The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants held the government-debt exception of the TCPA unconstitutional under the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause.  This means that going forward, companies that make “debt-collection” calls on behalf of the federal government can only do so with the prior express written consent of the called individuals.
Continue Reading TCPA’s 2015 Government-Debt Collection Exception Struck Down- Now What?

Apple recently revised its review guidelines to allow push notifications that include “advertising, promotions, or direct marketing.”  This changes a prior -and longstanding- prohibition on push notices that contain such content. Customers must affirmatively opt in to get promotional push notices, though (“through consent language displayed in your app’s UI”). They must also be able to opt out through an in-app mechanism.  Although promotional push notices were previously prohibited, many apps sent them. These modifications may be a step by Apple to acknowledge this use and put requirements in place around it.
Continue Reading Apple Eases Push Notification and Other Privacy Restrictions

As we reported in our sister blog, “One ‘Chirp, Buzz, Or Blink’ Is Not Enough To Sue Under the TCPA”, a recent court decision makes it more difficult for plaintiffs to establish standing under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In its decision, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a single text message from an attorney to his former client did not amount to sufficient harm to sue in federal court. The Court concluded that the allegations regarding the single text message were not enough to state a concrete injury-in-fact necessary for federal jurisdiction. The Eleventh Circuit’s ruling appears to conflict with a previous Ninth Circuit decision regarding the same issue.
Continue Reading A Single Text Message May Not Violate TCPA

The Sixth Circuit is the latest court to weigh in on the definition of ATDS under TCPA. The TCPA defines ATDS as equipment that has the capacity “to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and to dial such numbers.” Generally, the TCPA prohibits calls and text messages to cell phones using an ATDS without prior express consent.
Continue Reading Will More Clarity on Definition of ATDS Under TCPA Finally Be Here Soon?

Tiger Natural Gas, Inc. recently settled a class action privacy suit alleging that it illegally recorded sales calls with over 27,000 potential customers. Although Tiger hired a third party to handle its telemarketing, Tiger will pay $3.7 million on the claims as the advertiser with ultimate liability for non-compliance. According to the plaintiffs, neither company told the consumers the calls were recorded, as is required under California’s call recording law.
Continue Reading Utility Provider Settles Call Recording Lawsuit for $3.7 Million

Grove Pension Solutions Ltd is a UK-based company that helps people get “pension releases,” i.e. getting money out of their pensions. The company uses a vendor to conduct lead generation. That vendor would identify individuals who had given consent to get messages on a variety of third party websites (including for example, soapboxsurvey.co.uk). None of the individuals had a relationship with Grove, and the consents did not specifically name Grove. Grove sent almost 2 million messages to individuals following this process, after obtaining advice that doing so was compliant with applicable laws.
Continue Reading UK ICO Settles with Marketer Over Unsolicited Email Messages

Prior to the “Brexit” vote in 2016, the pro-Brexit campaign, Vote Leave, sent almost 200,000 unsolicited texts in violation of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), according to a recent settlement it reached with the ICO. Under those regulations, as the ICO outlines in its PECR guidance, consumers must either have opted into receiving texts or they must already be an existing customer who “bought . . . a similar product or service” in the past.
Continue Reading UK’s ICO Brings Texting Enforcement Action, Fines Vote Leave 40,000 Pounds

The U.K. data protection authority recently fined a lead generation company £90,000 ($118,000) for a 2017 unsolicited email marketing campaign. The company, Boost Finance Ltd, sent over 4 million emails promoting pre-paid funeral plans under the name findmeafuneralplan.com. In reaching its decision, the ICO (the UK data protection regulator), said that the company violated the UK’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations by sending the messages without consent.
Continue Reading UK Issues Fine for Unsolicited Funeral Marketing Emails