On September 16, the Fifth Circuit issued its decision in NetChoice L.L.C. v. Paxton, upholding Texas HB 20, a law that limits the ability of large social media platforms to moderate content and imposes various disclosure and appeal requirements on them. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court’s preliminary injunction, which previously blocked the Texas Attorney General from enforcing the law. NetChoice is likely to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s decision.Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Upholds Texas Law Restricting Online “Censorship”
Megan Crowley is a litigator who represents clients in high-stakes matters, from case inception through trial and appeal. Her practice focuses on complex commercial disputes and litigation under the Administrative Procedure Act. Megan currently represents several leading technology companies in cutting-edge litigation relating to cybersecurity and data privacy.
Megan rejoined Covington from the U.S. Department of Justice, where she defended executive branch agencies in some of their most high-profile cases. Drawing upon this experience, she has secured a number of landmark victories against the federal government in recent years. Megan was a key member of the Covington team that represented TikTok in its successful challenge to the Trump Administration’s efforts to ban the app, and its defense of the district court’s injunction on appeal. She also represented Xiaomi Corporation in its successful challenge to the Department of Defense designation that would have banned the company from U.S. financial markets, securing a preliminary injunction and, ultimately, a rescission of the ban.
Last Thursday, the Eastern District of Virginia in United States v. Chatrie, No. 19-cr-00130, 2022 WL 628905, denied a motion to suppress evidence obtained from Google pursuant to a geofence search warrant. Geofence warrants are a relatively new investigative tool that target private companies’ databases of location data, compelling these companies to produce the location data of every user that was in a particular area over a particular span of time. The court invalidated the warrant for lack of particularized probable cause, but declined to suppress the evidence obtained from Google—which linked the defendant to the scene of a 2019 bank robbery—because the officers sought the warrant in good faith.
Continue Reading Federal Court Expresses Skepticism About Validity of Geofence Warrants But Declines Suppression Remedy
On August 27, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Protecting Household Privacy Act (“PHPA”). The law governs how, and under what conditions, Illinois law enforcement agencies may acquire and use data from household electronic devices, commonly referred to as “smart devices” or the “internet of things.” The PHPA will go into effect…
Last week, the Ninth Circuit held in United States v. Wilson, No. 18-50440, 2021 WL 4270847, that a law enforcement officer violated a criminal defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights when he opened images attached to the defendant’s emails without a warrant, even though the images had previously been flagged as child sexual abuse materials (“CSAM”) by Google’s automated CSAM-detection software. The court based its ruling on the private search exception to the Fourth Amendment, which permits law enforcement to conduct a warrantless search only to the extent the search was previously conducted by a private party. Because no individual at Google actually opened and viewed the images flagged as CSAM, the court held that law enforcement “exceeded the scope of the antecedent private search,” thereby “exceed[ing] the limits of the private search exception.” Op. at 20-21.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit’s Interpretation of Private Search Exception to the Fourth Amendment Contributes to “Growing Tension” Among Circuit Courts