Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

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.



Recently in Eric Sinrod Category

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

At this point, you likely already know about the many tasks and functions that can be performed by artificial intelligence (AI). Indeed, you probably have learned quite a bit about that from prior editions of this blog. And now there is more, this time in the realm of art.

When it comes to works of art, authenticity is of vital importance. For example, before an art buyer decides to buy a painting supposedly created by Picasso, he or she will want to undertake best efforts to determine whether or not the painting truly is a Picasso or a fake. Plainly, a true Picasso has enormous monetary value, whereas a fake does not.

Techgiving

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

While we regularly should practice gratitude, it is that time of year to be especially thankful. So, as we are gathered with family and friends eating turkey and all the trimmings, we think about those aspects of our lives as to which we are most grateful. And how about technology?!

As we race and dash from one thing to another to keep up with our frenetic schedules, it is easy to forget about how we benefit from technology that supports almost everything we do. There are countless examples of how our lives are much easier by virtue of technology. Let's consider some examples in the Thanksgiving context.

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

Long ago in internet time, back in the mid-1990s, Congress considered how closely to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Congress determined that it was in the best interests of the United States not to burden ISPs with restrictions, so that the Internet could grow and flourish in the areas of commerce, communications and education. Thus, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was enacted and it provides broad immunity for ISPs with respect to third-party content posted on their sites. Generally speaking, ISPs have not saddled with publisher-type liability -- it is not their job to police their web sites to ensure that posted content is not false or malicious.

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

Earthquakes can be devastating in terms of their destructive impacts. For decades, there have been scientific efforts seeking to predict earthquakes. If an earthquake could be predicted reliably in advance, people could be warned and they potentially could move toward safety before the earthquake strikes.

Unfortunately, earthquake prediction efforts generally have not met with success. But what about fiber optic cables -- the very cables that deliver internet connectivity -- can they help when it comes to earthquake detection?

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

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted to shine light on government activities for public review. Indeed, for our democracy to function effectively, those who govern must be accountable to those they govern. Along those lines, the Supreme Court has held that our citizenry is entitled to know "what the government is up to." And in the wake of Watergate, the FOIA was given greater enforcement teeth.

In a nutshell, the public can make FOIA requests to the government seeking government records pertaining to all sorts of government affairs. The government is required to produce or make available such government records, unless a narrow exemption applies, such as exempting the production of records that could compromise an ongoing law enforcement investigation, or records that would reveal classified state secrets. But the presumption is that requested government records must be produced.

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

Once upon a time not that long ago, we generally took taxis for ground transport from one specific location to another within and around cities. At times, it was difficult to obtain a taxi when desired, or to avoid a wait, a taxi would need to be reserved quite a while in advance. But, then along came Uber as a ride-sharing game-changer with many positive advantages. However, Uber also has taken some recent hits, including losing its license to operate in London.

Uber is fantastic in many respects. By using an app on a smartphone, we can track the closest Uber driver, and in many urban areas an Uber car will come to us within just a couple minutes. No longer are we tied to taxis, or even the need to rent or own cars in Uber-friendly cities.

How to Respond to the Huge Equifax Hacking

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

By now, you likely have learned about that Equifax suffered tremendous hacking. Specifically, as Equifax recently announced, hackers took advantage of website application vulnerability to access records during a several month period from May through July of this year. Not only did these hacking activities take place over an extended period of time, but as many as a whopping 143 million consumers in the United States may have been impacted. How so? Their personally identifiable information may have been compromised, including Social Security numbers, addresses, drivers license numbers, and birth dates.

So, what should U.S. consumers do in response to Equifax hacking?

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

Social media outlets now connect billions of people around the globe on a constant basis. Facebook, by headcount, has become the largest nation on the planet, with approximately two billion users. A tremendous number of these users communicate with others via their social media accounts many times a day. Of course, there are many positive aspects of social media communications; but, regrettably, there are palpable negatives as well.

Cyberbullying is one of those negatives. All too often, for example, a minor or a group of minors bullies another minor, with disastrous consequences. The victim can be ostracized, humiliated, and driven to anxiety, depression, and even self-destruction. This can even happen with adults. We learned in the news recently of a woman who was prosecuted for egging on her boyfriend via text messages to commit suicide. She ultimately was found guilty for manslaughter.

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

Corporate America and companies around the globe are spending vast amounts of money trying to keep up with all sorts of threats in this new digital age. So, how are companies really doing?

Unfortunately, not so well. Indeed, according to PwC's 2017 Digital IQ Survey, as reported by PR Daily, barely more than half of IT executives from the US and 52 other countries reported that their companies have a "strong digital IQ." This is down from 67 percent so reporting in 2016, and 66 percent in 2015.

Breaking Out of the Social Media Loop

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

Every single day, billions of people spend countless seconds, minutes, and hours on social media. Why?

This occurs in part because it is the business of social media companies to do their best to hold you captive. They want their sites to be "sticky," so that you spend your time (and ultimately your money) there.

Thus, at bottom, as businesses that have as their appropriate mission the duty to maximize profits for shareholders, they compete fiercely for the attention of social media users.