Technologist: April 2010 Archives
Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

April 2010 Archives

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

What has been suspected now has been confirmed - the cost of data breaches is substantial.  Indeed, a report titled "2009 Annual Study: Global Cost of Data Breach" shines a very bright light on the actual cost of activities stemming from more than 100 breach incidents across multiple industry sectors, numerous organizations, and a handful of different countries. The average global total cost of each data breach in 2009 was $3.43 million, with an average cost of $142 per affected record. And here in the United States, the average total cost per breach was a staggering $6.75 million, with an average cost of $204 per affected record.

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

The United States Supreme Court currently is considering a case involving the potential privacy of text messages sent and received on employer-provided equipment by employees. While the context is that of a governmental employee, it is possible the Court's ultimate ruling could have implications for employees and employers in the private sector as well.

In City of Ontario v. Quon, the issue presented is whether a police SWAT team member had a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment with respect to text messages sent and received on his work-issued pager.

The City of Ontario had a written policy that had been signed by the SWAT team member, which provided that employees should not expect privacy in their communications using equipment provided by the City. While the policy did afford limited personal use, the City stated that it could monitor all network activity.

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

In early 2008, a federal magistrate in San Diego ordered significant discovery sanctions to the tune of $8.5 million dollars against the plaintiff in the Qualcomm Incorporated v. Broadcom Corporation case; which deals with discovery conduct.

The magistrate found that a large quantity of documents had been suppressed from discovery. The attorneys who were sanctioned objected and a federal judge ruled that they had a due process right to defend themselves and that they should not be prevented from explaining their own conduct in the discovery process because of the attorney-client privilege. 

Now more than two years later, and after apparent negative impact on some of their careers, the magistrate on remand has decided that they should not be sanctioned. Still, the magistrate's most recent order should be a warning to others about how to guide their discovery conduct.

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

In this day and age, practically everyone communicates electronically often and for a multitude of reasons. This of course, is true in the workplace. While employees communicate by email for work-related reasons, it is not uncommon for them also to send emails relating to personal matters. 

Employers frequently put in place and have employees execute employee email privacy policies. These policies provide that emails sent and received by employees on computer equipment provided by employers are not private and are subject to proper employer review.