The Week in Privacy – September 18, 2009

Privacy Groups Concerned Over Proposed HIPPA Data Breech Implementation

ComputerWorld reports: “Privacy and civil rights advocates accused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of trying to neuter a landmark data breach notification law for health care organizations that is scheduled to go into effect next week. The law would require any organization covered under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to notify patients of a data breach involving their personal health information.”  Harley Geiger of the Center for Democracy & Technology blogged, “Unfortunately, however, HHS packed an overly broad and unreliable standard in with the good ones: the “harm standard.”


Young Lawyers Aren’t Always Private with their Views

The New York Times reports on the case of an attorney in Florida, “Sean Conway was steamed at a Fort Lauderdale judge, so he did what millions of angry people do these days: he blogged about her, saying she was an “Evil, Unfair Witch.”  But Mr. Conway is a lawyer. And unlike millions of other online hotheads, he found himself hauled up before the Florida bar, which in April issued a reprimand and a fine for his intemperate blog post. Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics at New York University Law School, sees many more missteps in the future, as young people who grew up with Facebook and other social media enter a profession governed by centuries of legal tradition. “Twenty-somethings have a much-reduced sense of personal privacy,”


Facebook Fights Virginia’s Demand for User Data
CNET reports on the end to what was shaping up to be an important test case on social network privacy. 
Declan McCullagh writes, “The state of Virginia has backed away from its attempts to force Facebook to divulge the complete contents of a user's account to settle a dispute over workers' compensation, narrowly avoiding what promised to be a high-profile privacy battle in federal court. On Monday, the Virginia's Workers Compensation Commission said it was no longer going to levy a $200-a-day fine on the social-networking site for refusing to comply with a subpoena from an airline that previously employed a flight attendant named Shana Hensley.


FTC to Host Public Policy Roundtables on Privacy
The FCC website
posted this notice on Monday: “The Federal Trade Commission will host a series of day-long public roundtable discussions to explore the privacy challenges posed by the vast array of 21st century technology and business practices that collect and use consumer data. Such practices include social networking, cloud computing, online behavioral advertising, mobile marketing, and the collection and use of information by retailers, data brokers, third-party applications, and other diverse businesses. The goal of the roundtables is to determine how best to protect consumer privacy while supporting beneficial uses of the information and technological innovation.”

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