In its Memorandum Opinion and Order dated November 9, 2012, the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Pinkard v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. held that under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), when an individual discloses his or her cellular phone number to a business, that individual is deemed to have expressly consented to receive telephone calls and text messages from that business unless he or she has expressly limited the scope of such consent at the time of the disclosure.
The June 18, 2008 Ninth Circuit panel decision in Quon et al. v. Arch Wireless et al., No. 07-55282 (9th Cir. June 18, 2008) has sparked a flurry of news reports and speculation regarding employers’ ability to monitor employees’ e-mails and text messages. In fact, the decision appears to change very little for private employers who wish to review employee communications stored on, or sent through, their own servers and computers. However, Quon does limit employers’ ability to request from third-party providers the contents of employees’ electronic communications.
Many B2C companies are beginning to explore marketing to consumers’ wireless devices using text messaging (“SMS,” or “short message service”) and MMS messaging (“Multi-media Messaging Service”). They may even target their promotions based on where the recipient is physically located using the wireless device’s GPS technology. They also may target their promotions to teens and tweens. What legal issues should companies be aware of as they navigate through this relatively new area?