Articles Posted in Communications Law

Gigi Sohn, a former counselor to the Federal Communications Commission during the administration of President Barack Obama, has urged the federal government to pass a law to protect the privacy of consumers. Sohn argued that consumers may suffer more than just financial losses due to violations of their privacy. She noted…


Recent investigations have revealed that telecommunications companies have sold the real-time location data of their customers without the informed consent of the customers. In other situations, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint simply have allowed third parties to access the data, rather than actively selling it to them. As a result, a group of parties include…


On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided Patrick Hately v. Dr. David Watts, ruling that opened and read emails are covered by the federal Stored Communications Act's privacy protections. Watts used a password provided to him by the mother of Hately's children, with whom Watts was having an affair, to browse Hately's emails in an attempt to uncover evidence of a relationship between Hately and Watts's ex-wife. The Fourth Circuit ultimately found that the district court erred in finding Hately did not demonstrate the statutory injury required under state law and in finding that Hately's opened and read emails were not statutorily protected "electronic storage" under federal law.


Two sources familiar with the matter say that the Chinese company, Huawei, is preparing a lawsuit against the U.S. government for hindering federal agencies from using the company's products. According to the sources, who requested to be anonymous to uphold confidentiality, the lawsuit would be filed in the Eastern District of Texas, the home of Huawei's American headquarters. An announcement about the lawsuit from the company is expected to be released this week.


Sprint, a competitor of AT&T, has filed a lawsuit in federal court to attack the use of 5G Evolution branding by AT&T. It argues that this phrase and the 5GE tag associated with it are misleading because these phones and networks do not use 5G technology. Sprint is asking the court for an injunction against AT&T to stop it from using 5GE tags.


Last week, a New Hampshire judge ordered Amazon to turn over an Echo smart speaker’s recordings that may have captured key evidence in a double homicide that occurred last year in Farmington. Investigators believe that the recordings may provide information that could help convict the murderer. The question arises: how much data can tech companies collect, store, and use, and what does that mean for privacy?


Last week, broadband industry lobby groups sued Vermont to stop a state law that requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to follow net neutrality principles in order to qualify for government contracts. The lawsuit was filed in Vermont district court by CTIA, NCTA, USTelecom, and the ACA. These groups represent all of the biggest mobile and home ISPs in the US, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile US, Sprint, and CenturyLink.


Posted in: Communications Law

Recently, a group of women filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Facebook, arguing that the social media platform and certain companies posting ads on it have engaged in gender discrimination. These companies used Facebook to advertise positions in occupations such as the trucking industry, but they allegedly…


The New York Times has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the FCC's ongoing refusal to adequately respond to FOIA requests. When the FCC's website was soliciting public comments over the controversial net neutrality policies last year, it received an alarmingly high number of comments from ostensibly fake accounts. The New York Times alleges that it has requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the traffic details for that notice-and-comment period and that the FCC has failed to respond to multiple requests. In its complaint, the New York Times claims that the release of the "records . . . will shed light on the extent to which Russian nationals and agents of the Russian government have interfered with the agency notice-and-comment process about a topic of extensive public interest: the government's decision to abandon 'net neutrality.'"


A California appeals court has ruled in favor of Twitter in confirming that it is protected from liability by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in deciding what content should be allowed on its platform. Jared Taylor, a publisher of white nationalist content, was permanently kicked off of Twitter in December following the company's announcement that it planned to more closely scrutinize users promoting violence. Taylor subsequently sued Twitter for banning him and his publication from its platform, and while the trial court threw out two of his claims, it allowed his unfair competition claim to go forward.