Tag Archives: eric j. sinrod

Will California Consumers Share in Wealth From Their Online Data?

Technology companies collect all sorts of data on their users. The terms of service located on their web sites spell out for users the types of data collected and how that data will be used. The data collected from users is extremely useful for tech companies in terms of how to market to them further, and accordingly, that data has tremendous economic value.

Along comes the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, who according to APNews.com, has announced that California consumers should share in the billions of dollars that tech companies make on personal data they collect. Indeed, Governor Newsom reportedly has asked his aides to come up with a proposal for what has been referred to as a “data dividend” for California residents. However, it is not clear whether he envisions a tax on tech companies, refunds to users, or some other idea.

In his first State of the State speech, Governor Newsom said that “companies that make billions of dollars collecting, curating, and monetizing our personal data have a duty to protect it.” And, he went on to state that “California consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data.”

James Steyer, the founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, an organization that contributed to the passage of California’s recent digital privacy law, reportedly has said that his organization plans to come up with proposed legislation soon that would flesh out Governor Newsom’s recent proposal relating to consumers financially benefiting from the collection of their personal data. There have been reports that somehow there would be a return of 25% to consumers regarding the collection of their data.

A spokesperson for Governor Newsom is reported to have said that the governor is open to constructive input from experts and lawmakers from around the country.

Undoubtedly, we will be hearing more about this in the coming weeks and months.

On the one hand, there likely will be arguments that data collected by tech companies is properly owned by them under their terms of service and that potentially offering small amounts of money to users could entice them to give up their privacy for very little in return.

On the other hand, we probably will see arguments that data is personal to users as it relates to them specifically, and accordingly, they should be entitled to a least a portion of the economic value related to that data.

Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod’s columns, please email him at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.

What to Do About Social Media Bullying and Hate

Social media outlets now connect billions of people around the globe on a constant basis. Facebook, by headcount, has become the largest nation on the planet, with approximately two billion users. A tremendous number of these users communicate with others via their social media accounts many times a day. Of course, there are many positive aspects of social media communications; but, regrettably, there are palpable negatives as well. Continue reading What to Do About Social Media Bullying and Hate

Tech Acumen: Many Companies Falling Behind

Corporate America and companies around the globe are spending vast amounts of money trying to keep up with all sorts of threats in this new digital age. So, how are companies really doing?

Unfortunately, not so well. Indeed, according to PwC’s 2017 Digital IQ Survey, as reported by PR Daily, barely more than half of IT executives from the US and 52 other countries reported that their companies have a “strong digital IQ.” This is down from 67 percent so reporting in 2016, and 66 percent in 2015. Continue reading Tech Acumen: Many Companies Falling Behind

We Need Internet Stop Signs

Has our ability to stay present in the real world largely been destroyed by the internet? If so, how has that happened? If we erected internet “stop signs” would we be better off?

While we were saturated with different sources of information, news, and entertainment as recently as the Twentieth Century, those sources had naturally occurring stop cues that allowed us to pause and consider disengaging from the sources.  Continue reading We Need Internet Stop Signs

Rush Hour Traffic: Telecommuting Is Looking Better!

Getting to and from work can be a time-consuming, irritating and productivity-sucking endeavor. Indeed, time wasted in the car certainly could be used for more enjoyable and productive activities than countless annual hours behind the wheel. Where rush hour traffic consistently is bad, telecommuting should be actively explored for appropriate employees.

TomTom has collected data in an effort to measure the worst rush hour traffic in 48 countries, and specifically within 390 cities in those countries. So what are the most recently measured worst cities for rush hour traffic?

Continue reading Rush Hour Traffic: Telecommuting Is Looking Better!

Protection of Climate Change Data

The vast majority of scientists who have studied the issue have concluded that global warming is happening and that such warming has been caused to a large extent by humans. For that reason, not long ago, many countries signed onto the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in an effort to deal with this threat to life on the planet.

However, there is concern that plans to deal with global warming may be halted. Why? Because it appears that President Trump is bringing into US government people who reportedly have expressed doubt about climate change, or at least who have been in favor of less environmental regulations for businesses. Indeed, according to a recent report by Public Radio International, a Trump transition team member has said that new studies and data by EPA scientists will be put on hold.

Continue reading Protection of Climate Change Data

Supreme Court Will Not Consider Backpage.com CDA Section 230 Case

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) generally grants broad immunity to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with respect to third-party content posted on the ISP sites. The legislative history behind CDA Section 230 makes plain that Congress intended for the Internet to flourish for businesses and the US economy, and that intent would be thwarted if ISPs had the onerous duty to police and somehow regulate information and communications posted on their sites by others the ISPs do not control.

Nevertheless, there have been efforts in legal cases to chip away at the broad immunity afforded to ISPs by CDA Section 230. One such effort is the recent legal case Jane Doe No. 1 v. Backpage.com, LLC. Continue reading Supreme Court Will Not Consider Backpage.com CDA Section 230 Case

The Coming Tech Year

We made it through 2016. So, what’s in store in 2017 when it comes to hot tech issues? There are many hot issues, such as big data, intellectual property disputes, the sharing economy, and drones. But this blog covers the three potential biggest issues. Drum roll please — here we go!

1. Security — Cybercrime & Cyberwarfare

Hacking, hacking, hacking …

Security on the internet is the first and foremost tech issue for 2017.

Hacking is penetrating all sorts of systems. For example, individuals are vulnerable to cybercrime, as their personally identifiable information is stolen when companies are hacked.

And cyberwarfare appears to be here and now, and not just some speculation about the future. Indeed, the Senate is preparing at this moment to hold hearings about the implications of apparent Russian hacking that meddled in our recent presidential election.

This year likely will be dominated by efforts to combat threats to internet security.

Continue reading The Coming Tech Year

The Internet Is Not Neutral as to Energy Consumption

The internet is just “there” for us and our many online needs. But how often do you think about what it takes to power cyberspace?

Well, consider this: Google alone consumes practically the same amount of electricity each year as does the entire city of San Francisco, according to a recent article by Curbed San Francisco.

This same article refers back to a 2015 Wired piece that reported at that time that Google was purchasing sufficient renewable energy for “two San Franciscos.”

Continue reading The Internet Is Not Neutral as to Energy Consumption

The Online Gift Bounty and Concerns for the Holiday Season

Once upon a time, at the turn of this century, when the commercial internet starting becoming a reality, we had the first opportunity to purchase holiday gifts online. This seemed like a big experiment. Would our orders really get fulfilled? Would the gifts arrive on time? Was it safe to give a credit card and other identifying information on the World Wide Web?

Fast-forward to now. Many billions of dollars of gift transactions are happening on an ongoing basis as the current holiday season is upon us. We have grown accustomed to making online purchases of all types throughout the year, and the holiday season ratchets this up tremendously.

Continue reading The Online Gift Bounty and Concerns for the Holiday Season