Kim Chemerinsky and Dominique R. Shelton of Alston & Bird write:
The District of Massachusetts’s decision in Yershov v. Gannett Satellite
Information Network, Inc., 1:14-cv-13112-FDS (D. Mass. May 15, 2015), adds additional fuel to the debate among the courts as to whether a unique device identifier may constitute personally identifiable information (PII) and whether a “subscription” requires payment under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA).
Plaintiff Alexander Yershov filed suit against defendant Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc., alleging violations of the VPPA. Gannett publishes USA Today and has created the USA Today app, a mobile app designed to run on smartphones and other mobile devices and permit readers to view the online version of the newspaper. Users of the app can access video clips on various news, sports and entertainment topics. In his lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that Gannett violated the VPPA by disclosing PII in the form of unique device identifiers to third parties such as Adobe Systems, Inc., an analytics company.
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