California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law today that requires smartphone phone manufacturers to put a “kill switch” (remote lock) in phones, and to turn it on by default. Lawmakers have stated that they see this as an important way to reduce smart phone crimes. For consumers, it’s a way to prevent our personal information from getting into the wrong hands when we misplace, lose, or otherwise are missing our smartphones. Apple users can already use Find My iPhone as a remote lock. See more …
Reputation and privacy — Pam Dixon spoke at the Southwestern Law School Privacy Conference on the topic of reputational privacy Friday the 22cnd along with Neville Johnson and Paul Tweed. Dixon highlighted three key consumer situations WPF assisted with recently, discussing the employment challenges consumers faced when harmful material was available online during the job search process.
Arizona School of Law — Pam Dixon participated as a discussant and contributor to the Arizona School of Law’s private workshop on the topic of the future of privacy. Key areas of discussion included the European Union’s Right to be Forgotten proposal, consent and health privacy, and Do Not Track.
01/23/2012 GPS tracking | United States v. Jones — The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that police must get a warrant before using GPS devices to track criminal suspects. This case was narrow and dealt specifically with a GPS device physically attached to a suspect’s vehicle. The concurring opinion of Justice Sotomayor points out that the subtler issues of digital era tracking were not dealt with in this case, for example, cell phone tracking, web site tracking, etc. She wrote: “More fundamentally, it may be necessary to reconsider the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties. E.g., Smith, 442 U. S., at 742; United States v. Miller, 425 U. S. 435, 443 (1976).” She continued: “This approach is ill suited to the digital age, in which people reveal a great deal of information about themselves to third parties in the course of carrying out mundane tasks.”
In our view, the Department’s proposed changes to HIPAA regarding marketing are contrary to the law. Current law requires that paid communications for any marketing should be allowed only on an opt-in basis. We oppose the Department’s proposed regulation that would allow communications paid for by third parties who are not the entities whose product or service is being described in the communication.