Posts tagged Litigation.
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In the latest evolution of lawsuits challenging technologies that track website users, California class action plaintiffs have begun to file under a new theory—the pen register and trap and trace device theory under Section 638.51 of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”).

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On December 14, 2023, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) issued its judgment in the case of VB v. Natsionalna agentsia za prihodite (C‑340/21), in which it clarified, among other things, the concept of non-material damage under Article 82 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and the rules governing burden of proof under the GDPR.

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On September 18, 2023, Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted NetChoice’s request for preliminary injunction in NetChoice v. Bonta, finding that NetChoice is likely to succeed on its claim that the California Age-Appropriate Design Code (“CA AADC”) violates the First Amendment. Specifically, the Court found that, as a speech restriction, the CA AADC would likely fail both strict scrutiny and a lesser standard of scrutiny. The preliminary injunction blocks the CA AADC from going into effect until the case is ...

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On August 31, 2023, NetChoice, a national trade association of large online businesses, filed supplemental briefing in its challenge to the California Age-Appropriate Design Code (“CA AADC”). The success or failure of NetChoice’s lawsuit will determine whether companies need to be CA AADC-compliant on July 1, 2024 when the law is anticipated to take effect.

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On January 3, 2023, an Illinois state court entered a preliminary approval order for a settlement of nearly $300,000 in a class action lawsuit against Whole Foods for claims that the company violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). The plaintiffs alleged that Whole Foods unlawfully collected voiceprints from employees who worked at the company’s distribution centers. 

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On December 20, 2022, a former employee in Illinois brought a class action suit against Five Guys Enterprises, LLC (“Five Guys”), a burger chain, alleging that Five Guys violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). 

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On November 30, 2022, the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois reversed and remanded a grant of summary judgement in favor of defendant, J&M Plating, Inc., for alleged violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). In Mora v. J&M Plating, Inc., the plaintiff claimed that J&M Plating had violated BIPA by collecting workers’ fingerprints without a proper data retention and destruction policy for biometric information.

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On November 14, 2022, Judge Edward J. Davila of the Northern District of California approved a $90 million privacy settlement against Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly Facebook, Inc.) for unlawfully tracking user information when users were logged out of the site. Under the order granting plaintiffs’ motion for final approval of the class action settlement and attorney fees, Facebook must pay $90 million dollars in settlements, of which $26.1 million will be for attorney fees, and delete certain “wrongfully collected” data. Despite numerous objections that the settlement ...

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On October 12, 2022, a federal jury found BNSF Railway, operator of one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America, violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) in the first ever BIPA case to go to trial. In Richard Rogers v. BNSF Railway Company (Case No. 19-C-3083, N.D. Ill.), truck drivers’ fingerprints were scanned for identity verification purposes when visiting BNSF rail yards to pick up and drop off loads. The jury found that BNSF recklessly or intentionally violated the law 45,600 times when it collected such fingerprint scans without written, informed permission or notice.

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On July 28, 2022, a federal judge approved TikTok’s $92 million class action settlement of various privacy claims made under state and federal law. The agreement will resolve litigation that began in 2019 and involved claims that TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) and the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”) by improperly harvesting users’ personal data. U.S. District Court Judge John Lee of the Northern District of Illinois also awarded approximately $29 million in fees to class counsel.

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On February 14, 2022, Noom Inc., a popular weight loss and fitness app, agreed to pay $56 million, and provide an additional $6 million in subscription credits to settle a putative class action in New York federal court. The class is seeking conditional certification and has urged the court to preliminarily approve the settlement.

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On February 14, 2022, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton brought suit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, over the company’s collection and use of biometric data. The suit alleges that Meta collected and used Texans’ facial geometry data in violation of the Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act (“CUBI”) and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“DTPA”). The lawsuit is significant because it represents the first time the Texas Attorney General’s Office has brought suit under CUBI.

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On January 24, 2022, a group of state attorneys general (Indiana, Texas, D.C. and Washington) (the “State AGs”) announced their commitment to ramp up enforcement work on “dark patterns” that are used to ascertain consumers’ location data. The State AGs created a plan to initiate lawsuits alleging that consumers of certain online services are falsely led to believe that they can prevent the collection of their location data by changing their account and device settings, when the online services do not, in fact, honor such settings. The State AGs have alleged that this practice constitutes a deceptive and unlawful trade practice under applicable state consumer protection law. The State AGs’ announcement highlights the underlying concern that consumers may be provided with a choice to opt out of location tracking but still have their location data made accessible to certain online service providers.

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On November 10, 2021, the UK Supreme Court issued its long-awaited judgment in the Lloyd v Google case. The decision is expected to make it difficult in practice for a future class action lawsuit that is brought on behalf of a class of individuals who have not actively opted in to being represented by the lead claimant to proceed under UK law.

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On September 17, 2021, in Tims v. Black Horse Carriers Inc., Ill. App. Ct., 1st Dist., No. 1-20-563, the Illinois Appellate Court, in a case of first impression at the appellate level, addressed the statute of limitations under the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), holding that a five-year period applies to BIPA claims that allege the failure to (1) provide notice of the collection of biometric data, (2) take care in storing or transmitting biometric data, or (3) develop a publicly-available retention and destruction schedule for biometric data. The Court also held that a one-year period applies to claims alleging the improper disclosure of, or improper sale, lease, trade or profit from, biometric data.

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On September 22, 2021, the Canadian province of Quebec enacted a new privacy law, which will impose obligations beyond what is currently required under Canada’s federal privacy law. Most of the new law’s requirements will take effect in September 2023, but some will take effect earlier (in 2022) or later (2024).

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On July 30, 2021, the UK High Court handed down its judgment in the case of Warren v DSG Retail Ltd [2021] EWHC 2168 (QB), determining that the claimant could not seek damages on the basis of misuse of personal information, breach of confidence or common law negligence following a data breach.

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On July 31, 2021, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (“Zoom” or the “Company”) agreed to pay $85 million to settle a class action suit that alleged the Company violated users’ privacy rights by misleading consumers about encryption security, sharing data through third-party integrations without adequate notice or consent, and failing to protect private meetings from being disturbed by “zoombombings.” Class members would be eligible to receive payment, regardless of whether they paid for a Zoom account.

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On July 22, 2021, a Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (the “Court”) ordered Rutter’s, a convenience-store chain, to produce an investigative report prepared by a security consultant regarding a suspected data breach event, as well as all communications between the party and the company performing the investigation. In the ruling, Rutter’s Data Sec Breach Litig, No. 1:20-cv-000382-JEJ-KM, the Court held that the report and related communications were not protected from disclosure by the work product doctrine or the attorney-client privilege.

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On July 6, 2021, it was reported that British Airways (“BA”), which is owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A, had settled a UK class action lawsuit relating to its 2018 data breach, in which approximately 430,000 data subjects were affected. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) previously fined BA £20 million for the same breach, after finding that BA had failed to process the personal data of its customers in a manner that ensured appropriate security, as required under Article 5(1)(f) and Article 32 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. This amount was significantly reduced from the ICO’s proposed fine of more than £183 million.

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On June 25, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez held in a 5-4 decision that certain members of a class action lawsuit, whose inaccurate credit reports were not provided to third parties, did not suffer a “concrete” injury sufficient to confer Article III standing. This case builds upon the Court’s 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, where the Court first addressed the concrete injury that must be suffered in order to have standing to bring suit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). Importantly, while Spokeo’s holding that a bare ...

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On May 25, 2021, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights handed down its judgement in the case of Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom, determining that the former surveillance regime in the UK violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”), i.e., the right to respect for private and family life.

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As reported on the Hunton Retail Law Blog, on April 26, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal on Article III standing grounds of a data breach class action predicated on an alleged increased risk of identity theft. McMorris v. Carlos Lopez & Assocs., LLC, No. 19-4310, 2021 WL 1603808 (2d Cir. Apr. 26, 2021). Notably, the district court that dismissed the action raised the issue of standing sua sponte in advance of a scheduled class settlement fairness hearing.

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As reported on the Hunton Retail Law Blog, on April 22, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in a highly-anticipated case, AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC, that the FTC cannot seek or obtain equitable monetary relief pursuant to §13(b) of the FTC Act.

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On April 9, 2021, the First-Tier Tribunal of the General Regulatory Chamber stayed proceedings in Ticketmaster UK Limited’s (“Ticketmaster’s”) appeal against a fine issued by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) until 28 days after a judgment in civil litigation brought by 795 customers against Ticketmaster. The group action, which relates to the breach for which Ticketmaster was fined by the ICO, is currently before the High Court in England. As a result of the stay in proceedings, the appeal likely will not be heard before the Tribunal until mid to late 2023.

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On April 1, 2021, California’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state’s prohibition on recording calls without consent applies to parties on the call and not just third-party eavesdroppers. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye wrote that California’s penal code “prohibits parties as well as nonparties from intentionally recording a communication transmitted between a cellular or cordless phone and another device without the consent of all parties to the communication.”

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On April 1, 2021, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid et al., No. 19-511 (Apr. 1, 2021).  At issue in Facebook, was the question of what technology constitutes an “automatic telephone dialing system” (“ATDS”) within the meaning of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. §227 et seq (“TCPA”). The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision is a huge win for companies who communicate with their consumers by telephone/text message.

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The recent UK case of Soriano v Forensic News and Others tested the territorial reach of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and represents the first UK judgment dealing with the territorial scope of the GDPR. This was a “service out” case, where the claimant, Walter T. Soriano, sought the Court’s permission under the UK Civil Procedure Rules to serve proceedings on the defendants, who were all domiciled in the U.S.

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On January 12, 2021, in Wengui v. Clark Hill, PLC, et al., the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected a law firm defendant’s assertions of the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine for forensic reporting and other related information associated with its outside counsel’s data breach investigation.

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On November 26, 2020, the Belgian Data Protection Authority (“Belgian DPA”) signed a cooperation agreement with DNS Belgium, the organization managing the “.be” country code top-level domain name. The purpose of the cooperation agreement is to allow DNS Belgium to suspend “.be” websites that are linked to infringements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”).

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On November 12, 2020, Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois rejected Apple Inc.’s (“Apple’s”) motion to dismiss a class action alleging its facial recognition software violates Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). Judge Rosenstengel agreed with Apple, however, that the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over portions of the complaint.

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Earlier this year, The Retail Equation, a loss prevention service provider, and Sephora were hit with a class action lawsuit in which the plaintiff claimed Sephora improperly shared consumer data with The Retail Equation without consumers’ knowledge or consent. The plaintiff claimed The Retail Equation did so to generate risk scores that allegedly were “used as a pretext to advise Sephora that attempted product returns and exchanges are fraudulent and abusive.”

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On June 16, 2020, the Litigation Chamber of the Belgian Data Protection Authority (the “Belgian DPA”) imposed a fine on a company (the “defendant”) for unlawful and incorrect processing of personal data and non-compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation’s (the “GDPR”) data subject rights provisions.

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Last month, in In re: Capital One Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, E.D. Va., No. 1:19-md-02915, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Anderson (the “Judge”) ordered Capital One Financial Corp. (“Capital One”) to disclose a forensic report to the plaintiffs in a lawsuit stemming from Capital One’s 2019 data breach. In doing so, the Judge rejected Capital One’s argument that the report is protected from disclosure to the plaintiffs by the work product doctrine.

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On June 9, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced a proposed $225 million fine, the largest in the history of the FCC, against several individuals for telemarketing violations.

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On April 2, 2020, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP will host a webinar on the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”): The CCPA Is Here—Are You Litigation-Ready? Most companies have now developed a framework for compliance with the CCPA. Having a compliance program in place is critical, and that includes preparing for the inevitable onslaught of class action litigation that is coming.

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The meaning of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (“ATDS”) as defined by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) has been hotly contested since the D.C. Circuit invalidated the prior Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rulings interpreting the TCPA in 2018. The Ninth Circuit has held that merely calling numbers from a stored list is sufficient to meet the definition of an ATDS, while the Third Circuit has at least indicated that the ability to generate numbers randomly or sequentially is the defining characteristic.

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As previously posted on our Hunton Insurance Recovery blog, a Maryland federal court awarded summary judgment to policyholder National Ink in National Ink and Stitch, LLC v. State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Company, finding coverage for a cyber attack under a non-cyber insurance policy after the insured’s server and networked computer system were damaged as a result of a ransomware attack. This is significant because it demonstrates that insureds can obtain insurance coverage for cyber attacks even if they do not have a specific cyber insurance policy.

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Facebook disclosed on January 29, 2020, that it has agreed to pay $550,000,000 to resolve a biometric privacy class action filed by Illinois users under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). BIPA is an Illinois law enacted in 2008 that governs the collection, use, sharing, protection and retention of biometric information. In recent years, numerous class action lawsuits have been filed under BIPA seeking statutory damages ranging from $1,000 per negligent violation to $5,000 per reckless or intentional violation.

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On October 2, 2019, the UK Court of Appeal handed down its judgment on the appeal in Richard Lloyd v. Google LLC, in which Richard Lloyd, a consumer protection advocate, seeks to bring a representative action on behalf of four million Apple iPhone users against Google LLC in the United States. Previously, the High Court had refused to grant permission for the proceedings to be served outside the UK. The Court of Appeal reversed the High Court’s judgment, granting permission for service outside the UK and allowing the representative action to proceed. The judgment is significant as it paves the way for representative actions (equivalent to class actions) for data protection infringements in the UK.

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California marked the end of the 2019 legislative session this past Friday, September 13, by passing five out of six pending bills to amend the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”). The bills – AB-25, AB-874, AB-1146, AB-1355 and AB-1564 – now head to California Governor Newsom’s desk for signature, which must occur by October 13 for the bills to be signed into law. The only pending bill not to pass was AB-846, which would have addressed the law’s application to customer loyalty programs; it was ordered to the inactive file at the request of Senator Jackson.

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On August 8, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed a class action brought by Illinois residents to proceed against Facebook under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) (740 ICLS 14/1, et seq.).

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On June 14, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Facebook, holding that the company did not violate the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) (740 ICLS ¶¶ 15, 20).

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On June 14, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it has taken action against a number of companies that allegedly misrepresented their compliance with the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield frameworks (collectively, the “Privacy Shield”) and other international privacy agreements.

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich recently announced a settlement with healthcare software provider Medical Informatics Engineering Inc. (“MIE”) and its wholly owned subsidiary NoMoreClipboard, LLC. The settlement resolves a multistate litigation arising out of a May 2015 data breach in which hackers infiltrated WebChart, a web application run by MIE, and stole the electronic Protected Health Information (“ePHI”) of over 3.9 million individuals. Arizona and 15 other states (the “Multistate AGs”) filed the suit in December 2018, asserting claims under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (“HIPAA”) as well as various applicable state data protection laws. Notably, the lawsuit was the first-ever multistate litigation alleging claims under HIPAA.

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On May 28, 2019, a federal jury returned a verdict awarding $1,000 to each of the roughly 68,000 class members whose criminal history was made publicly available online. The jury found that Bucks County willfully violated Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Records Information Act (“CHRIA”) and awarded the statutory minimum to each of the class members. As a result, Bucks County could pay up to $68 million in punitive damages.

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On October 22, 2018, the UK Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision that VM Morrison Supermarkets PLC (“Morrisons”) was vicariously liable for a data breach caused by a disgruntled former employee, despite Morrisons being cleared of any wrongdoing (VM Morrison Supermarkets PLC v Various Claimants). The case is important, given its potential “floodgate” effect on data breach class action claims in the UK. The Supreme Court has granted Morrisons permission to appeal the judgment on all grounds.

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The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that an allegation of “actual injury or adverse effect” is not required to establish standing to sue under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14 (“BIPA”). This post discusses the importance of the ruling to current and future BIPA litigation.

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As we previously reported in February 2017, an Illinois federal judge denied a motion to dismiss two complaints brought under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14 (“BIPA”) by individuals who alleged that Google captured, without plaintiff’s consent, biometric data from facial scans of images that were uploaded onto Google Photos. The cases subsequently were consolidated, and on December 29, 2018, the Northern District of Illinois dismissed the case on standing grounds, finding that despite the existence of statutory standing under BIPA, neither plaintiff had claimed any injury that would support Article III standing.

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On November 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that a putative class action filed against UPMC (d/b/a The University of Pittsburg Medical Center) should not have been dismissed.

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On November 20, 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could shape future litigation under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). BIPA requires companies to (i) provide prior written notice to individuals that their biometric data will be collected and the purpose for such collection, (ii) obtain a written release from individuals before collecting their biometric data and (iii) develop a publicly available policy that sets forth a retention schedule and guidelines for deletion once the biometric data is no longer used for the purpose for which it was collected (but for no more than three years after collection). BIPA also prohibits companies from selling, leasing or trading biometric data.

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On October 23, 2018, the parties in the Yahoo! Inc. (“Yahoo!”) Customer Data Security Breach Litigation pending in the Northern District of California and the parties in the related litigation pending in California state court filed a motion seeking preliminary approval of a settlement related to breaches of the company’s data. These breaches were announced from September 2016 to October 2017 and collectively impacted approximately 3 billion user accounts worldwide. In June 2017, Yahoo! and Verizon Communications Inc. had completed an asset sale transaction, pursuant to which Yahoo! became Altaba Inc. (“Altaba”) and Yahoo!’s previously operating business became Oath Holdings Inc. (“Oath”). Altaba and Oath have each agreed to be responsible for 50 percent of the settlement.

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On September 26, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ("the Court") refused to dismiss all putative class claims against Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (“Chipotle”). This litigation arose from a 2017 data breach in which hackers stole customers’ payment card and other personal information by using malicious software to access the point-of-sale systems at Chipotle’s locations. 

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On September 5, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California held that a class action arising from a 2016 Uber Technologies Inc. (“Uber”) data breach must proceed to arbitration. The case was initially filed after a 2016 data breach that affected approximately 600,000 Uber drivers and 57 million Uber customers. 

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On August 28, 2018, plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Nielsen Holdings PLC ("Nielsen") and some of its officers and directors for making allegedly materially false and misleading statements to investors about the impact of privacy regulations and third-party business partners’ privacy policies on the company’s revenues and earnings. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

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Recently, the Sixth Circuit rejected Travelers Casualty & Surety Company’s request for reconsideration of the court’s July 13, 2018, decision confirming that the insured’s transfer of more than $800,000 to a fraudster after receipt of spoofed emails was a “direct” loss that was “directly caused by” the use of a computer under the terms of American Tooling Company’s ("ATC's") crime policy. In doing so, the court likewise confirmed that intervening steps by the insured, such as following the directions contained in the bogus emails, did not break the causal chain ...

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As reported on Hunton's Insurance Recovery blog, the Second Circuit has rejected Chubb subsidiary Federal Ins. Co.’s request for reconsideration of the court’s July 6, 2018, decision, confirming that the insurer must cover Medidata’s $4.8 million loss under its computer fraud insurance policy. In July, the court determined that the loss resulted directly from the fraudulent emails. The court again rejected the insurer’s argument that the fraudster did not directly access Medidata’s computer systems. But the court again rejected that argument, finding that access indeed occurred when the “spoofing” code in emails sent to Medidata employees ended up in Medidata’s computer system.

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On August 15, 2018, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh signed an order granting final approval of the record $115 million class action settlement agreed to by Anthem Inc. in June 2017. As previously reported, Judge Koh signed an order granting preliminary approval of the settlement in August 2017.

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On July 11, 2018, computer manufacturer Lenovo Group Ltd. (“Lenovo”) agreed to a proposed $8.3 million settlement in the hopes of resolving consumer class claims regarding pop-up ad software Lenovo pre-installed on its laptops. Lenovo issued a press release stating that, "while Lenovo disagrees with allegations contained in these complaints, we are pleased to bring this matter to a close after 2-1/2 years."

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On June 22, 2018, the United States Supreme Court held in Carpenter v. United States that law enforcement agencies must obtain a warrant supported by probable cause to obtain historical cell-site location information (“CSLI”) from third-party providers. The government argued in Carpenter that it could access historical CSLI through a court order alone under the Stored Communications Act (the “SCA”). Under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d), obtaining an SCA court order for stored records only requires the government to “offer specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds.” However, in a split 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant supported by probable cause to obtain historical CSLI.

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On March 8, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (“Ninth Circuit”) reversed a decision from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. The trial court found that one subclass of plaintiffs in In re Zappos.Com, Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, had not sufficiently alleged injury in fact to establish Article III standing. The opinion focused on consumers who did not allege that any fraudulent charges had been made using their identities, despite hackers accessing their names, account numbers, passwords, email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, telephone numbers, and credit and debit card information in a 2012 data breach. 

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On November 8, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ordered German defendants in an ongoing patent suit, BrightEdge Technologies, Inc. v. Searchmetrics GmbH, to produce a particular database, despite the defendants’ claims that such production would violate German privacy laws.

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Recent judicial interpretations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 740 ILCS 14, present potential litigation risks for retailers who employ biometric-capture technology, such as facial recognition, retina scan or fingerprint software. Federal judges in various district courts have allowed BIPA cases to move forward against companies such as Facebook, Google and Shutterfly, and retailers who use biometric data for security, loss prevention or marketing purposes may also become litigation targets as federal judges decline to narrow the statute’s applicability and additional states consider passing copycat statutes.

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Hunton & Williams LLP is pleased to announce that Lisa Sotto, chair of the firm’s top-ranked Global Privacy and Cybersecurity practice and managing partner of the firm’s New York office, has been selected as an arbitrator in connection with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework Binding Arbitration Program.

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Stephen Mathias of the law firm Kochhar & Co. reports from India that in a landmark judgment delivered in August 2017, the Supreme Court of India (“Court”) unanimously held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. The Court also delivered six separate concurring judgments, with the main judgment being delivered by four of the nine judges.

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On August 21, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action arising from the Scottrade data breach. Notably, however, the Eighth Circuit did not agree with the trial court’s ruling that the plaintiff lacked Article III standing, instead dismissing the case with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 

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On August 1, 2017, a unanimous three-judge panel for the D.C. Circuit reversed the dismissal of a putative data breach class action against health insurer CareFirst, Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., No. 16-7108, slip op. (D.C. Cir. Aug. 1, 2017), finding the risk of future injury was not too speculative to establish injury in fact under Article III. 

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On June 12, 2017, a putative class action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Tempur Sealy International, Inc. and Aptos, Inc. Tempur Sealy is a mattress, bedding and pillow retailer based in Lexington, Kentucky. Aptos is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and formerly hosted and maintained Tempur Sealy’s website and online payment system. The plaintiff alleges that the breach was discovered in November of 2016 and involved the exposure of payment card data and other PII of an undisclosed number of Tempur Sealy customers.   

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On June 13, 2017, Judge Andrea R. Wood of the Northern District of Illinois dismissed with prejudice a putative consumer class action filed against Barnes & Noble. The case was first filed after Barnes & Noble’s September 2012 announcement that “skimmers” had tampered with PIN pad terminals in 63 of its stores and exposed payment card information. The court had previously dismissed the plaintiffs’ original complaint without prejudice for failure to establish Article III standing. After the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Group, the plaintiffs filed an almost identical amended complaint that alleged the same causes of action and virtually identical facts. Although the court found that the first amended complaint sufficiently alleged Article III standing, the plaintiffs nevertheless failed to plead a viable claim. The court therefore dismissed the first amended complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). 

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On June 5, 2017, an Illinois federal court ordered satellite television provider Dish Network LLC (“Dish”) to pay a record $280 million in civil penalties for violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and state law. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Dish initiated, or caused a telemarketer to initiate, outbound telephone calls to phone numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry, in violation of the TSR. The complaint further alleged that Dish violated the TSR’s prohibition on abandoned calls and assisted and facilitated telemarketers when it knew or consciously avoided knowing that telemarketers were breaking the law.

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On May 26, 2017, Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union (“Alcoa”), on behalf of itself, credit unions, banks and other financial institutions, filed a nationwide class action against Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (“Chipotle”). The case arises from a breach of customer payment card data. The putative class consists of all such financial institutions that issued payment cards, or were involved with card-issuing services, for customers who made purchases at Chipotle from March 1, 2017, to the present. Plaintiffs allege a number of “inadequate data security measures,” including Chipotle’s decision not to implement EMV technology. 

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On May 23, 2017, various attorneys general of 47 states and the District of Columbia announced that they had reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target regarding the states’ investigation of the company’s 2013 data breach. This represents the largest multi-state data breach settlement achieved to date.

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On May 12, 2017, a massive ransomware attack began affecting tens of thousands of computer systems in over 100 countries. The ransomware, known as “WannaCry,” leverages a Windows vulnerability and encrypts files on infected systems and demands payment for their release. If payment is not received within a specified time frame, the ransomware automatically deletes the files. A wide range of industries have been impacted by the attack, including businesses, hospitals, utilities and government entities around the world.

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On May 2, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a summary order affirming dismissal of a putative data breach class action against Michaels Stores, Inc. (“Michaels”). The plaintiff’s injury theories were as follows: (1) the plaintiff’s credit card information was stolen and twice used to attempt fraudulent purchases; (2) the risk of future identity fraud and (3) lost time and money resolving the attempted fraudulent charges and monitoring credit. The plaintiff, however, quickly cancelled her card after learning of the unauthorized charges and did not allege that she was held responsible for any of those charges.

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Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia dismissed a shareholder derivative lawsuit against Home Depot Inc. (“Home Depot”) arising over claims that Home Depot’s directors and officers (the “Defendants”) acted in bad faith and violated their duties of care and loyalty by disregarding their oversight duties in connection with a 2014 data breach. The case is In re Home Depot Inc. S’holder Derivative Litig., N.D. Ga., No. 1:15-CV-2999-TWT.

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On November 19, 2016, the French government enacted a bill creating a legal basis for class actions against data controllers and processors resulting from data protection violations. The bill, which aims to facilitate access to justice for French citizens, establishes a general class action regime and includes specific provisions regarding data protection violations. These provisions go beyond the class action provisions already in place for consumers by adding, within the context of the French Data Protection Act of 1978 (“Loi Informatique et Libertés”), a right to class actions for data protection violations regardless of industry sector.

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This post has been updated. 

On November 10, 2016, the Court of Appeal for Moscow’s Taginsky District upheld an August 2016 decision by the district’s lower court that LinkedIn had violated Russian data protection laws. Access to the professional networking site is now set to be blocked across Russia.

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On October 18, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in Apache Corp. v. Great American Ins. Co., No 15-20499 (5th Cir. Oct. 18, 2016), that a crime protection insurance policy does not cover loss resulting from a fraudulent email directing funds to be sent electronically to the imposter’s bank account because the scheme did not constitute “computer fraud” under the policy.

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TCCWNA. The very acronym evokes head scratches and sighs of angst and frustration among many lawyers in the retail industry. You have probably heard about it. You may have even been warned about it. And you may currently be trying to figure out how best to minimize your risk and exposure this very moment. But what is it and why has virtually every retailer been hit with a TCCWNA class action demand letter or lawsuit in the past few months? And why are most retailers scrambling to update the terms and conditions of their websites?

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In a recently published decision, the Belgian Court of Cassation confirmed the broad interpretation given to the “right to be forgotten” by a Belgian Court of Appeal (i.e., Cour d’Appel de Liège, 2013/RG/393, September 25, 2014).

The judgment was rendered in a case initiated by an individual against a Belgian newspaper for not complying with a request to remove from its online archives an article from 1994 regarding a car accident causing the death of two persons in which the individual was involved.

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On April 6, 2016, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner approved a settlement in Corona v. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., No. 14-CV-09600 (RGK). As we previously reported, the litigation centered on a data breach involving the stolen personal information of at least 15,000 former and current employees. After a partial success on its motion to dismiss, Sony still faced potential liability for negligence based on its three-week delay in notifying its employees of the data breach, as well as statutory claims under the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and the Unfair Competition Law.

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As reported on the Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog, data breach claims involving customer data can present an ever-increasing risk for companies across all industries. A recent case illustrates efforts to recover the costs associated with such claims. A panel of the Fourth Circuit confirmed that general liability policies can afford coverage for cyber-related liabilities, and ruled that an insurer had to pay attorneys’ fees to defend the policyholder in class action litigation in Travelers Indemnity Company v. Portal Healthcare Solutions, No. 14-1944. Syed Ahmad, a partner in the Hunton & Williams LLP insurance practice, was quoted in a Law360 article concerning the importance of this decision.

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On February 19, 2016, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) made public its new Single Authorization Decision No. 46 (“Single Authorization AU-46”). This decision relates to the data processing activities of public and private organizations with respect to the preparation, exercise and follow-up regarding disciplinary or court actions, and the enforcement of those actions.

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A federal judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Neiman Marcus’ motion to dismiss in Remijas et al. v. Neiman Marcus Group, LLC, 1:14-cv-01735.  As we previously reported, the Seventh Circuit reversed Judge James B. Zagel’s earlier decision dismissing the class action complaint based on Article III standing. At that time the Seventh Circuit declined to analyze dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) due to, among other reasons, the district court’s focus on standing.

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On January 12, 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”) ruled in Bărbulescu v. Romania that companies can monitor their employees’ online communications in certain circumstances.

The case concerned the dismissal of a Romanian engineer, Bărbulescu, by his employer, for the use of the company’s Internet and in particular, Yahoo Messenger, for personal purposes during work hours. The employer alleged that Bărbulescu was violating internal regulations that prohibit the use of the company’s equipment for personal purposes.

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On December 17, 2015, the German Federal Diet (Bundestag) adopted a draft law introducing class action-like claims that will enable consumer protection associations to sue companies for violations of German data protection law.

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On December 17, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission announced that LifeLock, Inc. (“LifeLock”) has agreed to pay $100 million to settle contempt charges for deceptive advertising. According to the FTC, “[t]his is the largest monetary award obtained by the Commission in an order enforcement action.” Under the terms of the settlement, $68 million of the settlement amount will be paid to class action consumers who were injured by the identity theft protection company’s violation of a 2010 settlement with the FTC that required LifeLock to protect consumer information. The rest of the money will be used for settlements with state attorneys general, and any remaining money will go to the FTC. The case is Federal Trade Commission v. LifeLock Inc., et al. (2:10-cv-00530), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

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On November 17, 2015, two plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, improperly disclosed the Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and birth dates of more than 6.1 million Georgia voters. The lawsuit alleges that the Secretary violated Georgia’s Personal Identity Protection Act by disclosing the voters’ personally identifiable information, failing to provide voters notice of the breach and failing to notify consumer reporting agencies.

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As reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Law Perspectives Blog:

On October 27, 2015, the Ninth Circuit held in EEOC v. McLane Co., Inc. that the EEOC has broad subpoena powers to obtain nationwide private personnel information, including Social Security numbers (“SSNs”), in connection with its investigation of a sex discrimination charge.

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On October 23, 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, in large part, upheld Target’s assertion of the attorney-client privilege and work-product protections for information associated with a privileged, internal investigation of Target’s 2013 data breach.

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The United States District Court for the Northern District of California recently dismissed―without prejudice―a former Uber driver’s class action complaint. The driver, Sasha Antman, was one of roughly 50,000 drivers whose personal information was exposed during a May 2014 data breach. Uber contended the accessed files contained only the affected individuals’ names and drivers’ license numbers.

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On September 17, 2015, the Seventh Circuit rejected Neiman Marcus’ petition for a rehearing en banc of Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Group, LLC, No. 14-3122. In Remijas, a Seventh Circuit panel found that members of a putative class alleged sufficient facts to establish standing to sue Neiman Marcus following a 2013 data breach that resulted in hackers gaining access to customers’ credit and debit card information. No judge in regular active service requested a vote on the rehearing petition. Additionally, all members of the original panel voted to deny rehearing. As we previously reported, and according to The Practitioner's Handbook for Appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, “it is more likely to have a petition for writ of certiorari granted by the Supreme Court than to have a request for en banc consideration granted” in the Seventh Circuit.

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On September 15, 2015, Judge Magnuson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota certified a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) class of financial services institutions claiming damages from Target Corporation’s 2013 data breach. The class consists of “all entities in the United States and its Territories that issued payment cards compromised in the payment card data breach that was publicly disclosed by Target on December 19, 2013.”

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On August 24, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its opinion in Federal Trade Commission v. Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (“Wyndham”), affirming a district court holding that the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to regulate companies’ data security practices.

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On August 3, 2015, Neiman Marcus requested en banc review of the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Group, LLC, No. 14-3122. As we previously reported, the Seventh Circuit found that members of a putative class alleged sufficient facts to establish standing to sue Neiman Marcus following a 2013 data breach. During that breach, hackers gained access to customers’ credit and debit card information.

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On July 20, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed a previous decision that dismissed a putative data breach class action against Neiman Marcus for lack of Article III standing. Remijas et al. v. Neiman Marcus Group, LLC, No. 14-3122.

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On March 3, 2015, the Third Circuit heard oral arguments in FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (“Wyndham”) on whether the FTC has the authority to regulate private companies’ data security under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

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On January 21, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois granted partial summary judgment on December 12, 2014, to the federal government in its action against Dish Network LLC (“Dish”), alleging that Dish violated certain aspects of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”) that restrict placing calls to numbers on the National Do-Not-Call Registry and an entity’s internal Do-Not-Call list. The federal government is joined in the action against Dish by four state attorneys general alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and certain state laws related to telemarketing.

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On January 5, 2015, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office announced that Safeway Inc. (“Safeway”) has agreed to pay $9.87 million to settle claims that the company unlawfully disposed of customer medical information and hazardous waste in violation of California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and Hazardous Waste Control Law. In a series of waste inspections from 2012 to 2013, a group of California district attorneys and environmental regulators found that Safeway was disposing of both its pharmacy customers’ confidential information and various types of hazardous wastes in the company’s dumpsters. Based on the investigation, 42 California district attorneys and two city attorneys brought a complaint on December 31, 2014, alleging, among other things, that more than 500 Safeway stores and distribution centers engaged in the disposal of their customers’ medical information in a manner that did not preserve the confidentiality of the information.

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In December 2014, we reported that various technology companies, academics and trade associations filed amicus briefs in support of Microsoft’s attempts to resist a U.S. government search warrant seeking to compel it to disclose the contents of customer emails that are stored on servers in Ireland. On December 23, 2014, the Irish government also filed an amicus brief in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

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