Consumer Protection in the New Economy: Privacy Cases in E-Commerce Transactions or Social Media Activities

Arent Fox Partner Jenny Lee and Associate Susan Tran recently wrote an article that will be published in Consumer Finance Quarterly on the recent litigation trend related to e-commerce, social media, and consumer privacy.

As we face mounting data breaches and fears over loss of privacy, the article notes that, “as the public opinion evolves and increasingly concludes that merely possessing private data puts consumers at risk, consumers may demand concessions from institutions, retailers, and tech giants that possess personal data, whether or not they have been subjected to a large-scale data breach.”

The article reviews five major areas where privacy concerns have taken hold within the consumer-protection framework: (1) legal cases targeting companies with an Internet presence without any data breach; (2) the injury-in-fact requirement; (3) the ability to prevail when data security services were not part of the bargain; (4) the monetary value of consumer data; and (5) social science research to determine whether consumers are concerned about privacy. While the article mentions that there have been significant barriers to relief in court for consumers, it concludes that legislators may view evolving trends as a justification for stronger consumer privacy protection policies.

The full article is available here.


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