May 312013
 May 31, 2013  Posted by  Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

SB 1587, the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act, passed in the Illinois House today by a margin of 105-12.  It now heads to the Governor’s desk.  Associated Press reports that Governor Quinn has not indicated whether he will sign it.

Thankfully, some state legislatures are enacting laws when Congress hasn’t or won’t.  Hopefully,  their governors will sign the bills into law.


May 312013
 May 31, 2013  Posted by  Non-U.S.

Johannesburg, South Africa — (SBWIRE) — 05/31/2013 — Pamela Stein, partner at leading South African corporate law firm, Webber Wentzel gives an overview of the Protection of Personal Information Bill which aims to give full effect to the constitutional right to information privacy. The bill was approved by the South African Parliament in 2012 and is expected to be signed into law during 2013.

After seven years of deliberations and numerous reviews, South Africa’s first comprehensive data protection law, the Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI) was approved by Parliament in September 2012, and is expected to be signed into law during 2013. Thereafter, organisations will have a transitional period of one year to ensure compliance with POPI before its provisions take effect.


POPI regulates every aspect of the processing of personal information, and is based on European data protection law.

The rationale for POPI is to give full effect to the constitutional right to informational privacy, which is a distinct element of the right to privacy protected under the South African Constitution. POPI provides substantive content to this right, by establishing a threshold of minimum conditions for the processing of personal information and providing individuals with rights and remedies to protect their personal information.

The lengthy and detailed deliberations on the Bill have allowed the drafters to draw on the experience of data protection regulation in the European Union (EU), including the recent comprehensive review of EU data protection law which resulted in the Draft Regulation on Data Protection (draft Regulation). A number of proposals in the draft Regulation have been included in the final draft of POPI.

POPI will apply to every person who processes the personal information of another (the responsible party), with some exclusions. Processing in the course of household or personal activity is excluded, as is processing by state bodies involved in crime prevention and national security, cabinet meetings, and where judicial functions are exercised.

A significant exclusion is the processing of personal information which takes place solely for the purpose of journalistic, literary or artistic expression. Interestingly, POPI applies to juristic persons. This is consistent with the approach of the South African Constitutional Court that, although juristic bodies do not have all the personality rights, they do have a right to privacy.

May 312013
 May 31, 2013  Posted by  Breaches, Business, Court, Featured News

Paul Bond and Frederick Lah write:

After nearly seven years of litigation, two class actions, and millions of dollars in legal and settlement fees, AOL hopes that it can finally put its infamous anonymization failure incident behind it. On May 24, 2013, a Virginia federal judge gave final approval to a class action settlement between AOL and a class of more than 650,000 AOL members whose search queries were disclosed to the public. The settlement agreement involves $5 million in cash payments to class members and nearly $1 million in attorneys’ fees.

Read more on Global Regulatory Enforcement Blog.

May 312013
 May 31, 2013  Posted by  Business, Court, Featured News, Laws, Online, U.S.

Declan McCullagh reports:

A new lawsuit in Manhattan pitting the U.S. Department of Justice against Google offers a rare glimpse of how determined prosecutors are to defend a process that allows federal agents to gain warrantless access to user records, and how committed the Mountain View company is to defend its customers’ privacy rights against what it views as illegal requests.

The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed April 22 and not disclosed until this article, was sparked by Google’s decision to rebuff the FBI’s legal demands for confidential user data. It centers on the bureau’s controversial use of so-called National Security Letters, a secret electronic data-gathering technique that does not need a judge’s approval and recently was declared unconstitutional in an unrelated court case.

Read more on CNET.  Also see Declan’s coverage of the case, published earlier today on CNET.

Update: A copy of the order in the California case has been uploaded to, here.