How much privacy protection are your stored emails and texts hosted by third parties, such as Hotmail or Yahoo, entitled to? In the United States, the privacy of such communications is governed by a federal statute called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”) and, in particular, a subsection of the ECPA called the Stored Communications Act (the “SCA”). The SCA prohibits an unauthorized person from intentionally (1) accessing a “facility through which an electronic communication service is provided,” or (2) exceeding “an authorization to access that facility”, and thereby obtaining, altering or preventing authorized access to, an electronic communication.
Tweet In an effort to provide clarity on it its revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“Rules”), the FTC recently published a list of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs“) with information on how to comply. The FAQs should provide helpful guidance to operators of commercial websites and other online services (such as mobile apps) that are either …View full post
Tweet Can you legally re-sell digital goods like the music files you’ve downloaded from iTunes? That was the question in Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., 2013 WL 1286134 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2013). The court held that the resale of copies of digital music files, as facilitated by the defendant’s technology, was not permissible. The …View full post
Tweet According to a recent settlement, in addition to images of the world’s roads and buildings, Google’s special Street View vehicles may have also collected personal information from users on unencrypted business and personal wireless networks.View full post
Tweet Please excuse the quick commercial, but we are very pleased to report that the National Law Journal just named Frankfurt Kurnit to its 2013 Midsize Hot List – a list of 20 of the nation’s top midsize law firms. We’re so thrilled with this honor that we wanted to share it with our readers. …View full post
Tweet On March 28, 2013, the New York Court of Appeals rejected challenges by major online retailers and upheld the constitutionality of a New York Internet sales tax statute. See Overstock.com v. NYS Dept. Taxation & Fin., Nos. 33 & 34, NYLJ 1202593915304, at *1 (Ct. of App., Decided March 28, 2013). The case was …View full post
For years, it has been widely acknowledged that Google, Inc. (“Google”) scans incoming and outgoing e-mails associated with individual Gmail accounts in order to deliver targeted advertising to Gmail account holders. While Gmail subscribers may have consented to e-mail scanning when they signed up for Google’s services, many non-subscribers that have sent e-mails to Gmail account holders never directly authorized Google to scan the contents of those communications. Now, a new class action lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania by a non-Gmail subscriber raises the question of whether Google’s practices, and potentially those of other online services and companies that review or monitor online communications of various kinds, violate various individual state laws that prohibit interception of electronic communications without the consent of all parties to a communication.
On November 16, 2012, the District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order approving a proposed settlement between the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Google, Inc. (“Google”). The settlement represents the largest fine for violation of a consent order in FTC history, according to a statement by the FTC.
On October 30, 2012, the California Attorney General’s office issued a press release stating that formal notices of noncompliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act were being issued to up to 100 mobile app developers and companies. The Attorney General’s letters, a sample version of which is available here notified addressees that they violated California’s privacy law by collecting personally identifiable information from consumers without first posting their privacy policies conspicuously and in a way that is reasonably accessible to consumers. Companies that fail to correct the noncompliance within 30 days after being notified could face fines of up to $2,500 for each download of a noncompliant app. This enforcement action follows a Joint Statement of Principles wherein seven major app and social platforms (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research in Motion) committed to taking steps to enhance consumer privacy, as we discussed previously here.
On October 17, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Best Buy Stores, L.P. (“Best Buy”) in the class action suit Chesbro v. Best Buy Stores, L.P., No. 11-35784 (9th Cir. Oct. 17, 2012). Reversing the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Best Buy, the Ninth Circuit held that the electronics chain’s automated calling practices associated with its “Reward Zone Program” violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”) and its state analogue the Washington Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device Act (“WADAD”).