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MONTH-IN-BRIEF (Dec 2020)

Data Privacy

Ninth Circuit Questions SCA Coverage of Web-Based Emails

By Roxanne M. Eastes,Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently determined in the Clare v. Clare case that an ex-husband who used his sleeping ex-wife’s thumb print to unlock her phone and read her work emails without her consent possibly violated the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”).

The three judge panel unanimously held that more information was necessary to determine whether cloud-based services, such as Microsoft Exchange, met the definition of “back-up storage” under the SCA and that the District Court had erred by not allowing testimony of an information technology employee responsible for managing data security at the ex-wife’s employer.

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