Mealey's Data Privacy

  • September 17, 2020

    Google Denied Bid To Appeal Ruling On Standing In Remanded Referrer Header Suit

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Google LLC saw its motion to pursue an interlocutory appeal of a recent jurisdictional ruling in a privacy lawsuit remanded by the U.S. Supreme Court, with a California federal judge on Sept. 16 finding that the defendant did not establish that an order finding that the plaintiffs have standing to allege violation of the Store Communications Act (SCA) was exceptional or constituted "substantial ground for difference of opinion" to merit review prior to a decision on the merits (In re:  Google Referrer Header Privacy Litigation, No. 5:10-cv-04809, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169783).

  • September 11, 2020

    Portland, Ore., Bans Face Recognition Technology By City, Private Entities

    PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland City Council and the city's mayor, Ted Wheeler, on Sept. 9 voted unanimously to enact two ordinances that ban the use of facial recognition technology by, respectively, city bureaus and private entities in places of public accommodation in the city.

  • September 11, 2020

    Class Members Ask 9th Circuit To Dismiss Appeal Of Yahoo Data Breach Settlement

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a Sept. 9 summary affirmance motion, the named plaintiffs in a consolidated class action over multiple data breaches experienced by Yahoo! Inc. ask the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to dispose of one man's appeal of the approval of a $117.5 million settlement of the suit, calling his appeal meritless and stating that "[o]ne serial objector should not be permitted to hold up the implementation" of the settlement for the other 194 million class members (In re:  Yahoo! Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 20-16633, 9th Cir.).

  • September 11, 2020

    Equifax Moves To Enforce Data Breach Suit Settlement In Mississippi Cases

    ATLANTA — Seven months after a Georgia federal court granted final approval to a settlement between Equifax Inc. and a class of consumer plaintiffs who sued the credit-reporting firm over a massive 2017 data breach, the defendant on Sept. 8 filed an emergency motion to enforce the settlement, claiming that 83 lawsuits against it in Mississippi state court were filed in violation of the settlement's release of breach-related claims and a corresponding injunction against such litigation by class members who did not opt out of the consumer settlement (In Re:  Equifax Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:17-md-2800, N.D. Ga.).

  • September 09, 2020

    Ex-Employee Says Steel Firms Violated ERISA, ADA, HIPAA To Lower COVID-19 Liability

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An ex-employee of a Kansas-based steel conglomerate alleges in an Aug. 26 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District Of Missouri that management of the steel firms misappropriated sensitive medical information of hundreds of its employees in a scheme to mitigate liability from the novel coronavirus pandemic and then retaliated against and ultimately fired him for reporting the abuse of privacy (Micah Morrison v. SPS Companies Inc., et al., No. 5:20-cv-06129, W.D. Mo.).

  • September 01, 2020

    Google Again Seeks Dismissal Of Privacy Class Complaint Over Location Tracking

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Eight months after Google LLC prevailed in a consolidated putative class action over its purported "surreptitious, non-consensual, tracking of millions of mobile device users' geolocation" data, the technology giant on Aug. 31 moved in California federal court to dismiss the plaintiffs' consolidated complaint, arguing that they have failed to plead any illegal or undisclosed tracking activities (In re Google Location History Litigation, No. 5:18-cv-05062, N.D. Calif.).

  • August 31, 2020

    Ohio High Court Finds No Privacy Invasion In Urine Sample Collection Monitoring

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Because a group of at-will employees did not object to being monitored while producing urine samples for mandatory workplace drug testing, a divided Ohio Supreme Court on Aug. 26 found that they could not bring invasion of privacy claims against their employer, overturning an appeals court's ruling and reinstating a dismissal by a trial court (Donna L. Lunsford, et al. v. Sterilite of Ohio LLC, et al., No. 2018-Ohio-1431, Ohio Sup., 2020-Ohio-4193).

  • August 27, 2020

    NSA To 4th Circuit:  State Secrets Privilege Bars Wikimedia's Surveillance Suit

    RICHMOND, Va. — A trial court correctly found that the state secrets privilege prevented Wikimedia Foundation from pursuing a lawsuit over the purported interception of its electronic communications as part of the National Security Agency's upstream surveillance program, the NSA and other government parties argue in Aug. 7 appellee brief to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asserting that there is no evidence that any of the appellant's communications were surveilled (Wikimedia Foundation v. National Security Agency, et al., No. 20-1191, 4th Cir.).

  • August 27, 2020

    Settlement Of California's UCL Suit Over Weather Channel App Data Sharing OK'd

    LOS ANGELES — A California judge on Aug. 14 approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the state of California under the state's unfair competition law (UCL) against the operators of The Weather Channel app for sharing users' geolocation data with third-party advertisers (California v. TWC Product and Technology LLC, et al., No. 19STCV00605, Calif. Super. Los Angeles Co.).

  • August 27, 2020

    Discovery, Stay Motions At Issue In WhatsApp's Suit Against Spyware Firm

    OAKLAND, Calif. — In an Aug. 24 reply brief supporting its motion for a protective order, an Israeli spyware developer tells a California federal court that the protective order "is urgently needed" for the disclosure of "very important information . . . that bears directly on" a motion to compel filed by plaintiff WhatsApp Inc. in computer fraud lawsuit against the spyware firm (WhatsApp Inc., et al. v. NSO Group Technologies Limited, et al., No. 4:19-cv-07123, N.D. Calif.).

  • August 25, 2020

    Government Denied Warrant To Obtain Device IDs From Google In Theft Investigation

    CHICAGO — A warrant application by the government for a "geofence" to identify devices in the proximity of crimes being investigated did not meet the probable cause and particularity requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an Illinois federal magistrate judge found in a ruling that was unsealed Aug. 24, finding that the proposed warrant would give the government too much discretion to obtain the device and personal information of passersby unrelated to the crimes (In re Search of Information Stored at Premises Controlled by Google, No. 20-mc-392, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152712).

  • August 25, 2020

    Privacy Suits Against Clearview AI Stayed Pending Consolidation Ruling

    CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on Aug. 21 granted a motion by Clearview AI Inc. to stay two consolidated Illinois suits over the company's creation of a facial recognition database pending a decision by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Clearview's recently filed motion to transfer and consolidate the cases with a group of similar lawsuits in New York federal court  (David Mutnick v. Clearview AI Inc., et al., No. 20-cv-512, N.D. Ill.).

  • August 24, 2020

    TikTok, Some Plaintiffs Expect Final Settlement Of Privacy Claims Within 60 Days

    CHICAGO — In an Aug. 21 proposed case management schedule, TikTok Inc. and the plaintiffs from most of a consolidated multidistrict litigation tell an Illinois federal court that their recently announced settlement in principle of privacy claims against the social media company should be finalized and ready for court approval in 60 days (In re TikTok Consumer Privacy Litigation, No. 20-4699, N.D. Ill.).

  • August 21, 2020

    Split Remand Ruling By Federal Magistrate Judge In Fingerprint Collection Suit

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal magistrate judge on Aug. 19 issued a split ruling on a remand motion by a former indoor trampoline park employee who alleges in a putative class complaint that her employer and the company that it uses for a fingerprint collection system violated two sections of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), finding that Article III of the U.S. Constitution standing was shown for claims under only one of the two sections (Madisyn Stauffer, et al. v. Innovative Heights Fairview Heights, LLC, et al., No. 20-46, S.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149460).

  • August 21, 2020

    Cops Claiming DPPA Violations Over Newspaper's Postings Denied Bid For Damages

    CHICAGO — Although an Illinois federal judge previously found that the Chicago Sun-Times was partly liable under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) for the online publication of certain personal information of five Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers, the judge on Aug. 14 found that the officers had not established that they were entitled to punitive or liquidated damages under the statute, denying their motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) (Scott Dahlstrom, et al. v. Sun-Times Media LLC, No. 1:12-cv-00658, N,D, Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147498).

  • August 20, 2020

    $650 Million Settlement Of Facebook Biometric Privacy Class Suit Gets Initial OK

    SAN FRANCISCO — After denying approval in June to the first draft of a proposed settlement in a class action over Facebook Inc.'s utilization of facial scans in a photo-tagging feature, a California federal judge on Aug. 19 granted preliminary approval to a revised agreement that resolved his earlier concerns, notably increasing the settlement fund from $550 million to $650 million (In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, No. 3:15-cv-03747, N.D. Calif.).

  • August 20, 2020

    Class Complaint Accuses Meat Processing Facility Of Coronavirus Failures

    FRESNO, Calif. — A California meat processing facility failed to take the steps necessary to protect its employees from the novel coronavirus, hid the initial cases among employees, pressured those who were sick to continue working and later "recklessly disclosed" the private health information of hundreds of employees who were infected, one employee alleges in a class complaint filed July 22 in a federal court in the state (Maria Pilar Ornelas, et al. v. Central Valley Meat Co., Inc., No. 20-1017, E.D. Calif.).

  • August 18, 2020

    Fair Fund Established In Facebook SEC Action; Tax Administrator Appointed

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Aug. 17 granted a post-judgment motion filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in an enforcement action against Facebook Inc., establishing a fair fund for $100 million in civil penalties the social media giant agreed to pay as part of a consent of final judgment stemming from Facebook's issuance of misrepresentations to investors concealing misuse of its user data by data analytics company Cambridge Analytica (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Facebook Inc., No. 19-4241, N.D. Calif.).

  • August 18, 2020

    $13 Million Google Street View Privacy Settlement Appealed To 9th Circuit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A class member who objected to the $13 million settlement of a privacy class action over Google LLC's Street View feature took his fight to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Aug. 12 brief, arguing that the cy pres-only nature of the settlement ignores the interests of absent class members and runs counter to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 (In re Google LLC Street View Electronic Communications Litigation [Benjamin Joffe, et al. v. Google Inc.], No. 20-15616, 9th Cir.).

  • August 13, 2020

    New Jersey High Court: Compelling Phone Passcode Doesn't Violate 5th Amendment

    TRENTON, N.J. — In a divided ruling, a New Jersey Supreme Court majority on Aug. 10 found that a warrant compelling an arrestee to produce the passcode to unlock a smartphone does not violate the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it does not require a testimonial act that reveals the contents of an individual's mind (New Jersey v. Robert Andrews, No. A-72-18, N.J. Sup., 2020 N.J. LEXIS 898).