Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Recently in Social Media / Networking Category

If you pride yourself on being on the bleeding edge of technology, then you may want to consider signing up to get your nanodegree in self-driving cars. The new program, being offered by Udacity, is designed to bring more focused talent into the workforce, where there is currently a high demand for engineers and programmers that can work on self-driving vehicles.

If you are light on the programming experience, you'll likely fall behind in the technical areas rather quickly, but there's more to this program than programming. The introductory course, and perhaps some of the general knowledge courses, being offered, could prove rather valuable in wooing potential clients working on these matters.

Is Twitter a Public Forum?

Yes. Twitter and social media can be official public forums with constitutional protections when used for official government communications. That's not to say that Twitter or Facebook are themselves public forums, rather these sites provide a space for public forums to be held.

Like consumers fidgeting with most emerging technologies, the law often seems confused with how to handle new and even old tech. Recently, questions abound whether a government official can block a citizen from an official communication channel, especially when an official's personal account is used as the official communication channel. The president, and other members of government, are currently finding themselves defending lawsuits over this very issue, likely due to President Trump's extensive use of Twitter.

Perhaps you've heard of Patreon, the crowd-funding site that helps online artists and content creators establish a monthly income from masses of low-level subscribers. The website allows content creators to make profile pages and request support for their creative endeavors in the form of pledges. In return for their pledges, supporters are often treated to exclusive content or other rewards. But most of the supporters don't do it for the swag; they support their favorite content creators in order to see them continue to thrive and create.

Okay, so now that you know what Patreon is, you must be thinking: Is there a way for me fund my endeavors in the legal field?

Fortunately, there is, but there are definitely some exceptions.

New AT&T Film Warns of Cyberbullying Crisis

"Get back in."

These three words led Conrad Roy to get back in his truck and kill himself. Teenager Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the case that has caused many to try to understand the ugly reality of cyberbullying.

AT&T, working with teens at the All American High School Film Festival, is doing its part through a new film. It is a compilation of shorts by high school students who have dealt with the "cyberbullying crisis."

Will AI Find Your Next Legal Job?

The smart robot taketh away, and the smart robot giveth.

That's not scripture, but it will do when work is hard to find. Google, which has launched a new feature on its search page, will help lawyers find jobs.

At a time when artificial intelligence is taking law jobs, it's certainly a blessing that AI also finds work for attorneys. Here's how it works:

Lawsuit Claims Facebook's Birthday Reminder Texts Violate Telemarketing Law

What would we do if Facebook didn't remind us of all those birthdays?

That's a 156 million-user, class-action question, at least in the United States. A proposed class action says the automatic text reminders violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiff says the text messages sent to users' cell phones are just like unsolicited robocalls outlawed by the TCPA.

For now, a federal judge in San Francisco has put the case on hold while the appeals court decides whether to step into the debate. In the meantime, the judge said Facebook has presented an interesting question.

"In regard to the question addressing the constitutionality of the TCPA, the Court acknowledges this was a novel issue of first impression," Judge Thelton E. Henderson said in granting the company's request to pursue an interlocutory appeal in Brickman v. Facebook.

How Using AI Can Be Your Marketing Boon

Kevin O'Keefe, a 20-year veteran of legal marketing, recently had an epiphany about artificial intelligence. Emerging from an annual Legal Marketing Association meeting, he realized it was the first year anyone had mentioned AI.

"AI and machine learning may have been discussed in relation to e-discovery, but this year there were multiple sessions with legal technology and software presenting on AI," he said.

What does that mean? It means lawyers haven't really been using AI to market their law firms.

Age Discrimination Is Built Into Some Job Search Websites

It makes some sense that a technical gaffe caused online job sites to winnow out older workers.

The drop down menu on one job site only scrolled back to 1956 for applicants to indicate a graduation date on their resumes. Most tech workers these days weren't even born back then.

Unfortunately for the online companies, the math did not work out right for Illinois' top prosecutor. Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent letters to six job sites about the problem, which involved potential violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

"Today's workforce includes many people working in their 70s and 80s," Madigan said. "Barring older people from commonly used job search sites because of their age is discriminatory and negatively impacts our economy."

On December 15th, shortly after appearing on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight,' Vanity Fair contributing editor and Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald checked his Twitter. What he saw sent him into a seizure.

Eichenwald, an epileptic, had been targeted by a Twitter user who messaged the journalist with a strobing .gif designed to trigger a seizure. In case the intent wasn't clear, the online assailant, under the account @jew_goldstein, included the message "You deserve a seizure." On Friday, FBI officials arrested the man suspected of being behind the attack.

Judge Approves $27 Million Lyft Settlement

A  federal judge has approved a settlement between drivers and Lyft for $27 million, but the case leaves a significant question unanswered: are the drivers independent contractors or employees?

The drivers sued the company in 2013, alleging they were employees entitled to reimbursement for expenses such as gasoline and maintenance. The company treated them as independent contractors, so they had to pay for those expenses.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said the $27 million settlement is better than $12.5 million, which he previously rejected, but it does not answer the big question.

"The agreement is not perfect," he said. "And the status of Lyft drivers under California law remains uncertain going forward."