Technologist - FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


In an age where it seems like surveillance just keeps getting more surveill-ey, the Florida Supreme Court has hit the brakes on the common police practice of using live cell phone location data to track a person's movements in real time.

Police had obtained a both a pen register and a trap-and-trace order to track the numbers Shawn Tracey was calling on his cell phone. A month later, the order had expired, but nevertheless, police accessed the real-time cell site location information of Tracey's cell phone without a valid order.

In the old days, if your law office wanted to take credit cards, you would probably have to sign a years-long agreement with a credit card processor and pay exorbitant fees on each transaction. Heck, in even older days, you would have had to use one of those heavy metal machines that used carbon paper. (True story: I saw one of those in use at a restaurant the other day.)

Today? You can take payments online. You can use a reader the size of a nickel that plugs into your smartphone. Or if you're feeling super adventurous, you can try something really new, like Apple Pay or one of the other NFC (tap-your-phone) readers.

Here are a few options, from slightly more old-school to bleeding edge:

Finally, with all of Apple's annual (or bi-annual, in the Mini's case) upgrades on the books, we have the entirety of the Apple product line in front of us. If you're looking up upgrade or replace your office computers, and you're already on the platform, or Mac-curious, you might wonder what your best options are: Mini, iMac, or iMac with Retina?

Even between those three product lines, there are countless customization options for Apple's desktop computers. Let this be your guide:

Wait, what? You mean somewhere in between Aunt Sally and George Takei, the Drug Enforcement Agency was on Facebook? Apparently so. Earlier this month, Buzzfeed reported about Sondra Prince, a real person, whose Facebook page was not her own.

Prince (real name: Sondra Arquiett) was arrested on the ground that she was part of a drug ring. She was sentenced to probation. Unbeknownst to her, DEA agent Timothy Sinnigen set up a Facebook profile using her name and photos in the hope that criminals would try to communicate with her.

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

The United Nations was born in the aftermath of the atrocities committed leading up to World War II. The United Nations Charter is plain in its support for the development of international human rights protection.

The most fundamental human right is the right not to be killed by another human being.

Last week was quite a week for FBI Director James Comey, who appeared on "60 Minutes" and at the Brookings Institute to reiterate that the government just has to have the ability to crack the encryption on mobile devices. You'll recall that Apple and Google are supporting mobile operating systems with encryption that even they can't break.

Comey's not a fan. But his statements about the nature of privacy make one wonder why he should be trusted. Comey doesn't seem to trust any of us, operating under the assumption that someone who doesn't want the government rifling through their stuff must be up to no good.

I have one question for Apple after yesterday's presentation: How in the heck did you forget to mention Apple SIM?

The revolutionary new SIM card -- which was first pointed out by 9to5 Mac, was not mentioned in Apple's keynote, and which only began to make waves on the tech blogs later in the afternoon -- could revolutionize how you connect your tablet to cellular data.

How? It allows you to hop data networks when you don't have coverage, or when one carrier is offering a cheaper price, or when you travel to the UK. It is, in essence, a cross-carrier SIM card that supports AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States and EE in the United Kingdom, with hopefully more networks to come.

We're gadget geeks, so we wait around for every Apple event, but today's event promised big things for even all you normal folks with friends: upgraded Macs. Why is that important? Because Windows 8 is terrible, Windows 10 is a year away, and you might need to upgrade your computers now.

Or maybe you're one of the many folks who run Mac in your law office. Either way, today's event had a lot of new goodies of business users, as well as incremental upgrades for the company's iPad line.

Because we had a big day of writing about judges behaving badly planned, we followed Ars Technica's live blog. Here's what stood out to us:

Every year, like clockwork, Google updates Android with a new version. And every year, without fail, it introduced a new Nexus phone, along with a few other assorted Nexus-branded devices.

Why should you care? Because when it comes to the pure Android experience, Nexus devices are the way to go. They're the first devices to get updates, since they come straight from Google. And, in the past, the devices were far cheaper than their more mainstream counterparts from Samsung and Apple.

How did this year's line stack up? Mildly disappointing, at least in terms of new hardware. But for existing Android owners, the upcoming operating system update (Lollipop) represents a huge leap forward in terms of speed and battery life.

OK, reality check: All those headlines and stories claiming Dropbox was "hacked" contain a false statement and a misleading omission, making them technically false (consult your local rules of professional responsibility).

Dropbox wasn't hacked. That's the false statement. According to Dropbox, the usernames and passwords posted on Pastebin were login credentials stolen from other services. The thieves then used those same credentials to attempt to log in to Dropbox accounts.

The second statement, which is misleading, is that the hacks aren't even new. Dropbox wouldn't say when the credentials were stolen, but in a statement said the passwords "have been expired for some time now." Dropbox, like every online service provider, has the ability to forcibly expire user passwords, making them useless for logging in. This is a common first line of defense when a provider knows it's been hacked and it prevents thieves from using the stolen passwords.