With little national fanfare, Vermont’s new data brokering law – requiring businesses which buy and sell your personal data to register and disclose to the state of Vermont that they are a data broker – went into effect a few weeks ago.
We are very pleased to welcome Explaining the Law.com to our ISIPP Publishing family! ExplainingTheLaw.com is a project spearheaded by our editor and publisher, Anne P. Mitchell, attorney at law. Anne is a graduate of Stanford Law School, and a retired professor of law, so she’s pretty darned good at explaining the law in plain English.
Hot on the heels of California passing their California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) which is actually a consumer data protection law, and on the slightly more distant heels of the passage and enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Colorado has both passed and enacted the Colorado Consumer Data Protection Act (CCDPA).
LiveJournal has come fully under Russian control since January of this year, and as of last week LiveJournal and its users are now completely subject to Russian law. In reality, LiveJournal (also known as LJ), a place to, well, live journal your thoughts, etc., has been owned by Russian interests since 2007, but many users either didn’t know that, or didn’t care because LJ was still being managed out of California, and the LiveJournal servers were located in California. But all that has changed. (Note: We have provided the full text of both the LiveJournal TOS and the controlling Russian law at the end of this article.)
A law that was passed in California last year, and that went into effect on January 1, 2017, makes it illegal for anyone operating a motor vehicle to hold a cellphone in their hand while driving. Assembly Bill 1785 (“AB 1785”) criminalizes “driving a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or a wireless electronic communication device.”
In a stunning decision, a Federal court has held that a user has no expectation of privacy for their personal computer if they have connected that computer to the Internet. While the case and holding is fairly complex, this part of the holding boils down to this: in this day and age we know that computers that are connected to the Internet can be hacked, and knowing this, we are not entitled to an expectation of privacy on our personal computers.
For more than four years we have been telling you that law enforcement can get to any electronic communications you have stored for more than 180 days in the cloud (and that ‘cloud’ is just a fancy word for “somebody else’s computer”). This is because the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) only requires a subpoena in order for a governmental agency to get at those communications records that you have stored on that third-party server – they do not need a warrant.
The United Kingdom has passed a law that recognizes ‘domestic violence over social media’, and makes it a punishable offense. According to the new law, threatening or even monitoring someone via social media counts as domestic violence. So how do they distinguish between the average act of ‘following’ someone on Facebook or Twitter, and monitoring? Good question.
Yesterday we told you about how Microsoft is one of several companies who are encrypting their services and hardening their systems against the prying of nosy agencies like the NSA. Now Microsoft is fighting a Federal court order that they turn over the data for a user’s email account whose email data resides on a server outside of the U.S. (in Ireland, to be specific).
Back in February we told you that it had just become illegal, on a Federal (i.e national) level, to unlock a cell phone – yours or anyone else’s. This was owing to the Library of Congress’ inaction, specifically their failing to renew an exemption to the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). The exemption is what made it legal to unlock a cell phone despite that otherwise the DMCA would prohibit it. Not only that, but starting next year, you could go to prison for five years for unlocking a cell phone without the carrier’s permission. Now President Obama is leaning on the FCC to make unlocking your cell phone legal.
Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz took to the Internet to announce an online grassroots campaign by having his DC Starbucks employees write “Come Together” on the cups of all of their customers to send a message to lawmakers about the fiscal cliff. While Internet grassroots efforts are not typically led by wealthy corporate CEOs, Schultz has instructed the baristas to write the message on the cup of each customer all this week, through December 28th.
Google is yet again finding themselves in hot water as the Federal Trade Commission is poised to slap them with an antitrust lawsuit. The FTC staff recommendation for the antitrust lawsuit is not unexpected given the swift investigations of Google by California, New York, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. On top of the U.S. investigation, there is also an antitrust investigation of Google taking place in Europe.