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FTC Settles 'Supercookies' Case

In the sci-fi movie Minority Report, Tom Cruise has his eyes removed in a gross scene that you cannot unsee. So don't watch it just because of this movie reference.

But there is another part of the movie that you can't ignore. In the future, the movie shows how companies will be able to track us and push custom-tailored ads at us wherever we go. There is no escape from the Big Brother ad man.

Well, that movie was made 15 years ago and the future is now. "Supercookies" or "zombie cookies" are the villains in this tale.

We all work on the go these days, checking emails on the bus, typing up memos in a coffee shop, or drafting documents on a red-eye flight. But the freedom to work from anywhere also comes with some drawbacks.

When you're out of the office or on the go, you don't have your regular cybersecurity systems there to protect you, meaning you could be putting your own and your clients' information at risk. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself, taken from the FindLaw archives.

Facebook Can't Stop Search Warrants for User Information in Criminal Probe

It turns out what you don't know can hurt you, especially if you are on social media.

According to New York's highest court, Facebook could not even challenge search warrants it received for user information in a criminal investigation. The court said only the individuals, not the company, could challenge the warrants -- even though the Facebook users never even knew about them.

"Indeed, to hold otherwise would be to impermissibly and judicially create a right to appeal in a criminal matter that has not been authorized by our Legislature," Judge Leslie Stein wrote for the majority.

The ruling was bad news for online services and social media, including Twitter, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, who backed Facebook in the challenge. But it was really bad news for the individuals who were the subject of the search warrants; sixty of them have already been convicted in the Facebook sweep.

A California law that would have let school administrators search students' phones and electronic devices without a warrant died in the state assembly on Wednesday, as California Assemblyman Jim Cooper pulled the legislation from committee.

The law, AB165, would have exempted students from protections against warrantless searches established in California's Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2015. The legislation was intended to help schools deal with cyberbullying and other threats, its backers say, but received significant opposition from civil rights groups.

More IoT Regulations Brewing in Congress

Did you ever notice how "LoL" and "IoT" look a little alike? "Laugh out Loud" and the "Internet of Things?"

Maybe it's just me, but there is something a little funny about the internet security of a toaster. Or a coffee maker; that's a hot one.

To help keep our toasters and coffee makers safe, Congress is looking for more ways to deal with cyberattacks and privacy breaches through household devices connected to the internet.

Amazon Seller Wins $6.8M in Court Battle Against Counterfeiter

Forget fake news. What about fake sales?

Americans are upset about fake news stories, but they are seething mad when it comes to fake sales online. Amazon, keenly aware of the problem through customer complaints, is fighting that battle in court. One of its retailers won a $6.8 million verdict against another that had used Amazon to sell knock-off fitness gear.

"This jury award should serve as a notice to all those determined to engage in intellectual property infringement or other similar unlawful activity that they are not beyond the reach of justice by federal court juries," said Paul Zadoff, president of TRX for Fitness Anywhere about its win against WOSS Enterprises.

Amazon helped Fitness Anywhere and is cracking down on other fakes online. In November, Amazon filed two lawsuits against more than 20 companies and individuals for allegedly selling knock-off equipment and furniture.

Taking Your Legal Career to Cyberspace and Beyond

Evolution does not always occur through survival of the fittest; sometimes it just occurs through the right fit.

For Adam Cohen, it may have been a combination of the two. He was a BigLaw partner, but he had a passion for technology. In time, he evolved from legal advocate to white hat hacker.

"With technology and business these days, everything changes so rapidly that you constantly have to be learning new things," he told the ABA Journal about his change from law partner to managing director of an expert consulting firm.

Cohen is one of a breed of lawyers who are evolving with technology, gaining knowledge in new fields and emerging in new professions. Here are a few:

Women Under-Represented in Cybersecurity, Report Finds

Raising concerns about a short supply of workers to fight cyberattacks, a new report says that women are a hugely untapped source of technical expertise in the field.

The Women in Cybersecurity Report says that women hold only 11 percent of the cybersecurity jobs worldwide, while more than 200,000 cybersecurity spots are vacant in the United States alone. Moreover, the report says, women are generally more qualified than men in the field.

"The under-representation and under-utilization of female talent is both a critical business issue and a hindrance to the development of world-class cybersecurity organizations and resilient companies, as well as the overall safety and protection of our country," said Joyce Brocaglia, founder of the Executive Women's Forum, which presented the report.

Some law firms, we recently learned, have been keeping a small stash of Bitcoin on hand. Why? Because Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency, is the preferred mode of exchange for most hackers. Should the firm succumb to a ransomware attack, a quick Bitcoin payoff can allow business to resume without too much difficulty.

But there's another way to prepare for potential cyber attacks -- and it doesn't involve stuff Bitcoin under the mattress. Cyber insurance can help lawyers and law firms insulate themselves from risks associated with hacking, ransomware, data breaches, and the like. Here are some helpful resources for understanding cyber insurance, taken from the FindLaw archives.

What Legal Tech Pros Must Know About China's New Cybersecurity Law

Don't know about China's new cybersecurity law set to take effect in June?

Well, they say that what you don't know won't hurt you, but that is not true when it comes to China's cybersecurity law. According to a recent survey, about 75 percent of legal technology professionals didn't know about it. What's troubling is that only 14 percent of the respondents said they were "very concerned" about it.

Legal tech professionals should be concerned because the law requires foreign companies doing business in China to store their data on Chinese servers and to help government officials police the internet. Oh, and failure to abide by the law may result in civil and criminal penalties -- including death.

You read that right. Let's sum it up in two words: kong huang. It means "panic now."