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Another VPPA class action overcomes a motion to dismiss

Julie Rubash, Chief Privacy Counsel
March 27, 2023

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UNITED STATES


Another VPPA Class Action Overcomes a Motion to Dismiss

A federal district court judge in the Northern District of Georgia denied defendant Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)’s motion to dismiss a class action alleging PBS’s use of a Facebook pixel in connection with video content violated the Video Privacy Protection Act.

The court held that several factual issues might control dispositive issues about whether Plaintiff is a “consumer” under the VPPA, whether Defendant disclosed Plaintiff’s “personally identifiable information” as that term is defined under the VPPA, and whether Defendant did so “knowingly”. 

CONTEXT

70+ class action lawsuits have been filed under VPPA in recent years, primarily related to the use of a Facebook pixel on digital video content.

VPPA cases have overcome a motion to dismiss in Massachusetts, the Southern District of New York, and now the Northern District of Georgia.

VPPA cases have been dismissed in Rhode Island and the Northern District of California, but only in the context of live stream (vs. pre-recorded video).

TikTok entered into a $92 million settlement in a VPPA class action in 2022. 

Google Settles Location Tracking Allegations with Five State AGs

New Hampshire’s Attorney General announced that it joined five state attorneys general in a $9 million settlement with Google over deceptive location tracking practices. 

Google allegedly misled consumers regarding the extent to which Google’s location tracking could be adjusted in account settings.

In addition to the monetary penalties, the settlement requires Google to take specific measures to be more transparent with consumers about its practices, including giving users detailed, unavoidable information about the types of location information collected and how it’s used and giving users the ability to disable location-related account settings and delete information stored by that setting without needing to navigate to separate webpages.

BACKGROUND

Google entered a $391.5 million settlement in November 2022 with 40 other state attorneys general and a $9.5 million settlement with the Washington D.C. Attorney General in January 2023 over similar allegations, all on the basis of state laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts and practices. 

EUROPE

NOYB Files GDPR Complaints Against German Political Parties

Non-profit None of Your Business (noyb) filed a series of complaints against several German political parties alleging that their use of political micro-targeting on Facebook during the 2021 federal election violated the GDPR.

Specifically, the complaints allege that the political parties used Facebook tools to target political ads to individuals who are calculated to have certain political interests, based on their web history. The complainants allege these inferences constitute “special categories of personal data” under Article 9 of the GDPR and were processed without obtaining explicit consent from the data subject

CONTEXT

This case comes shortly after the EU Parliament issued a statement warning of the potential harms from political advertising, including the processing of sensitive personal data for political micro-targeting.

The EU Parliament said in its statement that it aims to reach an agreement on complementary rules to prevent abusive political advertising in time for the 2024 European elections. 

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A Little Privacy, Please weekly recaps are provided for general, informational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon for legal decision-making. Please consult an attorney to determine how legal updates may impact you or your business.

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