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Bitcoin Is Not Money According to Florida Judge

"Bitcoin has a long way to go before it is the equivalent of money," Florida state court judge Teresa Mary Pooler said in a recent money-laundering decision. The conclusion should be clear to anyone, her court said, with even "limited knowledge in the area."

The decision is an interesting one that will probably end up only having limited geographical import legally. Still, it does deal a blow to the PR campaign that Bitcoin has been trying to mount ever since the crypto-currency got associated with Silk Road's illicit criminal activity.

The Ethics of Technological Incompetence in the Law

Maybe you learned to practice law before hacking became the scourge of institutions everywhere, including the government. If that's the case, you're probably having a difficult time understanding why you should worry about monetary risks associated with being incompetent in technology. Here's one reason to consider: you could be in violation of your professional duties.

It's true. Technological incompetence is the latest ethical violation for which attorneys are finding themselves attending an ethics hearing. What can you do to avoid this fate?

Want your documents safe protected from U.S. snooping? Store them on servers located outside the United States. That's the lesson from Microsoft's landmark win in the Second Circuit, yesterday.

In that case, a unanimous 3-judge panel ruled that communications controlled by American companies but stored on foreign servers are outside of the reach of domestic warrants issued under the federal Stored Communications Act. Microsoft is believed to be the first company to challenge such warrants and its win has been hailed as a victory by privacy advocates.

Using the internet just got a bit riskier, thanks to the Ninth Circuit. In two recent rulings, separated by only one week, the Ninth Circuit has greatly expanded the reach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal anti-hacking law from 1989.

Under the Ninth Circuit's new interpretation of the CFAA, you can violate the law by using someone else's password to access a computer database, or simply by using a website you've been told to stay off of. And, if the Ninth's opinions are read broadly, a lot of your online behavior could be considered illegal hacking.

If you haven't noticed, the world has been invaded by Pokemon -- or at least, Pokemon Go. The new "augmented reality" game has millions of users wandering the streets, chasing after Pikachus and Squirtles. And, of course, it has legal implications, from its connection to armed robberies and dead bodies to concerns over data privacy.

In that way, Pokemon Go is a pretty typical video game, for such games often connect to the law in some shape or form. To help you keep on top of your gaming trends, then, here are our top posts about video games and the law, from the FindLaw archives.

You've seen them wandering around, everyone from tweens to grandparents, their eyes stuck to their smartphones, mumbling "gotta catch 'em all." They're not zombies, they're just playing Pokémon Go. The new, "augmented reality" game based on the classic 90's Nintendo game, allows users to roam their streets, capturing and fighting Pikachus, Squirtles, Charmanders, and worthless Zubats.

If it looks weird, it's because it is. It's also a lot of fun. But as tens of millions of Pokémon trainers look to find their next catch, Niantic, the games developer could be collecting their personal information, thanks to Pokémon Go's downright frightful terms of service.

FBI Can Hack Your Computer, Court Rules

Imagine you drove your car into a bad part of town, parked on the side of the street, and walked away to go eat dinner. When you came back, you discovered that thieves broke your car's windows and stole your backpack and mobile device hidden in the trunk. How would you react if you found out later that it wasn't ordinary street criminals who broke into your car, but the Feds?

Last week's ruling by a Virginia federal district court brings this almost ridiculous sounding hypothetical closer to reality in today's increasingly Orwellian world. Below, we briefly look at potentially one of the most significant federal district court rulings in recent history, US v. Matish III.

Will Biometrics Solve Security Issues for Law Firms?

Law firms and other professional communities are becoming increasingly open to using biometrics for security purposes. There are obvious advantages to biometrics. If you're like most people, you are tasked with remembering a dozen or so passwords just to access your usual online accounts. There is proprietary software out there that can synchronize your accounts, but there is still some hassle involved.

Recently, a fair number of banks have implemented biometric technology to safeguard customer accounts. Will this be the long sought-after security panacea for law firms? Possibly, but we're still skeptical.

It sounds dirty, but everyone does it. Googling yourself, or "performing a vanity search" as they say in polite company, is incredibly common. It's a rudimentary way to see what your internet footprint looks like, and to discover what kind of information Google has on you.

Now, Google has finally given Googling yourself the attention it deserves. The search engine is adding a host of new features that make vanity searches much more helpful, to busy legal professionals and everyone else. You'll be able to easily find information on your Google accounts when you Google yourself, including security and privacy information. And you can even use Google to find your lost phone.

On the internet, all content is equal. At least, that's the goal behind the Federal Communications Commission's Net Neutrality rules. Propagated last year, Net Neutrality bans three main practices: blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. But in order to put those rules into place, the FCC first had to classify broadband internet as a utility.

This morning, the D.C. Circuit upheld that classification, finding that the FCC could treat high-speed internet providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The decision, issued in a sprawling 184-page ruling, is a major win for the FCC and advocates of Net Neutrality, and could dramatically change how the government approaches internet services.