A would-be class action from Edelson PC “aims to represent two classes — every American on Twitter who has ever received a direct message and every American on Twitter who has ever sent a direct message.” The claim is that Twitter’s use of URL shorteners for links sent within direct messages (DMs) violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy law because the service “reads” (if only by algorithm) communications that it promised were confidential. “The claimed damages are as high as $100 per day for each Twitter user whose privacy was violated.” [Hollywood Reporter] Overlawyered readers have met the Chicago-based Edelson class-action firm on previous occasions.
The Supreme Court should step in to stop California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s dragnet for nonprofit donors [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer, Cato]
a growing movement among academics and now governments to gradually ban the use of cash completely. It is inefficient, oils the underground economy, and makes it harder for central banks to manage the economy, or so runs the argument.
But while a “cashless economy would be far easier to both tax and control” for the authorities, it would afford to the governed both less convenience and less freedom:
A simpler and more efficient “payment technology” has never been invented. No matter how smart our mobiles get, or how much data can be loaded on to a debit card, a banknote is an incredibly efficient way to handle small transactions. It is costless, immediate, flexible, no one ever needs a password, it can’t be hacked, and the system doesn’t ever crash.
More importantly, cash is about freedom. There are surely limits to the control over society we wish to hand over to governments and central banks? You don’t need to be a fully paid-up libertarian to question whether, in a world where we already worry about the amount of data that Facebook and Google can gather about us, we really want the banks and the state to know every single detail of what we are spending our money on and where. It is easy to surrender that freedom – but it will be a lot harder to get back.
- New York Times suggests Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinions borrow too much language from briefs and lower courts. Orin Kerr on why that’s unfair;
- Prosecutors have too much leeway to request freeze on defendant’s assets pending trial [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
- Certiorari petition arising from Newman/Chiasson prosecution: “Obama Administration Gambles On Supreme Court Review Of Insider-Trading Case” [Daniel Fisher]
- “Another Chance To Clean Up ‘Trial by Formula’ Class Actions” [Andrew Grossman/Cato, SCOTUSBlog on Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo]
- “Bench Memos” to the barricades: National Review builds case for “resistance” to Supreme Court decisions” [my two cents at Cato on rhetoric likening Obergefell to Dred Scott]
- Media firms including Time, Meredith, Advance, NPR jump into Spokeo case before high court, warn of Fair Credit Reporting Act litigation “quagmire” [Media Post]
- After a tainted-food episode, managers convicted without a showing of mens rea? Egg case deserves a closer look [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
Anonymous hackers having exposed customer data from a much-hyped adultery website, “class-action attorneys are currently following the Ashley Madison blood trail in hopes of winning a monetary payday for themselves and the site’s millions of members. In the last week, the Rosen Law Firm of New York began an outright solicitation for Ashley Madison users to join a prospective privacy and consumer fraud suit against the Ashley Madison site.” [David Kravets, ArsTechnica]
A group of privacy advocates is suing the city of Seattle, arguing that having garbage collectors look through people’s trash — to make sure food scraps aren’t going into the garbage — “violates privacy rights on a massive scale.”
“A person has a legitimate expectation that the contents of his or her garbage cans will remain private and free from government inspection,” argues the lawsuit filed [last] Thursday in King County Superior Court by the Pacific Legal Foundation.
I joined host Ray Dunaway yesterday on Hartford’s WTIC 1080 to discuss the OPM hack (earlier on which) and schemes to extend federal regulatory control over private data security. You can listen here.
And from yesterday’s House hearing on the subject: “OPM chief ducks blame for data breach, pins it on ‘whole of government'” [Washington Examiner]
“…Still Say We Should Give Them Cybersecurity Powers” The spectacular breach of Office of Personnel Management records, which exposed to China-based hackers information on every federal employee as well as the obviously sensitive contents of security clearance applications, was revealed when a vendor of security services was allowed to do a sales presentation on the federal network in question and discovered the already-exploited vulnerability. But of course the feds will be totally competent in prescribing practice to the private sector, right? [Mike Masnick, TechDirt] Earlier on regulation of private-sector electronic security here, here, etc. Related: W$J (DHS couldn’t move to secure networks without engaging in collective bargaining first). Related: pending bills “authorize government to impose data retention mandate on private businesses”
- Alan Dershowitz, Harvard lawprof, suing TD Garden over slip and fall in bathroom three years back [Boston Globe]
- “Harsh Sanction Proposed For Attorney Who Blogged About Probate Case” [Mike Frisch, Legal Profession Blog]
- Maryland veto sets back reform: “Governor Hogan, Civil Asset Forfeiture Is Inherently Abusive” [Adam Bates, Cato]
- “‘Vape’ bans have little to do with public health” [Jacob Grier, Oregonian in February]
- Academics prosper through expert witness work, part one zillion [Ira Stoll]
- Sounds good: call for civil procedure reform includes fact-based pleading, strict discovery limits, case-specific rules, and more [Jordy Singer, Prawfs, on recommendations from American College of Trial Lawyers Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice and Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System]
- Draft plan would arm FTC with vast power over data practices [James C. Cooper, Morning Consult, via @geoffmanne]