Published by LawTechie - August 1, 2011 - LawTechie

Internet Lawyer NYOnline data aggregator Spokeo is asking the Ninth Circuit to decide when, if ever, consumers can sue for online privacy violations. A consumer, Thomas Robins, instituted suit against Spokeo for getting his personal information wrong, thus causing him harm in his job search. MediaPost reports:

In February, [the Court] dismissed Robins’ lawsuit on the grounds that he had not sufficiently alleged that Spokeo caused him economic injury — which generally is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit. Robins responded by filing new papers alleging that incorrect information on the site cost him money by hampering his job search.

[The Court] ruled that those allegations were sufficient to warrant further proceedings.

Now Spokea has filed an interlocutory appeal with the Ninth Circuit asking the appellate court to clarify under what circumstances consumers can sue for alleged privacy violations stemming from the aggregation of publicly available user information.

(Editor’s note: We will update on the matter as the courts issue their rulings. It should be further noted that defamation and false light would be valid causes of action for a consumer where the posted info is false — of course those causes will ultimately require the plaintiff to prove his damages, which are often small or non-existent in such consumer suits.)

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.


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