H1 2013 Quick Links, Part 2 (Privacy, Search Engines)

By Eric Goldman and Jake McGowan


* Transcript of court hearing in California v. Delta Airlines.  Judge’s ruling starts p. 20. The case archive.

Fleischer v. NYP Holdings, Inc., 2013 WL 1105005 (N.Y.A.D. Mar. 19, 2013):

“Plaintiff’s third and fourth causes of action alleging “invasion of privacy” claims against the Gothamist and Gawker, respectively, under sections 50 and 51 of New York’s Civil Rights Law, were also properly dismissed for failure to state a cause of action. The blog columns maintained by these defendants each had links to the faculty page on the website of the college where plaintiff teaches which contained plaintiff’s photograph and scholastically relevant personal information. The information at issue—the closing of a popular New York City restaurant and the complaints against it lodged by plaintiff, a local resident and college professor—was newsworthy, and plaintiff’s photograph bore a real relationship to the story. Accordingly, no remedy is available to plaintiff pursuant to §§ 50 and 51 of New York’s Civil Rights Law.”

Cf. Redmond v. Gawker.

* Lothar Determann: Social Media Privacy: A Dozen Myths and Facts, 2012 STAN. TECH. L. REV. 7

Myth 1: You Have Privacy Rights Against Social Media Companies

Myth 2: You Own Personal Data About You

Myth 3: European Privacy Laws Are Better, And The United States Has To Catch Up

Myth 4: Social Media Companies Threaten Your Privacy

Myth 5: Advertisers Threaten Your Privacy

Myth 6: Law Enforcement Should Be Kept Out Of Social Media In The Interest Of Better Privacy Protection

Myth 7: Technologies Threaten Your Privacy

Myth 8: You Have A Right To Be Forgotten

Myth 9: You Have A Right To Remain Anonymous On The Internet

Myth 10: Social Networks Are Not—But Should Be—Subject To Laws

Myth 11: Social Media Usage Isn’t, Can’t Be, Or Shouldn’t Be Regulated By Employers

Myth 12: Consumers Care About Privacy

* Was Google Reader a casualty of Google’s heightened privacy obligations, in that the cost-benefit of ensuring Google Reader’s privacy wasn’t worth it? “Privacy” doesn’t come for free! Related post: How The Shutdown Of Google Reader Threatens The Internet. FWIW, I’m trying out Feedly, but I’ll be checking out the other readers coming online, like Digg’s (but I doubt I could be persuaded to adopt AOL’s or Facebook’s).

State AGs hammer Google over its Street View wi-fi sniffing, with a fine and, perhaps more importantly, various requirements of how Google handles privacy issues operationally. This is all part of the so-called “Privacy by Design” movement, which has never been empirically proven to work but sure has the potential to cost a lot of money.

* AdAge: Mastercard, AmEx Quietly Feed Data to Advertisers

* Rudgayzer v. Yahoo! Inc., 2012 WL 5471149 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 9, 2012):

“an allegation of the disclosure of personal or private information does not constitute actionable damages for a breach of contract claim…Mere disclosure of such information in and of itself, without a showing of actual harm, is insufficient”

* AOL settles the Data Valdez case. Prior blog post.

* Europeans, and the French in particular, seem to have a limitless capacity to come up with bad ideas of how to regulate technology.  Another example: a tax on processing private consumer data.  NY Times coverage.  Interview with the idea’s progenitor.

Tyler v. Michael’s Store, 2013 WL 854097 (Mass. 2013). MA says that zip codes are personal information, just like CA’s Pineda decision. Related blog post.

* The “access” principle of FIPs inherently introduces security problems. Related blog post.

Search Engines

* Reuters: U.S. antitrust regulators vow to pounce if Google strays.

* NY Times: As Web Search Goes Mobile, Competitors Chip at Google’s Lead. Related blog post.

* Marketing Land: Microsoft’s “Scroogled” Campaign Against Gmail Wins 0.002% Of Users. Microsoft’s negative advertising against Google (along with most of its other competitive strikes against Google) has always struck me as short-sighted.

* Search Engine Land: Opinion: Why Google Should Crack Down Harder On The Mugshot Extortion Racket. I support Google’s right to configure its algorithm as it sees fit, but its algorithm is misconfigured when non-credible sites like mugshot extortion rackets rank so prominently. Related article.

* Google Search Quality Rating Guidelines, Version 1.0 November 2, 2012. Prior blog post.

Related: NY Times: Algorithms Get a Human Hand in Steering Web.

* Edelman: Search Engines More Trusted than Traditional Media.

Details on Google’s payoff of French publishers to get them to drop demands for a link license.

Related: Search Engine Land: To Avoid Copyright Liability, Google News Goes Opt-In In Germany. As Greg Sterling says, “This approach will enable Google avoid copyright infringement claims and, presumably, any license fees that publishers were hoping to impose on the company. The publishers who celebrated the new law are likely to be very frustrated by Google’s move.”