Personal Data Encryption and its Legal Implications

Under the regime of Apple’s iOS 7 operating system, a law enforcement agency seeking access to a passcode-protected iPhone would send the phone, along with a valid search warrant, to Apple, who would then be obligated to bypass the passcode using a built-in “backdoor.” Thus, providing the law enforcement agency with the relevant information found in the phone. When iPhone users upgrade to the recently released iOS 8 (or purchase an iPhone 6 or 6 Continue Reading →

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 four different advertising companies who utilize known exceptions to Safari’s privacy feature that blocks third-party cookies. Naturally, the idea that Continue Reading →

STLR Link RoundUp – October 07, 2011

Tech visionary Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. His name was listed on 317 Apple patents, including the Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. Sprint is urging the FCC to quickly hold hearings to rule on whether the transfer of spectrum licenses from T-Mobile to AT&T serves the public interest. AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile is currently under review by the FCC after the US Justice Department sued to Continue Reading →

The Right to Be Forgotten?

Have you ever Googled your own name? Statistics say that you probably have. Egotism aside, in a world where potential employers, schools and even romantic partners are likely to Google you, it would be irresponsible not to be aware of what pops up when you search your name. Many experts (and this non-expert) even recommend setting up a Google alert in your name. But, what can one really do if, for example, your top search Continue Reading →

The Myth of De-Identified Data: Sorrell v. IMS Health and the privacy risks of the prescription data trade

While my colleagues have recently identified many of the potential risks and benefits of electronic medical record keeping, a case before the Supreme Court this term presents questions about the potential dangers it poses for patient privacy in particular. Background: Sorrell v. IMS Health In Sorrell v. IMS Health, plantiffs data-mining firms and PhRMA, an association representing pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, have challenged a Vermont law that prohibits drug manufacturers from using of prescriber records for Continue Reading →

Expectations Matter: The FTC’s Next Approach to Privacy

Consumer Expectations and Privacy Recently, the Federal Trade Commission terminated its inquiry into Google’s “accidental” collection of Internet users’ personal data through its Street View vehicles after Google promised to improve its privacy efforts and delete the data. As you may recall, the investigation began after the FTC learned that Google’s Street View vehicles had been taking more than just pictures—the cars had also inadvertently collected and stored “payload” data, including passwords and email messages Continue Reading →

How Much Protection from Search and Seizure Does Your Email Have?

Does the government need a search warrant, requiring a showing of probable cause, in order to read your email—as it would if it wanted to read a physical letter? Not if the email has been “in electronic storage” for more than 180 days, under the 1986 Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. Section 2703). The Stored Communications Act (SCA) is Title II of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).  In contrast, that same Act states that Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 19, 2010

The latest on the STLR radar: The Department of State’s annual Human Rights Report turns the spotlight on internet freedom in China and Iran, from ZDNet Government. The US District Court in Delaware stays the patent litigations between Apple and Nokia, pending decisions by the International Trade Commission, says The Register. A California appeals court rules that cyberbullying threats are not protected free speech, reports Wired. Also from Wired, the Supreme Court agrees to review Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – February 19, 2010

The latest on the STLR radar: As it launches its cloud computing platform, Azure, Microsoft calls for federal regulation to clarify many of the open legal questions surrounding cloud computing, says the MTTLR Blog. Ten years after it applies, TiVo is granted patent for season pass subscriptions, writes Gizmodo (see our recent post on TiVo’s patent battle with Microsoft here). INFO/LAW recommends a Paul Ohm paper arguing that statistical techniques are eroding the effectiveness of Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – January 29, 2010

The latest on the STLR radar: Ephemerallaw assess the chances of Microsoft being sued for the Internet Explorer 6 vulnerability involved in the hacks recently suffered by Google, Adobe and other major companies. Billboard.biz reports that search engine Baidu, Google’s arch-rival in China, has won a piracy case brought by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for linking to illegal music downloads. As Apple launches its latest handheld device, Erblawg reports on Apple’s battle Continue Reading →