Developing a Privacy Compliance Program: An Updated Roadmap

Developing a privacy compliance program is an essential, if often daunting, compliance step for organizations of all sizes, and across all industries.  InfoLawGroup partner Justine Young Gottshall and her co-author recently updated their an in-depth practice note on this topic.  The updated version is published by Practical Law and available here.

CalOPPA Getting Renewed Attention

On Friday, October 14, 2016, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the launch of a new tool for consumers to report alleged violations of the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA).  CalOPPA requires companies doing business in California (even if operating from outside of California) to post compliant privacy policies and abide by the promises in those policies.  The press release announcing the launch of the new tool mentions a specific focus on the “internet of things” as well as how companies are sharing information they collect about users.  The tool allows consumers to fill out an online form and submit it to the AG’s office.

A new study from the Future of Privacy Forum is cited in the press release.  The study calls out that while a significant percentage of mobile apps now have privacy policies, health and fitness apps that collect sensitive PII are less likely to have privacy policies than others.  The study also found that apps are not properly disclosing their information sharing practices.  The AG (in coordination with research conducted by Carnegie Mellon University) is reviewing a number of apps in the Google Play store for legal compliance.

Of equal importance is the announcement that the Usable Privacy Policy Project (also out of Carnegie Melon University) is developing a piece of technology that can look for discrepancies between disclosures in a privacy policy and an app’s actual data practices.

As a reminder, CalOPPA requires an operator that collects PII from California consumers to post a privacy policy that describes the categories of information collected, the types of third parties with whom the operator may share that information, instructions on how to review and request changes to a user’s information and the effective date of the privacy policy.  The law also requires privacy policies to include information on how the operator responds to do not track signals and whether third parties can collect PII about users.

We should all expect new enforcement actions coming from the CA AG’s Office in the near term.

InfoLawGroup Partner Justine Young Gottshall to speak at the 2016 Privacy + Security Forum in Washington, D.C.

Join Justine Young Gottshall for the 2016 Privacy + Security Forum at the George Washington University Marvin Center.   Ms. Gottshall will speak on Tuesday, October 25th on the panel entitled The Internet’s Digital Advertising Architecture: From Cookies to Addressable TV and the privacy issues in between. For more information, visit


Partner Justine Gottshall Interviewed by Cybersecurity Law Report

Partner Justine Young Gottshall was interviewed regarding key issues for mobile apps in the Cybersecurity Law Report on August 3, 2016 (note that subscription or registration for a free trial required to access full article).

Is Pokémon Go Pushing the Bounds of Mobile App Privacy and Security?

The popularity of the new app Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game in which players use their mobile devices to catch Pokémon characters in real-life locations, continues to grow despite security and privacy concerns. Intelligence firm Sensor Tower estimates the game has been downloaded 75 million times. The game’s success brings to light a number of privacy issues generally tied to the collection, storage and sharing of user information by mobile apps, as well as users’ control of those actions and the app’s disclosure practices. Justine Gottshall, a partner at InfoLawGroup, and Shook, Hardy & Bacon attorney Eric Boos recently spoke with The Cybersecurity Law Report about these issues as well as the recently filed lawsuit alleging that the Pokémon Go terms of service and privacy policy are deceptive and unfair.



The NAD’s First Native Ad Case Since Issuance of FTC Native Ad Guides

Just five months after the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) released its Native Ads Policy Statement, the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (“NAD”) has followed suit and issued a decision in its investigation of Joyous Inc.’s (“Joyous”) native advertising practices (NAD Case #5956, 05/19/16).

In its routine monitoring, the NAD explored the formatting and placement of Joyous ads in the Style Watch section of the online version of People Magazine, as well as claims about the efficacy of its products. While Joyous discontinued the efficacy claims at issue, the NAD conducted a complete analysis of the native advertising content on

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InfoLawGroup LLP Formalizes Privacy in M&A Practice

InfoLawGroup announces that it has formalized its Privacy in M&A practice group, which brings together its experienced attorneys to work closely with clients on the privacy and security issues that can arise when purchasing, investing in, or merging with another entity.  While we have been addressing these issues for some time and across related practice areas, we believe a more formalized practice group will allow us to better serve our clients.  This is an area growing in importance, as data is increasingly a significant asset for the selling and acquiring companies.  For more information, please contact Justine Young Gottshall or Mark Paulding.




Brexit: What It Means for Global Information Managers

The British electorate has voted to leave the European Union, rejecting the pleas of all major political parties and most business, media, and legal experts across the political spectrum.  Prime Minister Cameron announced that he will resign in October and that his successor will then work out the details of withdrawal from the EU.

What does this mean for US-based multinationals and other global companies that do business in Europe, often from a base in the UK?  Specifically, what is the impact on handling information across the English Channel and across the Atlantic?

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FTC Settles Complaint against Mobile Ad Network InMobi over Location-Data Collection & COPPA Violations

The FTC announced today that it reached a settlement with mobile ad network InMobi. InMobi offers a software-development kit (SDK) that its third-party app-developer customers can integrate into their mobile applications. The SDK allows InMobi to target advertisements to app users based on data collected and allows the app developer to thereby better monetize its advertising inventory.

The FTC alleged that – after representing to its developer customers that it would collect location information only after an app user opted into such collection – InMobi broadly collected location data from all app users, even those who denied an app’s request to collect such data.  Notably, the FTC did not allege that InMobi simply ignored a user’s decision and accessed device location data anyway.  Instead, the FTC alleged that InMobi built a mechanism whereby it could effectively sidestep the consumer’s choice and determine his or her location through means other than direct access to device location data.

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Now What? Plaintiffs Attack Popular Disclaimers in Online Terms of Use

In Short:

An old New Jersey law – the Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act or TCCWNA – is now being used to challenge website Terms of Use in a flurry of recently filed cases. These cases have not yet produced any guidance from the courts and the nebulous nature of the law complicates compliance. However, while we wait for more guidance from the courts, any business that operates a website and offers consumers goods or services should take the opportunity to review its Terms of Use and other consumer-facing contracts and attempt to address any potential vulnerabilities implicated by this wave of lawsuits.

In Full:

If you operate a website, mobile app, or other online service that operates under a Terms of Use of similar user agreement, you should be aware of a recent group of purported class-action suits filed. The suits all make claims under New Jersey’s (perplexingly hyphenated) “Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act,” N.J. Stat. § 56:12-14 et seq. (“TCCWNA”). The TCCWNA is a long-standing law (originally enacted in 1981), but was not heavily litigated until fairly recently. After gaining steam over the past few years, however, it has been the basis for a torrent of complaints filed in recent months that give the TCCWNA a new application: using it to challenge the various defendants’ website Terms of Use.

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GDPR: Getting Ready for the New EU General Data Protection Regulation

Four years in the making, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) obtained its final legislative approval on April 14, and the final text was published in the Official Journal yesterday.  It will be enforced after a two-year transition, beginning on May 25, 2018, replacing the national laws and regulations based on the venerable 1995 EU Data Protection Directive and reaching companies that target EU consumers from outside the EU.

While the GDPR largely retains the principles and terminology of the 1995 Directive, it also adds some new principles with uncertain consequences, such as a stricter concept of consent, a requirement for data portability, and a “right to be forgotten.” At the same time, if offers hope for a greater level of uniformity across Europe, which multinational enterprises may welcome, as well as relief from registration burdens that have persisted in many countries (although this is offset by a new obligation to notify security breaches).

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