Elections & Politics Constitutional Law Privacy

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News & Analysis as of

Arkansas Ban on Political Robocalls Struck Down

A federal judge for the District Court in Little Rock, Arkansas ruled this week that a 1981 State law banning political robocalls is unconstitutional. The ruling comes less than a year after a federal court overturned a...more

Senate Rejects Amendment That Would Expand The FBI’s Data Collection Powers

On Wednesday, June 22, the U.S. Senate voted down a proposal that would have expanded the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) ability to obtain internet records from technology companies. The measure, a proposed...more

TCPA Under Scrutiny in Court and by Senate

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and a 2015 omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order (2015 Order) interpreting the TCPA issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have recently faced additional challenges...more

Are Changes in Store for the Stored Communications Act?

Last week saw action on two fronts regarding the Stored Communications Act (SCA) – the US federal statute regulating government searches of online accounts in criminal investigations. In Congress, a proposal to reform the SCA...more

Court Reaffirms CA Attorney General’s Demand for Donor List

Donor information is expected to remain confidential. With an apparent thumbs up from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals once again upheld the position of the California Attorney General (AG)...more

Gun Control: HIPAA Final Rule Targets Background Checks and Mental Health Reporting

President Obama has announced plans to tighten gun control regulations, including applying the background check requirement to dealers at gun shows and on websites. Federal law already requires that those “engaged in the...more

California Law Enforcement and Industry Gain Procedural Certainty with Historic Cal-ECPA Bill

On October 8, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed into law Senate Bill 178, known as the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (Cal-ECPA). Cal-ECPA mandates that California law enforcement agencies...more

United States v. Microsoft: ‘Global Chaos,’ Outdated Legislation And a Judge’s Plea to Congress

The Second Circuit’s challenge in considering the validity of a U.S. Stored Communications Act warrant to Microsoft for e-mails located on servers in Ireland involves interpreting the SCA, which was enacted nearly three...more

Anti-robocalling statute banning automated political calls found unconstitutional

On August 6, 2015, the Fourth Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision that the South Carolina anti-robocall statute was unconstitutional. The South Carolina robocall statute targeted automated telephone calls that were...more

California Bill Requiring Mobile, Cloud Search Warrants Advances

On July 14, 2015, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“Cal-ECPA”) unanimously passed the California State Assembly’s public safety committee. The bill would forbid warrantless cellular “stingrays” as well...more

Rand Paul And The Expiration Of The Patriot Act

During the last weekend in May, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul did something that is not easy to do – he managed to anger most Republicans and Democrats, the Senate Majority Leader (who is also the senior senator from Kentucky),...more

Another Bill to Expand the Wire Act: Bad Law Clothed in a Lie

This past week’s focus on the presence of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol (and elsewhere) brought back to the fore the specter of “states’ rights” – the seemingly high-minded excuse...more

Wake-Up Call: Second Circuit Declares NSA’s Mass Telephone Surveillance Program Illegal; Defers Injunction While Congress Ponders...

Whatever your opinion of Edward Snowden, the shockwaves from his leaks of classified material continue to roil all three branches of the federal government. The latest wave broke last week when the United States Court of...more

South Carolina Legislative Update

The House and Senate worked diligently last week on several pieces of legislation in order to beat the May 1 crossover date. Legislation passing the originating chamber after May 1 will require the approval of two-thirds of...more

Alaska Voters Approve Measure Legalizing Marijuana for Adult Recreational Use

On November 4, 2014, Alaska voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. With passage of the measure, Alaska joined Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and the...more

Drone on Drones: Gov. Brown Vetoes AB 1327, Protecting Police Use of Drones

Amid controversy over the bill and its potential consequences, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1327 this Sunday. The bill would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before using a drone to gather criminal...more

Mexico’s online tax surveillance becomes operational

As part of the Tax Reform that became effective on January 1, 2014, the Mexican Congress passed a series of amendments to the Federal Tax Code for the purpose of modernizing and facilitating the compliance and enforcement of...more

Report deems NSA telephone records program illegal

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board issued a report today concluding that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone call records is illegal and should be ended. ...more

California Proposition Would Expand Duties and Liabilities for Collecting Personal Information

On September 26, 2013, the California Secretary of State allowed proponents of a new ballot proposition to collect signatures for the “Personal Privacy Protection Act.” The Act, if approved, would radically change the privacy...more

On The Radar: Government Unmanned Aerial Vehicles And Their Effect On Public Privacy Interests From Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence...

The utility of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in military operations and border security is well documented. As the technology becomes more affordable and available, domestic law enforcement agencies, other state and federal...more

Opening the Flood Gates? California Voters May Create Presumption of Harm in Privacy Breach Cases

California has moved one step closer towards amending its Constitution to create a presumption of harm whenever personal data is shared without a consumer’s express opt-in, a change that would clear a significant hurdle to...more

Appeals Court Rules TCPA Does Not Violate First Amendment

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently ruled that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) does not violate the First Amendment by requiring robocallers to identify themselves when making calls....more

Bills on Use of Mobile-Device-Location Data Reintroduced

Updating our entry on this issue posted during the last Congress, on March 21, 2013, lawmakers in the House and Senate reintroduced companion bills intended to curb government use of mobile users’ geolocation data. The...more

Senator Opposes Swiss Accounts Tax Treaty Change

Senator Rand Paul (R – Kentucky) opposes changes to the US-Swiss tax treaty that would effectively allow the US government more access to tax information connected to Swiss bank accounts of US citizens. Senator Paul stresses...more

Compromise Agreements, Andy Coulson, and Confidentiality Clauses

Tom Watson (UK Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East) has recently written to Mr. Peter Wardle, the Chief Executive of the Electoral Standards Commission asking him to investigate potential breaches of the Political...more

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