Dec 312013
 December 31, 2013  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Surveillance, U.S.

Jennifer Granick writes:

When should courts follow legal precedent and when should the law change?  This is a debate that underlies this month’s contrary decisions about the constitutionality of government collection of telephone call metadata under section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.  And despite this week’s dual holdings in favor of the government—on this issue and on the issue of laptop border searches—a judicial consensus may be emerging that the Fourth Amendment must evolve along with technology and government surveillance capabilities.

Read more on Just Security.

Dec 312013
 December 31, 2013  Posted by  Misc

Phil Lee writes:

If you thought that 2013 was a big year for privacy, then prepare yourself: it was only the beginning.  Many of the privacy stories whose winding narratives began in 2013 will continue to take unexpected twists and turns throughout 2014, with several poised to reach dramatic conclusions – or otherwise spawn spin-offs and sequels.

Here are just a few of the stories likely to dominate the privacy headlines in 2014:

Read his predictions on Privacy and Information Law Blog.

Dec 312013
 December 31, 2013  Posted by  Online, Youth & Schools

December 30 – Building on his efforts to protect consumers from online threats to their privacy, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today submitted the final report of the Workgroup on Children’s Online Privacy Protection to two legislative committees whose jurisdiction includes digital privacy issues.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to online invasions of privacy because they may be unaware of the sensitive information they are exposing on the Internet or how the information they share might be used,” said Attorney General Gansler. “This report highlights the many important issues that surround children’s privacy on the Web and on mobile devices, and offers legislators tools to consider for addressing them.”

The report, which is the product of six months of meetings and discussion by the 18-member Workgroup, outlines the current and future landscape of children’s online privacy regulation in other states and by the federal government. It also examines the current risks and challenges to ensuring how children, with the help of their parents or guardians, can navigate the Internet safely without exposing their personal information.

Proposed recommendations considered by the Workgroup for future legislative or regulatory action (the panel did not submit formal recommendations, as many of the ideas shared below did not receive unanimous support) include:

  • Prohibiting “cloud” service providers from using any data they collect in Maryland public schools for commercial purposes;
  • Requiring encryption of sensitive information collected from and about children;
  • Enhancing education/outreach programs to better inform consumers about children’s online/mobile privacy protection;
  • Adopting a so-called “eraser button” bill, which would be modeled off enacted legislation in California that allows minors to remove their postings on the Internet and social media sites, and also prohibits the advertising of harmful products that are illegal for them to use (alcohol, tobacco, guns) on websites specifically targeted to minors;
  • Ensuring adequate disclosures for online advertisements that are knowingly targeted to children;
  • Updating existing state statutory definitions of “personal information”; and
  • Providing the state greater authority to enforce the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by making a violation of it an unfair/deceptive trade practice under the Maryland Consumer Protection Act.

The report was submitted to the Senate Finance Committee and House Economic Matters Committee, the legislative committees that have jurisdiction over digital privacy issues. The Workgroup was comprised of a diverse group of representatives of technology companies, including Facebook and Microsoft, consumer organizations, children’s health advocates, privacy regulators and other stakeholders.

The full report of the Workgroup on Children’s Online Privacy Protection can be found at

SOURCE: Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler

Dec 302013
 December 30, 2013  Posted by  Court

Reuters reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to force the U.S. government to disclose details of its foreign electronic surveillance program and what protections it provides to Americans whose communications are swept up.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, came three days after the ACLU lost a bid to block a separate program that collects the phone calls of millions of Americans.

The latest lawsuit seeks information related to the use of Executive Order 12333, which was signed in 1981 and governs surveillance of foreign targets.

Read more on Reuters.