Privacy

Target-ing Data Security Breaches

On December 19, 2013 Target reported that there had been unauthorized access to Target customers’ payment card data, which may have resulted in 40 million credit card numbers and personal information of up to 70 million individuals being exposed.  The Target data breach was so significant and shocking that there are reports that a “cyber-thriller” [...]

White House Proposes to End NSA’s Mass Collection of Phone Data – But Reforms Don’t Go Far Enough for Many Privacy Advocates

Responding to mounting public pressure, President Obama announced this week that he would be proposing legislation to end the National Security Agency’s mass collection of phone records. Under the new proposal, phone metadata would be stored by telephone companies, not the NSA, and could only be obtained by the NSA through a court order.  However [...]

Cy Pres Remedies in the Internet Privacy Class Action Context

Last November, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Marek v. Lane, a class action case concerning potential privacy violations arising from Facebook’s short-lived and controversial “Beacon” program, which automatically posted information regarding users’ transactions on third-party websites to the users’ Facebook feeds. The class action ended in a settlement, in which Facebook agreed to pay [...]

Legal Issues in Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is when a user provides an input for a program, but some or all of the program’s processing is outsourced to another computer or set of computers (the “cloud server”). Google Maps is an easy example of this – the user provides an input, which Google’s cloud server processes in order to provide [...]

The Legal Implications of Individual Genome Sequencing

Many people are ancestry enthusiasts, inquiring into historical databases and family records to find out more about their ancestors and about themselves.  They might learn about hobbies they shared with previous generations, and gain information on traits or diseases that run in their families.  Some people take such research a step further, digging into their [...]

Client Confidentiality and the NSA: May attorneys still use unencrypted email?

Lawyers handling client data are under an obligation to protect the privacy of that data. State and ABA ethics opinions have approved of correspondence over unencrypted email, deciding that in most cases such communication is consistent with the lawyer’s privacy obligation. However, those opinions were based on an understanding of privacy law that preceded the [...]

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules that Warrants are Required to Electronically Track Cell Phone Data

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that law enforcement officials must obtain a warrant before electronically tracking a suspect’s cell phone. In State v. Earls, the court stressed that users are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy in the level of detail cell phone data can reveal about their lives. This holding applies [...]

There’s No App For That: Smartphone Data Privacy and Law Enforcement Searches

Smartphones have become repositories for vast amounts of personal information.  As their functionality grows, users store more and more of their details in their smartphone, from friends’ phone numbers, diary entries, photos, and messages, to shopping lists, bank details, and travel plans.  At the same time, phone manufacturers and app designers silently gather data on [...]

Privacy and the Cloud

With the increased use of cloud storage new questions have arisen related to the privacy and confidentiality of files stored remotely. Although file storage on remote servers is not a new creation, many of the legal doctrines surrounding privacy and confidentiality of files were created without use of the cloud in mind and have not [...]

Safarigate: Benign Behavior or Malignant Breach?

Last Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google has purposefully circumvented Safari’s privacy settings, allowing it to track the behavior of users on non-Google sites. These findings contradicted Google’s own instructions as to how users worried about privacy settings could avoid tracking. The report was based off of research at Stanford that had identified [...]