Tag archives: Privacy

Court rules that reasonable expectation of privacy exists in social media users’ internet browsing data

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

Wearing out privacy: wearable technology revolutionizing social media marketing

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

Ninth Circuit severs the “debt collection” exemption of the TCPA in dispute over social media text messages

On June 13, 2019, the 9th Circuit handed down a decision in Duguid v. Facebook, Inc., 926 F.3d 1146 (9th Cir. 2019), which has at least partially brought into question the future of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).

Around January 2014 Facebook started sending Noah Duguid sporadic text messages, alerting Duguid that an unrecognized browser was attempting to access his Facebook account. The messages followed a template akin to “Your Facebook account was accessed [by/from] <browser> at <time>. Log in for more info.” While this type of message may be alarming to the everyday Facebook user believing … Continue Reading

Doxing the age of social media

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

Online security breaches — A growing threat in the digital era

One of the emerging threats in the digital era is online security breaches. Today, millions of people use social media platforms to post information about their lives online. In doing so, they often provide sensitive personal information to various platforms, including credit card information, personal preferences, and other information that is otherwise protected by various privacy legislation. A security breach from an unknown hacker can lead to millions of users’ accounts being compromised. In addition, many users now use one social media platform to host a variety of applications. In those circumstances, a security breach of the main platform could … Continue Reading

Exposed! Woman awarded $6.4m for explicit revenge photos including copyright breach

Four years after a Californian woman sued her ex-boyfriend for posting sexually explicit photographs and videos of her online, she was awarded USD $6.4 million in one the largest judgments of its kind. According to the New York Times, although the victim was successful, this case highlights the complexities of the law in this area which (like many other areas of law) lags behind technology.… Continue Reading

LinkedIn’s Updated Terms of Service Aim to Increase Profile Visibility and Sharing

In 2017, LinkedIn made several updates to its Terms of Service – comprised of its Privacy Policy and User Agreement – to provide for new LinkedIn features and give users some choices over how their information is used.

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

Who is responsible for fan sites?

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

Entering a new age of virtual reality

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

Use of WhatsApp violating data privacy laws without the consent of every address book contact?

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

Me, Myself & ‘AI’

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

Data processing and storage: Protection of Personal Information (POPI) and your social media account

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

Who is Fact Checking the Fact Checkers?

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

The edit button: can the past be erased?

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

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 have jurisdiction over Facebook’s operations in Ireland, where the data is actually processed.… 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 the Cartel Office’s investigation targeting Facebook is for the first time based on the potential invalidity of its terms of use pursuant to German data privacy laws.… 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 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

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 their Facebook profiles. This technology is a rapidly-growing marketing tool.… 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 employment on bad terms, he remained a member of the corporation.  Harvey sought a court order to prevent Niland from soliciting the corporation’s existing customers for his new employer and damaging the corporation’s reputation, in breach of his fiduciary duties as a member of … 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 particular words, phrases, or brand names in order to connect with the people involved and to leverage those communications in order to promote a brand or business. One part of social listening is monitoring particular instances – a hashtag, an @mention, a Facebook tag, etc. … Continue Reading

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