Entries categorised as Privacy in Cyberspace:

Australia to review privacy again, this time in digital era

Posted On July 31, 2013
In Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

The Australian Attorney-General has requested the Australian Law Reform Commission to inquire into protection of privacy in the digital era.

One of the matters for review, specified by the Terms of Reference, is “the detailed legal design of a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy”.

An earlier review by the ALRC in 2008, and responses to the Government’s 2011 discussion paper, showed little consensus on how a legal right to sue for breach of privacy should be created, or whether it should be created at all.

Church leaders sue NSA over ‘unconstitutional’ phone surveillance

Posted On July 17, 2013
In Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

Church leaders, gun ownership advocates and other rights activists have filed a lawsuit against the US National Security Agency, claiming its surveillance programme is unconstitutional, reports IP Watch.

Updates on the mass surveillance debate

Posted On June 17, 2013
In Cybersecurity, Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

IP Watch is gathering news from around the world about the the US’s secret programmes to collect the records of domestic telephone calls in the US and international internet activity - available here.

The EU’s proposed ‘right to be forgotten’ – is it practical?

Posted On May 16, 2013
In Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

At the start of 2012 the EU proposed a right for individuals ‘to be forgotten’ – that is, to be able to request that those holding their personal data remove the digital copies of the information.

But, given that the data an individual may wish to have ‘forgotten’ is likely to stored (mirrored, etc) in numerous locations, is it practical? Sheppherd & Wedderburn discuss this question, and conclude that it may not be.

Spouses waive marital privilege by when communicating via work email

Posted On April 8, 2013
In Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

The Fourth Circuit recently held that email communications between spouses sent through an employer’s email system could not be considered “confidential” and, therefore, were not protected by the marital privilege.

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that emails to his wife sent from his work account were protected by the marital privilege, on the ground that he had no reasonable expectation that they would remain confidential, reports Arnold & Porter.

The defendant’s employer had implemented a computer policy in 2008 that required its employees to acknowledge (by pressing a key to log onto their computers) that they would have no expectation of privacy in using its computer system. Although the messages at issue were sent in 2006, the Fourth Circuit found that the defendant did not take any steps to protect the emails in question once the employer’s policy was implemented and, thus, waived the marital privilege.

Google not liable for misleading auto-generated search terms

Posted On March 26, 2013
In Defamation in Cyberspace, Privacy in Cyberspace, Trade Marks in Cyberspace / Comments Off

A US court has ruled that automatically-generated search terms that are misleading do not constitute a common-law misappropriation or an invasion of privacy.

Dissatisfied with the results of internet searches for her name, Beverly Stayart launched a legal campaign against internet search engines. In her third lawsuit, she contended that Google was in violation of Wisconsin misappropriation laws because a search for “bev stayart” may lead to a search for “bev stayart levitra,” which in turn may lead to websites advertising drugs to treat male erectile dysfunction.

The district court found she had failed to state a plausible claim for relief. The Seventh Circuit dismissed her appeal because the use she alleged fell within two exceptions: public interest and incidental use.

First, Stayart had made the challenged search phrase “bev stayart levitra” a matter of public interest by suing Yahoo! over it in 2010 – and as a matter of public interest, that phrase cannot serve as the basis of a misappropriation suit.

Secondly, Stayart had not pleaded any facts showing a substantial connection between Google’s use of her name and its efforts to generate advertising revenues, triggering the incidental-use exception to Wisconsin’s misappropriation laws.


WhatsApp violating privacy principles, says Canadian and Dutch authorities

Posted On February 12, 2013
In Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

WhatsApp Inc, the California-based mobile app developer with upwards of 400 million users, was subject to a joint investigation by Dutch and Canadian Privacy Authorities for violations of their national privacy and data protection laws, reports Bird & Bird.

On the basis of the results of their investigation, the two data protection authorities concluded that WhatsApp was violating ‘certain internationally accepted privacy principles’, particularly in relation to the retention and disclosure of the users’ personal data.

Only iPhone users running iOS 6 on their devices have the option of adding contacts manually rather than uploading the mobile address numbers of their address books to company servers automatically. The authorities deem this not acceptable, as they hold that both users and non-users should have control over their personal data: users must be able to freely decide what contact details they wish to share with WhatsApp.

Google report shows steady rise in government surveillance

Posted On January 28, 2013
In Censorship of Cyberspace, Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

US internet giant Google has released a report showing a steady climb in government surveillance online.

Google’s latest Transparency Report details the number of requests the company received from U.S. law enforcement from July through December — for the first time breaking down the total number of requests to show which requests came with judicial warrants, issued upon a showing of probable cause, as opposed to mere subpoenas.

TechFreedom described the report as revealing “a disturbing growth in government surveillance online”, noting that the report shows a 136% growth in total requests received during the same period in 2009.

Argentinian court rules on search engine liability

Posted On January 9, 2013
In Defamation in Cyberspace, Privacy in Cyberspace, Trade Marks in Cyberspace / Comments Off

The Argentina Court of Appeals in Civil Matters, Division D, has ruled that unless web search engines have been duly notified about the existence of illicit content indexed by them, they are not liable for the content of third-party websites.

As Obligado & Cia reports, the Court of Appeals overturned a first instance ruling that Google and Yahoo! were liable for the mental distress caused to a singer and model whose name and image appeared on websites containing pornographic content. Users could access these websites by typing the singer’s name into the search field of Google Inc and Yahoo!

According to the Court of Appeals, the civil liability of the web search engines arises only after the injured party has requested the blocking of online content that is considered to be harmful, and such request has been ignored.

In this regard, it is necessary that the injured party acts in good faith, identifying the specific content and location of the material to be blocked. Absence such notification, there is no liability on the search engine.

No reasonable expectation of privacy for accessors of child pornography

Posted On November 14, 2012
In Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has determined that an Internet user who accesses child pornography does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy so as to preclude an ISP from disclosing the user’s identity to police, reports McCarthy Tétrault.