Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Political pressure on Facebook intensifies

Will revelations over data use by Cambridge Analytica lead to more intense government regulation of Facebook? Julian Sanchez and I talk to Caleb Brown at the Cato Daily Podcast. Separately, Sanchez writes that we shouldn’t expect regulatory micromanagement to do a good job of safeguarding user privacy. “How Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook targeting model really worked – according to the person who built it” [Matthew Hindman, The Conversation] Note that regulation tends to entrench incumbents [Tyler Cowen linking Stratechery (one consequence of outcry is that social media providers may make it harder for users to export their data to other platforms)]

Related: “In Europe, platforms are incentivized to take down first, ask questions second.” [William Echikson, Politico Europe] Pro-censorship UNC professor and New York Times contributing op-ed writer (and what a phrase that is to type) recalls days when media had but one throat to squeeze [David Henderson on Zeynep Tufekci in Wired] How Facebook recently navigated pressures on hosting a group whose leaders were prosecuted under British hate-speech laws [John Samples, Cato] From LBJ and Nixon to Trump and Elizabeth Warren, “regulation is an inherently political act.” So maybe think twice before putting Facebook and Google under the thumb of your worst political foe? [Donald E. Graham]

“What made you think I wanted 53 firms churning on this case?”

“A federal judge in California last week criticized two lawyers for bringing an additional 49 law firms into a data-breach case, raising to 53 the total number of firms representing the plaintiffs….’What made you think I wanted 53 firms churning on this case?’,” asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, telling lawyers from Altschuler Berzon and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll that she was “deeply disappointed.” Koh went on to grant a request for a special master filed by Ted Frank, class action reformer with CEI and formerly a blogger in this space. [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal]

ABA sticks up for lawyers’ and clients’ privacy

In the name of curtailing money laundering and the risk of terrorist finance, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have introduced a bill that would require extensive reporting on the ownership of small corporations and limited liability companies. Provisions of the law “would regulate many lawyers and law firms as financial institutions under the Bank Secrecy Act,” notes the ABA Journal, and require them “to gather extensive beneficial ownership information on businesses when they incorporate. The information would be held and disclosed on request to many governmental agencies and financial institutions.” The businesses themselves would also face direct reporting and regulatory burdens.

The ABA is opposing provisions in this bill on the ground that they would infringe on traditional attorney-client privilege. “Concerns about erosion of attorney-general privilege have played a role in resisting numerous bad regulatory and prosecutorial initiatives in recent years,” I write in a new Cato piece. “Now if only the rest of us who are not lawyers could get someone to stand up so effectively against the government on behalf of our privacy interests.”

CCAF contests $8.5 million Google privacy settlement

It’s a cy pres special: members of the injured class will get no part of an $8.5 million settlement Google negotiated with plaintiff’s lawyers over a data privacy lapse. “Instead, the money is to be split among the plaintiffs’ attorneys, who billed their time at $1,000 an hour, and others. The others are cy pres recipients, or organizations that are not parties in the suit: Carnegie Mellon University; World Privacy Forum; the Center for Information, Society and Policy at the Chicago-Kent College of Law; Stanford Center for Internet and Society; Harvard University’s Berkman Center; and AARP Inc.” Ted Frank’s Center for Class Action Fairness is asking the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari after its objections were turned down by lower courts. [Dee Thompson, Legal NewsLine, earlier here and here (Beck: “cy pres abuse poster child”)]

Plus: Bank of America settlement will now yield cy pres windfall for five University of California law schools of $150,000 rather than $20 million. Easy come, easy go? [ABA Journal]

Liability roundup

Watch: videos from Cato conference, The Future of the First Amendment

Watch: videos now online from last month’s Cato conference, The Future of the First Amendment. I talk religious freedom on a panel with Robin Fretwell Wilson of the University of Illinois Law School and John M. Barry, author of Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul:

Eugene Volokh gives a keynote speech on the “revolution in remedies” that is changing libel and privacy law, which “ties in with technological change” in the nature of media, over a period in which there has been virtually no change in the substantive doctrine of libel:

Other panels include a discussion of the remarkable findings of a new Cato poll on free speech and presentations on a diverse array of other topics including European regulation of online media, commercial speech, and campaign finance.

July 19 roundup

  • “Biometric Privacy Laws: How a Little-Known Illinois Law Made Facebook Illegal” [Jane Bambauer]
  • Organized dentists work to block legal recognition of independent dental therapist practices [Mary Jordan, Washington Post]
  • Some yearn to bring back Warren Court (or even more interventionist) antitrust doctrine. Just don’t [John McGinnis]
  • “O’Neil is the Wang of Ireland” says apparel trademark disputant [Timothy Geigner, Techdirt]
  • “Religious people should live under the same laws as everyone else” was a nice slogan while it lasted [Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post on nuns’ construction of chapel in field so as to block pipeline, plus resulting Twitter thread]
  • “Therapy animals are everywhere, but proof that they help is not” [Karin Brulliard, Chicago Tribune]

UPS didn’t ask questions about volume shipments from Indian reservations

“A federal judge on Thursday ordered delivery giant UPS Inc. to pay New York City and the state nearly $247 million in damages and penalties for illegally shipping cigarettes” to New York buyers from Indian reservations. “UPS argued it followed the rules and can only do so much to police what its 1.6 million daily shippers send in sealed packages.” The delivery service says the shipments accounted for about $1 million in revenue. [AP/New York Post]