In this week’s Privacy Tracker legislative roundup, see BakerHostetler’s year-in-review on international privacy laws and read about cases you may have missed while enjoying the holiday season. For example, a U.S. District Court has deemed a Florida drug-screening law unconstitutional; U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler ruled in the Hulu privacy lawsuit that no proof of injury is needed for viewers to recover damages, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission settled with Accretive Health over the company’s failure to protect consumer data. Also, read about the contradicting rulings over the NSA data collection practices.
2013 Privacy Law Review
BakerHostetler has released year-in-review reports on international law developments in Asia, the EU, Central and South America, Africa, Canada and the Ukraine as well as an all-encompassing overview.
What Will 2014 Hold for the NSA and Snowden?
The tail end of 2013 brought with it continued news and reaction to the disclosures of the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs by former contractor Edward Snowden. Perhaps most significantly, a U.S. federal judge on Friday December 27 ruled the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata on phone calls was legal. The ruling came less than two weeks after another federal judge came to virtually the opposite conclusion. In this roundup for The Privacy Advisor, we gather together the major developments and opinion stemming from Snowden’s disclosures and what may lay ahead in for the NSA in 2014.
U.S. Court Strikes Down Drug Screening for Welfare Recipients
U.S. District Court Judge Mary Scriven has deemed unconstitutional a Florida law requiring welfare recipients to submit to drug screening, reports The Miami Herald. The law went into effect in July of 2011, but in October the 11th Circuit Court issued a temporary injunction. While the state fought the injunction, this latest ruling agreed with the 11th Circuit that “There is nothing so special or immediate about the government’s interest in ensuring that TANF recipients are drug free so as to warrant suspension of the Fourth Amendment.” Gov. Rick Scott has vowed to appeal the decision.
Expect APEC Privacy “Stocktake” in 2014
Judge: Hulu Privacy Lawsuit Will Continue
A federal judge has ruled that a privacy lawsuit against video-streaming service Hulu must continue. U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler rejected an argument submitted by the company that users must show actual injury to recover damages, even if they could be considered “aggrieved” persons under the Video Privacy Protection Act, Reuters reports. The now-rejected argument by Hulu stated the law “was not adopted to impose multi-billion dollar liability on the transmission of anonymous data where no one suffers any actual injury.” Beeler ruled that “the statute requires only injury in the form of wrongful disclosure…” The judge did not rule on the merits of the case. Courthouse News Service reports that a summary judgment hearing is scheduled for February 6.
TN Sen. Proposes Cellphone Privacy Bill
Tennessee State Sen. Mae Beavers (R–District 17) has proposed a bill that would require police to acquire a warrant before collecting cell phone data including the number dialed, from where and at what time. WREG reports that the bill is similar to a drone surveillance law passed recently. “If you don’t get a search warrant, you can’t use it as evidence. So hopefully this will sail right through as a privacy issue to protect the innocent,” said Beavers.
Kids Online Privacy Workgroup Submits Final Report
After six month of discussions, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler submitted the final report of the Workgroup on Children’s Online Privacy Protection offering suggestions for better protecting children’s personal information online, reports Legal Newsline. The report proposes requiring the encryption of sensitive information collected from children and updating state statutory definitions of personal information, among other recommendations. The Maryland House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will review the report.