By Caroline Alewaerts
The news of the discovery of new e-mails potentially relevant to Hillary Clinton’s private server investigation is all over the media. The fact that these e-mails have been discovered as part of an unrelated investigation raises an important question regarding compliance with the 4th Amendment. An interesting article discussing on the issue is available here.
Recent publications reveal that Facebook advertising platform may allow advertisers to discriminate based on race and other constitutionally protected basis, by letting them target their audience based on criteria that include, e.g., gender, financial status, political affiliation and ethnic affinity. See notably The Atlantic and ProPublica.
On the other hand, Facebook has blocked a UK-based insurance company from using Facebook status and likes to build up profiles and risk assessments regarding users’ driving style. The insurance company had planned to offer car insurance discounts to those considered likely to drive safely. Facebook declared that this violated its privacy policies.
The EU-US Privacy Shield already faces legal challenges. Two privacy groups (Irish and French) have filed an action for annulment against it before the EU General Court. The EU-US Privacy Shield was adopted earlier this year after the ECJ struck down its predecessor, the Safe Harbor Program, and more than 500 companies are already self-certified under it, including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.
The FCC adopted new broadband consumer privacy rules last Thursday. They establish a framework for increased choice, transparency, and security of consumer personal data, and notably require broadband ISPs to collect their consumer’s consent in order to use and share their data.
The industry points out that this new regulation will have consequences on telecom companies’ efforts to develop their presence in the sphere of targeted advertising, and already raises concerns regarding the risk of double standards since web companies such as Google or Facebook are not subject to the FCC jurisdiction (but fall under the FTC one).
Regarding this last issue and on a similar note, Daniel Solove discusses in this article the serious implications for consumer privacy laws of the FTC v. AT&T decision of last August (holding that FTC lacks jurisdiction over companies that engage in common carrier activity). An amicus brief has been filed with the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit asking for a re-hearing of the case.