The buzz words in privacy over the last few months (really longer than that) have been "Do Not Track." Twitter is just the latest company to adopt the DNT browser option, indicating in a blast email to all Twitter users that the setting is now available for implementation if a user so chooses. Interestingly, however, a much less publicized setting was also presented in that same email blast: Twitter's new "tailored suggestion feature." Applications and widgets created by Twitter will begin to collect data about Twitter users from third party websites that feature those products. This is an entirely new feature from Twitter, and is being implemented as a default option for both new and existing Twitter users.
In 2011, InfoLawGroup began its "Legal Implications" series for social media by posting Part One (The Basics) and Part Two (Privacy). In this post (Part Three), we explore how security concerns and legal risk arise and interact in the social media environment.There are three main security-related issues that pose potential security-related legal risk. First, to the extent that employees are accessing and using social media sites from company computers (or increasingly from personal computers connected to company networks or storing sensitive company data), malware, phishing and social engineering attacks could result in security breaches and legal liability. Second, spoofing and impersonation attacks on social networks could pose legal risks. In this case, the risk includes fake fan pages or fraudulent social media personas that appear to be legitimately operated. Third, information leakage is a risk in the social media context that could result in an adverse business and legal impact when confidential information is compromised.
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.
As social media and networking continue to revolutionize modern-day marketing and become the norm for organizations of all types, shapes and sizes, it is even more important to adequately address the legal risks associated with social media use. In Part One of our Legal Implications series, we laid out some background and identified key areas of legal risk. In the next few posts InfoLawGroup is going to look deeper at some of these risks. In this post we explore some of the privacy legal issues that companies should address if they want to leverage social media.
Much like the "Cloud computing revolution" there is an almost frenzied excitement around social media, and many companies are stampeding to exploit social networking. The promise of increased intimate customer interactions, input and loyalty, and enhanced sales and expanded market share can result in some organizations overlooking the thorny issues arising out of social networking. Many of these issues are legal in nature and could increase the legal risk and liability potential of an organization employing a social media strategy.In this multi-part series the InfoLawGroup will identify and explore the legal implications of social media. This series will help organizations begin to identify some of the legal risks associated with social media so that they may start addressing and mitigating these risks while maximizing their social media strategy. In Part One of the series, we will provide a high level overview of the legal risks and issues associated with an organization's use of social media. In subsequent parts members of the InfoLawGroup team will take a deeper dive into these matters, and provide some practical insight and strategic direction for addressing these issues. As always, we view our series as the beginning of a broader conversation between ourselves and the larger community, and we welcome and strongly encourage comments, concerns, corrections and criticisms.
As we have previously reported on our blog, 2011 has seen a whirlwind of privacy enforcement activity. The FTC, NLRB, EEOC, HHS and FINRA have all taken privacy enforcement actions this year. This March, the FTC has announced privacy settlements with Chitika and Twitter.