Technologist - FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


Man, this is a beautiful update.

Android L/Lollipop (5.0) represents the biggest overhaul of the operating system since the jump from Gingerbread (2.x) to Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0).  We talked about the visual overhaul after previews of the new "Material Design" interface leaked, and were especially intrigued by rumors of Project Volta: the effort to make my phone last longer than 20 minutes on a battery.

Lollipop is here. And as promised, here are our first impressions:

Rightscorp is a company that valiantly pursues copyright infringers in an attempt to get them to pay their fair share for the harm they've caused to copyright owners.

That's one way of looking at it.

Another is that Rightscorp "asks ISPs to disconnect you from the Internet unless you pay it money for alleged, unproven copyright infringements." A class action suit being filed in the Central District of California seeks to figure out the truth.

Happy TechGiving!

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

With modern air travel, it is possible to visit family members and dear friends who live in other parts of the country for Thanksgiving. Indeed, Thanksgiving week is the busiest time of year for airlines and airports.

It is not uncommon for people to think twice about Thanksgiving travel, given the crowds and commotion. And now, much of the country is socked in with blizzards, massive snows, and temperatures well below freezing. These conditions make travel even more daunting, if not impossible in some circumstances.

But, yes, there is a silver lining. Of course, nothing can truly substitute in-person reunions of family and friends during the holidays. Yet, when such gatherings just cannot happen, in comes tech.

That annoying comment might be more than spam telling visitors how to solve their intimacy issues, or how to make easy money at home. Instead, it may be malicious code that could hijack your site, lock you out completely, and even take over your server as a whole -- a nightmare for larger companies that store more than a simple webpage on their servers.

Fortunately, the bug, discovered by Finnish IT security company Klikki Oy, was reported to WordPress months before being made public, and security patches are already being automatically (no pun intended) deployed. The bug affects an estimated 86 percent of WordPress sites (those running any unpatched version of WordPress 3 -- version 4.0, which was released in September, are not affected). The exploit uses text input fields, such as the enabled-by-default blog comments feature, to deploy malicious code.

On Monday, we learned that Emil Michael, senior vice president of business at Uber, said at a dinner party that he planned to spend "a million dollars" to hire researchers to investigate and harass reporters who wrote stories critical of Uber.

The tone of Michael's statements, as reported by BuzzFeed's Ben Smith, is pretty clear: "They'd look into 'your personal lives, your families,'" he said, implying Uber would spend money to embarrass and expose journalists for the crime of doing their jobs.

Now comes a bizarre twist.

Have you been following this story? Roca Labs sells "neutraceuticals" that it claims on its website create the same effect as a gastric bypass without surgery. Many unsatisfied customers who bought Roca Labs' products vented on a website called Pissed Consumer.

Roca Labs, pursuant to a clause in its contract with customers, turned around and tried to sue Pissed Consumer for interfering with Roca's contractual relations with its customers. Pretty prosaic stuff, right? That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Following Citizens United, FEC v. SpeechNow, and McCutcheon, what remains of federal election law is that political action committees can't coordinate with candidates and parties if they want their expenditures to remain "independent."

There are, however, no limits to the ways in which PACs will exploit loopholes (and that's a fact!). This week, CNN reported on a creative way to skirt election laws that sounds like a rejected idea from a John le Carre novel.

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

In these blogs over the years, we have covered many of the fantastic advantages of high technology. Unfortunately, though, tech also can be used for unsavory purposes, to put it mildly. Indeed, with tech, mankind has developed new and different ways to kill other people. As an example, fairly recently a Malaysia Airlines jetliner carrying civilians was shot out of the sky, apparently by an advanced missile.

If Thanksgiving is coming, you'd better believe that "Black Friday" deals are too. Hopefully you won't actually be out shopping on Black Friday -- or on Thanksgiving, for crying out loud. In any case, you don't need to wait until Black Friday before finding deals for the tech-savvy lawyer in your life -- "Black Friday" is basically a month-long thing now.

So what do you get for Attorney 2.0? Gadgets, of course. In the first part of an ongoing series about tech stuff, here are some of our favorite tech gifts for the lawyer's office (all prices are current as of publication):

At an unknown time in probably Q1 next year, at an unknown price, the Apple Watch is coming. The Apple Watch promises, among other things, a centralized way to track all your health statistics. That's got some ears perking up, from e-discovery experts to, now, the FTC.

Citing two anonymous sources, Reuters reported yesterday that Apple and the FTC were in talks over the privacy of all that juicy health data the Apple Watch will undoubtedly collect. In closed-door meetings, the FTC has allegedly asked for assurances that third parties or marketers won't be able to access a user's health data.

Officially, Apple has strong privacy protections in place. Its App Store submission guidelines for apps using the HealthKit API don't allow apps to store health information in iCloud or use health information for advertising purposes.