Jan 312012
 January 31, 2012  Posted by  Business, Laws

Jaikumar Vijayan reports:

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) has proposed a bill that would require all phone companies to notify consumers of any user tracking and monitoring software in their cell phones.

Markey’s proposed Mobile Device Privacy Act is in response to the recent controversy surrounding the use of Carrier IQ’s user tracking software in millions of mobile phones from companies such as Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Read more on Computerworld.

Jan 312012
 January 31, 2012  Posted by  Business, Court, Featured News, Online

sosadmin writes:

Twitter today informed user @destructuremal that the State of New York had issued a subpoena for his account information. The account holder, Malcolm Harris of New York City, is an Occupy Wall Street activist who has been involved in movement organizing since at least September 2011.

Read more on PrivacySOS.

The subpoena says:

TWITTER IS DIRECTED not to  disclose the existence of this subpoena to any party. Such disclosure would impede the investigation being conducted and interfere with the enforcement of law.

So exactly who/what authority is directing Twitter not to disclose? Does such “direction” have the force of a court order gagging Twitter? It would seem that it doesn’t but I would love to hear from some lawyers about this “direction” and its legal authority to compel nondisclosure.

According to information in the docket for this case, the incident and arrest by NYPD (Arrest #:M11685086) occurred on October 1, 2011 at 16:20.

Under “charges,” the docket shows:

PL 240.20 05
Violation, 1 count, Not an arrest charge, Arraignment charge
Description Dis/con: obstructing Traff

The next court appearance for Mr. Harris is scheduled for February 29, 2012.  He was assigned legal representation by Legal Aid.

So for obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic a D.A. can demand Twitter produce a user’s tweets and user account information such as e-mail addresses? Seriously?  How is this not an abuse of power?

Update Feb-1: Subsequent media coverage indicates that Harris is represented by Martin Stolar of the National Lawyers Guild.

Jan 312012
 January 31, 2012  Posted by  Laws

Melissa Ngo writes:

In the last few months, there have been reports about how smartphone users’ data could be quietly gathered and used by companies via software from a company called Carrier IQ. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), chairman of the subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to Carrier IQ demanding answers about how this technology affects cellphone users’ privacy. European officials are investigating the company for possible privacy violations. Carrier IQ spoke with the Wall Street Journal about its software.

Now, the Hill reports that Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass), a co-chairman of the House caucus on privacy, has released a discussion draft (pdf) of the Mobile Device Privacy Act, which would require telecommunications providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint to reveal if they are using data-tracking software such as Carrier IQ on mobile devices:

Read more on Privacy Lives.

h/t, @normative.

Jan 312012
 January 31, 2012  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S., Online, Workplace

A trade union has been ordered to let an independent expert examine its computer database to try to identify anonymous users of a forum it operated who allegedly defamed and harassed an airline pilot.

The High Court said its order was both necessary and proportionate and rejected claims made by the Unite union that the scope of the order was intrusive. Unite had claimed that the expert would be invading the privacy of its members by trawling through their “sensitive personal data” to look for the identifying information.

Read more on Out-Law.com.