Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

Thinking about your app-linked user data, Part 2

Only three states in the country demand that law enforcers secure warrants to obtain consumers’ private data linked with their use of online apps on their smartphones.

Missouri is not one of them.

Instead, and as noted in a recent article in the publication Reason, Missouri and 46 other states allow for app-providing companies to release closely held data – information that users reasonably believe to be private – following their receipt of a subpoena.

And that is notable because, as Reason informs, “subpoenas, unlike warrants, don’t require that authorities demonstrate probable cause.”

We noted in our September 3 Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry blog post that American’s privacy interests have been increasingly challenged in recent years. Data deemed confidential by users has been rendered especially vulnerable through authorities’ progressively enhanced access to apps provided by companies like Uber, Netflix, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

One enforcement official says that, “If you’re a good outstanding person who is doing things lawfully, nobody has concerns.”

Actually, scores of millions of people across the United States, coupled with broad-based civil libertarian groups, do have concerns.

And they are material. People interact with a plethora of modern-day apps via a reasonable expectation that their online conduct should be off limits to unknown third parties.

A principal with one pro-privacy group duly stresses that companies should be called to task if they are not forthcoming with customers concerning data they willingly provide to enforcement bodies. She additionally advises users to display heightened awareness about the information they share with the apps they use.

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Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

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