Facebook has been sued by the Washington D.C. District Attorney for Facebook’s lax and improper handling of Facebook users’ data following last March’s privacy scandal in which Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest and use the personal information of 50 million Facebook users.
LifeLock, the company that offers identity theft insurance, has settled a lawsuit with the FTC after the Federal Trade Commission sued LifeLock for deceptive advertising claims. Life Lock says that they were happy to settle the suit because the suit was based on facts that are two years old, and no longer applicable.
A few years ago we told you about some lawsuits against Mugshots.com and other websites which post the mug shots of those charged with crimes. While the particular lawsuit that we covered, Kaplan and Lashway v. Mugshots, et al, was settled, others were not, and now a Federal judge has ruled that the plaintiffs in a case out of Illinois and Florida against Mugshots.com and UnpublishArrest.com have made a strong enough case for it to move forward, despite the defendants’ motion to dismiss the entire lawsuit for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (known to legal folks as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion).
If you don’t have kids who use children’s apps, you may not be aware of the lawsuits against Apple, Google, and Amazon for allowing children to make unauthorized (because unauthenticated by password) purchases in apps that are geared towards children.
We all know that fake reviews on sites such as Yelp and Amazon are the bane of both the business and their customers. And some of us knew that you can buy fake reviews for your product on places such as FiveRR. Now Amazon is suing over one thousand Fiverr sellers, all whom have advertised, sold, and posted phony reviews on Amazon, says Amazon.
At last, software patent trolls are getting a smackdown. A few short months ago, the Supreme Court rendered an opinion in the case that has come to be known as Alice vs. CLS Banks. In that ruling, the Supremes held that taking an already widely-used practice, and moving it to a computer, does not create a new, patentable invention deserving of a software patent.
You can sell used CDs and used DVDs, and even, if you’re really old school, used records and tapes. So why not sell used MP3s that you don’t want any more. It may seem an obvious issue that an MP3 file can be copied again and again, but one company, ReDigi Inc., takes a different view of the issue, pointing out that the legal doctrine of “first use” allows purchasers of copyrighted material (such as songs on a CD) to resell them. Capital Records disagreed with ReDigi, and last October the two companies faced off in front of District Court Judge Richard Sullivan, in joint motions to dismiss the inevitable lawsuit that had been brought by Capitol Records. Last week Judge Sullivan ruled on the case, and chalked up one for the big guys.
A settlement over the class action lawsuit against Netflix for privacy issues, which included retaining personally identifiable data with respect to customer video renting and viewing habits, has been reached, and if you are a current or former Netflix subscriber, you may have received an email notice of the class action settlement. The email, sent from “Online DVD Class Action Administrator”
A Federal court in San Jose has rejected Apple’s request for a dismissal of the class action lawsuit against Apple initiated by an angry parent whose child was able to purchase $200 worth of in-app purchases through a free app. Garen Meguerian, the lead plaintiff in the case, says that his daughter was able to purchase the $200 worth of “zombie toxin” and “gems” without his knowledge or permission.
A Federal court ruling this week by Judge Robert Blackburn, of Peyton, Colorado, says that you can be ordered by the court to provide the password to decrypt encrypted data, or face contempt of court, and that being forced to reveal your passphrase does not violate the Fifth Amendment (the 5th Amendent includes, among other things, the right against self-incrimination). In the ruling, Judge Blackburn ordered Ramona Fricosu, whose laptop hard drive is encrypted with PGP, and who is charged with taking part in a mortgage scam, including charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering, to decrypt her hard drive or face, among other sanctions, contempt of court.
When is your Twitter account (or Facebook or other social media account) not your Twitter account? At what point does your work-related use of your social media account convert that account to your employer’s intellectual or other property? Noah Kravitz is being sued by his former employer, PhoneDog, over what is now, in theory, Kravitz’s personal Twitter account. An account which he says he converted to his own use with PhoneDog’s blessings, only to have them turn around and bite him in the back. Kravitz used Twitter while he worked for Phone Dog – using the Twitter handle @PhoneDog-Noah – and when he stopped working for PhoneDog he changed his Twitter ID to @noahkravitz – but it was the same account, with the same followers – 17,000 followers – and PhoneDog now claims that Kravitz’s Twitter account is actually their intellectual property, and that a Twitter account by any other name is still theirs. But there is way more to this story.
You knew that Facebook uses you in their advertising, right? Those sidebar advertisements (so called “sponsored stories”) where you often see your friends featured – “So and so likes this advertiser” – they do that with your likeness too. We have often ranted about it – now someone is doing something about it: In the case of Fraley v. Facebook plaintiff Fraley and others are suing Facebook in a class action suit, and the Federal court has approved Fraley versus Facebook moving forward. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh agreed that there was a chance that the plaintiffs could win their case based on claims that Facebook has committed fraud, and violated California law with unauthorized use of their image and name, in using Facebook friends’ images and names in advertising displayed in the Facebook sidebar.
In a lovely “we told you so” moment, we can report that two key Federal agencies – both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) – are opposing the planned merger of AT and T and T-Mobile. We predicted Federal opposition to the merge when AT and T first announced their plans to takeover T-Mobile, and the Feds are opposing the merging for much the same reasons that we said that they would.