Google settles with FTC over Google Buzz privacy violations

Google agreed to an unprecedented settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, where the FTC asserted that Google used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy policies through its social network Google Buzz. Although there is no monetary penalty attached to the settlement, Google is required...

California Court Considers Facebook Privacy for Juror

In recent weeks, the issue of the right to privacy has been ever-so-slightly tipping the scales against just about any other right. One of the latest cases stems from what would normally be deemed as juror misconduct. In California, an appellate court judge is facing the challenge of balancing a defendant's...

Color App Gives New Meaning to Going Public

Location Based apps such as Gowalla or Foursquare provides users with a social experience that not only shows where they are at the moment and what they are doing, but also who they are with or near. But at least one new app is taking things a few steps further by locating users and sharing information...

Kerry and McCain Propose Privacy Bill of Rights

United States Senators John Kerry and John McCain introduced a bill this week that proposes greater protection of personal information for online consumers. Under the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 , consumers have the right to be notified of the collection of their personal data and...

Divorce, Facebook-style

Divorce attorneys are seeing more and more social media involvement, in particular Facebook, in the cases they take on. Sure Facebook might not be the reason the marriage ended but as an ever-increasing source of evidence of infidelity, it might deserve its title of "marriage killer." Last...

Courts Give Mixed Signals about Privacy in Social Media

Two recent Pennsylvania State Court rulings only make things more confusing as Social Media privacy disputes become more prevalent. Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Albert J. Cepparulo ruled in Piccolo v. Paterson denied a motion to require the Piccolo to accept Patterson as a Facebook friend...

Is Internet Privacy Possible?

A new lawsuit against Google for Internet location tracking highlights my recent eCommerce Times column that Internet privacy may not be possible . The new class action lawsuit brought by Jon Pessano and others asserts that Google uses its location marketing database to generate billions of dollars...

SaaS: A Cloud-y Option for Attorneys

There's a lot of talk about "the cloud" right now, especially in the wake of last week's announcement of the iCloud. The cloud, better known as Software as a Service (SaaS) is, in a nutshell, software and storage capabilities accessed via the internet, with data stored at sites owned...

Should Google+ Users be Anonymous?

Google's Eric Schmidt said in a recent interview that Google+ users should be not be anonymous since it would be better "if we had an accurate notion that you were a real person as opposed to a dog, or a fake person, or a spammer." Schmidt's comments thoughts reinforce one of my...

GPS Privacy in Doubt for Former OnStar Customers

Effective in December 2011 OnStar GPS navigation-and-emergency-services company will collect vehicle data for those customers who terminate their agreements . The 10 page OnStar Privacy Statement states that: Unless the Data Connection to your Vehicle is deactivated, data about your Vehicle...

Privacy Concerns raised at Chinese Ownership of Yahoo!

A report in the Financial Times that Alibaba might take over Yahoo! has raised privacy fears. Jack Ma's (Alibaba founder & former Google employee) recent comment about the prospect that Alibaba was interested in Yahoo! set off privacy group alarms as reported by the Financial Times: "Lawmakers...

More than 7.5 Million Facebook Users are Younger than 13

The June 2011 issue of Consumer Reports included an article that Facebook has more than 7.5 million children as users which apparently is violating the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which precludes children under 13 from using websites and in particular to join Facebook...

Are Privacy Policies Being Enforced?

My eCommerce Times column for October is entitled " Shore Up Your Privacy Policy Before Disaster Strikes " and I encourage you to read it. Actually it was published the same day as my blog that more than 7.5 million children under 13 are on Facebook . Since the Federal Trade Commission...

GPS Data Will be Considered by the US Supreme Court

Today everybody carries GPS devices in their phones (and tablets), but few people consider that our personal privacy may be compromised as a result. In November the US Supreme Court will hear argument ( US v. Jones ) as to whether the drug suspect's Constitutional right to privacy was violated...

Privacy at Risk? - Feds to Monitor Twitter & Facebook

US citizens expect the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect the country from potential threats, but the recent announcement that DHS will monitor Twitter & Facebook will surely cause privacy advocates great concern. Social Media has been used extensively in the government uprisings...

Facebook Confesses Failure to Comply with Privacy Laws

After the US government filed charges that Facebook violated US privacy law, Facebook finally confessed that it failed to protect the privacy of its 800 million active users. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) welcomes the public to submit comments on the settlement through December 30, 2011 . ...

Invasion of Privacy - The Path App Controversy

By Peter S. Vogel Path confessed that it took users' address book data without permission when the app loaded and admits it "made a mistake." Path's app runs on the iPhone and Android and according to Path's Story : Path dreamed up and realized the Smart Journal-a journal that's...

Peter S. Vogel on the Internet Privacy Bill of Rights

By Peter S. Vogel Privacy is a hot topic for users of Facebook, Google, and other Social Media sites, so the White House has proposed the following Bill of Rights for legislative consideration: 1. INDIVIDUAL CONTROL: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect...

Invasion of Privacy? - Federal Government Secretly Monitored Personal Webmail

By Peter S. Vogel A group of nine scientists and doctors recently sued the US government claiming that their personal Gmail accounts were under federal surveillance which led to harassment or dismissal for Food & Drug Administration (FDA) employees who were whistleblowers. The Washington Post...

Peter S. Vogel: Google Did Not Violate U.S. Law When Collecting Wifi Data

By Peter S. Vogel Google was fined $25,000 for not cooperating with an investigation regarding Google's collection of unencrypted wifi data when taking Street View pictures from 2006-10, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reported that Google did not violate any US laws. The FCC's...

Privacy Law Speech at Virtual LEGALTECH

Please join me at 1pm CDT on June 14, 2012 for my online speech entitled "Privacy - Social Media, Internet & BYOD" which is FREE (including ethics credit!), all you have to do is register at Virtual LEGALTECH (please use "Privacy614" as your code when you register). Here's...

Peter S. Vogel: Oops - Google Found Street View Wifi Data

By Peter S. Vogel Google confessed to U.K. officials that Google still has Street View unprotected wifi data collected before 2010 in spite claims that such data had been destroyed. On July 27, 2012 Peter Fleischer (Google's global privacy counsel) sent a letter to Steve Eckersley (head of enforcement...

Peter S. Vogel: Is Privacy at Risk with Mobile Purchases?

Privacy is not mentioned in the recent announcements by many large retailers for use of mobile apps for credit and debit card purchases . However, consumers' GPS data linked to mobile devices will likely lead to less privacy. In early August, 2012 the New York Times reported that Starbucks teamed...

Peter S. Vogel: 88% of American Adults Have Cell Phones - Easy Access to GPS Data?

GPS location data on cell phone accounts for virtually every adult in the US based on Pew Research recent report that an astonishing 88% of US adults have cell phones . Whether a search warrant will be required for GPS data appears to be changing very quickly. With the support of the American Civil...

Peter S. Vogel: Warrantless Tracking of Cell GPS Upheld by 6th Circuit

By Peter S. Vogel No warrant was required to track a drug dealer's GPS locations from cell phones since the defendant "did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the data emanating from his cell phone that showed its location." On August 14, 2012 Justice John Rogers of the US...