Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

September 2012 Archives

Passenger Tracked Stolen iPad to Flight Attendant's Home

Trying to track a stolen iPad? There's an app for that, and it works.

A Nevada man lost his iPad during a flight on Horizon Air but luckily he had already enabled the Find My iPad app on his tablet. By using it, the police were able to track the device to the home of a flight attendant named Wendy Ronelle Dye.

On Friday, police arrested the Horizon Air flight attendant. She said she hadn't used the iPad but the evidence suggests otherwise.

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

Many web sites prohibit children under the age of 13. It's not necessary out of altruism, but because the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) contains various provisions and requirements concerning special treatment that must be accorded to the children.

The statute is designed to protect young children from web sites that might seek to exert influence over them by obtaining personal data and marketing to them. Indeed, web sites are required to get verifiable parental consent before allowing such children to participate and they must follow certain rules to safeguard their privacy.

All good, right? Not so fast.

The Depose App: Should Lawyers Drop $8 on It?

You're a smart lawyer and you know how to handle a deposition, so do you really need to pay for an app to help you with it?

It's not a necessity yet, but the Depose app is certainly a benefit for attorneys who are in trial often and have to take lots of depositions. Rather than carrying around a dog-eared and messy legal pad, the app lets you keep all of the mess contained within your sleek Android tablet.

The app is marketed as a tool for depositions, but it's easy to see how its style can be adapted to other important tasks that lawyers deal with all the time.

The Best Apps for Remote Meetings

It used to be that meetings meant everyone had to be in the same room to get the full effect. But our mobile lifestyle makes remote meetings are more feasible so long as participants have an internet connection.

Unlike the old conference call, remote meetings allow you to see everyone in the conversation. It avoids interruptions and also means that everyone is more engaged.

A professional meeting doesn't have to take place in a boardroom. But the amount of 'extras' you need will dictate which app is right for you.

Sanctions Against Iran Take Out World of Warcraft

U.S. sanctions against Iran hit hard this month when they took out World of Warcraft servers with no recourse for fans of the online game.

The makers of the game, Activision Blizzard, told Iranian users that due to U.S. sanctions they would no longer be able to access the game which is kept on U.S. servers. The sanctions prohibit the company from doing business with Iran, reports CNN.

Not only can't Iranian users access the game, they can't get their money back either.

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

Make no mistake, Cybercrime is real and its impact is huge. Indeed, a recent Norton Cybercrime report by Symantec provides some fairly startling statistics.

For example, there are 1.5 million Cybercrime victims on a daily basis - that is 18 victims per second. There are 556 million such victims per year - in excess of the European Union total population. 

Two-thirds of online adults already have been Cybercrime victims at some point in their lives, and 46% of online adults have been victims within the past year.

The annual cost of Cybercrime is a whopping $110 billion.

Legal to Force a Log-In to Unsubscribe from Email Lists?

Every morning people wake up and check their email inboxes to find a slew of emails that they don't really want. But companies don't really want them to unsubscribe from all those messages.

Some organizations, including LinkedIn, require email recipients to log in before they can unsubscribe or change their email preferences. It seems like a smart way to make sure that clients have to consider for a minute if they don't want the emails.

But that kind of policy could backfire given FTC regulations on opt-outs.

Best Apps to Help Lawyers Eat Right on the Go

Everyone wants to get into the habit of eating right so you can shed those few pounds or keep yourself in top shape. But for lawyers who are always on the go, in and out of the office or the courtroom, it can be hard to stay on top of your diet.

If you try juggle it all yourself, you might find some things falling by the wayside. So let your phone do the heavy lifting for you.

Whether you survive on fast food or want to get in the kitchen more, there's a healthy eating app here that's right for you.

Robots May Soon Replace Lawyers to Rule the Legal Industry

Sure, the legal industry isn't the most creative in the world. But can a robot eventually perform the job of a lawyer?

We may be about the find out.

In the burgeoning field of "quantitative legal prediction," engineers and computer scientists are creating programs that can perform some of the functions of attorneys. By combining databases with algorithms, these engineers are creating programs that can analyze case variables and identify patterns in order to predict the outcomes of a case, reports Dallas Blog.

Google Refuses to Unlock Smartphone, Despite Search Warrant

It's hard to unlock a smartphone without the password and Google apparently won't help the FBI figure it out.

Earlier this year, the FBI served Google with a search warrant asking them to unlock a smartphone that belonged to a suspect. But Google refused to acquiesce to the request although they won't say why, reports The Wall Street Journal.

That specific case has been resolved but the larger issue of whether smartphone companies must provide passwords is still up in the air.

Is iPhone 5 with 4G LTE Reason Enough for Lawyers to Upgrade?

The new iPhone 5 is expected to be unveiled September 12 and all signs point to it having access to 4G LTE as part of the deal.

If you're already on the iPhone bandwagon chances are the new model will look attractive but do you actually need to upgrade your phone?

No one knows that kinds of additional features the phone will have but assuming the only real plus is the 4G LTE (we know we're underselling the potential upgrades), would it still be worth it for attorneys to upgrade?

That depends on how you run your practice.

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

Most of us hate unsolicited commercial email - aka spam. Notwithstanding spam filters and federal and state laws prohibiting spam under various circumstances, we nonetheless continue to receive these annoying emails in our in boxes.

One might think that the spammers are making fortunes as part of their predatory practices.

But a recent study indicates that while the societal cost of spam is phenomenally high, to the tune of $20 billion, the revenue derived from spam is a fraction of that, only $200 million.

Police Seizure of Text Messages Nothing to LOL About: Court

The idea of police seizing your text messages may seem funny if all you have is some attempts to make happy hour plans and a cute note from your significant other. But it's a much bigger deal if that seizure results in an arrest.

States are still divided on whether police can seize a cell phone without a warrant and at least one more has thrown its hat into the ring.

On Wednesday a Rhode Island state court threw out the majority of the evidence in a case against Michael Patino because it stemmed from a warrantless search of his phone. That's good news for Patino but it doesn't necessarily clarify the law on warrantless cell phone seizure.

Forget About Facebook, Protect Your Google Plus Privacy

If you have GMail, you have a Google Plus account and if you haven't taken the time to check it out, it's probably easily searchable on the Internet.

Have we got your attention yet? Good. This one's important.

Most GMail users set up Google Plus when it debuted and then promptly forgot about it. But those profiles haven't disappeared.

Since the social network is owned and controlled by the search giant, your Google Plus profile and activity could be part of any name searches potential clients or employers do. While Google Plus does have a lot of privacy settings, they aren't as intuitive as you might think.

How to Find the Best Keyboard for Your iPad

An iPad is a great tool for any lawyer on the go because of its lightness and portability. But its lack of keyboard is a big disadvantage.

There are a lot of times when you need a real keyboard to get your work done. Everything from email to drafting motions is easier if you have actual keys to type on. But if you can find a way around that, iPads and tablets allow you to work anywhere.

Instead of muddling through, get a keyboard for your iPad. Not sure which one you need? We can help with that.

When news of a secret online drug marketplace broke last year, many people were left wondering: What is a Bitcoin?

At the marketplace, Silk Road, drug dealers and drug users reportedly hooked up and exchanged illegal drugs for real currency through an online medium of Bitcoins, reports ARS Technica.

The Bitcoins are an artificial currency that only existed in the digital world. However, drug dealers and money launderers reportedly were able to turn this digital currency into real dough.