Privacy & Data Security

Virtual DataVirtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are now considered mainstream technologies, and if your company is not yet using them, it will be.

AR has the ability to blur the lines between reality and computer-generated information, whereas VR is further along the spectrum of computer-generated content and involves the creation of an immersive, wholly computer-generated environment.

Both are known primarily for their use in recreation, most notably video games, though the technologies are also being incorporated into other industry sectors. Some argue AR will change the way we work, for example architects in various locations around the world may be able to, in real time and in 3D, manipulate the designs of buildings. And VR is already being used to train people in various industries, such as the military and medicine. Indeed, some experts believe that AR and VR will achieve widespread adoption in commercial applications well before either receives widespread consumer adoption for recreational purposes.

Continue Reading Are You Prepared for the Legal Issues of Augmented Reality?

little girl and laptopOn June 21, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated one of its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliance guides for businesses. Known as the “Six-Step Compliance Plan,” this document provides a step-by-step road map for determining if a company is covered by COPPA and what to do to comply.

COPPA applies to operators of websites and online services that collect “personal information” from children under 13 years of age, where the site or service is directed to children or has actual knowledge that it is collecting personal information from a child. COPPA’s coverage extends to a variety of online services, such as mobile apps, internet-enabled gaming platforms, and – in some cases – companies that collect personal information directly from users of another website or online service (such as ad networks and plug-ins).

Continue Reading FTC Updates COPPA Guidance for IoT and New Consent Options

Virtual DataIn the most recent edition of Digital Media Link, we explore the legal issues surrounding new technologies, with a particular focus on augmented and virtual reality. As we have seen time and again, new technologies do not necessarily mean new statutes or case law, which usually are slow to catch up. What is a

Data SecurityOn Friday, an unprecedented cyberattack affected a large number of Microsoft Windows-based computers through a type of malware known as ransomware. Although ransomware has been increasingly prevalent over the last few years, this particular version, called “WannaCry,” spread quickly and widely around the world. Many believe that the cyberattack will continue.

Ransomware is generally spread via email messages that contain infected attachments. When a user opens the attachment, a program runs that encrypts the user’s computer and demands a ransom be paid, typically in bitcoin, for a key that will unencrypt the files. In this case, the attackers are asking for between $300 and $600 to unlock the files.

Continue Reading Ransomware Cyberattacks: How to Minimize Your Risks

Data Security Rules of the Road: A Guidebook to FTC CasesAs data security risks increase in their intensity, variety, and sophistication, Venable introduces Data Security Rules of the Road: A Guidebook to FTC Cases v1.0.  The book is a valuable resource for businesses seeking to protect the security of personal information in ways that are consistent with guidance offered by the FTC.

With over a

Keep Calm and Carry OnBrexit is likely to cause years of future uncertainty around data protection, including the legal mechanisms for data transfer to countries outside of the United Kingdom (“U.K.”). In the short term, there will be little to no impact on existing data transfer solutions implemented by companies that rely on the U.K. as an entry point into the European Union (“EU”). In the mid-term, with the scheduled implementation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”) in 2016 and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in 2018, the U.K. will either continue to be subject to EU laws by extending its membership in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) or it will create its own national data protection legislation. Although companies may have to rethink data transfer agreements, this will be part of a long term process as the future of U.K. data protection continues to unfold.

Short Term—What to Expect in the Next 12 Months 
Continue Reading Keep Calm and Carry On: Data Protection Post Brexit

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has just released its Annual Summary of Consumer Complaints, and debt collection (29%), identity theft (16%), and imposter scams (11%) top the list of the most common categories of consumer complaints.

The Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book is produced every year from complaints received by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, including consumer complaints and complaints forwarded from state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations, and non-governmental organizations. While the data book consists of unverified complaints, it is a useful tool for tracking developments and issues important to consumers.

The FTC’s summary overall shows little change from last year.  There were a few categories that changed places; for example debt collection complaints traded places with identity theft to claim the top spot, but the FTC also noted that the spike in debt collection complaints was due in large part to one data contributor employing a new mobile app to collect such complaints.  Internet Services, which had been number 10 fell out of the top ten to be replaced by Credit Bureaus, information furnishers and report users.
Continue Reading Debt Collection Tops 2015 List of Most Common Consumer Complaints

Even in this age of online, social media and mobile advertising, advertisers continue to look to advertising agencies or other outside service providers for assistance. Agencies today are not only assisting with development of digital creative materials, but also with advertisement placement, serving, and delivery. However, today more than ever you are your brother’s (or sister’s) keeper and advertisers need to be aware of the legal risks and issues associated with relying upon third parties in these areas. The best defense available to advertisers against these potential pitfalls has been and remains their agreements with the agencies. Don’t rely on a general or outdated contract form that was last updated when the VHS and Beta rivalry was the hot tech topic. Here is a list of suggested concepts that should be addressed and incorporated, as applicable, into advertising agreements:
Continue Reading Guidelines for Negotiating Online Advertising Arrangements

Earlier this summer, a federal judge in the Southern District of California dismissed a potential class action suit against Redbox over the movie rental company’s use of confirmations for opt-out text messaging. Judge Dana Sabraw agreed with Redbox that a declaratory ruling from the FCC in November 2012 had held that confirmatory, noncommercial text messages following an opt-out request do not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), so long as the texts do not contain promotional or marketing information. She further held that links to websites that themselves include promotional information do not constitute “promotional or marketing” materials, in violation of the TCPA. In doing so, Judge Sabraw handed a major victory to businesses that rely on confirmatory text messages instead of phone calls and mass mailings. Notably, however, her ruling avoided the more significant issue at stake in the case, involving the constitutionality of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act under the First Amendment.
Continue Reading The TCPA and Confirmatory Opt Out Text Messages

In a few short months, revised FCC rules for calling or texting cell phones will take effect, creating new potential pitfalls for telemarketers that call or text cell phones.  For marketers, the revised rules command heightened attention, as the Center for Disease Control in 2012 estimated that over half of Americans either do not have