Technologist - FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


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.

Yesterday, we blogged about eye strain: Americans are spending an average of more than nine hours per day in front of their computer screens, often leading to eye fatigue and related symptoms, like headaches. And while I was getting ready to mock people with 4k (5k if you bought the new $3,000 iMac) displays, I realized something: My computer monitors might be ready for an upgrade.

At home, I have two 22-inch 1080p monitors. A few years ago, that would have been state-of-the-art, but now? Would I benefit from an upgrade beyond "HD"?

Apple has long-since had an issue with its messaging service not playing nicely with Androids and other smartphones. I noticed the issue when I ditched my badly aging iPhone 3GS for a Google Nexus 4 a few years ago -- texts would be lost in the vapors, especially group text messages.

It turns out I wasn't alone: iMessage, which routes text messages though Apple's service, was intercepting text messages from fellow Apple users, even after users switched to Android. For a while, the problem went unaddressed. Then Apple was sued by an aggravated Galaxy S5 owner.

Now? Apple released a tool to fix the problem late last week. And U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled Monday that the lawsuit could move forward.

In case you missed it, President Barack Obama has issued a statement (and accompanying video!) outlining his hope for an "open Internet" and actually using the words "net neutrality" several times.

The statement is notable in that there's no hedging and no weasel language: It's a hortatory policy statement calling on the FCC not only to implement the "net neutrality" that its advocates -- and not its opponents -- have sought, but to go further and "reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act." (There should be a [sic] after this; he really means the Communications Act of 1934.)