The Ultimate Impact of Sex Robots

Technology continues to advance to help humans in so many countless ways. And now we are getting to the point that we are not simply dealing with cold machines, but we are dealing with features and contraptions that are becoming quite human.

For example, we can talk to Siri on our Apple devices, and a human voice, programed to our liking by gender and accent, will talk back to us. And when we call all sorts of businesses, we are guided through various prompts by a human voice that is powered by voice activation software. Who knows, is it possible that some people can become smitten by these voices, like the protagonist in the movie “Her”?  Continue reading The Ultimate Impact of Sex Robots

Best Practices for Consumer Wearables & Wellness Apps

Last week the Future of Privacy Forum (FRF) issued “Best Practices for Consumer Wearables & Wellness Apps & Devices.  The Best Practices are built on the five core principles of privacy protection, which form the foundation for privacy laws in the U.S.: (1) Notice/Awareness; (2) Choice/Consent; (3) Access/Participation; (4) Integrity/Security; and (5) Enforcement/Redress.  They also seek to add protections for data that may not be covered by specific sector legislation and to add guidance in areas where general privacy statues are applicable.

While the Best Practices may appear easy to apply, in practice, they require businesses to develop a comprehensive approach to privacy and data security practices with the guidance of experienced counsel to avoid significant risks in this emerging area.

The Best Practices can be viewed at https://fpf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FPF-Best-Practices-for-Wearables-and-Wellness-Apps-and-Devices-Final.pdf

Is Your Company Registered for the New EU-U.S. Privacy Shield?

Following the July 12, 2016, adoption by the European Commission of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the “Privacy Shield”), companies engaging in trans-Atlantic data sharing can now register for the Privacy Shield. It replaces the prior Safe Harbor Program, which was invalidated by the European Court of Justice on October 6, 2015, when it ruled that the data of European citizens was not safe when stored on U.S. computer servers given the U.S. government’s ability to access information through its intelligence services.

The new Privacy Shield provides transparency in how companies use personal data, robust U.S. government oversight and increased cooperation with EU data protection authorities (the “DPA”). It includes more rigorous monitoring and enforcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce (the “Department”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). Because the Privacy Shield is enforceable as U.S. law against a registered company, it is essential to ensure its compliance before registering.

Key provisions of the Privacy Shield include:

  • Informing Individuals About Data Processing: The Privacy Shield requires more heightened notice standards than under the Safe Harbor, including additional requirements for participants’ privacy policies.
  • Providing Free and Accessible Dispute Resolution: The Privacy Shield outlines several dispute resolution mechanisms and specific timelines for handling disputes.
  • Cooperating with the Department of Commerce: Participants should promptly respond to Department inquiries and requests for information relating to the Privacy Shield.
  • Ensuring Accountability for Data Transferred to Third Parties: Participants must enter into written agreements with third parties to ensure that data is processed for limited and specified purposes consistent with the consent provided by the individual, that the third party will provide the same level of protection and that the third party will provide notification if it can no longer meet its obligation.
  • Transparency Related to Enforcement Actions: The Privacy Shield seeks to create greater transparency for enforcement actions by making public any Privacy Shield-related sections of any compliance or assessment reports submitted to the FTC as a result of an FTC or court order based on non-compliance.
  • Potential Additions in the Future: The Privacy Shield is designed to be updated with time to address evolving issues and accommodate the General Data Protection Regulation (effective in 2018).

To join the Privacy Shield, a U.S.-based company must first develop a Privacy Shield-compliant privacy policy. Thereafter, a company can self-certify and publicly commit to comply with the Privacy Shield’s requirements. Once publicly committed, the provisions of the Privacy Shield are enforceable as U.S. law against the company. If a participant chooses to leave the Privacy Shield, it will be required to annually certify its commitment to apply the principles of the Privacy Shield to, or provide “adequate” protection for, any information it retains that was received while operating under the Privacy Shield.

The requirements of the Privacy Shield are different than its predecessor Safe Harbor. It may be prudent for companies engaging in the cross-border transfer of data to consult legal counsel experienced with the Privacy Shield to ensure compliance.

Internet Olympic Battles: USA’s King vs. Russia’s Efimova

The United States and Russia are superpowers and have potential and actual conflicts in various realms. And the Olympics are no exception when it comes to conflicts between the two countries. Let’s set the stage:

At first, it appeared the International Olympic Committee was going to ban all Russian athletes from competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games because of doping concerns. Indeed, the World Anti-Doping Agency issued a report that concluded that dozens of Russian athletes were doping during the Winter 2014 Sochi Olympic games, and on top of that, the Russian government had been complicit in a cover up of that doping scandal.  Continue reading Internet Olympic Battles: USA’s King vs. Russia’s Efimova

Seller Beware: Recent Lawsuits Under N.J. Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act Target E-Commerce Businesses

Online retailers across the United States have one more issue to consider as they prepare for the next sale: a growing number of lawsuits under the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA) alleging that standard online terms of service agreements on websites violate the New Jersey bar on deceptive notices.

The TCCWNA—N.J.S.A. 56:12-14 et. seq.—was enacted in 1981 to prohibit businesses from using provisions that deceived consumers about their legal rights. The statute provides a private right of action that allows both actual customers and prospective buyers to bring suit against businesses. Businesses that violate the TCCWNA are liable to aggrieved consumers for $100, actual damages, or both, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs.

To read the full text of the Alert, please visit www.duanemorris.com.

Amazon Now Raking in the Dough

Once upon a time, toward the beginning of the commercial internet, critics questioned Amazon’s aggressive approach in throwing money at the concept of becoming the full-purpose seller of all types of products online. Indeed, while Amazon was growing along the way, it was in the red, far from turning a profit. Detractors believed that Amazon’s “Hail Mary” approach would fail, and the only question was when Amazon would go under, like many other early dot coms.

Well, who is laughing now? Amazon, and CEO Jeff Bezos, of course.  Continue reading Amazon Now Raking in the Dough

Potential Federal Criminalization of Revenge Porn

Revenge porn is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Some federal lawmakers agree, and they now seek to push legislation aimed at criminalizing revenge porn.

So, what exactly is revenge porn? It often goes something like this:

A man and woman are in a committed, consensual relationship. As part of that relationship, they engage in sexual activity, and they agree, for their own enjoyment purposes, to take photos and videos of their activities. Later, the relationship, whether husband and wife, fiancees, or boyfriend and girlfriend, ends. But the sexually explicit photos and videos still exist. The man (it usually is the man) then posts the photos and videos on the internet to get back at the woman, to humiliate the woman, or to make demands on her. And there are websites that seek such photos and videos — the women who are the victims often must pay a fee to the sites to have the photos and videos taken down.  Continue reading Potential Federal Criminalization of Revenge Porn

The State Department Email Saga

We now know that the FBI does not recommend that Hillary Clinton be prosecuted for using private email servers with respect to government communications while she was the Secretary of State. At the same time, though, the FBI has concluded that Ms. Clinton’s handling of government communications was extremely careless. Meanwhile, the State Department may begin its own investigation with respect to EmailGate.

From the outside, it does not appear that Ms. Clinton acted with malice when using private email servers regarding her government communications as Secretary of State. Nevertheless, it is critically important that government records be maintained as government records so that the public has an opportunity to review those records when appropriate.  Continue reading The State Department Email Saga

Government Surveillance of Internet Traffic

At this point, it may come as no surprise that the US government has some ability to monitor internet traffic. However, the tremendous extent of government surveillance may be somewhat alarming to those who are interested in privacy on the internet.

An article by RT.com reports that the NSA has the ability to read 75 percent of all U.S. internet traffic. The article points out that programs referred to as Stormbrew, Lithium, Oakstar, Fairview, and Blarney all have the ability to monitor the actual text of emails, not just email metadata.  Continue reading Government Surveillance of Internet Traffic

The FAA Finalizes New Drone Rules

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced in a press release that it has finalized its first operational rules for the use of small unmanned aircraft systems, otherwise more commonly known as drones. According to the FAA, these rules “work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.”

The FAA states that industry estimates indicate that these rules could generate at least $82 billion for the United States economy and possibly could create in excess of 100,000 new jobs for the next 10 years. These new rules will take effect in late August. The rules provide safety regulations for drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are performing non-hobbyist operations.

Continue reading The FAA Finalizes New Drone Rules