Posts Tagged ‘online privacy’

CA Privacy Bill Conflict with Fed Proposal?

May 15, 2011

A California Senate Bill – SB242 proposes to force social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others to prompt users to create their privacy settings before they register with the website rather than the current approach which creates default settings for users that have them sharing photos, biographical information and only allowing them to alter these settings once they are already using the website.

Federal Privacy Bill of Rights

The California bill may exceed the privacy standards of the proposed Federal legislation and that legislation preempts any state standards so it will be interesting to see how these conflicts resolve themselves.

Senate Draft of Online Privacy Bill of Rights

March 26, 2011

Senator Kerry has released the “Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011.”  The Act, co-sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), directs the FTC to make rules requiring certain entities that handle information covered by the Act to comply with a host of new requirements protecting the security of the information as well as the privacy of the individuals to whom information pertains.

For a useful overview of the various provisions, check out this post from the always excellent Information Law Group blog.

Big Change Proposed for Privacy Notices

December 2, 2010

In today’s coverage of the new FCC online privacy report, much of the focus has been on Microsoft and other browser providers offering a “do not track” feature so that online advertisers can’t so easily collect data on consumers.  However, an even more radical suggestion is “real time” privacy notices to consumers about how their personal information will be used.

When looking at these issues, I often turn to the Information Law Group which provides thorough and engaging analysis.  One of the issues they point out is as follows:

For example, to facilitate meaningful choice, the FTC is recommending just-in-time concise notice and choice at the data collection point or before a consumer accepts a product or service.

This is a potential big change from the current model which just tell you that by obtaining the product or service you have accepted the website’s privacy policy.  You aren’t shown the policy in most cases and even if you were, you wouldn’t understand it.  The FCC is suggesting a change in both those conditions – that you see the policy before signing up and that it be easy to understand.

This could be controversial because when consumers realize the privacy they are giving away, they maybe less willing to proceed with the transaction.

Google Publicizes Buzz Class Action Settlement

November 3, 2010

Rather than slink away in shame and silence, Google has decided to go public with its $8.5 million settlement regarding privacy violation when it launched Buzz.  Last night, it sent an email out that starts off, “Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email” and proceeds to let its users know that it is providing these millions to organizations that promote education about online privacy issues.

Privacy Revolution

I applaud Google not only for coming clean about the settlement but also implicitly suggesting that no one has all the answers about privacy issues when it comes to social networking.  This is the truly revolutionary aspect of this medium.  By giving everyone easy access to publishing online content, social networking shifts the paradigm about privacy.  What will it look like?  We don’t know but that doesn’t mean we can bury our heads in the sand and pretend we can avoid dealing with it.  Google is admitting it doesn’t have all the answers and is looking to share the questions, doubts, concerns in a public and non-commercial way.  Now we need to hold their feet to the fire and make sure this $8.5 million is spent in keeping with their objective.

Facebook and Jury Selection

October 14, 2010

Facebook and its kind are constantly changing the legal landscape. The latest example is this article which briefly discusses how attorneys are now using Facebook to research and vet potential jurors and witnesses.  Things attorneys are looking for – does a potential juror enjoy partying?  What clues are there about their parenting?  Do they talk lovingly about their home?  The opportunity to get into the mind of a person is so much greater with Facebook.

What about Privacy Standards for Jury Selection?

If we apply the recently developed New York State and City standards, it would appear that attorneys can look at the public-facing information a potential juror includes on their profile but wouldn’t be able to “friend” them under false pretenses but are their reasons that the privacy standards change when an attorney is investigating a potential juror rather than a party?

Danish Courts:No Press Access to Friend’s Profiles

October 14, 2010

How public or how private is information posted on Facebook?  Its depends on context – is it an attorney attempting to collect evidence against a plaintiff or is it a journalist trying to publicize private Facebook information?  And where is it?

In Denmark a press council ruled that media isn’t allow to “quote” someone from a private Facebook profile.  They did, however, provide a gaping exception for “general interest.”  I guess if Michael Jackson died again, Danish journalists could grab quotes from Jackson fans from their private Facebook wall?  More to come, I’m sure.

Facebook and more Facebook

August 24, 2010

Several breaking stories involving Facebook and privacy:

  • Proposed German law would prevent employers from reviewing job applicant’s Facebook profiles – but not LinkedIn.
  • Facebook Places – a treasure trove of litigator goodies?  child custody case  example: track Mom’s KFC outings.
  • High School teacher terminated for unloading about kids, parents and community on Facebook – thought post was only going to her friends but nooooo.

Facebook and privacy – again!

May 27, 2010

This time it looks good for Facebook and privacy.  According to this screen-shot, courtesy The, Facebook is simplifying it’s settings and making common sense recommendations.  More importantly, they are letting members prevent third party websites and applications for receiving personal data.

But before, I let Facebook off the hook, I want to hear from the Electronic Frontier Foundation which has been an excellent consumer watchdog on this issue.

Big privacy changes if proposed bill passes

May 13, 2010

If the Boucher privacy bill passes which is a big “if” at this point, it will have a huge impact on American business as not only will the bill (in its current form) require large organizations to make their privacy policies much more robust but they will have to get consent from all the people impacted by their collection of that information.  Even more radical, this law applies to offline collection of personal information which could impact a range of businesses with no Internet exposure.

Here is a good summary of the bills provisions in its current from and this article outlines some of the concerns that industry and consumer advocacy have about the legislation.

Facebook taking FTC investigation seriously?

May 10, 2010

The online social networking giant has hired a top-notch hired gun, Tim Muris, of O’Melveny Myers to assist with the FTC complaints about their privacy changes which make members data more visible.   This article goes on to state that Muris’s role as chairman of the law firm’s antitrust and competition practice group might suggest the company’s fear of what’s to come.