Websites and apps breach children’s privacy

As the usage of apps and websites by kids increases, new conversations about children’s privacy must occur. The Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) did a recent study in which it found that of the 1,494 websites and apps samples, 41 percent compromised children’s privacy.

The data, collected form 29 protection regulators worldwide, found that 67 percent of the websites collected information from kids, and only 31 percent of sites had any controls to limit collection.

Many of the websites very popular with kids did have statements in their privacy policies indicating that the website was not intended for children. However, these websites generally did not have any further controls to prevent the collection of personal data. Of the total sample, 22 percent of sites had a category for kids to input phone numbers, and 23 percent had a place to upload photos or videos.

Furthermore, children’s information isn’t always contained on the original site. Kids were given the opportunity to be redirected to another site on 58 percent of sites; 50 percent of sites shared personal information with third parties.

Despite the holes in website security found, some websites did use recommended precautions like parental dashboards, pre-set avatars and usernames, just-in-time warnings before info is submitted, and chat filters.

Adam Stevens, the head of UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, says that the ICO will be contacting problematic websites and apps, “making clear the changes we expect them to make. We wouldn’t rule out enforcement action in this area if required.”

Article via LegalTech News, September 3, 2015

Photo: Misi with a Phone via Balazs Koren [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Responding to online complaints lands a lawyer an 18 month suspension

 James C. Underhill Jr., an attorney in Colorado, has found himself in hot water after a fee dispute with clients went wrong.
A married couple that retained the lawyer’s services claimed that the fee collection that Mr. Underhill enforced was not what they had all verbally agreed to. When Mr. Underhill insisted on this new structure of payment, the couple left the lawyer and posted negative reviews for him on a review site.

Instead of taking it in stride, or countering the negative reviews with positive ones, Mr. Underhill struck back. As their lawyer, Mr. Underhill was privy to private conversations and information over the course of representing the couple. He used this information to publicly shame the couple in postings on the internet. He then sued the couple for defamation. When he lost his first suit, he waged a second one claiming that the couple had made other defamatory complaints about him on the internet.

This case(the full decision is posted at the end of the article here) has brought up how the law is affected by technology in a variety of ways. If a client had made a complaint 30 years ago, Mr. Underhill would have been able to expose attorney client information at the state bar. This has been allowed because attorneys must be able to protect their reputation. 30 years ago, this couple’s only way to lodge a complaint would have been by going to the state bar. Now, the result for Mr. Underhill is an 18 month suspension.

In these times, the internet offers a much quicker and more effective way of getting a complaint noticed. The law, unfortunately, has just not caught up with technology yet. In the meantime, lawyers will have to walk a fine line. They must recognize that although they will be judged in a more traditional setting, they have to operate in a world optimized for communication that the law is not able to regulate with the same veracity.

Article via AboveTheLaw, 8 September 2015

Photo: Night Work via Thomas Heylan[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]