Monday, September 13, 2004

Article: A privacy win and a privacy loss

From the Direct Marketing News comes an article by Robert Gellman reviewing two ipmortant American privacy-related cases:

It’s time to catch up with two court cases that were the subject of past columns and that produced new opinions. Privacy did well in one case and poorly in the other.

The first case is the litigation over the do-not-call registry decided in February by the 10th Circuit. Everybody knows that the court rejected the telemarketing industry’s arguments that the registry is unconstitutional. It was a sweeping victory for the registry, as the court dismissed every argument put forward in opposition. ...

February also brought a decision by the Supreme Court in a case arising under the Privacy Act of 1974, a law that applies only to federal agencies. The case, Doe v. Chao, involved the improper disclosure of a Social Security number by the Department of Labor. The issue was what a plaintiff had to prove to receive the $1,000 in minimum damages that the statute provides.


The case is a setback for privacy. Privacy advocates hoped that the court would have more sympathy for the consequences of privacy violations and for the difficulty of proving damages in privacy cases, but they did not prevail.


If you didn’t like the result in these cases, just wait. There will be more decisions in more privacy cases soon.

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