Eric Sinrod - Legal Technology - Technologist
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Eric Sinrod

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line.

These columns are prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in these columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.



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

WHEN WILL IT stop? We have been hearing about cyberhacking for years, and rather than hack attacks dropping out of the news, we continue to be inundated with reports of successful hacks. This time the latest victim is the European Central Bank.

Perhaps you are thinking that because hacking is nothing new, methods and technology should have been developed to thwart hackers in their tracks. And it is true, there has been significant progress in this regard.

Unfortunately, as time marches on, the techniques and technological prowess of hackers has advanced too.

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

It is very easy to communicate freely and anonymously on the Internet. And some people believe that if they do not use their real names and easily identifiable information, they can basically say whatever they want online, without needing to worry about the impact that their Internet speech may have on others.

Is this true? Read on, because the answer is not simple.

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

More and more, people are migrating away from the traditional call-a-taxi model, and are instead searching on their smartphones for the closest Uber or Lyft vehicle. You might remember the Beatles' lyric "Baby, you can drive my car," and now Uber and Lyft drivers likely are singing to themselves, "Baby, you can ride in my car." Copasetic, right? Well, maybe....

Just when this new business model has been taking the country by storm, along comes a cease and desist order commanding Uber Technologies and Lyft Inc. to immediately stop operations in Pittsburgh, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. The two judges who issued the order have ruled that Uber and Lyft cannot operate in Pittsburgh until they obtain the proper authority from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). And to top this off, the judges have taken the position that the order prohibiting operations will not be stayed while this matter is reviewed by the PUC.

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

Jurors always are admonished by judges not to conduct any independent factual research with respect to the cases they are considering. In this way, the rules of evidence will be adhered to and jurors will only be permitted to evaluate evidence deemed admissible and relevant by the judge.

But what about lawyers? How much sleuthing can they do with respect to the potential and actual jurors for their cases? Can they, for example, snoop on social media sites to learn more? Read on.

Internet Law Is All Grown Up

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

When I first started working on legal issues relating to electronic data, we were back in the dark ages of the 1980s. This was well before Bill Clinton talked about the coming "information superhighway" when he was running for president in the early 1990s. We were living in a world where document production in legal cases meant the production of actual hard copy pieces of paper and nothing else. There was no "e" when it came to "discovery."

As we all know, the technological communications age started to grow exponentially in the late 1990s and early 2000s. During this time, people began communicating more and more by email, cell phones, Internet chats, and website postings.

Of course, where people flock, legal issues emerge.

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

We now live in a world in which we constantly are connected electronically. We spend so much of our time in front of computers, laptops and tablets. Our smartphones can accomplish feats unimaginable not so long ago. These days we can even surf the Internet with smart eyeglasses.

Plainly, connectivity presents numerous advantages from business and professional standpoints. If that were not the case, people likely would not be so addicted to their instant electronic communications and access.

However, does there come a tipping point when an individual just becomes bombarded with connectivity overload and truly needs a cleanse -- a detox, if you will, from the always-on world? Perhaps once in a while each one of us, even if briefly, needs to harken back to an earlier time and just turn off and be present in the real world.

Case in point: my recent trip to Alaska with my family.

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

People frequently use Snapchat to send messages back and forth with the understanding that those messages will disappear after a designated expiration time.

However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation and asserted charges that Snapchat messages actually do not vanish as promised. In the wake of those charges, Snapchat and the FTC have settled, according to a recent FTC press release.

So, what is the scoop? Read on.

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

By now, we all have heard of potential security problems and risks on the Internet. And most recently, we must worry about which Web browser we use.

Indeed, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security cautioned Americans last week to refrain from using Internet Explorer because of a significant security flaw.

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

This blog for years has highlighted the potential risks and liabilities presented by communications and activities on the Internet. The Internet provides the possibility of privacy violations, security breaches, intellectual property disputes, defamation, hack attacks, and even cyber warfare, among other threats.

So what should companies do to be as safe as possible as they conduct business over the Internet?

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

Recently, this blog has touched on how warfare between nations in the digital era includes cyberattacks. And now, just as we already are feeling less than safe, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (the UNODC) has released some homicide statistics that can make us feel even more vulnerable.

According to the UNODC study, as many as 437,000 people were murdered around the world in 2012 alone. Here's what else the study found: