Privacy. CalOPPA. Privacy Policy.

Privacy. Privacy policy.

Privacy. Privacy policy.

CalOPPA. Privacy.

Did you know that California has one of the strictest set of privacy laws in the country…even more so than the federal government? California’s privacy and data security laws are extensive and stringent, designed to protect consumers.  There are many laws which make up California’s bundle of privacy and data security laws. Today, this post will focus on The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA).

Did you also know that when government rolls back regulation, that lack of, or dilution of regulation negatively impacts your privacy, allowing companies to do whatever they feel like doing—at your expense? Fortunately for those of us who live in California, we have a state that takes the protection of our privacy seriously.  Does your state?

Here is what you should know if you are doing business in California or even thinking about collecting personal information from California residents.

Among other things, CalOPPA requires a privacy policy of anyone who operates a commercial website or operates any online service that collects personally identifiable information (PII) of a California resident. For example, if you operate a website for business of any kind or market through your website you must conspicuously post your privacy policy. It does not matter if you live in another state. If you collect information from California residents, you must comply.  This applies to mobile applications as well as websites.

PII includes, but is not limited to:

  1. First and last name.
  2. Home address or other physical address.
  3. Email address.
  4. Telephone, fax, cell, Skype, or VOIP number.
  5. Social Security number.
  6. Anything else that allows you to identify a specific individual.
  7. Information concerning a user that the website or online service collects online from the user and maintains in personally identifiable form, combined with one of the other elements.

Privacy Policy Requirements.

CalOPPA requires that the privacy policy:

  • Identify the categories of PII that the website or online service collects.
  • Identify the categories of any 3rd party with whom the PII is shared.
  • Describe the process consumers must go through to review and request changes to PII the website or online service collects.
  • Describe the process used to notify consumers of any modifications to the privacy policy.
  • Provide the policy’s effective date.

The California Attorney General has an online form where anyone can report a business that does not have a proper privacy policy that complies with the rules of CalOPPA. Here consumers can report websites, apps, and other online services that violate CalOPPA by failing to post adequate privacy policies or keep the commitments that they make in those privacy policies.

Sometimes folks upload template policies that they find online. Not a smart move unless the policy has been vetted by a competent attorney who understands California’s privacy laws. Take this seriously or pay later.

I’m attorney Francine Ward helping you stay safe. Join my conversation on my Facebook Law Page, my Twitter Law page, my Google+ page, or in one of my LinkedIn discussion groups. Until next time …


Woman’s Day. Rebel Melanie Wilson. Defamation Lawsuit.


Bauer Media Group. Bad Reputation.



Back in May of 2015, the Australian magazine called Woman’s Day wrote an article on the famous actress, writer and producer, Rebel Melanie Wilson that the magazine has now undoubtedly come to regret. The story in question claimed that Wilson had been misleading about her birth name, age, and upbringing. Furthermore, Wilson said that a year later, in May of 2016, there were articles published in the Australian Women’s Weekly, NW and OK! Magazine, which made her out to be a serial liar.

Ms. Wilson filed a defamation lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Victoria against Germany-based Bauer Media Group, the owner of the magazines.  Wilson’s claim was that she had suffered a bad reputation because of the articles, and had felt humiliated and embarrassed.

The verdict came in on Thursday, September 14th of this year. A jury of six women handed down the unanimous verdict in favor of the actress.

Justice John Dixon said the damages suffered by Wilson warranted a “substantial” payment. The judge awarded Wilson over $4.5 Million, with interest and costs to be determined at a later date.

False Articles.

During the case, Bauer Media was unable to prove that the articles were substantially true. According to Wilson she stated that she was fired from two DreamWorks films, “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Trolls,” because she had become “too divisive”.“Today was the end of a long and hard court battle against Bauer Media who viciously tried to take me down with a series of false articles,” Wilson said in a series of tweets on her Twitter profile.

Wilson went on to say, “The judge accepted without qualification that I had an extremely high reputation and that the damage inflicted on me was substantial. He said the nature of the aggravated defamation and the unprecedented extent of dissemination makes vindication of particular importance. The judge said he knew that the info from anonymous paid source was false … and that Bauer Media traded recklessly on my reputation in order to boost its own profits.”

Ms. Wilson has stated that she plans to help out some wonderful Australian charities and supporting the Oz film industry with the damages that she has received.

That’s it for now. I am Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on my Law Facebook Page, my Law Twitter Page, my Google+ Page, and in a discussion on my LinkedIn Page.

Google. Gender Pay Gap.


Google Systemic Pay Discrimination



They are yet again being sued, this time for gender pay discrimination. Three female employees sued the company claiming they were put on dead end career paths.  They claimed those positions would pay them far less than their male counterparts.

A federal labor investigation performed an analysis which showed “systemic pay discrimination” in the company’s headquarters in California, which employs 21,000 people. In the preliminary stages of the review, it was found that women earned less in just about every job classification.

The tech giant has disputed the findings of the investigation, saying there is no gender pay gap.

Google Lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, and is led by Altshuler Berzon LLP who is representing the three plaintiffs, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease and Kelli Wisuri. The women quit when they realized that the career path they were on would pay less than the career paths of male employees.

Kelly Ellis, one of the plaintiffs, released a statement saying, “I have come forward to correct a pervasive problem of gender bias at Google.” Ellis, an engineer, resigned from Google in 2014 claiming that male engineers with comparable experience were hired and paid more. She also claims she was continuously passed over for promotions despite outstanding performance reviews. Ellis states that this is a widespread issue in the tech industry and needs to be addressed.

A Google spokesperson defended the company’s hiring and promotion practices saying, “job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no gender bias in these decisions.”

Department of Labor

In January, the Department of Labor filed a lawsuit to bar Google from obtaining government contracts until it released documents pertaining to an audit over their employee compensation practices.

Google said they will take serious review of the lawsuit, but disagree with all of the allegations.

That’s it for now. What are your thoughts on this? Join my conversation on my Facebook Law PageGoogle+ pageTwitter feed, or in one of my LinkedIn group discussions.

Copyright? PETA. Naruto. David J. Slater.

Selfie. Naruto.

Selfie. Naruto.


Can a monkey or other non-human species own a copyright? That was essentially the question in a lawsuit filed by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) back in 2015 on behalf of Naruto the monkey – technically called a crested macaque.

In 2011 Naruto became an overnight sensation when her “selfie” went viral. David J. Slater, a British photographer, went to the Tangkoko Reserve in Indonesia to photograph the endangered primate species. After having no luck getting a face shot, the photographer put his camera on a tripod with a remote trigger. It was shortly after that the curious Naruto approached the camera, pressed the shutter button, and took the famous selfie. And as they say, the rest is history.

PETA filed the lawsuit arguing that Naruto the macaque should be the owner of the copyright of her now famous image. The photographer, who sells signed copies of the print on his website, and whose book titled “Wildlife Personalities” feature the “monkey selfie,” disagreed claiming that the images were taken under his production and with his equipment.

In a tentative opinion written in 2016, U.S. District Judge William Orrick stated that there was “no indication that the U.S. Copyright Act extended to animals.” The case was summarily dismissed. Shortly after, PETA filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and on July 12th of this year the first oral arguments were heard in a San Francisco courtroom. Then in August both parties requested that the court not rule on the case because they were close to reaching a settlement.


On September 11th a settlement was reached. The photographer agreed, going forward, to donate 25% of any future proceeds from the photograph to organizations that protect the crested macaque. PETA stated they were pleased the case brought to light vital issues dealing with expanding legal rights to non-human animals. Although he claims he suffered financially, the photographer agrees.

So as judge Orrick originally ruled, current copyright law does not apply to any non-human species.

That’s it for now. I am Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on my Law Facebook Page, my Law Twitter Page, my Google+ Page, and in a discussion on my LinkedIn Page.

National Labor Relations Board. Tesla. United Auto Workers Union.


Electric Powered Cars

Justice Gavel and keyboard on a white background

This past Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against Tesla, Inc. The Palo Alto company is best known for manufacturing high-end electric powered cars.

The complaint alleges that the Nasdaq traded company violated its worker’s rights by “discouraging” workers from sharing and distributing pro-union information as well as preventing them from speaking to the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) about employee safety. Stating that on numerous occasions Tesla security guards and human resources agents told factory employees that they had to leave the premises because they were distribution pro-union flyers.

Furthermore, Tesla employees claim that during a pre-shift meeting, a supervisor told them that they were prohibited from distributing pamphlets and other material not pre-approved by Tesla, and that if they did they would be fired. Employees also complained about “interrogations” from human resources officers about their union activities and the activities of their fellow workers.

United Auto Workers Union

The controversy over working conditions at Tesla came to light in February when Tesla employee, Jose Moran, posted an article on complaining about working conditions, mandatory overtime, and low wages at the Fremont, CA plant. In the article Mr. Moran stated, “most of my 5,000-plus coworkers work well over 40 hours a week, including excessive mandatory overtime. The hard, manual labor we put in to make Tesla successful is done at great risk to our bodies.”

Tesla allegedly made employees sign a confidentiality agreement, which bars them from talking about safety and working conditions at their factories.

Tesla claims that the allegations of the complaint are unfounded and without merit. In a statement they wrote, “these allegations, which have been filed by the same contingent of union organizers who have been so outspoken with media, are entirely without merit.”

Further expressing their displeasure with the UAW, a Tesla spokesperson wrote, “as we approach Labor Day weekend, there’s a certain irony in just how far the UAW has strayed from the original mission of the American labor movement, which once advocated so nobly for the rights of workers and is the reason we recognize this important holiday.”

The National Labor Relations Board typically receives 20 to 30 thousand complaints per year from employees and workers covering a very broad range of issues. Under the law, the NLRB cannot assess penalties, instead they seek to implement remedies to address the issues contained in the complaints.

I am Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on my Law Facebook Page, my Law Twitter Page, my Google+ Page, and in a discussion on my LinkedIn Page.