I am sorry for the long absence from cross-posting my IT-Lex posts. Although I have still been writing them, I was writing them while I was on vacation in Texas. So, I just didn't have the time to cross post them once they were published.
In any event, here is one of my more recent ones that I really enjoyed researching. It involves a case out of New York that concluded a news organization could be liable for a privacy lawsuit when it posted a picture of an aspiring lawyer (incorrectly) claiming that she was the younger sister of Kimora Lee Simmons.
The aspiring lawyer sued the news organization and another news organization that had debunked the story for violating her right to privacy under New York law. The court concluded that the incorrect story was so "riddled with fiction" that it didn't qualify for a newsworthiness exception. But, the news organization that got the story right did qualify for the exception. So what is the moral of the story? If you post a picture of a person online, you better make sure that the accompanying story of that person is factually accurate, especially if you use the person's name.
These types of online defamation and privacy claims are quickly becoming my favorite type of lawsuits to research. And luckily for me, these lawsuits continue to rise with the rise of social media.
Full disclosure: I know a little bit about cyberbullying. But in this day and age, I have to wonder who hasn't been cyberbullied? Let's face it. Kids can be mean, and the Internet certainly makes it easier. Cyberbulling is a serious problem, and one that people need to address. But it appears that passing laws against cyberbullying isn't a good way to do it.
I've written a couple of articles now about recently passed cyberbullying laws that broadly punish behavior out of context and don't actually provide any protection for the people the laws were meant to protect. Cyberbullying laws have even been used to punish students for talking bad about their teachers (not the people who are meant to be protected from these types of laws) online. And here is my most recent post about a cyberbullying law out of Nova Scotia, which scholars believe is truly awful.
No doubt, cybersecurity is a big deal. Some websites take it very seriously - like those ones that require a number AND a special character for a password. Others, well, they are more concerned with user convenience. It's a fine line that websites have to straddle, and some definitely do it better than others.
Here is a post about an OKCupid "feature" that allowed anyone to access a user's profile if the user forwarded an OKCupid email with a link in it.
As social media use becomes more prevalent, more and more people seem to be using it incorrectly. What's the correct way to use social media? Well, for starters, don't use it to post your illegal activities online.
For a round-up of people posting stupid things and getting in trouble, check out my post here.
A recent court decision out of Germany may have effectively killed modern file-hosting websites. It requires the file-hosting site, RapidShare, to "police the internet." The court will require RapidShare to make sure that other sites are not providing links to copyrighted material available on RapidShare.
It seems that this decision could have massive implications for file-sharing sites, as RapidShare will not be the only site affected by this new rule. To see my full write-up of the decision, click here.
My presence on Twitter isn't very active, but I have a presence, and I love my right to free speech on it. There is always unprotect speech, like defamation, obscenity, etc. But free speech is an important part of social networking. Of course, not all countries have the same free speech rights that are granted to Americans through the U.S. Constitution.
For example, a woman working for the Australian Government was recently fired after she criticized the government on an anonymous Twitter account. The judge even made a point that Australian citizens do not have an “unfettered implied right (or freedom) of political expression." To see my full write up on the story, click here.
As you can see, I have taken a very extended absence from blogging on this site. But I haven't abandoned blogging entirely. Although there are several reasons for my absence, the number one reason is that I am currently writing three blog posts a week for IT-Lex, a wonderful technology law site.
With the amount of blogging I do for IT-Lex, it didn't make sense for me to continue writing about similar legal issues on my personal blog. Although some of the posts that I write for IT-Lex are outside of what I would normally write about here, it is a lot of fun getting exposure to a new variety of legal issues. I've taken a crack at eDiscovery, dissected a click-through contract, and had some fun with online defamation cases.
And, in the spirit of promoting where I am currently devoting my blogging efforts for the foreseeable future, I plan to provide a link to the posts I write in the future. I hope you will take some time to go over to IT-Lex, support the work they are doing over there, and check out some of my work!
It depends on the state.
As a social media use and competition for jobs increase, people are becoming more concerned with their online image. Recently, the media focused on employers gaining applicants' login information to access their social media accounts. Many states (at least seven so far) have decided that it is necessary to pass legislation protecting job seekers from overzealous employers. I've heard reports that at least 35 states have pending legislation.
Despite this push from state governments, I'm not sure that the hype is necessary. For starters, although I've had inappropriate questions asked during interviews, no one has gone this far. Secondly, I expect that all potential employers will Google (or Bing) my name, and with the exception of my Facebook, I have a public online presence that should keep them busy. Finally, even if a potential employer accessed my login information, there would be nothing for them to find.
In any event, the news stories outraged people, and the state governments acted. As of late April, Washington became the latest state to adopt legislation (SB 5211) that prevents employers from gaining access to social networking account logins.
The short answer is yes. The government has the capabilities to install software on your computer that will hijack all of your information, and under the right circumstances, a court might issue a warrant allowing the the government to do it.
But recently, a magistrate judge in Texas very publicly denied an FBI warrant request to install invasive software on an unidentified “target computer” used to access someone’s local bank account. Although the accessed bank account is local, the IP address of the target computer resolves to a foreign country.
The magistrate judge noted at least three problems with the warrant: (1) it was not authorized under Fed. R. Crim. P. 41 (Rule 41); (2) the Fourth Amendment particularity requirements were not met; and (3) the invasive nature of video surveillance required greater Fourth Amendment protections. For the full text of the opinion, click here.
About this Blog
I was once a licensed attorney (in Washington), but my license is now inactive. I like to geek out about entertainment,
internet, and privacy law. This blog is a place for me to do that. All of the views expressed are my own and should not be considered legal advice.
My personal blog is located under the tab Pax's Page.
Rachel is a typer of words.