Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


Facebook and Google Hit in $100M Scam

If you thought email phishing scams only targeted consumers and athletes looking for things in all the wrong places, think again.

Online scammers look for money wherever they can find unsuspecting victims. That includes mega companies, like Facebook and Google.

According to a criminal indictment, a Lithuanian named Evaldas Rimasaukas swindled more than $100 million by using forged email addresses, invoices, and corporate stamps to impersonate a manufacturer and bill purchasers in the United States. Fortune, in an exclusive, learned that those buyers were Facebook and Google.

Megaupload Data Trapped on Servers for Five Years

Kyle Goodwin, a videographer of high school sports, got T-boned along the information super highway.

He was stopped at an information intersection when a reckless driver rear-ended him and sent him helplessly into internet traffic. A crossing vehicle smashed into him and there he sat -- or at least his video information sat -- stuck in a third-party server.

Unfortunately, it's been five years and his digital videos are still trapped in the same place. In internet years, that is like five lifetimes.

Berkeley Warns of Cell Phone Radiation -- Ordinance Warning Law Upheld

Remember when people worried about cell phones causing brain cancer if they put the devices to their ears?

Well, the City of Berkeley thinks it is bad enough that cell phone retailers ought to warn people about putting them in their pant pockets or bras -- literally that's what their signs must say. And since a federal appeals court said the city ordinance is valid, it must be so.

"Berkeley's compelled disclosure does no more than to alert consumers to the safety disclosures that the FCC requires, and to direct consumers to federally compelled instructions in their user manuals providing specific information about how to avoid excessive exposure," Judge William Fletcher wrote. "Far from conflicting with federal law and policy, the Berkeley ordinance complements and reinforces it."

FTC Settles 'Supercookies' Case

In the sci-fi movie Minority Report, Tom Cruise has his eyes removed in a gross scene that you cannot unsee. So don't watch it just because of this movie reference.

But there is another part of the movie that you can't ignore. In the future, the movie shows how companies will be able to track us and push custom-tailored ads at us wherever we go. There is no escape from the Big Brother ad man.

Well, that movie was made 15 years ago and the future is now. "Supercookies" or "zombie cookies" are the villains in this tale.

Lawsuit Claims Some Tesla Safety Features Are 'Vaporware'

In a class-action filed in California, Tesla owners allege the automaker is using faulty software for standard safety features and autopilot. One owner said he turned on the autopilot, and his car started veering out of lanes, lurching and slamming on the brakes for no reason.

"The Enhanced Autopilot Features are simply too dangerous to be used," the lawsuit says in Sheikh v. Tesla.

We all work on the go these days, checking emails on the bus, typing up memos in a coffee shop, or drafting documents on a red-eye flight. But the freedom to work from anywhere also comes with some drawbacks.

When you're out of the office or on the go, you don't have your regular cybersecurity systems there to protect you, meaning you could be putting your own and your clients' information at risk. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself, taken from the FindLaw archives.

How Using AI Can Be Your Marketing Boon

Kevin O'Keefe, a 20-year veteran of legal marketing, recently had an epiphany about artificial intelligence. Emerging from an annual Legal Marketing Association meeting, he realized it was the first year anyone had mentioned AI.

"AI and machine learning may have been discussed in relation to e-discovery, but this year there were multiple sessions with legal technology and software presenting on AI," he said.

What does that mean? It means lawyers haven't really been using AI to market their law firms.

Theranos to Pay $4.65 Million in Settlement

Theranos, the troubled blood-testing company, has agreed to pay $4.65 million to settle claims in Arizona.

State Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the company misrepresented its blood tests in advertisements to customers, including more than 175,000 Arizonans. About 10 percent of some 1.5 million tests proved to be flawed.

"Everyone who paid for a test will receive a full refund, period," Brnovich said. "This is a great result and a clear message that Arizona's consumer protection laws will be vigorously enforced."

Facebook Can't Stop Search Warrants for User Information in Criminal Probe

It turns out what you don't know can hurt you, especially if you are on social media.

According to New York's highest court, Facebook could not even challenge search warrants it received for user information in a criminal investigation. The court said only the individuals, not the company, could challenge the warrants -- even though the Facebook users never even knew about them.

"Indeed, to hold otherwise would be to impermissibly and judicially create a right to appeal in a criminal matter that has not been authorized by our Legislature," Judge Leslie Stein wrote for the majority.

The ruling was bad news for online services and social media, including Twitter, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, who backed Facebook in the challenge. But it was really bad news for the individuals who were the subject of the search warrants; sixty of them have already been convicted in the Facebook sweep.

Google will pay $7.8 million and open up its Android software to competitors as part of a settlement with Russian antitrust authorities, Reuters reported on Monday. The deal could be a precedent-setting settlement for the tech company.

Google, like Microsoft before it, was accused of exploiting the market dominance of its Android smartphone operating system, in order to shut out competition and protect its online search traffic. The Android OS is by far the most common operating system for smartphones globally, operating on nearly nine out of every ten smartphones phones worldwide.