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MoFo Tech A blog dedicated to information, trend spotting & analysis for science- & tech-based companies

Category Archives: Privacy + Data Security

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Wiped Out

If you thought Google was the only organization affected by the European Court of Justice’s May decision honoring a Spanish man’s right to have a newspaper story about him erased from its search rankings, you’d be wrong. In fact, following the court’s reasoning, other companies with European operations that republish third-party content—including databases, content aggregators,… Continue Reading

Entangled in the Web of Things

By finding new uses for data, the Internet of Things heralds a host of challenges Within a decade, analysts say, the “Internet of Things” will have transformed our lives. Billions of Internet-connected devices will monitor our homes, businesses, cars, and even our bodies, using the data to manage everything from appliances to heart monitors. Companies… Continue Reading

A Smart Wallet

The Potential for mobile payments is huge. So are the potential legal and regulatory hurdles. Banks, retailers, and pundits are paying a lot of attention to mobile payments, which typically involve the use of smartphones and tablets to pay for purchases.  But a lack of mobile infrastructure has kept the use of mobile payments fairly low… Continue Reading

All That Glitters

Getting what you pay for—and then some More companies looking to keep pace with the fast-changing mobile market are busily buying up app developers. Google spent almost $1 billion in June to acquire traffic app developer Waze. Apptopia is a growing online marketplace for the buying and selling of rights to apps. But companies should… Continue Reading

Mobile Apps: No Surprises, Please

Widely applicable rules regarding consumer privacy disclosures in our increasingly mobile world are only now emerging. Government agencies, individual states, and professional associations are all weighing in on how mobile app developers should disclose how they collect, store, use, and protect the wide range of highly personal data being collected every day. The Application Privacy, Protection,… Continue Reading

Telemarketing? Try Tweeting

The FCC’s revised rules for telemarketers and text marketers, taking effect in October, could signal a big shift in how companies direct market, posits Julie O’Neill, a Morrison & Foerster attorney specializing in privacy issues.  One section prohibits the use of an autodialer to call or text cell phones for marketing purposes, unless the caller… Continue Reading

Stop the Revolt: Retailers can use customer data without sparking privacy concerns

Seventy percent of Americans participate in at least one customer-loyalty program, according to a July 2012 survey by Polaris Marketing Research. Most of those shoppers are happy to give up personal information in exchange for discounts and special offers. But as retailers grab more data, will customers revolt? That depends on how retailers approach data… Continue Reading

The FCC Defends an “Open Internet”

Much of the glamour of technology today rests on the amazing things one can do on the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission plays a big role in deciding how affordable and accessible those wonders will be for Americans. Case in point: Internet service providers are imposing usage caps and pricing tiers based on the amount… Continue Reading

Here Come the Feds

What President Obama’s second term means for the tech industry As the first president to appoint a chief technology officer, President Obama has worked hard to portray himself as a friend to the tech industry. He’s supported the expansion of broadband access, development of a fourth-generation wireless network, new healthcare IT initiatives, and a modernized electrical… Continue Reading

Think You’re Not Covered by HIPAA? Think Again.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently amended the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations (“HIPAA Rules”) in a way that may make many companies, particularly those in the technology sector, “Business Associates” and subject to many HIPAA requirements. This change, coupled with new enforcement powers for HHS, should make HIPAA a top-of-mind… Continue Reading

Cookie Monster

When it comes to venue, cookie cases are anything but cookie-cutter Marketers have an insatiable interest to know more about their customers, and the “cookies” they plant in those customers’ computers reveal much of what they need to know. The result has been more focused marketing and more personalized ads, but this tracking has also… Continue Reading

Bring Your Own Hassles

How to manage the explosion of employee-owned devices Time was, organizations provided employees with the computer hardware they needed for their jobs. Today, many workers prefer to use the same device for business and personal use. Organizations have signed on to accommodate employee demand, but also in the hope of saving IT costs. But “Bring… Continue Reading

Internal Investigations: Best Practices

An internal investigation is any effort to gather and analyze facts to help make a decision. Morrison & Foerster managing partner Craig Martin has overseen more than a dozen such efforts. His advice: Understand the purpose of the investigation and how you will use the findings before you start. Reassess scope as the investigation proceeds. … Continue Reading

Re Advertising: Public Input on Online Privacy

In late February the Obama administration unveiled a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights,” drawn up by a U.S. Department of Commerce task force, based on principles including individual control, transparency, respect for context, and security. This Thursday, July 12th, the Department of Commerce will bring together companies, privacy advocates, academics, and other stakeholders in the… Continue Reading

Rolling in the Deep: Piracy might get the headlines, but industry problems—and solutions—run much deeper

Shortly after the rude arrival of Napster, the pioneering peer-to-peer file-sharing site, in 1999, this uninvited guest was eating the music industry’s lunch and eyeing its supper too.  Within a year, Napster could offer Madonna’s single, “Music,” even before its commercial release, and by 2001 it had more than 26 million users worldwide.  Adverse court… Continue Reading

Informed Advertisers: How to disclose information online and on mobile platforms

Issued in 2000, the Federal Trade Commission’s “Dot Com Disclosures” document helps online businesses avoid deception with guidance on how to disclose “in a clear and conspicuous way” information material to any form of consumer interaction with its products or services. As D. Reed Freeman, Jr., a Morrison & Foerster partner focused on consumer protection… Continue Reading

When will mobile payments finally make it to the U.S.?

In some parts of the world, paying for items with your smartphone is old news. But when will mobile payments come stateside? That depends on how broadly you define m-commerce. “Anything you can do online with your laptop”—buy products, check bank accounts—“people will increasingly do over their mobile phones,” says Nick Holland, senior analyst with… Continue Reading