Online Privacy

Alston & Bird Hosts Sept. 12 Webinar on California Consumer Privacy Act

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Save the date! On Sept. 12, 1 – 2 PM ET, Alston & Bird will host a webinar to analyze the new California Consumer Privacy Act. (You can read our prior advisory.) The California Consumer Privacy Act has been compared to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation due to its creation of important new privacy rights likely to require significant compliance activity by many companies. Partners Jim Harvey, David Keating, and Senior Counsel Peter Swire will lead discussion of this comprehensive new legislation currently slated to enter into force in less than 18 months.   Registration [...] Read more

Landmark New Privacy Law in California to Challenge Businesses Nationwide

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Following our June 4 and July 2, 2018 blog posts tracking California's November 2018 ballot measure turned hastily enacted new California privacy law titled The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), Alston & Bird's Privacy & Data Security Group released a more detailed "first look" review of California’s sweeping new law.  The advisory provides an overview of the new law, which establishes an array of privacy rights for state residents and worries for businesses nationwide, and concludes with key initial takeaways for business. Read the advisory here. [...] Read more

California Approves the California Consumer Privacy Act in Response to Consumer Privacy Ballot Initiative

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As discussed in this blog’s June 4, 2018 blog post, a group called Californians for Consumer Privacy gathered enough signatures for a new measure called the Consumer Right to Privacy Act to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.  With momentum building for passage of that ballot measure, various stakeholders met with California legislators to devise a bill that could be passed in place of the measure (and to the satisfaction of the measure’s backers).  The legislature and governor had until last Thursday, June 28 – the deadline for the measure’s backers to remove it from the November’s [...] Read more

Privacy Activist Challenges Data Collection for Internet Businesses

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Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems’ organization, NOYB – Center for Digital Rights, filed complaints against Google (Android), Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook on May 25th, the same day on which the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became effective. NOYB filed the complaints based on the GDPR with supervisory authorities in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria.  These “Day 1” complaints could have a definite impact on ad-supported online businesses. The complaints reflect similar criticisms of each company. Assuming that each company processes personal data on the basis [...] Read more

Momentum Building for California’s Consumer Right to Privacy Act Ballot Initiative

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In early May, a group called Californians for Consumer Privacy gathered enough signatures for the Consumer Right to Privacy Act (CRPA) to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. The ballot initiative builds on existing California laws directed at protecting the privacy of California consumers’ personal information, including the Shine the Light law (Civil Code §1798.83) and the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA, Business & Professions Code §§22575-22579).    The CRPA sets forth a statutory framework that: 1) gives consumers the right to know what categories of personal [...] Read more

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in the Microsoft Ireland Case

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On Tuesday, February 27th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v. Microsoft Corp. on whether a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) can compel the production of data stored outside the United States. Where Microsoft argues that the emails stored outside the United States also lie outside the reach of the SCA, the government contends that the SCA focuses on “classically domestic content,” and that Microsoft can be compelled within the U.S. to turn over records it controls regardless of where the data sought is stored. This case began in December [...] Read more

In Order, FTC Recognizes Lower Notice Requirements for “Consumer-Expected” Data Collection

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Last week, the Federal Trade Commission granted a petition by Sears Holding Management seeking modification of a 2009 Commission Order. The notable 2009 Order settled allegations that Sears had improperly failed to provide notice regarding data collection by certain software the company offered to consumers. Sears argued that the 2009 Order placed it at a “competitive disadvantage” in the mobile application marketplace. The now-modified Order enables Sears to conduct certain “consumer-expected” forms of data collection and use without requiring heightened notice or consent under the 2009 [...] Read more

Privacy & Data Security Team Launches Unique GDPR Tracker Website

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“To Harmonize or Not To Harmonize: That Is the Question.” With the the GDPR fast approaching on May 25, 2018, European Member States are getting ready with the implementation of national legislation. Although the GDPR is a regulation, and directly applicable in all Member States, it has left room for country-specific legislation in several different regards (such as the processing of employee data or individual rights restrictions). Most Member States still only have draft legislation at this point, but the expectation (or at least intention) is that each country will have adopted legislation [...] Read more

Lenovo Wins Second Motion to Dismiss in Adware Class Action

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By Jay Repko A California district court recently dismissed—for the second time—consumer claims that technology giant Lenovo Inc. violated New York’s Deceptive Acts and Practices Statute by selling laptops with preinstalled VisualDiscovery software that allegedly invades users’ privacy and exposes users to security breaches.  In reaching this decision, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. concluded that dismissal was warranted for two reasons: (i) the plaintiffs lacked standing and (ii) the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege actual damages. By its very terms, New York’s Deceptive [...] Read more

ECJ Rules against Schrems Class Action, Sets Up Jurisdictional Questions for GDPR Class Actions

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In late 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its initial Schrems decision, invalidating the EU/US Safe Harbor and leading to important developments in the rules for transferring personal data from the EU to the US.  Since that decision, Mr. Schrems has pursued two further legal proceedings in the EU. The first involves Mr. Schrems’ challenge in the Irish courts to EU Standard Contractual Clauses, which permit data to be transferred internationally between contract parties.  In the trial,  Alston & Bird Special Counsel Peter Swire testified as an expert on US national [...] Read more