emails?

Posted in Data Privacy Laws, Online Privacy, Workplace Privacy

In France, the guiding principle is that emails received or sent by an employee through the employer’s company email account are considered “professional”, which means that the employer can access and read them.  However, French employers must be cautious before accessing their employees’ professional emails because they are not permitted to access emails that have… Continue Reading

Protecting Privacy or Enabling Fraud? Employee Social Media Password Protection Laws May Clash with FINRA Rules

Posted in California, Online Privacy, Workplace Privacy

As a growing number of states pass legislation which will protect individuals’ social media accounts from employer scrutiny, they have encountered a surprising adversary – FINRA and other securities regulators. To date, at least six states have enacted social media employee privacy laws (which were blogged about here, here, here, and here) and upwards of… Continue Reading

Navigating the Patchwork: When Is European Data Privacy Law Applicable to US Companies?

Posted in Data Privacy Laws, European Union, International, Online Privacy

Are social media companies based in the United States subject to European data privacy laws?  Two recent judicial decisions – one in France and the other in Germany – arrived at different answers.  The Civil Court of Paris held that Twitter, based in California, was obligated under the French Code of Civil Procedure to reveal… Continue Reading

Shine the Light a Little Brighter – Changes Resulting in Increased Customer Access Proposed to California’s “Shine the Light” Act

Posted in California, Data Privacy Laws, Online Privacy

California Assembly Member, Bonnie Lowenthal, recently introduced the “Right to Know Act of 2013″ (AB 1291), which would require any company that retains a  California resident’s personal information to provide a copy of that information to that person, free of charge, within 30 days of the request. The company would also have to disclose a… Continue Reading

Six European Data Protection Authorities Will Launch Legal Actions against Google Stemming from its Privacy Policy

Posted in Behavioral Marketing, Data Privacy Laws, European Union, International, Online Privacy, Privacy Litigation

The French, Italian, British, German, Spanish and Dutch Data Protection Authorities announced on April 2, 2013 that each will launch investigations and enforcement actions against Google on the grounds that its privacy policy is not compliant with the European Directive on Data Protection, available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm, (the “Directive”).

President Obama Signs Executive Order on Cybersecurity

Posted in Data Breaches, Data Privacy Laws, National Security, Online Privacy

As announced during the 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama recently signed an Executive Order on cybersecurity.  The primary goals of the Executive Order are to (a) improve communication between private companies and the federal government about emerging cyber threats and (b) safeguard the nation’s critical infrastructure against cyber attacks by developing and implementing… Continue Reading

China Introduces New Data Privacy Law

Posted in Data Privacy Laws, Online Privacy

On December 28, 2012, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, China’s legislative body, passed the “Decision on Strengthening Network Information Protection” (the “Decision”), which contains various principles for protecting, collecting and using electronic personal information in China.  According to the Decision, these principles were passed in order to protect network information security, protect… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Holds Online Retailers of Downloadable Products May Require Personally Identifying Information For Credit Card Transactions

Posted in California, Data Privacy Laws, Financial Privacy, Online Privacy

The California Supreme Court held on February 4, 2013 that the provision of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971 (the “Act”) prohibiting retailers from requesting personally identifying information as a condition to processing credit card transactions does not apply to online purchases of electronically downloadable items. (Apple v. Super. Ct., S199384, Case No. B238097,… Continue Reading

Facebook and Netflix now “in a Relationship”; Obama Signs Bill Updating Video Privacy Law

Posted in Online Privacy

On January 10, 2013, President Obama signed into law H.R. 6671, an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (VPPA) codified at 18 U.S.C. § 2710, which will  permit companies, such as Netflix, to obtain advance consent from consumers to automatically share their movie viewing history on social media sites. While Facebook users have been… Continue Reading

Defending the Homefront: A Cybersecurity Executive Order

Posted in National Security, Online Privacy

The simultaneous denial of service attacks on the three largest U.S. banks which occurred two weeks ago were reported to have originated in Iran. After years of stealth cyber attacks on American interests, U.S. intelligence officials recently publicly accused China of cyber espionage of American high-tech data for their own economic gain. The head of… Continue Reading

Shaking Up the Settlement Process: FTC Reconsiders Whether Companies Can Deny Wrongdoing While Settling Privacy Violation Claims

Posted in FTC Enforcement, Online Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently announced settlements of cases brought against Google and Facebook for alleged privacy violations. The Google settlement drew headlines for being the largest fine ever assessed for the violation of a FTC consent order ($22.5 million).  But Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch’s dissents are perhaps more momentous, as they have prompted the… Continue Reading

California District Court Dismisses Privacy Class Action Lawsuit Against LinkedIn

Posted in California, Invasion of Privacy, Online Privacy

A California District Court has dismissed with prejudice a class action lawsuit filed against LinkedIn on behalf of its registered users, finding the allegations too speculative to sustain a lawsuit. An earlier Complaint filed by one of the representative Plaintiffs was dismissed by the Court without prejudice, allowing the Plaintiff to amend the Complaint and bring… Continue Reading

French employees should check their privacy settings before posting on social media platforms

Posted in International, Online Privacy

It may seem obvious to a lay person that employees should refrain from insulting their companies on social media due to the threat of termination for cause; however, there are contradictory legal principles that apply to the use of social media by employees which can be used both for and against employees (i.e. freedom of speech, right to privacy, data protection laws, an employer’s right to take disciplinary action, public insult offense, etc.) As a consequence, there is uncertainty as to whether an employer can use its employees’ postings made on social media websites to sanction them.