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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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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.

We Need Internet Stop Signs

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

Has our ability to stay present in the real world largely been destroyed by the internet? If so, how has that happened? If we erected internet "stop signs" would we be better off?

While we were saturated with different sources of information, news, and entertainment as recently as the Twentieth Century, those sources had naturally occurring stop cues that allowed us to pause and consider disengaging from the sources.

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

Most of us are aware that our personally identifiable information, like our credit card numbers, are at risk when retailers are hacked. However, there may be even greater risks. Indeed, the U.S. government has issued a recent warning about a hacking campaign targeting nuclear and energy sectors.

According to a Reuters article, in recent months hackers have utilized phishing emails in an effort to "harvest credentials" in order to gain access to networks at nuclear and energy targets. Reuters cites a joint report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation as its source. The report indicates that at least in some instances hackers already have succeeded in gaining entry to certain networks, but the report did not identify specific targets that were compromised.

The History of the Future and Back

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

It is natural for us to ponder the future and to wonder what is coming next. For example, right now we are considering how far will Artificial Intelligence (AI) go. Will more and more of our lives be facilitated positively by AI? Or, will AI robots ultimately work toward their own superiority and survival over that of their human creators? But let's also consider the history of the future. What were past predictions of the future? And what about future look backs to this present time?

Centuries ago, it is unlikely that most humans contemplated that not too long in the future that their descendants would talk to one and other over the telephone and would travel great distances by planes, trains and automobiles. Indeed, they would have struggled to even imagine lighting up the night with electricity and the many other functions that would be moved forward by electricity.

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

Perhaps you saw the movie "Ex Machina" a couple years ago. In that movie, a male internet coder was drawn into an unusual experiment, as he engaged with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) being provided in the form of a very attractive female robot. Is this the stuff of science fiction, or are we already dealing with AI, even when we do not know that is the case?

Generally speaking, we hopefully know that we are not dealing with a live human being when we talk to Apple's Siri or when dealing with Amazon's Alexa. However, according to a recent article by Forbes, we often interact with AI unbeknownst to us. For example, we probably do not think about the fact that AI controls Google's searches for answers to our questions, and AI also controls how Gmail and Outlook know which emails to put in our spam folders.

Addicted to the Internet?

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

When we think of addictions, we typically think of alcohol and drugs. But, are many of us addicted to the internet? The answer apparently is a resounding "yes."

Indeed, according to a study conducted by scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom, habitual internet users often experience heightened heart rates and blood pressure when they go offline. And, according to an article posted on Scroll.in, these physical changes are similar to those found in people who cease their frequently used sedatives and opioid drugs.

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

Since the internet expanded beyond the narrow confines of the military and a few educational institutions and became a more general phenomenon, there has been concern about the internet haves and have nots. There has been talk about the digital divide -- meaning those who already have greater resources will get further ahead by virtue of internet access, leaving those without resources and access even more behind and in the dust. Well, is that about to change?

In a recent Senate committee hearing, SpaceX explained plans for building a global internet network. The foundation of the plan is the deployment of in excess of 4,000 satellites into orbit. And this is not just idle talk by SpaceX. Indeed, the company completed an application to the FCC in November and reportedly is motivated to proceed with its plan, according to an article by Futurism.com.