Technologist - FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


If there was one blog out of our 19 blogs for lawyers that I could pick as my favorite, it would be FindLaw's Technologist: gadgets, tech tips, landmark cases, and other forms of legal geekery, all in one place.

And it shows in our product: not only is Technologist one of our most popular blogs, but it's on the ABA Journal's Blawg 100 (a list of the top legal blogs) for the second straight year. (If you're reading this on December 19, today is the last day to vote for us!)

Here are your favorite posts of 2014, in terms of traffic:

You miss that QWERTY keyboard, don't you? You're not alone. Many of us do, which is why BlackBerry keeps releasing new keyboard-equipped models, including two entrants this quarter alone -- the Passport and the Classic. We've talked about the Passport -- behemoth phablet meets QWERTY taskmaster at a premium price -- but today, BlackBerry made the Classic model official.

What's the Classic? Depending on whom you ask, it's either (a) a long-overdue pragmatic fit of nostalgia or (b) the same phone BlackBerry has released three times in the past few years.

Yesterday, a federal jury found that Apple's iTunes 7 updates, made between 2006 and 2009, weren't anticompetitive . The verdict caps 10 years of litigation alleging Apple locked other music providers out of its iPods.

There's been quite a bit of misreporting what's actually going on in this case, so we decided to clarify some of the facts and issues at play.

For a few weeks now, 11,000 gigabytes of information stolen from Sony by as-yet unknown hackers have been floating around the Internet. The eclectic data range from private, racially tinged jokes emailed between producer Scott Rudin and Sony exec Amy Pascal about President Obama's favorite movies, to ideas for ludicrous sequels (like a "21 Jump Street"/"Men in Black" crossover), to whole copies of finished, but unreleased, films.

Well, Sony's pretty sick of hearing about it. To that end, they've decided to hire attorney David Boies to make some legal threats via demand letters.

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

For the longest time, many workers complained about commuting to work. On top of a long work day at the office, they also had to lose time while being stuck in traffic or commuting by other means. Between work and commuting, there was hardly any time in the day to do anything of personal benefit.

But then this situation started to change. With the growth of the Internet and the ability to communicate electronically from practically any geographic location, no longer was it necessary for workers to be tied down to their desks at their companies' offices.

Remember the "monkey selfie"? Well it's back in the news, this time sans monkey.

In August, we blogged about the case of a black macaque (which, unlike a chimp, is properly called a "monkey") that pushed the shutter of photographer David Slater's camera while it was set up on a tripod.

Slater claimed that he owned the photograph, but we (along with others) concluded that the photo had no owner. Slater didn't create the photo, but a monkey isn't a "natural person," so it can't own anything. Now, Slater is taking his monkey selfie fight to copyright experts.

Earlier this week, Owen Williams of The Next Web found his Apple iCloud account locked. Williams was smart and enabled two-factor authentication on his account after reading the sad story of Wired's Mat Honan, whose Apple and Google accounts were hacked through a social engineering trick in which the attackers got his password reset over the phone.

Williams, unfortunately, couldn't access his iCloud account because he'd forgotten the recovery code. Does this mean we should all dismiss two-factor authentication?

What happens when everyone suddenly has a smartphone and a wireless network? Appliance companies start making the same old things they used to -- but with wireless capability and smartphone access.

Seems preposterous? It can be. From the "smart" washing machine to the "smart" yoga mat, companies are coming up with new and interesting ways to make you pay $200 more for the same old crap you always had -- but now you can control it with your iPad!

Here are five of the dumbest-sounding "smart" devices we've come across:

Our network crashed on Monday. And the cause won't surprise anyone: somebody opened an email containing a virus.

It strains the mind to imagine how anyone could be that naive nowadays -- you're really going to believe an email from an unknown sender with an attachment containing "important documens" [sic]. And yet, someone did. And someone else did. And before we knew it, the entire network was down and an hour's worth of productivity was lost.

We're pretty sure we can pick out fake emails, but here are a few signs for those of you who are a little less experienced:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Comcast (which won't matter soon if the Justice Department approves Comcast's merger with Time Warner Cable), they go and do this. According to a lawsuit recently filed in San Francisco, Comcast secretly enabled a "feature" in Comcast-owned wireless routers that broadcasts a public wireless signal from those routers.

Comcast is hijacking your wireless network! Well, sort of. But it's still sneaky, if true.