Over at Emergent Chaos, Adam Shostack raises an interesting issue regarding Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) and confidentiality. According to the rules in place about the baseball steroid testing back in 2003, the results of these tests were supposed to be confidential. According to Gregg Doyel at CBS:
All posts in Privacy Torts
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Herring v. United States, a case examining whether the exclusionary rule should apply to a search that was based on an error in a database.
In particular, due to a negligent error in a computer database indicating that there was an outstanding felony arrest warrant for Bennie Herring, he was arrested and a search incident to arrest revealed drugs and a gun (which he was not permitted to possess since he had a previous felony conviction).
The case is a criminal prosecution of a man who secretly recorded his girlfriend in the nude, in violation of Wisconsin Statute § 942.09(2)(am). I’ve posted the text of the full statute below. The statute provides that it is a felony to record another person in the nude without that person’s consent “in a circumstance in which [the person] has a reasonable expectation of privacy.” The defendant contended that his girlfriend didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy because (as the court characterizes his argument), “she knowingly and consensually exposed her nude body to him while he was secretly videotaping her.” In other words, he argued that since she expected to be seen by him, she lost her expectation of privacy in her nude body.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (en banc) has just issued a very interesting opinion interpreting a federal law providing immunity from liability for online speech — the Communications Decency Act (CDA), 47 U.S.C. § 230. The case is Fair Housing Council v. Roommates.com, LLC, 2008 WL 879293 (9th Cir. April 3, 2008) (en banc).
A few days ago, I posted about Facebook’s new Social Ads and I argued that they might give rise to an action under the appropriation of name or likeness tort. The most common formulation of the appropriation tort is defined in the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 652C: “One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy.”
A related tort, a spin-off of appropriation, is the “right of publicity” which as defined by the Restatement (Third) of the Law of Unfair Competition § 46: “One who appropriates the commercial value of a person’s identity by using without consent the person’s name, likeness, or other indicia of identity for purpose of trade is subject to liability for [monetary and injunctive] relief.”