Okay, folks, we won’t beat around the bush. This is just plain creepy! On Monday, the FTC finalized its order against Aaron’s, one of the country’s largest rent-to-own (RTO) stores, charging that its franchisees were spying on its customers.1 By the way, by spying, we mean to include taking webcam pictures every two minutes that the rented computer was connected to the Internet until directed to stop.
Many of Aaron’s franchisees licensed and installed PC Rental Agent, a privacy-intrusion software, on computers rented to consumers. Unbeknownst to the renters, the software allowed the franchisees to collect private, confidential and personal information about them. Ostensibly, the information was to be used to gather data to assist franchisees in collecting on past-due accounts and recovering computers after default. Nonetheless, the software allowed much more. When in “Detective Mode,” the software logged keystrokes, captured screenshots and activated a computer’s webcam. The program also allowed franchisees to track the physical location of rented computers using WiFi hotspot information.
Quite obviously, the franchisees’ use of this software, without notice to computer users, compromised the renters’ personal, financial and medical information, not to mention the untoward “invasion into the peaceful enjoyment of their homes.” The consumers were also harmed, according to the FTC, by the surreptitious capture of the private details of their lives, including images of visitors, children, family interactions, partially undressed individuals and, as the FTC delicately put it, “people engaged in intimate conduct.” As Walter Dartland, a former deputy attorney general of …
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A few days after we posted “Facebook’s ‘Look Back’ videos send reminder: Get digital accounts in order before death,” which provided guidance to digital account users on how to make plans for their digital accounts before death, Facebook announced a policy change regarding how it would maintain the profiles of its users who have passed away in an effort to better preserve their legacies on the site.
As we explained in the post, before the change, when a user’s account was memorialized, the profile was restricted to “friends” only. This precluded anyone who was not a “friend” of the user from seeing or commenting on the profile. With Facebook’s new change, which became effective Feb. 21, 2014, Facebook will now maintain the visibility of the user’s content as-is, which will allow people to view the memorialized profiles in the same manner consistent with the user’s privacy settings.
The reason, as Facebook explained: “We are respecting the choices a person made in life while giving their extended community of family and friends ongoing visibility to the same content they could always see.” This means that if a user’s profile was publicly visible before death, it will remain that way after death. This gives Facebook user another reason to stay on top of Facebook’s privacy settings and adjust accordingly.
Facebook also announced that it will share the Look Back video of a loved one, which it created for users as part of its 10th Anniversary, upon a proper submission …
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Following is Part 2 of my third annual list of the top 10 e-discovery developments and trends from the past year. Read Part 1.
6. “It is malpractice to not seek a 502(d) order from the court before you seek documents.” U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck began last year at Legal Tech providing his thoughts on the importance of orders entered pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 502(d). He said: “I’ll give you a fairly straight takeaway on 502(d). In my opinion it is malpractice to not seek a 502(d) order from the court before you seek documents. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carefully review your material for privileged documents before production, but why not have that insurance policy?” Other judges echoed these sentiments as the year progressed.
As if hearing federal judges say malpractice and Rule 502(d) orders in the same sentence were not enough to convince federal court litigants to use them, cases throughout the year further highlighted the importance of securing these orders. Magistrate Judge Waxse enforced a Rule 502(d) order over the objection of the party that originally requested it in Rajala v. McGuire Woods, LLP, 08-2638 (D. Kan. Jan. 3, 2013). Earlier in the case, the defendant moved for a protective order that contained a clawback provision pursuant to Rule 502(d). Magistrate Judge Waxse entered the order which included language stating that “[t]he inadvertent disclosure or production of any information or document that is subject to an objection on the basis of attorney-client …
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