New Media and Technology Law Blog

Category Archives: Mobile

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SEC Brings First Enforcement Action Against Alternative Data Provider

On September 14, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a settled securities fraud action against App Annie Inc., one of the largest sellers of market data on how apps on mobile devices are performing, and its co-founder and former CEO and Chairman Bertrand Schmitt.  The settlement is the first enforcement action brought by the … Continue Reading

Settlement in Plaid Fintech Data Case

On August 5, 2021, a proposed class action settlement was reached in the closely-watched privacy action against fintech services company Plaid Inc. (“Plaid”).  The settlement features a $58 million settlement fund and certain injunctive relief that would make changes to Plaid’s methods of notice and consumer data collection, including provisions requiring the deletion of certain … Continue Reading

Some Interesting CDA Section 230 Developments: A Novel FCRA Victory, a Negligent Design Exception and a Startling New State Law

In the past month, there have been some notable developments surrounding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA” or “Section 230”) beyond the ongoing debate in Congress over the potential for legislative reform. These include a novel application of CDA in a FCRA online privacy case (Henderson v. The Source for Public Data, No. … Continue Reading

Plaid Federal Electronic Surveillance Claims Dropped, Privacy Claims Survive

On April 30, 2021 a California district court trimmed various federal privacy-related claims, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) claim, from a highly-visible, ongoing putative class action against fintech services company Plaid Inc. (“Plaid”), but allowed other state law privacy claims to go forward.  The lawsuit involves Plaid’s alleged collection and use of … Continue Reading

Landmark Fair Use Victory at the Supreme Court in Software Case

In a narrowly drawn, yet significant decision, the Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit and ruled that Google LLC’s (“Google”) copying of some of the Sun Java Application Programming Interface (API) declaring code was a fair use as a matter of law, ending Oracle America Inc.’s (“Oracle”) infringement claims over Google’s use of portions of … Continue Reading

Mobile App Platform Entitled to CDA Immunity over State Law Claims Related to In-App Purchases of Loot Boxes

Happy Silver Anniversary to Section 230 of Communications Decency Act (“CDA” or “Section 230”), which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in February 1996. At that time, Congress enacted CDA Section 230 in response to case law that raised the specter of liability for any online service provider that attempted to moderate its … Continue Reading

Mobile Platforms to Block Data Broker from Collecting User Location Data

On December 9, 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple and Google will block the data broker X-Mode Social Inc. (“X-Mode”) from collecting location data from iPhone and Android users. Apple and Google have reportedly informed app developers to remove the X-Mode social tracking SDK from all of their apps within a short period … Continue Reading

Thoughtful Presentations of Terms of Use Crucial for Enforceability

Many online services feature comprehensive terms of use intended to protect their business from various types of risks.  While it is often the case that a great deal of thought goes into the creation of those terms, frequently less attention is paid to how those terms are actually presented to users of the service. As … Continue Reading

Financial Data Aggregator Faces Consumer Privacy Suit over “Surreptitious” Collection of Banking Information

Last week, a putative privacy-related class action was filed in California district court against financial analytics firm Envestnet, Inc. (“Envestnet”), which operates Yodlee, Inc. (“Yodlee”). (Wesch v. Yodlee Inc., No. 20-05991 (N.D. Cal. filed Aug. 25, 2020)). According to the complaint, Yodlee is one of the largest financial data aggregators in the world and through … Continue Reading

Eclipsed by Evolving Law, Policy and Technology, Seminal Mobile Location Data Case Settled

This past week, the operator of the popular Weather Channel (“TWC”) mobile phone app entered into a Stipulation of Settlement with the Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer (“City Attorney”), closing the books on one of the first litigations to focus on the collection of locational data through mobile phones. (People v. TWC Product and … Continue Reading

Protecting Business Information Assets in the “Work From Home” Environment

This past March, many organizations were forced to suddenly pivot to a “work from home” environment (“WFH”) as COVID-19 spread across our country.  However, many companies did not have the necessary technical infrastructure in place to support their full workforce on a WFH basis.  Often, remote access systems were configured assuming only a portion of … Continue Reading

Facebook Brings Suit against Mobile Marketing Firm for Siphoning User Data without Authorization

In continuing its push to enforce its terms and policies against developers that engage in unauthorized collection or scraping of user data, Facebook brought suit last month against mobile marketing and data analytics firm OneAudience LLC. (Facebook, Inc. v. OneAudience LLC, No. 20-01461 (N.D. Cal. Complaint filed Feb. 27, 2020)). Facebook alleges that OneAudience harvested … Continue Reading

FCC Enforcement Coming over Alleged Privacy Violations for Disclosure of Consumers’ Geolocation Data

UPDATE: On February 28, 2020, the FCC proposed over $200M in fines against the wireless carriers.   On January 31st, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai transmitted a letter in response to a prior inquiry from a number of House members regarding the status of the Commission’s investigation into reports that the major wireless carriers were allegedly … Continue Reading

Members of Congress Request FTC Investigation of Financial Data Company’s Collection and Privacy Practices

Last week, Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo sent a letter to FTC Chairman Joseph J. Simons urging the agency to investigate whether analytics firm Envestnet, Inc. (which operates Yodlee) was violating the FTC Act. According to the letter, Yodlee is the largest consumer financial data aggregator in the United … Continue Reading

Finding Article III Standing, Ninth Circuit Declines to Do an About-Face in Illinois Biometric Privacy Class Action against Facebook

In an important opinion, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling that plaintiffs in the ongoing Facebook biometric privacy class action have alleged a concrete injury-in-fact to confer Article III standing and that the class was properly certified. (Patel v. Facebook, Inc., No. 18-15982 (9th Cir. Aug. 8, 2019)). Given the California district court’s … Continue Reading

Digital Currency App’s Electronic User Agreement Held Enforceable

In a recent blog post, we wrote about how the Second Circuit found the arbitration clause in a web service’s terms and conditions unenforceable because the user did not have reasonable notice of the terms that were communicated via a hyperlink in a post-sale email. In contrast, a New York district court recently upheld an … Continue Reading

City Attorney of Los Angeles Sues Popular Weather App Claiming Deceptive Collection and Sharing of Geolocation Data

Yesterday, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed an unfair competition lawsuit on behalf of the People of the State of California against the operator of the popular Weather Channel app (“TWC app”) for allegedly failing to conspicuously disclose to users that the TWC app collects and shares users’ mobile geolocation data. (People v. TWC … Continue Reading

Locational Tracking on iOS and Android Devices: Check the Platform’s Rules!

This post discusses some of the contractual requirements imposed by Apple and Google regarding the collection and sharing of locational information.  What consents, if any, do Apple and Google require that app publishers obtain before collecting and using locational information?  This is a question that is being asked with increasing frequency.  In fact, a regular … Continue Reading

WSJ Article on Geolocation Data Highlights Risks for Fund Managers

Last week the WSJ published an article detailing how companies are monetizing smartphone location data by selling it to hedge fund clients.  The data vendor featured in the WSJ article obtains geolocation data from about 1,000 apps that fund managers use to predict trends involving public companies.  However, as we’ve noted, the use of alternative … Continue Reading

New York State Court Declines to Compel Arbitration, Cites Purported Ambiguities in Mobile Contracting Process

Courts are increasingly taking a magnifying glass to electronic contracting processes, particularly how the presentation of the terms of service and call to action are displayed.  As such, companies might take a second look at their own user registration and e-commerce purchase processes to ensure they offer reasonably conspicuous notice of the existence of contract … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Again Reverses California Court in Oracle-Google Copyright Dispute over Java APIs – Releases a Major Ruling on Fair Use in the Software Context

In this long-running dispute that has been previously dubbed “The World Series of IP cases” by the presiding judge, Oracle America Inc. (“Oracle”) accuses Google Inc. (“Google”) of unauthorized use of some of its Java-related copyrights in Google’s Android software platform. Specifically, Oracle alleges that Google infringed the declaring code of certain Java API packages … Continue Reading

Google App Disables Art-Selfie Biometric Comparison Tool in Illinois and Texas

We have been closely following the legal and legislative developments relating to biometric privacy, and in particular, the flow of litigation under the Illinois biometrics privacy law.   It was interesting to see how the Illinois law (as well as a similar Texas law) influenced Google’s  offering of a new facial recognition feature on the Google … Continue Reading

Apple X’s Face ID Feature Places Spotlight on Facial Recognition Technology, Raising Numerous Mobile Privacy and Data Usage Issues

This week’s Apple X announcement was not more than a few hours old, and the questions began to come in. Apple’s introduction of Face ID facial recognition on its new phone – although already available in some form on several Android phones – generated curiosity, concerns and creativity.  Unfortunately, the details about specifically how the … Continue Reading
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