by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
breach, harm, privacy

the gap

Once Again, Court Says If There's No Real Harm, There's No Legal Recourse For Privacy Breach

from the why-doesn't-that-apply-elsewhere? dept

Way back in 2006, we noted a series of cases where people had brought lawsuits over claimed "privacy" breaches, involving lost or leaked data, where the courts repeatedly ruled that if there was no evidence that the leaked data was used for nefarious purposes, there was no case. Odd that this applies to things like privacy, but when you see a similar situation with copyright, no one ever has to show any actual harm. Either way, it looks like courts are continuing to follow this particular line of thought, as a lawsuit against Gap for losing private data has been rejected under the same line of thinking. This also almost certainly means that all those class action lawsuits against Google for possibly collecting some WiFi data, are completely dead in the water. In those cases, the plaintiffs don't even show any evidence that their data was collected, let alone give any proof of harm.

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  1. icon
    Peter (profile), 7 Jun 2010 @ 6:55am

    why damages are available for copyright infringement without proof of harm

    If the legislature sees fit to allow damages even in the absence of proof of harm, it can do so. And Congress has done so in the Copyright Act. There is no statutory provision for damages in the absence of proof of harm for the privacy violations that are the subject of the post. Thus, the default legal rule applies: no proof of harm, no damages (or, as AC#2 has it: no harm, no foul).

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