Reasonable Expectation Legal Blog Focusing On Privacy and Data Security Issues


Obama’s new cybersecurity plan a good start

I recently authored an article for the Daily Journal on the new cybersecurity framework.  You can read about it by visiting the Daily Journal.



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Past vs. Present



We take for granted the affect technology has on our daily lives.  This comic offers an interesting (and humorous)  perspective on how society changed.

source: Doghouse Diaries




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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds that ZIP Codes Constitute “Personal Identification Information”

On March 11, 2013, in Melissa Tyler v. Michaels Stores, Inc., the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC"), in responding to three certified questions from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, held: (1) ZIP Codes constitute personal identification information ("PII"); (2) a person may bring an action under General Laws, chapter 93, section 105(a) absent identity fraud; and (3) the term "credit card transaction form" "refers equally to electronic and paper transaction forms." The questions arose out of a class action lawsuit against Michaels for allegedly requesting and recording its credit card customers' ZIP Codes in violation of Section 105(a). This decision has parallels to the California Supreme Court decision in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc. In Pineda, the California Supreme Court held that ZIP Codes were PII under California's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act, Civil Code section 1747.08.

Source: Cooley Alert

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Officials Delay Enforcement of Two HIPAA Operating Rules

On Wednesday, CMS announced that it has delayed the enforcement date for the first two operating rules for HIPAA transaction standards, AHA News reports (AHA News, 1/3).

CMS said that its Jan. 1 compliance deadline for the operating rules remains intact, but it will not begin enforcing the rules until March 31 (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 1/4).

Read more:

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OCR Issues Guidance on the Use of De-Identified Health Information

Covered Entities and HIPAA practitioners should be aware that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has issued guidance about methods and approaches to achieve de-identification in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. The full text is available here:

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California Issues App Developer Noncompliance Notice

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has reportedly sent out notices warning as many as 100 mobile app developers that they must conspicuously post privacy policies within the next 30 days to be in compliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act, Bloomberg reports. The new state protocol requires mobile applications that collect personal data within the state to post a privacy policy stating what data is collected and how it will be used. Harris said, “We have worked hard to ensure that app developers are aware of their legal obligations to respect the privacy of Californians, but it is critical that we take all necessary steps to enforce California’s privacy laws.”

Source: IAPP Full Story


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Fan Sites for Pop Stars Settle Children’s Privacy Charges

The operator of fan Web sites for pop stars Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Demi Lovato agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty to settle federal charges that the

Artist Arena, a company that operates fan web sites for pop stars like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, agreed to settle federal charges that the sites had violated a children's privacy protection law. Source: New York Times

sites had illegally collected personal information about thousands of children, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.

Artist Arena, a company that operates fan web sites for pop stars like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, agreed to settle federal charges that the sites had violated a children's privacy protection law.

In a complaint, the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Artist Arena, the operator of the sites, had violated a children’s online privacy rule by collecting personal details — like the names, e-mail addresses, street addresses and cellphone numbers — of about 101,000 children aged 12 or younger without their parents’ permission.

The law, called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA for short, requires operators of Web sites to notify parents and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information about children younger than 13.

Source: New York Times

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California Starts Up a Privacy Enforcement Unit

Watch out, Silicon Valley, there’s a new startup in town and its gunning for you. California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced Thursday she’s created a unit intended to actually enforce federal and state privacy laws.

“The Privacy Unit will police the privacy practices of individuals and organizations to hold accountable those who misuse technology to invade the privacy of others,” California’s top attorney said in a statement.

The announcement of the unit, comprised of six attorneys, comes just months after Harris inked a February agreement with Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research in Motion to demand that mobile apps on their platforms contain privacy policies. Facebook signed on last month.

Source: Wired Threat Level

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OCR Director Leon Rodriguez Says Tolerance for HIPAA Non-Compliance Is Low

On June 7, 2012, at the annual Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance through HIPAA Security Conference hosted in Washington, D.C. by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”), OCR Director Leon Rodriguez said that, given HIPAA’s 15-year history and the substantial technical assistance OCR and NIST have provided covered entities, tolerance for HIPAA non-compliance is “much, much lower” than it has been in the past.

In his remarks, Director Rodriguez indicated that the final omnibus rule modifying the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules is “very close.” Director Rodriguez reiterated that the modifications will include extending HIPAA liability to business associates, but emphasized that business associates should not wait for the final rule to be enacted to focus on compliance. This is particularly true, according to Director Rodriguez, in light of the ability of state Attorneys General to enforce the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the “HITECH” Act), as evidenced by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson’s recent lawsuitagainst Accretive Health, a business associate that suffered a security breach compromising patient data. Director Rodriguez stated that he would not be surprised if other state Attorneys General began enforcing the HITECH Act in the business associate context.


Full Story



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Breaking News: Warrant Required for GPS Tracking

In the case of the Unitied States vs. Jones,  Supreme Court has held that a warrant is required prior to the use of GPS Used with Permission from FreeDigitalPhotos.nettracking.  Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, "We hold that the government’s installation of a G.P.S. device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a ‘search,’ ”



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