Any law student or attorney cannot help but remember the seminal U.S. Constitutional law case of U.S. v. Katz. In Katz, the Supreme Court of the United States famously held the FBI could not bug a telephone booth (remember those?) in order to secure evidence. In this case, the evidence comprised an audio recording one side of a telephone call in which Katz was placing a wager. In holding the recording evidence inadmissible, Justice Stewart said, “The Government’s activities in electronically listening to and recording the petitioner’s words violated the privacy upon which he justifiably relied while using the telephone booth and thus constituted a ‘search and seizure’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.” In short, the Court established that, regardless of the location, a conversation is protected under the Fourth if the conversation is carried out with a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” To establish a reasonable expectation of privacy, an individual must establish two things:
- That she had a subjective expectation of privacy; and
- That the subjective expectation of privacy is one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.
I recently had the privilege of moderating a privacy panel discussion at an unmanned aerial systems (“UAS”) conference. UAS’s have been in the news lately, so you can imagine the interest and concern for privacy and this rapidly-evolving technology; concerns from both those working in the sector and those outside expressing concerns for their own privacy and security. UAS’s are indeed a “hot topic” and the technology, in many ways, is “bleeding edge.” Even so, the way to manage privacy concerns with unmanned aerial vehicle systems is hardly novel, as our panel reiterated throughout our discussion. In short, addressing privacy in developing, implementing and managing this technology, to include oversight and compliance, begins with a time-tested, universal principled approach to privacy.
Whether your product offering is a newsletter, online retail business, smart phone or yes, even a UAS, properly accounting for the privacy choices of your customer or industry is just plain good business. Furthermore, managing privacy does not need to be an onerous, overly burdensome process either. You simply have to frame privacy in the fair information practice principles. In various forms, these principles are not only the foundation for information management best practices, but they are often included in state, federal and even international regulations. Even easier, you probably have already encountered them in your day-to-day activities as a consumer, whether going to the doctor or buying something online.
Charles Faruki, Managing Partner of FI&C was recently selected as a 2013 BTI Client Service All-Star MVP by BTI Consulting Group. All-Star MVPs are standout attorneys honored for delivering superior client service year after year. Charlie is among the 41 attorneys to return to The BTI Client Service All-Star list for two or more years in a row.
The 2013 BTI Client Service All-Stars report from BTI Consulting Group Inc. (Wellesley, Mass.) lists a total of only 307 attorneys nationally, named by corporate counsel as delivering outstanding client service. The list is a definitive list of attorneys—identified through client feedback—standing out with corporate counsel from Fortune 1000 and other large companies as delivering the highest levels of client service. Charlie and the other lawyers were selected for their superior client focus, exceptional understanding of the client’s business, outsized value, exceptional legal skills, and outstanding results.