Topic: Privacy

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Facebook wins privacy case on tracking logged-out users

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 … Continue reading

German competition authorities initiate proceeding against Facebook

Facebook became the latest American technology company to face antitrust hurdles in Europe after the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), a competition authority, opened an investigation into whether Facebook Inc., USA, Facebook Ireland Limited and Facebook Germany GmbH abused their alleged dominant position in social networking by violating data protection laws. Accordingly, unlike other proceedings … Continue reading

Internet’s ‘Hide and Seek’ Battle Continues in Canada

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 … Continue reading

Facebook “like” button violates privacy laws

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 … Continue reading

Hacked private messages used in court

A South African high court recently ruled that a civil litigant’s private Facebook messages, which were unlawfully obtained by the hacking of his personal account, were nevertheless admissible as evidence against him. In Harvey v Niland, the litigants were members of the same corporation.  Niland was also an employee of the corporation.  After leaving his … Continue reading

Social Listening – Are You Ready?

One of the keys to a successful social media presence for businesses is real-time engagement and quick response times. “Social listening” can help businesses tap into consumer sentiment in order to engage with their audience effectively and to elevate their brands. What is social listening? Social listening constitutes tracking conversations on social media that mention … Continue reading

We’re back, with our top five social media stories of 2015

The Social Media Law Bulletin is back! The ongoing interest of our readers as well as the increasing impact of social media led us to re-launch the Social Media Law Bulletin. We will be bringing you coverage of one or two items approximately each week, but in the meantime, we thought we would give you … Continue reading

UK MPs consider social media terms & conditions too complex

A recent report by the Science and Technology Committee (a UK parliamentary select committee) on the Responsible Use of Data (the Report) concludes that online terms and conditions for the use of social media platforms are unnecessarily complex and may not serve their intended purpose of obtaining informed consent from a user for the right to process … Continue reading

Pre-suit discovery on social media

A Kings County, New York court has held that a plaintiff may obtain social media information (such as another’s user information and evidence posted through social media) as part of pre-suit discovery under New York law. This decision could have ramifications in a number of jurisdictions that permit pre-suit discovery to preserve evidence and/or obtain … Continue reading

Social Media Accounts After Death – Delaware’s New Law

After January 1, 2015, individuals whose wills are governed by Delaware law can have their digital assets and digital accounts accessed and controlled by their personal representatives of their estates, courtesy of a new Delaware law.  Modeled on the uniform model Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, the Delaware law vests the decedent’s personal representative … Continue reading

No Secret in Brazil

The popular social networking app “Secret” has reportedly been temporarily enjoined in Brazil. A civil court in Brazil ordered both Google and Apple to remove Secret from their respective app stores, and to pull the apps from the phones of their users. In its opinion, the Brazilian court raised concerns that Secret’s anonymity feature can … Continue reading

eDiscovery and private social media accounts

The United States District Court for the District of Kansas recently clarified the scope of discoverable information from private social media accounts. In Stonebarger v. Union Pacific Corp., a wrongful death case where plaintiffs were seeking to recover damages for the deaths of two individuals killed in a collision, the defendants requested two types of … Continue reading

Snapchat and Maryland Attorney General

We had previously written about the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s proposed complaint and consent with mobile messaging service Snapchat, best known for promoting its “ephemeral” photo messaging site. The FTC alleged the Snapchat violated the Federal Trade Commission Act through six false or deceptive acts or practices, including Snapchat’s claim that messages can “disappear forever.” … Continue reading

A picture can be worth a thousand links

From giant billboards on the highway to tiny pictures that can go viral within seconds, the use of social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr has revolutionized the advertising industry. Companies can now reach their target audiences more quickly and more effectively by taking advantage of instantaneous posting of pictures and blogs. The use … Continue reading

Facebook responds to COPPA with patent application directed to online verification

The US Patent and Trademark Office published, on May 29, 2014, a patent application submitted by inventors from Facebook directed to a method for managing the accessibility of a social network based on the age of its users. In referencing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) directly, Facebook’s patent application suggests that Facebook may … Continue reading

US Federal Trade Commission to see Snapchat for 20 years

On May 8, 2014, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed for public comment its draft complaint and consent with mobile messaging service Snapchat, best known for promoting its “ephemeral” photo messaging site. (See our previous posting here.) The FTC’s complaint claimed that Snapchat violated federal law (Section 5 of the FTC Act) with the … Continue reading

Social media: did you know?

How many of us actually read social media terms of use? Be wary: you allow public information to be accessible over public search engines. When you tweet you: grant Twitter a licence to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute content in any manner or method. Twitter may sublicense these rights … Continue reading

Minors’ credit card purchases

If your social media page permits a user to purchase goods or services from you, a December 20, 2013 ruling from the Northern District of California may be of interest. The case involves minors using their parents’ credit cards without authorization (in 2011) in order to purchase several hundred dollars’ worth of Facebook Credits.I.B. v. … Continue reading

Snapchat: now you see me, now you don’t

Yesterday’s hilarious Facebook photo can easily become today’s biggest regret. Hence, the explosive rise of the new photo-sharing app, Snapchat. Snapchat allows users to create “Snaps,” user photos with built-in self-destruct timers. Users can decide how long the recipients can view the photos after which time they are permanently deleted from both the recipient’s device … Continue reading

Social Media Service, Minors, and Photos

On July 10, 2013, U.S. Representative John Duncan (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsor Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced H.R. 2645, the “Forbidding Advertisement Through Child Exploitation Act of 2013.” The stated purpose of this short bill is to “prohibit providers of social media services from using self-images uploaded by minors for commercial purposes.” Under the bill, a “social … Continue reading

Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”) prohibits interception of “any wire, oral, or electronic communication.”  18 U.S.C. § 2511.  Electronic communication is defined as “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical system.”  18 U.S.C. … Continue reading

ECPA Reform Bill adds geolocation provisions

Congress woman Zoe Lofgren recently introduced a bill intending to align the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 with the current state of technology, especially with respect to cloud computing.  The Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act, backed by tech companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Twitter, eBay and Amazon, intends to clarify and apply … Continue reading
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