Privacy

The Facebook Snatchers: Could your Employer Hijack your Account?

Let's assume you are employed, use Facebook, have a decent grasp of privacy settings, and want to occassionally express your opinion. Welcome to Facebook Club.

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Employee Surveillance: How Big Brother Could Be Your Boss

When it comes to employee surveillance, will your electronic communications be spared from your employer's watchful eye? The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey will soon consider this question in the context of social networks.

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News Links

I sent this list out to the CMLP's team of intrepid bloggers to pique their interest, but with things being a bit slow around the office today, I figured I'd avoid the middleman. 

Things that caught my eye this past week:

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Google Execs Face Charges in Italy Over Third Party Content

Does the European Union offer web hosts any protection from liability for the content of third parties, a la section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230) or the "safe-harbor" provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?  This looks to be a key question for four current and former Google executives, as Italian prosecutors prepare to launch criminal charges against them over a video hosted by

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Using the Name or Likeness of Another

In most states, you can be sued for using someone else's name, likeness, or other personal attributes without permission for an exploitative purpose. Usually, people run into trouble in this area when they use someone's name or photograph in a commercial setting, such as in advertising or other promotional activities. But, some states also prohibit use of another person's identity for the user's own personal benefit, whether or not the purpose is strictly commercial.

Publication of Private Facts

In most states, you can be sued for publishing private facts about another person, even if those facts are true. The term "private facts" refers to information about someone's personal life that has not previously been revealed to the public, that is not of legitimate public concern, and the publication of which would be offensive to a reasonable person. For example, writing about a person's HIV status, sexual orientation, or financial troubles could lead to liability for publication of private facts.

Publishing Personal and Private Information

When you publish information about someone without permission, you potentially expose yourself to legal liability even if your portrayal is factually accurate. Most states have laws limiting your ability to publish private facts about someone and recognizing an individual's right to stop you from using his or her name, likeness, and other personal attributes for certain exploitative purposes, such as for advertising goods or services.

Paparazzi Need Better Manners, Not More Laws

In Malibu City, an ocean-side enclave of Los Angeles, local government officials are considering regulations that aim to protect the privacy and safety interests of both celebrities hounded by the paparazzi and local residents, after local surfers went to fisticuffs with photographers trying to capture Matthew McConaughey surfing at Malibu's Little Dume Beach.

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Privacy Falls into YouTube's Data Tar Pit

As a big lawsuit grinds forward, its parties engage in discovery, a wide-ranging search for information "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." (FRCP Rule 26(b)) And so Viacom has calculated that scouring YouTube's data dumps would help provide evidence in Viacom's copyright lawsuit.

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Schuster v. The Fresno Bee

Date: 

01/23/2008

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Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

The Fresno Bee

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Media Company

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State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of California, County of Fresno

Case Number: 

F03904715-0

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Blog
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Concluded

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Subpoena Quashed

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A defense attorney for Larissa Schuster, who was convicted of murder, subpoenaed The Fresno Bee seeking the Internet protocol addresses and dates of access for all users of the paper's website and blog during the period surrounding the time of his client's trial to determine whether jurors violated a judge's order barring them from reading online news stories about the case before they reached a verdict.

The subpoena, which was sent to the "Custodian of Records" at The Fresno Bee, sought IP addresses and dates of access for all users of www.fresnobee.com, the paper's main website, www.fresnobeehive.com, the paper's blog, and "any other internet site associated with The Fresno Bee."

Betsy Lumbye, executive editor and senior vice president of The Fresno Bee, stated that the newspaper would not voluntarily turn over the IP address data of its users.

The idea that we'd violate readers' privacy by digging up that kind of information and disclosing it is preposterous," she said. "We would fight it tooth and nail and I'm confident we'd prevail.

On February 4, 2008, a Fresno County judge quashed the subpoena, concluding that Schuster's lawyer had not provided compelling reasons to force The Bee to turn over the information and characterizing the subpoena as "a fishing expedition."

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MediaDefender v. isoHunt.com and GPiO.org

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09/17/2007

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Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

isoHunt, GPiO.org

Type of Party: 

Organization

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Organization
Intermediary

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Forum
Website

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Pending

Description: 

After internal e-mails from MediaDefender, a company that seeks to prevent the "spread of illegally traded copyrighted material over the Internet and Peer-to-Peer networks," were leaked, the company sent takedown notices to a number of sites that posted and linked to the information, including isoHunt.com, a bitTorrent search engine and forum, and GPiO.org, a hosting company.

The e-mails, which were leaked by a group that calls itself MediaDefender-Defenders, allegedly contained sensitive corporate information, including details of MediaDefender's anti-piracy strategies, its torrent watchlist, and the effectiveness of its fake torrents, according to Ars Technica.

MediaDefender responded to the dissemination of its emails by sending takedown notices to websites and P2P services that posted and linked to the materials, based both in the United States and abroad. The purported legal basis of the takedown notices was breach of MediaDefender's trade secrets and confidential information.

It appears that the sites and services have not taken down the information in response to MediaDefender's takedown notices. According to BoingBoing, isoHunt responded by pointing out what it perceives to be legal deficiencies in the takedown letter, and several other threat recipients responded that they/their sites were located outside the US and beyond the jurisdiction of the US courts.

The identity of the teenage hacker who initially obtained the emails is still under wraps, but an individual going by the name of "Ethan" has given an interview to Portfolio magazine taking credit for the leak.

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Status checked on 6/5/2008 (AAB)

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Highlights from the Legal Guide: Liability for the Use of Recording Devices

This is the seventh in a series of posts calling attention to topics we cover in the Citizen Media Legal Guide. In this post, we highlight the section on Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings and Hearings, which discusses federal and state laws relating to the use of recording equipment in specific private and semi-public settings.

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