In September 2020, the California legislature sent a bill to the Governor’s desk which would bar a social media company from opening an account for anyone it “actually knows” is under the age of 13, absent parental consent. The bill, passed with bipartisan support within the legislature, aims to bring social media companies in line with existing federal and California law requiring parental consent before a minor’s personal information is obtained online or sold. (The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) prohibits companies from selling a minor’s personal information without obtaining the authorization of the consumer’s parent or guardian if the … Continue Reading
Social media users may have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their internet browsing data, according to a recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court.
Users of a social media platform brought a class action against its owner, alleging that the company tracked users’ browsing histories when they visited third-party websites, and then compiled those browsing histories into personal profiles which were sold to advertisers to generate revenue. The company did not dispute that it engaged in these tracking practices even after its users had logged out of the site. Plaintiffs complaint alleged, … Continue Reading
Social media has made sharing personal and professional updates easy and, in most cases, highly targeted. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as the proliferation of new social media platforms have created a window into the lives of those who are active on these platforms. One of the biggest tensions created by social media is that, while businesses are constantly looking for metrics and strategies that will enable them to advertise their content to the user at the most opportune moment, individuals seek to cut down on their social media consumption. The rise of wearable technology (e.g. smartwatches or technology-embedded … Continue Reading
In the age of social media, are court procedures enough to protect vulnerable parties subject to a publication ban? In a recent article, researchers at the University of Zurich were able to re-identify parties in 84% of judgments studied (the Zurich Study).… Continue Reading
Online privacy is a fantasy for many people. We voluntarily post information about every aspect of our lives. Information we do not publicize can often be extracted from website data or our personal accounts (email, social media, etc.). Our privacy and sensitive information is often in jeopardy. What happens when our private and sensitive information is disseminated online to millions of people against our will? This is known as doxing.… Continue Reading
In addition to several changes to existing rules on data protection, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does also have a considerable impact on online marketing and social media, affecting in particular business models based on advertising tools such as tracking pixels, placed advertisements or social plug-ins.… Continue Reading
In general, the changes revolve around new features that are intended to increase profile visibility and make it easier for users to share and connect with each other. LinkedIn permits users to opt in or out of these features to accommodate individual privacy preferences.… Continue Reading
The Advocate General to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Yves Bot caused a sensation with his unexpected opinion concerning the admissibility of social media fanpages under EU data protection law. According to the opinion of Mr. Bot, the operator of a social media fanpage is “jointly responsible for the processing and collection of personal data together with” the social media operator.
Further, the operator of a fanpage of a social network is deemed to be a controller “with regard to the phase of processing of personal data consisting in the collection of data on the persons … Continue Reading
Experiencing virtual reality
The line between the digital world and the physical world is becoming increasingly blurred as we enter an era of virtual reality (VR). VR can be defined as a “computer technology that uses virtual reality headsets…to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment.” In other words, VR uses computers to create a virtual environment that feels as close to reality as possible.
VR will have a significant impact on social media. Instead of communicating through texts, pictures and videos, VR technology will allow … Continue Reading
The use of WhatsApp without the declaration of consent from every person in the user’s address book directory is deemed to be inadmissible in a recent decision by the family law department of a German lower federal court (AG Bad Hersfeld, 15.05.2017 – F 120/17 EASO).
The court held that the mother of an 11-year-old boy had to ensure and constantly control that all of her son’s phone contacts had given their consent to the transfer of their contact data to WhatsApp.… Continue Reading
Human interactions with technology
In the past few years, the use of social media has increased rapidly. A key feature of social media platforms and social media apps is the ability to interact with other people in ways that were not thought possible in previous generations. With the click of a button, someone from the other side of the world can appear on a screen in front of you.
Technology and social media have not just given rise to platforms that facilitate human-to-human interaction: recently, advancements in technology have led to a rise in a new type of social relationship: … Continue Reading
The South African Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPI), which protects the processing of personal information by public and private bodies, is much like similar UK and EU legislation. It was signed into law in November 2013 but is not in full effect yet. Once the Act is made effective, companies will be given a year’s grace to comply with the Act, unless this period is extended as allowed by the Act.… Continue Reading
A recent UN study reveals that rapid growth of social networks and e-commerce platforms has driven financial inclusion, economic activity and security in practically all countries and in particular China. The report highlights that popular applications WeChat and AliPay have developed into some of the largest and most sophisticated financial ecosystems in the world. For example, AliPay was first launched in 2004 and by 2016 AliPay was processing 175 million transactions per day, and more than half through a mobile phone. … Continue Reading
With the proliferation of so-called “fake news”, companies are starting to rely on third party organizations to perform a “fact checking” function in order to distinguish between legitimate news and fake news. The fake news epidemic gained traction in the recent US presidential election. We have previously written about the fake news problem, as well as the UK Government’s plan to tackle the issue.
While fake news began as false information disguised as legitimate news sources, the problem with fake news and the question as to what constitutes fake news is becoming more complicated and nuanced. … Continue Reading
A carefully curated social media presence is a critical business requirement, but there are risks. One of these risks is unlawful content – be that unlawful content posted to your businesses’ own social media account (exposing the company to potential liability) or harmful content about your business (or its C-Suite or key personnel) posted on independent sites.
So how do you tackle unlawful content? Often the first point of call is the law of defamation. The UK is renowned as a claimant friendly jurisdiction for defamation litigation. With its widely respected court system and judiciary, the UK has been the … Continue Reading
Social media users have a new demand for 2017 – they want the ability to edit their public messages. Spelling mistakes, missing words and misplaced pronouns can have embarrassing, unintended and sometimes dangerous consequences. The ability to edit one’s message is an attractive feature. This request has led some users on the social media platform Twitter to ask its CEO when an edit function would be introduced.… Continue Reading
Most people would not bring along a group of uninvited strangers to a dinner party or, even worse, a wedding. Society has certain expectations around attendance, guest lists, RSVPs, and the like. And yet, in the digital realm, these social norms may not have the same effect. What can be done about digital party crashers? In particular, how can the owner of a social network ward off competitors who seek access to network content by riding users’ coattails?… Continue Reading
The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (Hamburg DPA) recently issued an administrative order prohibiting Facebook from collecting and storing user data of German WhatsApp users.
The Hamburg DPA also ordered Facebook to also delete all data that has already been forwarded to Facebook by WhatsApp.… Continue Reading
How safe is information is hidden behind an individual’s privacy settings? Can I assume that my interest in privacy ensures that anything marked “private,” or “shared only with my friends” remains so, even in the face of a production order in Canada?… Continue Reading
Facebook has won an appeal against a Belgian court ruling, which ordered it to stop tracking logged-out users who visit Facebook pages and other websites linked to Facebook.
On 29 June 2016 the Brussels Court of Appeal held that the Belgian data protection authority (the Belgian Privacy Commission), which brought the original case, does not have jurisdiction over Facebook’s operations in Ireland, where the data is actually processed.… Continue Reading
The anonymity of the Internet has posed many challenges to the protection of intellectual property rights. The sheer size of the population of online users and the millions of file-sharing programs and other social media outlets that exist have left IP rights holders struggling to protect their property and goodwill in the digital era. For example, the battle between protecting copyright online while simultaneously protecting the privacy rights of online users has led to interesting debates in the courts as well as new IP strategies that are currently being explored.… Continue Reading
On 9 March 2016 the Düsseldorf Regional Court in Germany ruled that an online shopping site, Peek & Cloppenburg, which integrated Facebook’s “like” button into its website had violated users’ privacy rights.
How the “like” button works
The button allows website users who click on it to share instantly the pages and content from the website on their Facebook profiles. This technology is a rapidly-growing marketing tool.… Continue Reading