Archive for the 'Legal' Category

Yelp Children’s Privacy Settlement

September 17, 2014

This is a very interesting case. The Children’s Online Privacy Act prevents web publishers from collecting personal information from minors without parental consent. Yelp had such policy posted on their site, but the functionality wasn’t there. Minors were thus able to post private data on Yelp. The settlement with the FTC was $450,000.

Make sure that your site works…

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Driving while under the influence of a podcast

June 14, 2010

I typically listen to podcasts on my iPhone in the car.  This has pretty much replaced listening to the radio.  I simply toss my iPhone on the passenger seat while listening.

The other day, I held my iPhone in my hand to hear better because I had the window open.  A driver in another car yelled at me to “stop yapping on your phone and drive” (he actually said it much more colorfully).  Of course the other driver had no idea that I was listening to a show.  I would say that this was no more dangerous than holding a cup of coffee while listening to the radio (OK, that’s probably dangerous too.)  It left me wondering whether I was violating Oregon’s new cell phone law. Read the rest of this entry »

The (deserved) Facebook privacy policy pile-on continues

January 6, 2010

Pretty interesting way for a rogue marketer to harvest a fairly deep level of personal information from Facebook made possible because of the new privacy settings. Does anybody care? I hope so.


[A] marketer could take a list of 1,000 e-mail addresses, either legally or illegally collected — and upload those through a dummy account — which then lets the user see all the profiles created using those addresses. Given Facebook’s ubiquity and most people’s reliance on a single e-mail address, the harvest could be quite rich.Using a simple scraping tool, a marketer could then turn a list of e-mail addresses into a rich, full-fledged set of marketing profiles, with names, pictures, ages, locations, interests, photos, wall posts, affiliations and names of your friends, depending on how users have their profiles set. Run a few algorithms on that data and you can start to make inferences about race, income, sexual orientation and interests.

While that information isn’t available for all users, Facebook changed its privacy settings in early December so that certain information can’t be made private, including one’s name, current city, profile picture, gender, networks and friend list (the latter can be somewhat hidden from public view) (emphasis added).

RockYou Lawsuit – Storing Personal Information Can Be Dangerous

January 4, 2010

Application developer RockYou has been sued in Federal Court because of a security breach resulting in exposure of millions of email addresses and other personal information. The plaintiff is seeking class action status. Interestingly, the legal theory is based on a recklessness standard. Lawsuits like this present another good reason for publishers to outsourse functions like user login to providers such as JanRain, Facebook Connect, etc. Staying ahead of hackers is a never ending process. Storing such information can be dangerous. More from the article in MediaPost:

An Indiana resident has sued application developer RockYou for an alleged security breach that exposed 32 million users’ email addresses and passwords and social networking log-ins.

“While some security threats are unavoidable in a rapidly developing technological environment, RockYou recklessly and knowingly failed to take even the most basic steps to protect its users’ [personally
identifiable information],” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of Evansville’s Alan Claridge, alleges that until Dec. 5, RockYou stored users’ information without “hashing, salting or any other common and reasonable method of data protection.”

Claridge is seeking class-action status. The complaint, filed Monday in federal district court in the northern district of California by the law firm KamberEdelson, alleges that RockYou broke its contract with users, was negligent, and also violated various California laws.

Full article from MediaPost

Agency Drops Bloggers’ Subpoenas

January 1, 2010

From The New York Times:

Agency Drops Bloggers’ Subpoenas

An investigation by the Transportation Security Agency into who leaked an airline security directive issued after the failed explosion on a Detroit-bound plane is nearing its end.

Consumer groups challenge Google-AdMob deal

December 29, 2009

Two consumer advocacy groups (Consumer Watchdog and Center for Digital Democracy) sent a letter to the FTC Chairman yesterday asking the agency to block the proposed Google-AdMob deal. The letter is here.

The letter asserts the deal would be anti-competitive given AdMob’s leading position in the mobile advertising space.  The letter also raises privacy concerns given that the combined company would potentially be able to combine mobile and traditional web usage behavioral data.  Finally, questions are raised about Google’s ability to use AdMob data to assist in the launch of its rumored smartphone.

It will be interesting to see if the FTC takes an active role here.  I’m guessing not given that the mobile advertising industry is so young.  AdMob is certainly not in the position that Doubleclick was in related to online display advertising.

Update January 5, 2010: Apple is acquiring Quattro.  See announcement here.  At first glance, this development would seem to make the Google-AdMob deal more likely.

Movie Studios Win Copyright Lawsuit Against IsoHunt

December 28, 2009

IsoHunt is the latest peer to peer provider to lose in court. The legal theory is based on active inducement. The court pointed out site features such as top movie lists, as well as ill advised statements by the CEO about copyright law.

[The judge] ruled that IsoHunt could not rely on the safe harbors for search engines in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because the site induced infringement by promoting piracy. “Inducement liability is based on active bad faith conduct,” Wilson wrote. “The statutory safe harbors are based on passive good faith conduct aimed at operating a legitimate internet business.”

It’s good to see the price of spam increase

October 30, 2009

From The New York Times:

Web Marketer Ordered to Pay Facebook $711 Million in Anti-Spam Case

Facebook sued Sanford Wallace for accessing users’ accounts without their permission and sending phony posts and messages.

I swore that I wouldn’t put off CLEs again…

October 19, 2009

…but I did.  I’m now catching up on CLE requirements (due end of this year). Some notes to keep my mind working while I watch hours of video. There is actually a lot of interesting stuff (but, then again, I’m a lawyer).

Here is my first one:

A Lawyer’s Guide to Navigating Intellectual Property in Cyberspace (Original date: August 5, 2009)

  • I’m very tired of the overused and tired term Cyberspace
  • Not illegal to own URL that infringes on trademark.  It’s illegal to do anything with it.  (Is this an accurate statement of the law?) Read the rest of this entry »

Me Surfing on World’s Smallest Wave

February 8, 2008

On surfing lawyer’s website.  Tom Turnbull will never mean surfing.