Is Big Brother Listening? And Other Concerns.

What is Google Home? On November 4th, Google released Google Home, a smart speaker and entertainment hub, and competitor to Amazon’s Echo. Users can ask Google Home questions typically asked of a search engine (e.g., how long to boil an egg) or request actions typically enacted on a smartphone (e.g., setting a timer or calendar reminder). The more a user engages with one of these smart hubs, the more user data the device and its servers Continue Reading →

Ninth Circuit Panel Throttles FTC Enforcement

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently filed a petition to appeal a Ninth Circuit decision that exempts telecom giant AT&T from enforcement action by the agency. The litigation dates back to October 2014, when divisions of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection brought an action against AT&T for its undisclosed speed throttling of “unlimited” data plan subscribers. AT&T landed a major blow in August 2016 when a Ninth Circuit panel determined that the FTC Act Continue Reading →

If You’re Going to Delete All My Facebook Posts, Then You Might As Well Do It Right

Judicial benchslap stories are juicy legal fodder, and this story was no different. Recently, the legal community eagerly gossiped about a federal judge that lashed out against a well-known New York law firm. The offense? Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York was infuriated that the firm had sent a mere junior associate instead of a partner to a hearing on two cases that “implicate[] international terrorism and the murder of innocent people Continue Reading →

Police Body Cameras and Public Records Requests: Another Privacy Frontier

Police departments around the country have been rolling out body-worn camera (“BWC”) programs among other efforts to address accountability and transparency concerns in police conduct. Police departments, legislatures, and community groups alike believe that BWC programs will provide benefits in many forms, including lowering the incidence of police violence, reducing civilian complaints against officers, and streamlining internal police investigations. Public opinion polls overwhelmingly support their use, and news outlets have been eager to report early Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup–March 25, 2016

Update on Apple & the FBI The case between Apple and the FBI has been getting a lot of attention lately, but things might be coming to an end soon. As everyone likely knows, this case has been about the FBI trying to compel Apple to help unlock an iPhone that was used by someone who murdered 14 and wounded 22 people in San Bernardino. On March 21st the Federal Bureau of Investigation filed a Continue Reading →

The Apple Case: How Did We Get Here?

As STLR discussed a few weeks ago Apple is challenging a court order to unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. The current dispute between the government and Apple may be viewed as another chapter in a long-standing debate between law enforcement and intelligence agencies, who need to execute search warrants and conduct surveillance effectively, and consumers’ interests in privacy and security. I believe that understanding the history of this debate is Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup — March 11th, 2016

Google uses Geolocation to Implement Right to Be Forgotten Ruling Google will use IP address data and other geolocation signals to determine whether a Google Search user is located in Europe. If so, Google will delist search results covered by the European Court of Justice’s “Right to be Forgotten” rulings. Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel at Google, released a blog post on a company blog on March 4th, detailing some specifics of the implementation. Previously, Continue Reading →

Data Breaches and Class Action Lawsuits – Consumers May Finally Control Their Own Fate

The Breach Problem Many times a year we see news stories about the latest and largest electronic data breach. Some scandals revolve around the theft of extremely private Personally Identifiable Information (PII), like the user database of infidelity website Ashley Madison.  Others directly target the wallets of millions of consumers, like the credit card security breaches at Target and Home Depot. Worldwide, more than 1,500 data breaches caused the loss of a billion records in Continue Reading →

From out the rind of one “Apple” tasted

The Controversy The tug of war between cyber and national security rages on. But in this high-tech age of metadata, the Twitterverse, smartphones, and Ed Snowden, few would expect an archaic and little-used statute from the Republic’s earliest days to take center stage. Last Tuesday, that’s exactly what happened. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym from California’s Central District relied on the 227-year-old All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651 (2012), to order Apple to assist Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – Feb. 6, 2016

Privacy Shield Data Transfer Agreement On February 2nd Officials from the United States and European Union agreed to a cross-Atlantic data transfer deal called Privacy Shield after three months of negotiations. The negotiations centered around disagreements between European and American regulators on the extent of privacy individuals should be able to expect for their data. The EU and US reached the agreement after the US government made promises that it would not target Europeans to Continue Reading →