Feb 282012
 February 28, 2012  Posted by  Court, Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

Orin Kerr writes:

Last week, I filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit on a very important question in high-tech crime investigations. As far as I know, the issue is a matter of first impression in any court. Here’s the question: When privacy statutes require the government to obtain a court order before collecting records or conducting surveillance, is the constitutionality of the future execution of the order ripe for adjudication at the time of the application?

That’s a mouthful, so let me try an example. Imagine you’re a federal magistrate judge. The government comes to you with an application for a court order to collect records as required by a federal privacy statute. The government has satisfied the statutory standard set by Congress. But you think that the statute is unconstitutional, and that compliance with the statute therefore will violate the Fourth Amendment. Here’s the question: Can you deny the order and issue an opinion explaining your denial based on your conclusion that the collection of the records would violate the Fourth Amendment? Or do you have to issue the order, let the government execute it, and then wait for an ex post challenge to the constitutionality of the government’s conduct?

Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.  It’s an interesting question and one that seems increasingly important in these days of government seeking Twitter or social media records on users.

Feb 282012
 February 28, 2012  Posted by  Laws, Non-U.S., Surveillance

TJ McIntyre writes:

A peculiar feature of Irish law for many outside observers is the fact that search warrants are treated as being an executive rather than judicial function (PDF, ch.4). As a result a number of statutes give police the power to themselves issue such warrants on a “self-service” basis. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Damache v. DPP, however, cuts back the scope of these powers somewhat.

Read more on IT Law in Ireland.

Feb 282012
 February 28, 2012  Posted by  Breaches, Business, Court, Online

Associated Press reports:

The picture of a handsome, uniformed soldier accompanying online ads that proclaim “Military Man Searching for Love” is an Army lieutenant who was killed in Iraq in 2007, according to a lawsuit filed by his parents on Monday against two dating websites.

The parents of US Army Lieutenant Peter Burks have sued PlentyofFish.com and True.com, alleging the companies used their son’s photo in ads without their permission, benefitted financially and misled the public. The suit filed Monday in state district court in Dallas seeks a jury trial for compensatory and punitive damages.

Read more on The Age.

PlentyofFish.com says that the ad is not their content and that they have blocked it from appearing on their network. True.com, the alleged source of the ad, says it is “investigating diligently.”

Feb 282012
 February 28, 2012  Posted by  Breaches, Business, Non-U.S.

Vítor Quintã reports:

Gaming operator Wynn Macau Ltd. may have breached the local privacy law by publicly disclosing personal information of hotel guests as part of a report on removed director Kazuo Okada. An industry expert says the move may scare off some VIP promoters.

A probe led by Louis Freeh, the ex-director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, claimed the Japanese pachinko tycoon, Okada, has given payoffs and gifts to Philippines gaming regulators and South Korean officials.

The report released last week as part of a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange cited mostly free stays and dinners at Wynn resorts in Las Vegas and Macau for the former Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chairman Efraim Genuino and current chairman Cristino Naguiat, their families, and the husband of former Philippines president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In addition, the report also accuses Okada of paying for trips and stays in Wynn properties by South Korean officials – including Jong Cheol Lee, the commissioner of the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority – to boost his effort to build a gaming resort in Incheon.

In both cases the report discloses when the guests stayed in the Wynn Macau hotel and total expenses charged to Okada’s company Universal Entertainment. In the case of Naguiat, the document also mentions credit for shopping and gaming.

The disclosure might have breached Macau’s personal data protection law, which came into effect in 2006. The law states that personal data can only be “collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes (…) and it cannot later be used in a manner incompatible with those purposes”.

Read more on Macau Daily Times.