Posted in: E-mail Privacy

Gmail Wiretapping Litigation, Class-Action Denied

By Mark Melodia and Paul Bond and Frederick Lah, CIPP/US

The Northern District of California denied a motion for class certification in a suit over Google’s alleged practice of scanning Gmail messages in order to serve content-based advertising. This Privacy Tracker exclusive discusses how Gmail’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which the court previously called “vague at best and misleading at worst,” and “a ‘panoply of sources’ where users could have impliedly consented to Google’s practices” helped the court make its decision. “Putting aside the question of whether Google’s Terms were in fact vague or misleading, a key takeaway for businesses from this case should be the importance of educating customers about their data practices,” the authors write. (IAPP member login required.)

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Global News Roundup

With the Australian Privacy Principles in effect, the data protection regulation vote in the European Parliament and the announcement of the announcement of the G29 and APEC announcing a joint agreement aiming to aid companies in achieving compliance with global data transfers, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Privacy Tracker has the information you need on the latest action, plus updates to U.S. state and federal initiatives and some opinions on where privacy law is headed. Looking forward to March Madness? U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) is hoping that Congress is, too, and that his latest plea will help get support for the E-mail Privacy Act.

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Global News Roundup

In this Privacy Tracker legislative roundup, read about privacy concerns related to Brazil’s proposed Internet privacy law and one Turkey’s president recently signed into law, and get some insight on complying with South Africa’s new law. In the U.S., states are moving along bills to prevent revenge porn in Illinois and protect readers’ privacy in New Jersey and student privacy in Wyoming and Kansas, among others. Also, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has determined that police need to get a warrant in order to collect cellphone location data over a period of time.

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Global News Roundup

In this Privacy Tracker weekly legislative roundup, read about the prospects of German advocacy groups getting the right to sue businesses, the status of the Philippines’ cybercrime law and proposals in the U.S. pushing for less data collection and more consumer protections. The Utah attorney general has stopped using administrative subpoenas for cellphone and Internet data, saying “writing yourself a note to go after that stuff without any check is too dangerous,” while the Senate looks at a bill that would mean law enforcement needs a judge’s order as well. Also, Orin Kerr has published an article supposing what a communication privacy act might look like if the U.S. scrapped ECPA and started from scratch, and there’s a handy interactive map outlining the status of social media privacy laws throughout the U.S.

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Global News Roundup

Nigeria and Turkey are both considering government-proposed legislation that would require service providers to turn over to law enforcement customers’ data upon request—with fines, and possible jail time for executives, for noncompliance in Nigeria. In the U.S., senators are addressing breach response and online privacy concerns with bills of their own as the fallout continues from the Target and Neiman Marcus breaches as well as the Snowden revelations. And in Australia, the deadline for the Australian Privacy Principles looms large. The Privacy Tracker’s weekly legislative roundup covers all this and more.

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Global News Roundup

Looking at the federal and state bills being introduced in the U.S., this Privacy Tracker weekly roundup reports on lawmakers’ efforts to get privacy-protecting laws on the books; however, FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen has called for legislators to look to existing laws, saying “We simply do not need new talk, new laws or new regulations.” Also take a look at new compliance hurdles for organizations in Canada and Australia as new laws are set to roll out in those countries. Also, in the EU, the LIBE has published amendments it would like to see in the Network and Information Security Directive.

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Industry Canada finalizes regulations under CASL

By Shaun Brown

Shaun Brown of nNovation offers a detailed breakdown of the newly published regulations under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in this Privacy Tracker blog post. Implementation of CASL will come in three waves, the first of which, rules that apply to computer programs, is already in force. While many of the regulations mirror those pre-published in the draft released at this time last year, there are some changes, including new exceptions for closed platforms, limited-access accounts where organizations communicate directly with recipients, messages targeted at foreign persons and fundraising by charities and political parties.

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IAPP Westin Research Center

Court Rules Gmail Case Alleging Wiretapping Can Continue

By Kelsey Finch, IAPP Westin Research Fellow

Westin Fellow Kelsey Finch analyses U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s decision that Google’s practice of intercepting e-mails to and from Gmail users may violate federal and California wiretap laws. Using a “narrow reading” of the federal wiretap law and a “broad reading” of the California law, Koh sent the majority of the case on to trial, “inviting close scrutiny of both … statutes in light of the latest technologies and business practices.” Finch writes, “As the tension between consumer protection and business innovation continues to loom large in the privacy world, decisions that attempt to bridge new technologies and old laws become more and more important.”

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Global News Roundup

Find out about Google’s push to get its e-mail scanning case dismissed, changes to the HIPAA final rule, the latest FTC settlement, updates on proposals in California and new laws in New Jersey and Illinois—and those are just the U.S. developments. In Europe, one MEP has expressed “major concern” regarding two data breach notification schemes proposed under the draft Network and Information Security Directive and the planned General Data Protection Regulation.

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Global News Roundup

Last week saw a new law in South Africa, new guidelines from the Australian privacy commissioner, a new breach notification requirement in effect in the EU and U.S. states tackling big issues like e-mail and location privacy in the absence of forward motion on a federal level. Also, a series of cases in Minnesota questions the liability of government agencies when an employee violates the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.

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