In re-launching the inquiry into carriers' data privacy and security practices, the FCC argues that not informing customers about the software or its data practices may have violated the carriers' responsibility pursuant to Section 222 of the Communications Act of 1934 to protect customer data "that is made available to a carrier solely by virtue of the carrier-customer relationship." The law allows such data to be used only in "limited circumstances," a term which is not defined in Section 222. It appears that one of the goals of the renewed inquiry is for the FCC to define the scope of the "limited circumstances."
Last week, a plaintiff's putative class action alleging a violation of California's Shine the Light law, Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.83, was dismissed without prejudice. See Boorstein v. Men's Journal LLC, No. 12-cv-00771-DSF-E, 2012 WL 2152815 (C.D. Cal. June 14, 2012). The suit, one of several other similar pending suits, is the first reported decision applying the Shine the Light Law.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California recently granted class certification in a Song-Beverly Credit Card Act case, refusing to exclude from the class individuals who joined the retailer's rewards program months after the alleged Song-Beverly violation. See Yeoman v. IKEA U.S. West, Inc., No. 11CV701, 2012 WL 1598051 (S.D. Cal. May 4, 2012). The Court's discussion suggests that a retailer may also face Song-Beverly liability even if it requests personal information at the register that it already holds by virtue of the customer's membership in its rewards program.
Phonedog v. Kravitz, currently pending in the Northern District of California, raises unprecedented issues regarding social media. Is a list of Twitter followers protected as trade secret under California law? What is the value of a Twitter follower? $2.50 per month? I discussed these questions today with Fox News.
California's infamous SB 1386 (California Civil Code sections 1798.29 and 1798.82) was the very first security breach notification law in the nation in 2002, and nearly every state followed suit. Many states added their own new twists and variations on the theme - new triggers for notification requirements, regulator notice requirements, and content requirements for the notices themselves. Over the years, the California Assembly and Senate have passed numerous bills aimed at amending California's breach notification law to add a regulator notice provision and to require the inclusion of certain content. However, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bills on multiple occasions, at least three times. Earlier this year, State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) introduced Senate Bill 24, again attempting to enact such changes. Yesterday, August 31, 2011, Governor Brown signed SB 24 into law.
The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday, in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma, that zip codes are "personal identification information" for purposes of California's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act, California Civil Code section 1747.08. Really.