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Don't Use 'Web Bugs' to Track Email From Opposing Counsel

Remember that email from the wealthy Ethiopian offering to send you $1 million to do a legal transaction?

Hopefully, you didn't respond or open an attachment from some similarly scary source. Not that we lawyers would ever fall for this type of scam, but I am here to tell you there are attorneys out there who send equally pernicious email. And they don't even offer to pay you money!

IRS Wants to Identify Bitcoin Users, Spy Into Coinbase Records

The IRS is looking for tax money wherever it can, but is finding that it's not so easy in the world of virtual currency.

Bitcoin, a digital currency targeted by taxing authorities, is still safe at Coinbase, the nation's largest exchanger of the crypto-currency. The IRS recently served a summons for information about Coinbase users, but the company is expected to oppose the request. The IRS claims that two people used exchanger to avoid taxes, and it has asked for information to identify all Coinbase customers from 2013 to 2015.

Online Immunity Threatens Case Against Backpage.com

A prostitute may post a classified ad online, but the online publisher is not responsible for the content. This isn't news, but a judge had to spell it out for prosecutors in Sacramento.

Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman said recently that Backpage.com, which is facing prostitution charges for publishing adult services advertisements, is protected under the Communications Decency Act. Enacted in 1996, the CDA provides civil and criminal immunity to internet service providers and others who republish information online.

Chinese President Xi Jinping renewed calls for 'cyber sovereignty' last week, arguing that countries should be able to control the internet within their borders.

China, with an estimated 721 million citizens online, has more internet users than any other country. Yet those millions remain largely separated from the greater, global internet, confined by China's "Great Firewall," which keeps everything from specific Wikipedia entries to all of Google blocked under the country's internet censorship policy.

You might think this year's most shocking cybersex story would be the allegations that Anthony Weiner sent sexually suggestive messages to a teenager. The following investigation involved a search through Weiner's computer, which he shared with his (now-estranged) wife Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton's closest advisors. That search led FBI Director James Comey to make the unprecedented announcement that the government was looking again into Hillary's missing emails, and then to take it all back just a few days later. Weiner's insatiable taste for cybersex could have tipped the election to Trump. In terms of cybersex scandals, that's pretty major.

But if you thought Weiner was number one, you'd be wrong. According to Ars Technica at least, the biggest cybersex scandal of 2016 involves international scammers, a government laptop, a masturbating state senator, and local politics in Nebraska.

Are businesses (or their reputation management companies) suing fake defendants in order to get rid of negative online reviews? That's the argument made by Eugene Volokh and Public Citizen's Paul Alan Levy recently in the Volokh Conspiracy.

The duo looked at 25 court cases that followed a suspiciously similar pattern. First, a self-represented company, often with ties to a reputation management firm, sues a defendant for a defamatory online review. Then, the defendants agree to an injunction which quickly results in a court order to take down the allegedly offending content. Suddenly: poof, no more bad review. But when someone tries to find track down those defendants, they're no where to be found. Indeed, they might not even exist.

You're an attorney, not the IT guy, and when it comes to most tech issues, clients usually know to go to (nerdier) experts. But with so many tech problems having legal implications today, you still have to be versed in common tech issues.

To help you out, here are five tech issues almost every lawyer should be ready to discuss with their clients, taken from the FindLaw archives.

The Supreme Court's recent decision in Spokeo v. Robins is already being felt in courts, including in a class action against Lyft over the company's background check procedures. Lyft's drivers alleged that the company broke the law when it conducted background and credit checks without informing them.

But that suit was tossed last Wednesday, largely on the basis of Spokeo. That May, 2016 decision held that plaintiffs must show a concrete injury to gain standing when alleging a violation of their privacy rights.

Sure, a legal career isn't exactly as treacherous as a job as a mountaineer, deep sea diver, or garbage collector -- but that doesn't mean the legal profession isn't without its risks. Attorneys have to constantly worry about protecting client confidences, maintaining the integrity of their information, and making sure that all their I's are crossed and T's are dotted.

Technology has certainly made legal work easier in many ways, but as more and more aspects of a practice are connected, it's also opened plenty of security risks, threats that can bring down your practice and disrupt your life. Here are three all lawyers should be aware of.

When it comes to preventing hackers from spying on you through your webcam, the FBI has a decidedly lo-tech solution: use tape. Speaking at a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey suggested covering up your webcam as one of the "sensible things" the public can do to protect themselves from hackers.

Comey's comments have been met with some derision. (I mean, is tape really the best solution the FBI has for protecting America from hackers?) But it's also good advice. Here's why.