Online Privacy and Social Networking: A JD Supra Legal Reader

For your reference, a reading list of recent legal updates and articles posted on JD Supra covering the broad topic of online privacy, especially as it applies to social networking:

Judge: Privacy on Social Networking Sites is “Wishful Thinking” (by Sands Anderson PC):

“A Suffolk County, New York trial judge recently ruled that the private areas of a plaintiff’s Facebook and MySpace profiles could be discovered by the defendants in her personal injury suit to prove she wasn’t injured as badly as she claimed…”

Are Facebook’s Woes a Preview of Things to Come for Amazon? (by Poyner Spruill LLP):

“…Facebook faces a user’s lawsuit claiming breach of contract due to its actions. The theory goes like this: Facebook promised users in its website privacy policy that it would never share their personal information with advertisers unless the user first consented. In spite of that promise, Facebook sent personal information to advertisers without consent in the manner described above…”

Socially Aware: The Social Media Law Update – October 2010 (by Morrison & Foerster):

“In This Issue: Facebook Sued for Unauthorized Use of Minors’ Names
and Likenesses; YouTube Faces Damages and Injunction in Germany for
Infringing User Uploads; California Criminalizes Malicious Online
Impersonation; Discovery of Communications Through Social Media
Sites; and, The New Frontier of Employee Avatar Appearance Codes…”

Is It Permissible for a Lawyer to Befriend a Witness on Facebook In Order to Gather Information for a Lawsuit? (by Nick Akerman, Dorsy & Whitney LLP):

“On September 10, 2010, the New York State Bar Association, Committee on
Professional Ethics, followed the March 2009 opinion of the
Philadelphia Professional Guidance Committee in ruling that it is
improper for a lawyer to befriend an adverse witness on Facebook for
the purpose of obtaining potential impeachment material to use at a

California Court Permits Company to Subpoena Yahoo, Google and ISPs to Identify Anonymous Computer Hacker (by Nick Akerman):

“With criminals hiding behind the anonymity provided by the Internet
this case has widespread application to companies willing to take
aggressive action to protect their data and provides an excellent
blueprint for going after anonymous computer hackers…”

NY Lawyers Allowed to Friend Adversaries on Facebook (by Daniel Clement):

“New ethical opinions by the New York State Bar Association and the New
York City Bar Association permit lawyers to scour the public pages
Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for incriminating evidence
to be used against an opposing party in a lawsuit…”

Social Media and the Implications for E-Discovery (by Shireen Ali):

“Courts are being called upon to consider for the first time, whether
statements, commentary and postings made by employees on social
networks such as Facebook and Twitter, are discoverable. Statements
made in instant messages (IM’s), group discussion boards, forums, and
conceivably skype and the new google chat, are open for legal debate in
the courts. And ‘data’ extends to that kept by employees on mobile
devices such as blackberries, iphones, ipads, laptops and the new
generation of tablets currently hitting the markets…”

Costly Contradictions of “Online Privacy” (by Collins & Collins PC):

“FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, was originally
passed to allow surveillance of communications between foreign powers,
foreign intelligence agencies, and their agents. Since 911, FISA has
been greatly expanded through various amendments including the Patriot
Act. The expansion of FISA allows virtually unfettered governmental
monitoring of online and telephone communications of American citizens…”

Legal Aspects of Social Networking and Online Media Platforms (by Venable LLP):

Slide presentation from a recent seminar by law firm Venable LLP, covering legal aspects of social networking, including privacy, employee conduct, and how to create and implement a social media policy in the workplace…

City of Ontario v. Quon – Supreme Court Decision in Quon (by Doug Cornelius):

“The search of the police officer’s text messages was reasonable, and
therefore the officer’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated. ‘Even if Quon had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his text
messages, petitioners did not necessarily violate the Fourth Amendment
by obtaining and reviewing the transcripts.’…”

Employer Access to Employee Text Message and Social Media Communications (by David Ganje):

“…review of several courts’ analysis in dealing with the conflict between
constitutional privacy concerns and employer’s right to access employee
text messages and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace)

Online Privacy Considerations (And Outrages) for Lawyers to Ponder (by Rocket Matter LLC):

“Apparently, users willingly accept the wholesale collection of their personal Facebook information in return for the almost irresistible allure of growing virtual carrots. These companies, in violation of Facebook code, were sharing user identifiers with other companies. Remember, it’s Facebook’s profile on you, not your profile on Facebook…”

Online and Email Risks at Work (by Helen Peach):

A checklist for employees: “…highlights the risks that your business and its employees should be aware of when using the Internet and e-mail at work, sending work-related e-mails or discussing the workplace on the Internet.”

Best Practices Regarding Employee Computer Use (by Danford Grant, Stafford Frey Cooper):

Twenty page guidebook: “Companies have compelling reasons to protect private and confidential information. Securing business information preserves trade
secrets and other intangible assets, and protecting customer
information creates trust and brand loyalty, reduces litigation, and prevents liability. Controlling the flow of information presents one of today’s greatest
challenges for businesses. Email, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing
programs, unauthorized software downloads, and even the use of home
computers and web-based email…”

EPIC Testifies in Congress on Cybersecurity and Privacy (by Electronic Privacy Information Center):

“In his prepared statement, Mr. Rotenberg discussed ‘the risks and
limitations of a mandatory Internet ID that may be favored by some as a
way to address the risk of cyber attack.’ He explained how such a
proposal would implicate human rights and online freedom, and questioned the constitutionality of such a measure. EPIC recommended
that efforts continue to focus on improving security standards,
deploying encryption, and requiring federal agencies to remain
transparent as they develop cyber security policies…”

– From the archive: Comparison of Facebook Privacy Policy versions – April 2010 v Nov 2009 (by William Carleton):

“Redline comparison to show differences between Facebook’s posted
privacy policy, dated April 22, 2010, as against a prior version dated
November 19, 2009…”

The tip of the iceberg. Stay in touch via JD Supra’s legal feeds for additional posts on this topic:

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