Articles Posted in Privacy

New Jersey has become just the second state in the U.S. to prohibit retail stores and restaurants from refusing to accept cash. The law targets stores that accept payments only by credit cards or through an app.


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.


In what will potentially become a landmark decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California gave the order as a part of a denial of a search warrant for a property in Oakland.


Posted in: Criminal Law, Privacy

In a lawsuit filed on Thursday on behalf of Californians, the City of Los Angeles alleged that the operator of The Weather Channel's mobile phone application has been "covertly mining the private data of users and selling the information to third parties, including advertisers."


Posted in: Consumer Law, Privacy

On December 19, the attorney general of Washington, DC, filed a lawsuit in DC court against Facebook. The complaint alleges that Facebook's poor oversight and misleading privacy policies enabled Cambridge Analytica to gain access to the data of hundreds of thousands of DC residents, in violation of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, D.C. Code §§ 28-3901, et seq., and asks the court to enjoin the social media company from continuing to violate the CPPA as well as for civil damages.


Posted in: Consumer Law, Privacy

California legislators have proposed a tax on text messages to increase funds for programs that provide underserved residents with connectivity. The new tax plan, proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), would not charge per text message, but would implement a monthly fee based on a cellular bill that includes any charges for text messages. Most cellular carriers charge a flat fee for texting and include similar fees for other services, such as calls. The specifics of the charge associated with the tax would vary across carriers.


Posted in: Privacy, Tax Law

The US Supreme court will not hear two cases stemming from state efforts to prevent Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving funding under Medicaid. Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito voted to hear the cases, but Chief Justice Roberts and the newly-confirmed Justice Kavanaugh voted with the Court's liberal justices to turn the cases away; four votes are needed to hear a case. This split among the conservative wing of the Court may reflect Chief Justice Roberts' intention to keep the Court out of hotly contested issues, and of Justice Kavanaugh's willingness to follow along, at least for the time being.


The Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland released a report last week that discussed an investigation into a complaint against the social media network LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft. In the investigation, the Data Protection Commission found that LinkedIn U.S. had collected the email addresses of 18 million people who were not users of the network.…


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?