Privacy Law Blog

Category Archives: Online Privacy

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

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

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?

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

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

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”).… Continue Reading

President Obama Signs Executive Order on Cybersecurity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. … Continue Reading

Do I really have to obtain consent from all my customers to make a change to my privacy policy?

"Do I really have to obtain consent from all my customers to make a change to my privacy policy?  No one else seems to be following that rule." We get this question all the time.  It is understandable, given that we often watch Web-based companies expand their usage of consumer data without the affirmative consent … Continue Reading

FTC-Google Settlement Marks Two “Firsts” in FTC Privacy Enforcement

Google recently settled charges by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that Google's social networking service, Buzz, violated the FTC Act. The FTC-Google settlement prohibits Google from misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains and protects the confidentiality of users' information and from misrepresenting its compliance with the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework. In that regard, the settlement represents two important "firsts" in FTC enforcement. … Continue Reading

Proskauer on Privacy: Boston Edition

Following the success of our Annual Proskauer on Privacy Conference in New York, we are taking the program on the road and invite you to attend our first Proskauer on Privacy: Boston Edition. Presented by the firm’s Privacy and Data Security Group, this conference will focus on the latest developments in this area of law. … Continue Reading

Mathews Explains Social Media Privacy in Exclusive Bloomberg Video Interview

Still don’t really understand all the media attention on Facebook’s, Twitter’s and Google’s user privacy woes?  In a recent video interview by Bloomberg‘s Spencer Mazyck, Proskauer’s Kristen Mathews explained the issues in a way that anyone can understand.  In this video interview, Mathews discussed the background of the recent media scrutiny over Facebook’s and Myspace’s … Continue Reading
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