Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

October 2011 Archives

U.S. Govt. Ranks First in Google Takedown Requests

So far this year, the United States government ranks first in the number of Google takedown requests it sends to the tech giant.

This data was revealed as part of Google's Transparency Report. The report even elaborated on what kind of removal requests were made on which of the web giant's platforms.

By far, the biggest reason behind takedown requests was because of alleged defamation. This probably comes as little surprise.

BlackBerry Outage Leads to Proposed Class Action

Attorneys filed the first known BlackBerry class action in Quebec Superior Court on Tuesday. Plaintiffs requested permission to represent all Canadian residents affected by this month's worldwide service outage.

Named plaintiff Michael Blackette is unhappy with Research in Motion's "expression of appreciation" for consumer patience. The company has offered affected subscribers $100 worth of free premium apps and technical support.

He wants cash money.

3 Tech Gadgets to Simplify a Lawyer's Life

Technology can simplify nearly everything in an attorney's life. Gone are the days where lawyers type pleadings on typewriters and file them by hand. Now there are a host of gadgets that attorneys can use to make their work day more efficient.

But with so many tech gadgets out there, which ones are worth it for attorneys?

Sure, there are smartphones and tablet computers that can help you stay connected with clients wherever you go. But there are other gizmos out there that you may find useful. Here are just a few:

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

Is nothing sacred? Apparently not, as CNN has reported that the YouTube channel for Sesame Street recently was hacked with pornographic content. Indeed, instead of showing material suitable for children, the channel briefly was reprogrammed with sexually explicit videos.

As a result of the porn hack, the Sesame Street channel went offline for a short time. Visitors were informed that there had been "repeated and severe violations of our community guidelines."

Fortunately, the channel later was brought back to its intended state, as the home page then read: "Our channel was temporarily compromised, but we have since restored our original line-up of the best classic Sesame Street video clips featuring Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, and the rest of the fuzzy, feathered, and googly-eyed friends you remember from childhood."

'I'm Getting Arrested' App Inspired by Occupy Wall Street Protests

There's an app for everything these days. For example, take a look at the "I'm Getting Arrested" app available for Android phones.

Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests, the app lets you blast a message to a customized list of contacts.

Want everybody to know that you won't be able to make it to a family event because you just got busted? Just tap the "bull's-eye" on your Android phone's screen. The application takes care of the rest: perfect for the activist facing down the law.

Could iPhone's Siri Speech Recognition Make a Good Assistant?

If you're a technology-minded attorney, you probably anxiously awaited the release of Apple's newest gadget: the iPhone 4S. And one of the biggest "upgrades" to this new phone? The Siri speech recognition software.

Many attorneys may wonder if this new "assistant" is worth it. Certainly, the commercials look pretty awesome.

But how does Siri really stack up?

So far, reviews have been generally positive. Most find the software relatively easy to use.

GoDaddy's User Agreement Takes a Hit in Court

GoDaddy's user agreement has suffered a loss at the hands of a U.S. District Court Judge in Arizona.

A client sued the domain registration company over its practice of "parking"-- the directing of undeveloped domains to GoDaddy-created advertisements. Those advertisements bring in money, none of which is paid to the domain's registrant.

GoDaddy argued that its Universal Terms of Service granted contractual authority to engage in this practice.

The judge disagreed.

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

Foreigners can be protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The parts of the ECPA that prevent ISP's from revealing electronic communications apply to foreigners when their emails are stored on a domestic server, the Ninth Circuit has ruled.

In Suzlon Energy v. Microsoft, the plaintiff had directed a subpoena to Microsoft seeking the substance of emails between a citizen of India with respect to fraud litigation in Australia. Microsoft did not comply with the subpoena, taking the position that to do so would violate the ECPA. The federal trial court agreed and quashed the subpoena.

Making a Mobile App? How Not to Get Sued

Mobile apps and the law.

These are two things that you might never have thought would go hand-in-hand. But they do.

What lesson can be learned from the recent spate of privacy-related lawsuits against tech companies? Well, basically one thing: high tech gadgets and software need to comply with the law. If you or one of your clients is in the midst of building a mobile app, there are some legal issues you should probably consider.

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

Information technology overload can be a very real thing. Don't get me wrong - technology is fantastic. Instantaneously we are on top of fast-breaking news developments. And we are in immediate and constant contact with our "friends."

But sometimes doesn't it all seem a bit too much?

Do you ever just want to turn off, take a breath and simply observe the real world around you?

Illegal for Facebook to Track Online Activity After You Log Off?

Most people who use the Internet for social networking realize that their information may not always be private. But is Facebook's tracking of user data illegal?

Is it an invasion of privacy?

That's certainly the question on the minds of many consumer advocates. And it's why they've fired off a letter to the FTC demanding an investigation. The groups say that the social networking site tracked user data after they've logged off.

Facebook has responded by saying that they've corrected the issue. And that logged-off users' information was not stored.