Privacy in Cyberspace

9 Apr 14: EU Court strikes down data retention Directive - because it interferes with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data

9 Jan 14: UN General Assembly adopts resolution on privacy and surveillance – in response to concerns about the pervasive surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden

15 Oct 13: California criminalises “revenge porn” - the distribution of private, explicit photos of other people on the Internet, usually by ex-lovers or spouses, to humiliate them

31 Jul 13: Australia to review privacy again, this time in digital era - The Australian Law Reform Commission will inquire into protection of privacy in the digital era, and design a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy

30 Jul 13: No ‘right to be forgotten’ says CJEU AG – under current EU Data Protection Direction, according to the opinion in the ‘Spanish Google case’

17 Jul 13: Church leaders sue NSA over ‘unconstitutional’ phone surveillance - Various rights activists have filed a lawsuit against the US National Security Agency, claiming its surveillance programme is unconstitutional (IP Watch)

16 Jun 13: Updates on the mass surveillance debate – 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 (IP Watch)

16 May 13: The EU’s proposed ‘right to be forgotten’ – is it practical? – Given that the data an individual may wish to have ‘forgotten’ is likely to stored (mirrored, etc) in numerous locations, is the EU’s proposed right to have it removed practical?

8 Apr 13: Spouses waive marital privilege by when communicating via work email - 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

26 Mar 13: Google not liable for misleading auto-generated search terms - 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

12 Feb 13: WhatsApp violating privacy principles, says Canadian and Dutch authorities - 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.

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.

28 Jan 13: Google report shows steady rise in government surveillance - Google’s latest Transparency Report details the number of requests the company received from U.S. law enforcement from July through December

9 Jan 13: Argentinian court rules on search engine liability - The Argentina Court of Appeals 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

14 Nov: No reasonable expectation of privacy for accessors of child pornography - 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 (McCarthy Tétrault)

26 Sep 12: Website video streaming subject to US privacy laws - In light of the recent decision In re Hulu Privacy Litigation, it is likely that the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”) applies to a website operator’s use of video streaming technology to distribute its content (Edwards Wildman)

4 Sep 12: A “right to be forgotten” online? - The recent European Commission proposal for a EU data protection regulation expressly provides for a “right to be forgotten”, under which it is possible to obtain erasure of personal data online as well as the abstention from further dissemination of such data (Portolano Cavallo)

20 Aug: Online video providers are subject to U.S. privacy requirements – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has held that Internet video streaming site is subject to the U.S. Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) (Davis Wright Tremaine)

17 Jul 12: British Airways to Google-check passengers - The debate about open data and its appropriate uses has taken a new twist with news that British Airways has revealed plans to use the internet to create “dossiers” on passengers (Tomi Law)

15 May 12: MySpace confesses failure to abide by privacy laws – Following a FTC investigation, Myspace has agreed to 20 years of US government oversight of privacy, just like Facebook did in 2011 and Google did in 2010 (Peter S. Vogel)

14 May 12: Australian government moves forward with privacy reform legislation - The Attorney-General has announced that the long-awaited amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 will be introduced to Parliament in the Winter sitting period, which commenced on Tuesday 7 May 2012 (Clayton Utz)

14 May 12: Passwords and Privacy – Maryland is the first US State to enact a law making it unlawful for employers to ask applicants or employees to provide their log-in information.  Other States and Congress have similar bills pending (Angela Rud)

3 May 12: Beware of Media Consuming You - Social networks like Facebook, search engines like Google, or online shopping malls like Amazon are “consuming” the users. Governments, large and small, are eager to re-use the profiling, predicting and persecuting activities and passing laws to store these data indefinitely, says Eben Moglen (IP Watch)

2 May 12: The Development of Privacy Torts in Ontario – A Case Comment on Jones v. Tsige, 2012 ONCA 32 (Fraser Milner Casgrain)

26 Apr 12: Facebook posting of nude photos of ex-lover results in jail sentence - An Australian man has been sentenced to six months jail for an act of revenge that involved posting nude photos of his ex-lover on Facebook.

18 Apr 12: Vindictive ex-girlfriend could face 18 months in prison for Facebook “e-personation” – A New Jersey Superior Court has has declined to dismiss an indictment of identity theft against a woman who allegedly created a false Facebook page that portrayed her ex-boyfriend in a highly unfavorable light (Morrison & Foerster)

16 Apr 12: Will Google’s Alleged Circumvention of Safari Privacy Settings Expose It to a $100,000,000,000+ Fine? - Google’s strong interest in conquering the social media territory already so thoroughly dominated by Facebook may have caused it to go a little too far, with its circumvention of privacy settings that come with Apple’s Safari web browser (Poyner Spruill)

8 Mar 12: Berlin court rules Facebook violates user rights - the District Court of Berlin, Germany, has ruled that Facebook user rights were violated by several parts of social media site Facebook’s general terms and conditions and by its “friendfinder” feature.

6 Mar 12: Google’s new privacy policies break EU laws - Although Google claims its new Privacy Policy helps simplify privacy, a French privacy authority claims otherwise and specifically that the new Privacy Policy “makes it impossible to understand which purposes, personal data, recipients or access rights are relevant to the use of a specific service.

3 Mar 12: White House Proposes ‘Bill of Rights’ for the InternetThe White House has released proposals for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights for the Internet, which would be enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission.

1 Mar 12: Privacy management on social media sites – a Pew Research Center survey of Americans’ online privacy practices has found that social network users are becoming more active in pruning and managing their accounts; and that women and younger users tend to unfriend more than others.

22 Feb 12: Torrenting of private photos prevented - In the UK case of AMP vs Persons Unknown, [2011] EWHC 3454 (TCC), an unnamed British woman (AMP) has obtained an injunction to prevent anyone from distributing explicit images of her on the internet, including by using bittorrent technology (Buddle Finlay)

18 Feb 12: Twitter sued over Hardy Tweet – Twitter is being sued for defamation for a tweet by Marieke Hardy that appeared on Twitter’s homepage, and was copied by some of Hardy’s 60,897 followers and other Twitter users taking part at the time in a worldwide online anti-abuse campaign. Many also commented on the original post in ways that could be construed as defamatory (The Age)

13 Feb 12: Hyperlinking and the fine line between defamation and free expression on the internet – Canada’s top court recently chose to boost the rights of bloggers to express themselves rather than risk a chill on online expression by holding bloggers responsible for posting links to defamatory materials, even where that sort of posting may indirectly threaten someone’s reputation (Boughton Law)

5 Oct 2011: A right to sue for invasion of privacy? The Australian Government’s privacy Issues Paper – Australians could have another avenue for controlling their private information if the Federal Government proceeds with the proposal for legislation which would allow Australians to take legal action if their privacy has been seriously invaded (Clayton Utz)

9 Sep 2011: Practical ways to deal with defamation and brand disparagement on the web – Five practical options which should be explored before embarking on litigation (DLA Piper)

27 May 2011: Facebook, photos, journalists and privacy – some legal issues arising from the Ben Grubb affair (Minter Ellison)

11 May 2011: The Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts released its report on ‘The adequacy of protections for the privacy of Australians online’ last month (Minter Ellison)

21 March 2011: A discussion of why copyright law was not pleaded in the court case of Moreno v. Hanford Sentinel (Slashdot)

21 March 2011: Cynthia Moreno’s “An ode to Coalinga” (Fresnobee)