Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


Drug Dealer's Fingerprints Lifted From Photos on WhatsApp

A cell phone might be a cop's new best friend.

It can't do what a police dog does, like sniff out evidence or chase down a suspect. But a cell phone can bust criminals as fast as they can snap a selfie.

Fools incriminate themselves by vanity all the time. A new twist in technology, however, shows how some drug dealers should have kept their hands away from the cell phone.

A recent decision out of the federal District Court Northern District of California is big news for both Facebook and, curiously, Facebook users in the state of Illinois. A class of Illinois Facebook users was just certified.

The class action case revolves around Facebook's use of facial recognition software and the Illinois Biometric Information Protection Act (BIPA) which requires companies to get consent before obtaining and storing a person's biometric data. Facebook started using facial recognition in 2011 to help users "tag" friends in photographs. Notably, BIPA was passed in 2008.

Big tech companies have pledged not to engage in cyberwar, but isn't it a little late for that?

Facebook, the biggest name on the pledge list, was apparently an instrument of Russia in an attack on U.S. voters. The fallout may even topple the president, if another scandal doesn't get him first.

So what do you call it when 34 major companies promise to have no part of cyberwar? A good start?

It has been a long drawn out fight for Microsoft and the U.S. government. Battles were won and lost on both sides. Now, thanks to Congress, the President, and SCOTUS, the war is over. Microsoft lost.

The fight was over a search warrant that sought information that Microsoft had stored abroad in Ireland. At the district court level, Microsoft's challenge of the warrant failed. The company was held in contempt, but after a successful appeal to the Second Circuit, the contempt order was vacated, and the warrant was quashed. While on appeal to SCOTUS, Congress actually passed the CLOUD Act, which specifically requires companies to turn over data in response to a warrant regardless of where it is stored.

With how many different ways there are to hack into a system and the fact that the insurance industry has entered the cybersecurity insurance game, it may actually matter how you get hacked, and how the hackers cause you harm ... at least if you have cyber insurance.

Simply put, like any other insurance policy, cyber insurance policies do contain exclusions. Unfortunately, for unsophisticated but insured users of hackable technology, failing to use security protocols required by an insurer could lead to a denial of coverage. For employers, ensuring your workers are actually using the security measures can be a real challenge.

While we attorneys may not be too surprised when we're held to a higher standard when it comes to contracting, a former Snapchat employee is learning the curse of being educated: Being considered a sophisticated party in court.

Sadly for the spurned employee, the court found that he knew what he was doing when he signed an employment agreement with an arbitration clause. Despite the fact that he was not afforded the opportunity to have an attorney review the agreement, and had one day to sign it, the court said that it didn't matter because he seemed smart enough to be able to understand what he was signing.

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

What is "real" and what is "fake" in terms of online content we review? This has become a major, if not dominant, concern with respect to the reliability of what we see on the internet. Are suggested "facts" really true? Do we really know the actual source of material posted on the internet?

Barnes & Noble Faces Renewed Data Breach Lawsuit

The year 2012 was a long, long time ago in data breach cases.

Go back to that supposedly apocalyptic year, and the biggest data breaches barely cracked 100 million. Since then, we're talking billions.

So when a lawsuit over old data breaches at 63 bookstores comes around, it's not about the size of the dog in the fight, it's about the size of the fight in the dog. In other words, how long will the plaintiffs keep fighting?

Lawyers, are you ready for your Gmail to finally get the update you wish it had years ago? The two most exciting features in this update might actually save you a couple minutes. One is something so simple that you may not have even realized you wanted it, while the other is just awesome.

Soon you will no longer have to open a separate tab to calendar something from your Gmail. In addition to this earth-shattering update, another free feature, known as Smart Replies, will be debuted. This feature allows messages to be automatically generated via machine learning, which you'll be able to send with a single click. Notably, dealing with opposing counsel may be getting a whole lot easier.

Mind-Reading Tech Coming to a Law Firm Near You?

Imagine you are taking a deposition, and the witness doesn't answer your question.

With artificial intelligence, that might not be a problem. MIT researchers have developed software that can read minds.

In other words, or without words, you can get answers to questions telepathically. This may sound like science fiction, but doesn't everything these days?