Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Eric Sinrod

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line.

These columns are prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in these columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.



Recently in Eric Sinrod Category

Emailgate -- Here We Go Again!

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

Long before votes were cast for the 2016 Presidential election, this blogger discussed how Hillary Clinton's government-related emails that were sent and received on private servers could become a thorn in her political side.

Why?

Because government records must be maintained as government records so, among other reasons, they can be open and available to public review. Indeed, laws like the Freedom of Information Act maintain that to have a vital and truly functioning democracy, those who govern must be accountable to the governed; the workings of government must be transparent pursuant to "sunshine" laws. Sunshine is the best disinfectant when it comes to government affairs.

The Danger of Manipulated Videos

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

Technology has advanced to the point that videos can be doctored in terms of words spoken or physical actions taken to the point that those videos can look quite authentic.

Why is this problematical?

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

California recently passed what some argue to be the most robust net neutrality state law in the United States. That law has not yet gone into effect.

The very same day that California Governor Jerry Brown signed the net neutrality bill into law, the US Department of Justice was quick to filed a federal lawsuit, among other goals, to block implementation of the law. And last week, the Department of Justice and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra entered into an agreement to further postpone implementation of the California net neutrality law until the federal lawsuit is concluded.

So, what is at stake here?

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

The Congressional mid-term elections are coming up. There is ample current discussion about whether the Republicans can hold onto majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Many Democrats believe that they have a strong chance of taking over as the majority party in the House, and some think that they may even take the Senate majority, but that latter potential achievement will be far more difficult, as many more Democrat Senators are up for reelection than Republican Senators.

If the Democrats take over as the majority party in the House, CNET reports that they plan to urge broad internet privacy protections. Representative Ro Khannna from Silicon Valley has drafted an "Internet Bill of Rights." At this point, this document is not a bill, but instead puts forward ten principles that Khanna reportedly wants to become part of a comprehensive legislative package that could be considered by Congress in 2019.

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

Concerns about foreign hackers have been heightened since the 2016 presidential election, given that various U.S. intelligence agencies reported foreign Internet efforts to influence that election. And with mid-term Congressional elections coming up, those concerns have not abated.

Meanwhile, the personal Gmail accounts of some U.S. Senators and Senate staff recently were targeted, as confirmed by a Google spokesperson to CNN. Indeed, CNN reports that Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has written a letter to Senate leadership stating that "at least one major technology company has informed a number of Senators and Senate staff members that their personal email accounts were targeted by foreign government hackers."

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

Infections caused by surgical procedures are not uncommon and can be life-threatening. If only there were a way to cut (pardon the pun) the incidence of such infections ... But wait, Computerworld has just reported that the application of predictive analytics and machine learning techniques to real-time data from operating rooms at the University of Iowa Hospital had lowered the risk of surgical infections by a stunning 74 percent over a three-year period.

Given this success, the hospital has created Dash Analytics, a company devoted to commercializing this technology. Dr. John Cromwell, the CTO at Dash, and an associate chief medical officer at the University of Iowa Hospital, has stated the following: "We started work with the hypothesis that if we could predict which patients would get surgical infections we could change the wound management strategies at the time of surgery to reduce the risk of infection. Surgical infection in the US is the number one hospital infection and carries the most morbidity. It is also the most expensive type of of hospital infection to treat."

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

When the internet exploded beyond the early confines of US military and academic communications in the late-1990s, the US Congress believed that the internet should grow and flourish relatively unfettered by potential litigation and government regulation. This was reflected in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which generally provides that internet service providers are not liable for content posted by third-parties on their websites.

However, the pendulum may be swinging in the other direction in the US, as there have been concerns about false information posted online by foreign interests that has been intended to influence elections. There also has been worry about the ability of terrorists and other bad actors to organize and develop plans of harm and destruction by utilizing the internet to further those negative pursuits.

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

What are known as the "Paramount Consent Decrees" have governed the manner in which film studios have distributed films to movie theaters for 70 years. But that might change as part of a further deregulatory effort by the current administration. Indeed, the Department of Justice reportedly is reviewing the decrees.

The Paramount Consent Decrees emerged from a significant antitrust cased brought by the DOJ against Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, MGM, RKO Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and some other film studios. When the DOJ pursued this case in the 1940s, the film studios controlled many aspects of filmmaking. This included not only film production itself, but also long-term contracts with actors and the owning of movie theaters. The DOJ argued at the time that this made it extremely difficult for independent companies to compete.

'Blinking Red' Cyber Threats

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

Over the past couple years, we have heard a lot about Russian efforts on the internet to influence the 2016 presidential election. We also keep getting news about major hacks of businesses and the wrongful accessing of personal, customer information.

And now, if that were not enough, Dan Coats, the National Intelligence Director, reportedly has stated that cyber threats to US national security are "blinking red" as warning lights. Indeed, according to AP, Director Coats has revealed that online efforts to undercut the fabric of the United States are happening on a daily basis.

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

Privacy is like oxygen. It generally is not noticed by a consumer until it is gone. California lawmakers, however, are quite aware of privacy and have recently passed perhaps the most strict privacy law in the United States.

Only days ago, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 ("the Act") was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown after it has been approved on a unanimous basis by the California State Assembly and the California Senate. The Act does not become operative until 2020, but when it goes it to effect, it will pack a punch. Indeed, the Act will provide great control to consumers with respect to their own personal data.