Nigel Howard’s practice focuses on technology, outsourcing, and intellectual property issues. He represents clients in complex technology transactions, including outsourcing, licensing, corporate partnering, and strategic alliance transactions. Mr. Howard also has experience representing clients during IP property purchases and sales, and in reviews of IP portfolios in relation to corporate financing and merger and acquisition transactions. His experience includes cross-border technology transfers, development and testing arrangements, distribution channels, technology deployment, and electronic commerce as well as privacy laws with regard to electronic databases and online services.
While online “tracking” using cookies, web beacons, and similar technologies has captured the attention of regulators and the plaintiffs’ bar over the last decade, recent articles in Forbes and the New York Times make clear that offline tracking is also evolving. Using technological methods beyond the traditional loyalty program, this new offline tracking has potential … Continue Reading
Last week, Amadeus, which provides one of the three major global distribution systems to the travel industry, published a report on big data authored by Thomas Davenport (currently a visiting professor at the Harvard Business School). Davenport identifies data privacy issues as a major challenge to the use of big data and suggests that proceeding … Continue Reading
Personalization of the shopping experience is a hot topic in the travel industry. It has also prompted privacy regulators to consider the implications for the consumer. For example, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party in April issued a letter to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) on this topic and a Department of Transportation committee recently … Continue Reading
On Thursday, the district court granted Delta's motion to dismiss the complaint, concluding that the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) pre-empts the state's claims. The ADA provides that "a State....may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier." Courts have construed the scope of preemption by the ADA broadly, and the majority of courts which have considered the issue have held that the ADA preempts the application of state consumer protection laws to airlines. See Morales v. Trans World Airlines, 504 U.S. 374 (1992). The judge decided that the operation of a mobile app for air travel services is "related to price, route or service of an air carrier" and thus agreed with Delta's argument that the California AG's claim is pre-empted.… Continue Reading
On April 29, Craigslist was successful in fighting off a motion to dismiss filed by three screenscraping sites (3Taps, Padmapper and Lovely) in its pending litigation in the Northern District of California. In Craigslist Inc. v. 3Taps Inc., No. CV 12-03816 (N.D. Cal.), Craigslist sued these sites, alleging that their scraping of Craigslist content violated … Continue Reading
The DOT announced today that the fourth in a series of public meetings of the Advisory Committee on Aviation Consumer Protection will focus on privacy issues. This DOT Committee has been working on various rulemaking and enforcement initiatives affecting consumer protection in air travel, but this will be the first time that privacy practices and use of data have been made the central topic of a Committee meeting. The DOT supervises airlines privacy practices because airlines are subject to sector-specific oversight (the FTC Act provides that air carriers are among the businesses excepted from the FTC's authority to regulate unfair or deceptive business practices).… Continue Reading
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has made good on her promise to get tough with mobile app makers that fail to provide privacy policies in their apps. Yesterday, her office sued Delta Airlines for violating the California Online Privacy Protection Act (“CalOPPA”), which requires providers of websites and “online services” to conspicuously post privacy policies … Continue Reading
As states are initiating docket proceedings related to smart meter privacy and passing privacy protection legislation to regulate utility providers utilizing smart meters, it is interesting to note how one utility provider has taken steps towards protecting consumer privacy. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is a utility provider based in southern California. California has … Continue Reading
Following up from our prior blog entry on the case of Friedman v. Maine Public Utilities Commission and Central Maine Power Company, the Maine Supreme Court issued its decision on July 12, 2012. The court rejected the petitioner’s privacy, trespassing and Fourth Amendment violation complaints over smart meter technology by affirming the decision of the Maine … Continue Reading
Interesting questions are arising in relation to how to implement an "opt out" for smart meters. In many states, customer unease about the privacy and safety concerns associated with smart meters has resulted in new legislation or regulations that give customers the ability to decline the installation of a smart meter. However, smart meters enable energy efficiency and cost savings, so should customers that opt out have to pay more?
This question arose last month in the Maine Supreme Court in the case of Friedman v. Maine Public Utilities Commission and Central Maine Power Company. The court heard an appeal from the… Continue Reading
Yesterday the Department of Transportation issued its final rule on “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections.” The proposed rule had been published in December 2009 and received over 2,000 comments. One of the most controversial aspects of the original proposed rule was a requirement that airlines must provide all their fare and product information to Global Distribution Systems … Continue Reading
I attended the ABA’s Antitrust Law Spring Meeting the last two days. What struck me the most was the increased prominence of data and privacy as factors in analysis of markets and competition in antitrust law. This was the topic in the Chairman’s Showcase session on Thursday. Julie Brill, the FTC Commissioner, perhaps made the … Continue Reading
We have previously blogged on the FTC’s privacy report on “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change” and the Department of Commerce’s Green Paper on “Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework.” We have also published client alerts on the FTC report and the DOC green paper. … Continue Reading