What Is Privacy Tort Law?
Privacy tort law is an area of the law that allows individuals or businesses to sue for damages resulting from a privacy violation. Privacy law generally addresses issues such as the collection, use, and dissemination of personal information. In the United States context, it can also take the form of a constitutional tort. The general rationale behind privacy tort law is that the invasion of one’s right to be left alone, i.e., intrusion upon seclusion, or a violation of one’s expectation of privacy is an actionable tort.
The general principle that applies to the privacy tort law concerns the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to balance the legitimate interests of corporations and businesses in collecting, using, and disseminating personal information against the individual’s interest in protecting his or her privacy.
A privacy tort is an action for damages that may be brought against a party who, intentionally and without the consent of the plaintiff, discloses private facts about the plaintiff. An invasion of privacy is actionable under common law as a tort (i.e., a civil wrong).
Although the action is closely related to libel and slander, it is different in that an invasion of privacy tort applies equally regardless of whether the things said are true or false. The Privacy Act of 1974 is a statute-based action rather than a common law-based action and therefore protects against the unauthorized withholding, or negligent loss of personal information, which is otherwise not a violation of the law. There are also state statutory protections available to the public (see, e.g., NY Civil Rights Law §§ 50-51).
Privacy Torts in the United States
Very few privacy torts exist under the United States privacy tort law. The United States privacy tort law makes privacy torts difficult to prove because the laws often require that privacy violations be intentional, and there is a lack of privacy laws that has widespread support, such as privacy tort laws.
Generally, privacy torts are privacy violations that cause harm to privacy. Privacy tort laws protect the privacy and prevent privacy violations. The strongest privacy tort law in the United States is based on privacy torts law in California.
Privacy Tort Laws in the USA
There are four privacy tort laws in the United States that prevent privacy violations: privacy tort law based on privacy torts law in California, Texas, Colorado, and privacy tort law based on privacy tort law in the District of Columbia.
Privacy violations that cause harm to privacy are privacy violations that hurt privacy, such as privacy violations that are privacy tort law based on privacy tort law in California.
Private Sector vs. Public Sector Privacy Torts
Federal privacy tort law in the United States is privacy tort law based on tort law in California. Federal privacy tort law protects the privacy and prevents privacy violations that cause harm to privacy
State privacy tort law in the United States is privacy tort law based on privacy tort law in Texas, privacy tort law based on privacy torts law in Colorado, and privacy tort law based on privacy tort law in the District of Columbia. State privacy tort laws protect the privacy and prevent privacy violations.
Privacy Invasion Case & Microsoft
Microsoft accused of using Windows 10 updates to snoop on users: A class-action suit in California accuses Microsoft of disregarding user privacy by ‘secretly’ installing software to monitor user activities
A class action suit in California accuses Microsoft of disregarding user privacy by ‘secretly’ installing software to monitor user activities
Microsoft is facing a class-action suit in the US for “secretly” installing software on users’ computers that would monitor their activities.
The complaint against Microsoft was filed on 16 December in a federal court in California and accuses the software giant of violating user privacy by “secretly” installing the Windows 10 operating system.
The lawsuit claims users did not consent to the “constant invasion” of privacy and their personal files. It also accuses Microsoft of violating California’s Invasion of Privacy Act and claims the company is using Windows 10 to monitor a broad range of user activities on their personal computers, including:
* What applications users have installed on their computers
* The contents of all emails sent and received from any Microsoft product, including Outlook.com and Hotmail.com
* The contents of all private instant messages and chat sessions conducted through Microsoft products
* Web browsing activity
* And the frequency of users’ visits to various websites
The lawsuit points out that the default settings on Windows 10 upload user data to its servers in order to personalize advertising and other services.
Speaking to technology blog ZDNet, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Corey Stoughton said: “The monitoring applies not just to Windows 10 itself and its own features, but also to any other software on the computer that interacts with Microsoft’s servers.”
“Some of those interactions can certainly be described as ‘communications’ with Microsoft’s servers. Other data the company collects is less obviously communications but still clearly personal in nature and should not be sent to Microsoft without the user’s consent.”
“It’s simply a fact that millions of consumers who upgraded to Windows 10 did not anticipate that Microsoft would take such an intrusive approach to collect their personal information.”
According to the lawsuit, Windows 10 generates user data from a number of sources, including:
* An advertising ID assigned to each user that is used by Microsoft’s ad networks to serve ads * IP addresses (which could reveal a user’s location) * Microsoft account login information, including email addresses and phone numbers * The content of files in “My Documents,” “My Pictures,” and other folders, including documents, photos, music files, and videos
Microsoft is also accused of using the data to build up profiles of users across multiple devices and then using it to improve the services Microsoft offers.
Not just Windows 10, all versions of Microsoft Windows have had similar provisions since the company released an update to its End User Licence Agreement (EULA) back in 2011.
It said: “We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.”
Many privacy advocates have claimed in recent years that Microsoft has been giving away user data to the NSA and other US government agencies.
However, Microsoft has always denied such claims and said that it only provides information to government agencies when it is legally compelled to do so.
In a blog post back in December 2014, Microsoft explained that it provides customer data only when it is “facilitated through our routine cooperation with… law enforcement agencies.”
Microsoft had also recently announced that it will be updating its privacy policies for its services, including the new Outlook.com email platform that replaced Hotmail.
The company said it is updating its privacy policies to make them simpler and more readable, as well as detailing the customer data it collects and how it can control information.
Privacy has been a big talking point on technology in recent years, especially after Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee released classified documents that revealed the scale of surveillance activities being carried out by US government agencies. Meanwhile, Microsoft has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Purpose Of This Guide
This privacy tort law guide is for privacy professionals, privacy lawyers, and privacy advocates. It provides information on the privacy injunctions, privacy orders, and damages privacy laws in all State jurisdictions.
This privacy tort law guide is not a substitute for personal legal advice. Privacy professionals should get their own private lawyer to assess the privacy laws, privacy tort law provisions, and privacy injunctions applicable in states.
You should get your own privacy lawyer to give you privacy advice in your privacy jurisdiction. This privacy tort law guide is a summary of privacy laws, privacy tort law provisions, and privacy injunctions applicable at the date of publication.