Social Media Law Roundup: You Should Know This

For your reference, here’s a diverse reading list of recent law-related Social Media commentary posted on JD Supra:

FTC Initiates First Enforcement Action for Sending Commercial Text Messages (by Loeb & Loeb LLP):

“The FTC alleged that many of the recipients of Flora’s text messages had registered their mobile phone numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry, few if any had consented to receive messages from Flora, and many were charged a fee for receiving the messages. In addition, the text messages directed consumers to a website containing “gov” in the domain name that touted itself as the “Official Home Loan Modification and Audit Assistance Information” beneath a graphic of the U.S. flag. The FTC also alleged that when a consumer responded to the text messages, often to opt-out of receiving any more from Flora, Flora recorded the consumer’s mobile telephone number and sold it to other marketers as debt assistance leads…” Read complete update»

[Also see on this subject: Direct Marketers Take Note: FTC Announces First Action Targeting the Delivery of Text Messages by Morrison & Foerster]

Why Social Media Activity May Mean Updating Your Insurance Coverage (by Sheppard Mullin):

“Whether or not an insurance policy will provide coverage or a duty to defend depends on the facts of a particular case. However, companies can do something to increase their chances of being protected. First, companies can identify the ways in which they have a greater risk of being sued for doing business on social networking sites and Web 2.0. These claims include: (1) Invasion of privacy; (2) Privacy breaches through the leaking of credit card or other personal information (e.g. hacking, unauthorized internal access or inadvertent disclosure); (3) Copyright and trademark liability as it relates to online text, videos, cartoons, photographs; and (4) Defamation…” Read complete analysis»

Socially Aware – The Social Media Law Update – Volume 2, Issue 1 (by Morrison & Foerster LLP):

“In this issue: Online Safe Harbor Immunity Extends to Forwarded Email Messages; NLRB’s “Facebook Firing” Case Settles; The More Things Change: Regulated Financial Firms in the Age of Social Media; Facebook Modifies Its “Friend Finder” Function to Accommodate Hamburg’s Data Protection Authority; Stormy Weather: Legal Ethics and Cloud Computing; Facebook Revamps Its Promotions Guidelines; Like It or Not? Facebook Allows Advertisers to Republish User Posts as Ads…” Read complete update»

Protecting Trade Secrets Through Employee Surveillance: Risky Business (by Fisher & Phillips LLP):

“With recent (and not so recent) advances in technology, employers have substantial means at their disposal to monitor their employees’ conduct and communications. Available options range from reviewing employees’ email communications and computer usage to monitoring telephone discussions. In general, these tactics are lawful unless specifically prohibited by statute or the employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy under the circumstances…” Read complete analysis»

–  U.S. Social Networks Will Face EU Privacy Rules (by Gregory Bufithis/Project Counsel):

“Websites including Google and Facebook that operate from the U.S. but which target consumers in Europe will be bound to follow tighter EU privacy and data protection rules being drawn up by the European Union, said Viviane Reding, the EU justice commissioner.

Speaking at “Privacy Platform 2011 in Brussels — and in an apparent reference to Facebook — Reding said during her speech that a US-based social network company that has millions of active users in Europe needs to comply with EU rules…” Read complete analysis»

Is FTC Action Needed Against Pricey Apps? (by Ifrah Law):

“In early February, Rep. Edward Markey and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Mark Pryor wrote to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz expressing concern over the ease with which children can rack up real dollars playing games on the Apple iPhone and iPad. The letters were sent after The Washington Post published an article on Apple’s in-app purchase system, which offers many apps for free download that subsequently charge for actions within the application. The big charging culprits are children’s games, such as Smurf’s Village and Tap Zoo. The article provided some fairly egregious examples of children charging hundreds of dollars to their parents’ iTunes accounts to decorate their virtual Smurf gardens and homes with not-so-virtual pricey smurfberries and the like…” Read complete analysis»

Will the Outcome of the Net Neutrality Debate Derail the Cloud Computing Train? (by Winthrop & Weinstine);

“Framing the Net Neutrality debate with the First Amendment is probably overreaching. We all have the fundamental right to free speech, but not the fundamental right to Internet access. Like a road, we all pay taxes to have access to it, why should the information super highway be any different. But regardless of how the Net Neutrality debate comes out, the cloud computing trend most likely will not be derailed. As consumers, if we have to, we’ll just learn to pay a little more for the benefits that cloud computing affords us…” Read complete analysis»

Federal Trade Commission Announces Settlement In Online Behavioral Advertising Case: Mandates Use of “In Ad” Disclosure (by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati):

“According to the FTC’s complaint, for more than a year and a half, the opt-out cookies Chitika delivered were set to expire after ten days, a fact that was not disclosed to consumers. The FTC concluded that the practice of an opt-out that did not last for a reasonable period of time rendered the privacy policy statements regarding the consumer’s ability to opt out to be false or misleading…” Read complete analysis»

[Also see on this subject: FTC Takes A Bite Out Of Cookie-Based Behavioral Advertising by Bryan Cave]

You Can’t Say That! The Danger of Overbroad Social Media Policies (by Kim Licata, Poyner Spruill):

“Social media use is exploding and the prevailing attitude of users seems to be “post now, think later.” In this climate, employers undoubtedly should develop and implement policies to protect their reputation and brand in the marketplace. But, like their employees posting online, if employers go too far in their statements they may face unforeseen consequences. Recent complaints filed by the National Labor Relations Board teach employers to be careful when employee rights to discuss working conditions, wages, or hours are involved…” Read complete analysis»

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