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The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued two rulings last week addressing law enforcement access to and use of cell phone location data. In the first, the court found that pinging a cell phone’s real-time location constitutes a search in the constitutional sense. In the second, the court held that warrantless location tracking was an unlawful search and that information obtained as a result of that tracking was “fruit of the poisonous tree” that the…
The Fourth Amendment right of the people “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” has been center stage in debates over technology that scarcely could have been imagined at the time it was written. See, e.g., Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018); United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012). With less fanfare, however, the Fifth Amendment has emerged as another critical consideration in recent cases focused on the…
On October 24, 2018, the Florida Court of Appeal for the Fourth District ruled that the state could not compel the production of a defendant’s iPhone passcode and iTunes password because doing so would violate the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination. The ruling in G.A.Q.L. v. State of Florida is encouraging for privacy advocates but may set up a showdown at the Florida Supreme Court, as it conflicts with a 2016 ruling from the Florida…
In his dissent in Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018), Justice Kennedy observed that “the Cyber Age has vast potential both to expand and restrict individual freedoms in dimensions not contemplated in earlier times.” Justice Kennedy worried that the ruling, which held that a warrant is generally required for police to access cell site location information, would hamstring law enforcement by “transform[ing]” prior precedent into “an unprincipled and unworkable doctrine.” The Carpenter…
In a decision that may give genetic testing companies reason to breathe a sigh of relief, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed on August 21 the denial of a class certification bid by consumers suing under Alaska’s Genetic Privacy Act (the Act). In Cole v. Gene by Gene, Ltd., Plaintiff sought to represent a class of individuals alleging that Gene by Gene, Ltd. (Gene by Gene) violated Alaska Stat. Ann. §…
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled that a data breach defendant waived its attorney-client privilege for investigation-related communications with counsel after disclosing investigative findings in discovery request and relying on the findings to assert affirmative defense. The attorney-client privilege is a powerful tool, but it must be handled with care. To learn more about this case, click here.  …
“[I]f inaccurate information falls into a government database, does it make a sound?” Partly affirming summary judgment for the defendant in Owner-Operator Indep. Drivers Ass’n, v. DOT, No. 16-5355 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 12, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit answered its own question in the negative and held that a handful of truck drivers lacked standing to sue over the existence of allegedly inaccurate driver information in a government database. However,…
Ruling on what it characterized as an issue of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit suggested that a judgment of liability in a copyright infringement case may be a tipping point justifying the unmasking of anonymous internet users. The Sixth Circuit remanded Signature Mgmt. Team v. Doe, No. 16-2188 (6th Cir. Nov. 28, 2017) to the district court with instructions to reconsider unmasking the anonymous defendant, finding it had “failed…
In yet another appellate court decision signaling the strength of the United States Supreme Court’s 2016 Spokeo decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a pair of putative class actions against Time Warner Cable, Inc. (“TWC”) and Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation (“Great Lakes”) alleging Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) violations because plaintiff job applicant failed to plead an injury sufficient to establish Article III federal standing post-Spokeo.…
As courts continue to grapple with close calls on standing following the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Spokeo v. Robins, another court has given defendants a win for intangible injuries and risk of future harm.  On June 6, the District of New Jersey dismissed – for the second time – a putative class action lodged against J. Crew for a technical violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”) because the alleged…