Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

“Former Taco Bell Exec Sues Uber Driver He Attacked For $5 Million”

“The Taco Bell exec who got canned from his job after he was caught on video drunkenly attacking his Uber driver is suing the driver for $5 million. … The suit says that it’s against California state law to record someone without their consent.” A lawyer for Uber driver Edward Caban says plaintiff Benjamin Golden’s lawyer is incorrectly invoking the California law, which he says bans audio but not video recording. [LAist]

N.B. Note reader David C.’s advice in comments that the privacy suit appears to be a counterclaim to an existing lawsuit by the driver, always an important piece of context, and that the in-car tape recorded both audio and video of the incident.

“Yahoo settles e-mail privacy class-action: $4M for lawyers, $0 for users”

“Under the proposal, the massive class of non-Yahoo users won’t get any payment, but the class lawyers at Girard Gibbs and Kaplan Fox intend to ask for up to $4 million in fees. (The ultimate amount of fees will be up to the judge, but Yahoo has agreed not to oppose any fee request up to $4 million.) While users won’t get any payment, Yahoo will change how it handles user e-mails — but it isn’t the change that the plaintiffs attorneys were originally asking for.” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]

U.S. government’s social media vetting for visa applicants (see update/correction)

“Fearing a civil liberties backlash and ‘bad public relations’ for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end a secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, a former senior department official said.” According to former acting DHS undersecretary John Cohen, political “optics” inhibited U.S. officials from the fully legal course of checking the social media posts of visa applicants. The process came under scrutiny after the granting of a fiance visa to Tashfeen Malik, a resident of high-terror-risk Pakistan who had extensively discussed jihad and martyrdom online. [ABC News; but see below updates/corrections, which correct significant errors in the early reporting]

It’s important to keep straight that our Constitution restricts what the U.S. government can do to U.S. persons, but imposes little if any constraint on what it can ask of those seeking to enter.

P.S. Alex Nowrasteh talks with several immigration lawyers who say they know of instances in which social media postings by persons under U.S. immigration scrutiny got vetted. More: James Taranto (quoting New York Times’s statement that “immigration officials do not routinely review social media as part of their background checks,” with “pilot programs” to do so in place since the fall of last year).

Update: contradicting widespread reports in the press, FBI Director James Comey now describes the couple as having expressed jihadist sentiment in private but not in public messages on social media [Washington Post] And the New York Times now apologizes for early, erroneous reporting based on anonymous sources which misled much of the press and commentariat into believing Malik’s extremist sentiments were in plain sight.

Liability roundup

  • “Is Arbitration Awful? The New York Times Thinks So.” [New Jersey Civil Justice Institute, earlier here and here] And speaking of that paper, I’m going to miss Joe Nocera’s incisive coverage of the litigation business in his column, often linked here; he’s off to other duties at the Times [Politico/New York]
  • Yet more from the Times, longread on litigation investing and champerty: “Should You Be Allowed To Invest In a Lawsuit?”
  • Mikal Watts through the years: “It was part of my strategy to affect the stock price, which I was very successful at.” [Madison County Record, more]
  • “No negligence liability for injuries by fellow players in contact sport” [Eugene Volokh, martial arts, Colorado Court of Appeals]
  • Defense lawyer claims adversary had advance word about jury deliberations, grabbed $25 million settlement [Chicago Law Bulletin]
  • Is data privacy the next source of mass lawsuits? [Chamber Institute for Legal Reform]
  • Funds needlessly drained: “Asbestos reforms needed to protect first responders and veterans” [Rep. Blake Farenthold, The Hill]

“Watching the Watchmen: Best Practices for Police Body Cameras”

“Body cameras undoubtedly gather valuable evidence of police misconduct, and although research on the effects of body cameras is comparatively limited there are good reasons to believe that they can improve police behavior. However, without the right policies in place the use of police body cameras could result in citizens’ privacy being needlessly violated.” Storage and release policies for video footage need to be carefully considered ahead of time as well. [Matthew Feeney, Cato]

LinkedIn class action settlement

On Oct. 2 “millions of LinkedIn users received an email titled ‘LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION.’ The email told recipients about a proposed class action settlement in Perkins v. LinkedIn, involving ‘LinkedIn’s alleged improper use of a service called “Add Connections” to grow its member base.’ …Communicating with a large class of millions of victims is never easy, but this particular notification was handled particularly poorly. Let me highlight six problems with the notification….If the sender’s goal is to reduce the number of people who open the email, late Friday afternoon is a fine choice.” [Eric Goldman/Forbes] More: Coyote (“You Want to Know Why the Legal System is Broken?”)

Claim: Twitter’s use of URL shorteners in direct messages is privacy violation

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.