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Massachusetts Law About Internet and Online Privacy

Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts Regulations

Federal Laws

Federal Regulations

Selected Case Law

Commonwealth v. Gelfgatt, 468 Mass. 512 (2014). Criminal defendant can be compelled to disclose the encryption key to computer files. New!

In re Doubleclick, Inc., 154 F.Supp.2d 497 (2001). In class action suit brought by Internet users, court decided, among other rulings, that Electronic Communications Privacy Act's protections did not extend to corporation's "cookies".

Riley v. California, 573 US __ (June 25, 2014). Warrantless search of cell phone incident to arrest is unconstitutional. "The police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested."

United States v. Councilman, 418 F.3d 67 (1st Cir., 2005). The Wiretap Act, 18 USC 2511, applies to electronic communications held in storage.

Other Web Sources

Complying with COPPA: Frequently Asked Questions: A guide for business and parents and small entity compliance guide, Federal Trade Commission, April 2013. Includes general information, parents' rights, schools, and more.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. A nonprofit organization "working to protect your digital rights". Information pages range from blogger rights to copyright to privacy and the USA Patriot Act.

Implementing the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act: A Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress, Federal Trade Commission, February 2007.

OnGuard Online, " provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information."

Privacy Foundation. Has a legal database updated by law students at the University of Denver College of Law.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. A California-based organization formed in 1992. Web site has many fact sheets and organization maintains a toll-free hotline to provide advice to consumers about their rights.

Print Sources

Internet and Online Law, by Kent D. Stuckey, et al., Law Journal Seminars-Press, loose-leaf.

Internet Law and Practice, West Group, 2002-.

Internet Law and Regulation, Pike & Fischer, loose-leaf, see chapter entitled "Privacy".

Law of the Internet, by Lawrence Street, Lexis-Nexis, loose-leaf, Chapter 2.

"Privacy and the Internet" by Hill B. Wellford, III and Victoria Shapiro, Internet Law and Regulation Special Report, Internet Law & Regulation, Pike & Fischer, c2003. 24 p.

"The Scope of Federal Protection of Electronic Communications in the First Circuit," Boston Bar Journal, Jan.-Feb. 2006, pp. 24-27.


Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
1718 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20009

A public interest research center in Washington DC, established in 1994. Its web site includes resources and guides with bill tracking of federal legislation and The EPIC Alert, a newsletter concerning civil rights in the information age.

Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) Privacy Initiative
Washington, DC 20580
1-877-FTC-HELP or 1-877-382-4357 (toll-free)

Web site offers copies of the FTC's Online Privacy Reports to Congress; a brochure entitled A Consumer's Guide to Travel in Cyberspace; and information regarding identity theft.