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Is Your Website ADA Compliant? Should It Be?

Does your website feature audio narrations to accompany every image or video to aid the hard-of-hearing? Are they equipped with alternative text that can be read by software aloud for the visually impaired? We doubt it.

The good news is that you're not alone. The bad news is that it could soon be a violation of federal and state law. This arises out of growing worry over the applicability of some sections of the American with Disabilities Act to business websites, a legal issue that had previously sounded too far-fetched to even be concerned about. The question remains -- is your website compliant?

It's been less than two years since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of warrantless government surveillance, hopped on a plane, and made his new home in freedom-loving Mother Russia. Since then, several lawsuits have attempted to halt the National Security Agency's bulk telephone metadata collection program. A few of them were even initially successful.

The new year could see those cases dismissed as moot, though government surveillance lingers on.

Corpse-Eating Microbes Might Help Solve Murder Cases

In what has got to be FindLaw’s most morbid addition to the Technologist Blogs, scientists have authored a paper indicating that the consumption habits of microbes can be utilized to predict the time of death of a corpse. Interestingly, the bugs that will eventually eat you are already crawling on your skin, waiting in a specific order to dine on your flesh. And believe it or not, this little feature makes the business of “time-of-death” estimation much more accurate.

This could be the next big thing in murder mystery cases.

Over a decade ago, Nick Merrill was approached by an FBI agent with a "national security letter" demanding information about his Internet company's users. Merrill was the owner of a small New York ISP, Calyx Internet Access, and national security letters were the once ubiquitous administrative subpoenas compelling disclosure of user records. NSLs, like the one Merrill received, are issued without judicial oversight and almost always contain gag orders, prohibiting the recipient from even acknowledging that a NSL has been received.

Now, after 11 years with his lips involuntarily sealed, Merrill has finally gotten his NSL gag order lifted. So what was the FBI looking for, anyway?

Cornell's Tech and Law Introduces New Technology LL.M

Cornell's Tech-arm and Law School announced late October the launch of a LL.M in Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship. According to Cornell, the primary impetus behind this move is to help fresh law grads and practicing attorneys learn the legal and business considerations that technologists and entrepreneurs need to operate in an increasingly technology driven world. It's designed to provide practicing attorneys and recent law grads "with specialized skills to support and lead technology companies into the digital economy."

Are you sold yet? With language like that how can you not be?

US Charges Hackers Who Targeted JP Morgan

Federal Prosecutors finally unsealed an indictment of criminal charges against three men who orchestrated what has been described as the "largest theft of customer data from a U.S. financial institution in history." The formal indictment does not name the financial institutions directly, but a Reuters report confirms that JP Morgan Chase and ETrade were amongst the targeted companies.

The indictment alleges that three men -- two Israelis and one American -- co-conspired over the course of years to electronically hack, con, and illegally traffic goods profiting in hundreds of millions. In the words of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, "The charged crimes showcase a brave new world of hacking and profit ... This was hacking as a business model." The range and extent of their crimes is too massive to list here.

5 Tips for Hiring a Legal Tech Consultant

Don't fight the technology: master it. Or get someone who is a master to the job for you.

Small firms are depending on technology more and more to help them keep their business running smoothly. We've previously written about considering a social media dashboard to help you manage the social media accounts associated with your firm, so we're squarely in the camp that technology is your friend.

But you're lawyers Many of you might not have the necessary skills to handle a major tech crisis. And even if you did, we hope you're so busy with clients that you can hire a technology consultant instead. Here are a few suggestions for hiring the right consultant for your legal tech needs.

FCC Dismisses Consumer Watchdog's 'Do Not Track' Lawsuit

The FCC just dismissed a petition a petition filed by Consumer Watchdog requesting the Federal Agency to force "edge providers" like Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc., to honor a consumer's request not to be tracked. These are significant because you've probably even signed a couple of requests not to be tracked. Well, guess what: You're likely being tracked anyway.

Senate Wants to Remove 'Gag Clauses' for Negative Online Reviews

The Senate Commerce Committee has steadily moved forward to passing legislation related to online gag clauses, which significantly limit or penalize customers who leave negative online reviews of companies.

Yesterday morning, senators held a hearing on the Consumer Review Freedom Act, which would make the inclusion of a non-disparagement clause in a consumer contract a violation of the FTC.

Age Detection Software Poses Big Risk for Employers

If you're not already aware, a browser extension application was created recently to give a web user an estimation of an individual's age based on their LinkedIn information.

In this age of "there's an app for that," this is hardly a shocker. But did you ever stop to think about the possible legal implications?