Showing 22 posts from 2017.

“Smart” toys raise privacy and safety concerns for kids

Kids’ privacy and safety may be jeopardized by toys that connect to the internet. Parents should pay attention to toys with speech recognition, GPS, microphone, camera, or data storage capabilities. Such devices may ask for a child’s name, age, address, phone number, or other personal information. This is information parents may not want in the hands of an unscrupulous hacker, if it is intercepted or otherwise obtained. Read More ›

Strict new privacy and data protections soon take effect in European countries

The number of data breaches occurring in the United States has privacy advocates watching new privacy laws that will soon take effect in European Union (“EU”) countries. Read More ›

Is your cell phone tracking every move you make?

I recently visited a small coffee shop and glanced at my phone while waiting for a friend to arrive. I had a notification asking if I was, indeed, at that cafe. When I clicked on the icon, my phone immediately showed the full menu and several photos of the establishment. This was possible because the geolocation feature on the phone could pinpoint my travel throughout the morning based on GPS, WiFi, and cell tower networks. Read More ›

Elder Abuse Case of Note: People v. Remmert

In September 2017 an East Palo Alto women was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for financial elder abuse.  The prosecutors in the case, including San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, did an excellent job seeing the case against Shirley Remmert to conclusion. Read More ›

CPFB Wins Trial on Behalf of Consumers Mislead by Loan Servicer

From time to time we have posted information about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) because it is an extraordinary agency fighting in the trenches for everyday consumers against big business, including financial institutions that are scamming Americans.  On Friday September 8, 2017 the CFPB won a trial in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California before Judge Richard Seeborg.  The CFPB won $7.9 million in its case against Nationwide Biweekly Administration Inc. and its subsidiary, Loan Payment Administration, and its owner, Daniel Lipsk.  The CFPB presented testimony by experts as well as everyday consumers, including a retired schoolteacher and a member of the armed services and an FBI agent (all who testified that they had personally been tricked by the defendants). Read More ›

The CFPB Issues Long-Awaited Rule to Curb Arbitration Abuse, Offering a Glimmer of Hope for Consumers amid Trying Times

On Monday, July 10, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a rule that will halt abusive tactics by credit card companies, banks, and other financial firms to prevent consumers from bringing class actions.  Read More ›

No Bad Deed—Protecting Homeowners from Fraudulent Deeds

With the median price of home in some Bay Area counties topping the $1 million mark real estate fraud is rampant.  There are many types of real estate fraud – from equity stripping to foreclosure rescue, however, in recent years, the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) has noticed an uptick in criminal fraud related to real property deeds.  Read More ›

Ninth Circuit Declines to Apply Filed Rate Doctrine to Airfares

On April 14, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s partial denial of All Nippon Airways, EVA Airways, and China Airlines’ motions for summary judgment, holding that the filed rate doctrine does not bar an antitrust class action challenging the airlines’ unfiled fares, fuel surcharges, and special discount fares. This marked the first time the Ninth Circuit addressed the application of the filed rate doctrine to airfares and fees. Read More ›

Unsafe at 30,000 Feet: Why Lithium Ion Batteries Present a Serious Problem for Airlines and Passenger Safety

If you flew on a domestic flight between October 14, 2016 and January 10, 2017 you heard announcements about the ban on the transport of Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices.  This ban was put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) because of the serious risk of the smartphones (also referred to as phablets) overheating, exploding and catching fire.  Although the FAA lifted the requirement of announcements, the devices are still banned on passenger and cargo flights.  (See,  Read More ›

In Defense of Animals – Protecting Pets from Being Groomed to Death

With the rising numbers of households adopting pets, spending on pet services is steadily growing from year to year. From dog grooming to dog boarding services, many pet parents are investing in these services to pamper their pooches. In 2015 alone, according to the American Pet Productions Association, $5.41 billion was spent on grooming and boarding. Unfortunately, this billion-dollar industry remains unregulated and there is no government agency or regulatory body that administers an annual safety certification of pet groomers who are entrusted with our most beloved fury companions.   Read More ›