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I'm an editor emeritus at Above the Law. I am still a contributor to ATL, but now spend my days at Forbes writing about privacy, technology and the law at The Not-So Private Parts. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook.
Max Schrems, a 24-year-old law student from Austria, has become one of Facebook's fiercest critics.
While most law students are shaking off the winter break and settling back in for the second semester, Max Schrems is busy doing his best to bring Facebook to its knees.
Last year, the 24-year-old University of Vienna law student spent a semester abroad at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. His privacy law professor there, Dorothy Glancy, invited a privacy lawyer from Facebook to be eaten alive by speak to the class. Schrems was shocked by the lawyer’s limited grasp of the severity of European data protection laws, and decided to write his final paper for the class on how Facebook was flunking privacy in Europe.
In the course of his research, he discovered that Facebook’s dossiers on individual users are hundreds of pages long, and include information users thought had been deleted. When he returned to Austria last summer, he formed an activist group called Europe v. Facebook (to legitimize his campaign and make it seem like more than just one law student), filed dozens of complaints in Europe about Facebook’s data practices, and publicized his findings online, leading to widespread media attention, a probe by a European privacy regulator, and questions from Congress.
On Monday, Facebook’s European director of policy (and former MP) Richard Allan and another California-based Facebook exec flew to Vienna to meet with Schrems for a whopping six hours to discuss his concerns.
Just when you thought “revenge porn” couldn’t get worse, IsAnyoneUp came along. In addition to posting user-submitted nude photos — often sent in by someone’s angry ex — the site’s proprietor, Hunter Moore, includes a screenshot of the amateur porn star’s Facebook profile page, so that it’s clear exactly who the person is, where they live (and work), and how to contact him or her. It’s not the only porn website where those featured get “poked,” but the only one where visitors get to do the poking.
Those featured on the site have struggled to get their photos taken down — the most successful legal approach so far has been to claim copyright and issue a DMCA takedown notice. Now Facebook is bringing its legal power to bear. Facebook had its lawyers at Perkins Coie send the site a cease-and-desist notice, saying Moore was violating Facebook’s terms of service by harassing users and posting their content without their consent. Moore immediately posted a copy of the letter to his NSFW site, and was excited to send Perkins lawyer Joseph Cutler a response.
“I replied with a picture of my dick,” he told Gawker. Classy.
“If you win this case, there is nothing to prevent the police or government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States,” said Justice Breyer.
The Supreme Court justices were decked out in their usual black robes today for U.S. vs Jones [pdf], a case involving the question of whether police need a warrant to attach a GPS tracker to someone’s car. But given their paranoia about possible technology-enabled government intrusions on privacy, it might not have been surprising if they had also been wearing tin foil hats.
Since the dates in D.C. have been a little more exciting than those in Chicago, I decided to spoil you with one last set-up in the nation’s capital. I brought in a pinch hitter for this one. After a “disarmingly feisty and unabashedly vivacious” female lawyer shot down the frat boy I set her up with, she asked to be set up with someone more her type, “aka really hot, quirky, and a commitment-phobic womanizer.” Pinch Hitter emailed me, saying he fit the profile.
Feist-Master said she was up for round two, but then disappeared off of the face of the earth email. So I decided to pull a switcheroo, pairing the quirky commitment-phobe with another of the many single female lawyers in D.C. I chose a hot, young T-14 grad at a Biglaw firm, who self-described as “optimistic, spontaneous, and active,” and said she would be a journalist if not a lawyer. The two legal eagles both sounded like thrill-seekers to me, so I sent them to The Russia House after work on a Friday and hoped for an epic night.
Epicness ensued. This is the kind of first date story that Wannabe Lara Logan will be able to milk for years…
It’s said that it’s rude to ask a woman her age. In fact, it’s only rude to ask women 30 and over about their digits. It’s far worse, however, to ask a woman with decades under her belt for her age and then to publish it for the world to see. An actress in Texas says it wasn’t just rude but financially costly for her when the movie database IMDB publicized her nearly over-the-hill age in 2008. Cue, Robert Murtaugh.
The Hollywood Reporter has a copy of the actress’s complaint against Amazon.com, which owns the Internet Movie Database, in which she alleges that everyone’s favorite website for figuring out who-that-guy-in-that-one-movie-was-and-what-was-that-other-movie-he-was-in-with-that-girl screwed her over after she signed up for a Pro IMDb account. After entering credit card information and personal details, including her birthdate, to start the account, her age all of a sudden appeared on her public profile page, “revealing to the public that Plaintiff is many years older than she looks,” according to her humble complaint.
At this point in the Courtship Connection Chicago series, I’m shocked that Chicago made it to the Final Four for coolest city for lawyers. I have to assume that those voting weren’t taking the dating scene into consideration. Perhaps Above the Law could start a fund to transplant Big League from D.C. to Chicago, so that she could train her colleagues in how to have an exciting first date. (Step 1: Drink rye whiskey. Step 2: Visit a strip club.) My Chicago daters keep going on “pleasant” dates with “good conversation.” Descriptors like “nice guy” abound in their write-ups. Why do all have to be so darn… Midwestern?
Inspired by ExRated.co, moving forward, I’m going to force nicely ask lawyers in the Windy City to rate their dates (out of five stars), and list their legal eagle match’s best and worst qualities. Should the date not lead to a bedding, it can at least lead to a bettering.
The latest Chicago pairing involved two lawyers in their 20s. Asked why he agreed to be set up by a random legal blogger, our male lawyer, who described himself as “kinetic, adventurous, and faux-angsty,” said, “regardless of the outcome, it’ll probably be a good story, which is generally the important thing.” He asked to be set up with someone “outgoing and hilarious.” Our female lawyer volunteered that she has “HUGE brains.” That seemed like a decent match.
It wasn’t. Emo Lawyer thinks it’s because Mars Attacks didn’t drink enough. Meanwhile, she explained why: she couldn’t stand a second round with him….
Happy Tuesday, Above the Law readers. I hope you had a lovely weekend, spent staring deeply into someone’s eyes over a candlelight dinner, or rubbing up against a hard-bodied young thing on a dance floor, or fighting the cold by cuddling on the couch, or — if you live in Florida — doing all those things and more with your favorite barnyard animal for the very last time (legally).
If you had a romance-free weekend, do not despair. Dating sucks sometimes — especially when it’s a date set up by a legal blogger with no particular aptitude for matchmaking. Last week, I thought I had actually done a decent job. I sent two Washington, D.C. lawyers out to Eighteenth Street Lounge on a Thursday night. Halfway through the date, the dude sent me an email, “Going really well so far.”
“I finally have one that’s going well,” I enthused to my boyfriend. “Doubtful,” he responded. “If he’s excited enough to send a mid-date email, that probably means you set him up with someone who’s totally out of his league.”
I should mention that one of the things that I like in a partner is their being slightly more perceptive than me….
Sadly, the percentage of Courtship Connection blind dates that lead to second dates is far lower than the percentage of ladies at One First Street, though it’s higher than the ratio of Supreme females to Supreme males dating back to the Court’s beginnings. Barely.
One of the couplings that did beat the odds included two New York lawyers paired because of their shared love of My Cousin Vinny. Seeing that two Chicago early-twenty-somethings had named Vincent Gambini as their fave legal fictional character, I sent these two yutes out on a date, hoping to replicate that success.
She self-described as a “cute fun firecracker” looking for a “hilarious (like really ridiculously funny), goal-oriented, and tall” legal dude. He said he was a “gunner w/sense of humor” whose type is “good-looking, smart, intense but funny.”
Firecrackers + gunners should make for a fiery night, right?
Courtship Connection blew into the Windy City on the tail end of the summer. (You can still sign up here, single Chicagoans.) This week marks the city’s first two Courtship dates. One couple will go out tonight (good luck!). I’m hoping they have a better time than the two lawyers who met each other in front of a closed restaurant on Monday night.
The two Biglaw associates said there wasn’t “a spark.” Instead of a spark, there was a big height difference. It’s hard out there for the tall lady lawyers….
There are many kinds of journalism: investigative, advocacy, tabloid, service… Okay, there are four kinds of journalism we can currently think of. Above the Law’s Courtship Connection is in the service journalism camp. It’s our attempt to help over-worked, under-socialized, but ultimately lovable legal types, both lawyers and law students, to find romance. Or, failing that, inform them through a candid appraisal of a blind first date how they’re going about it all wrong.
So far, we’ve set up a Big Apple bushel’s worth of legal types in the city that never sleeps, and we’ve brought about quite a few political alliances in the nation’s capital. The third season of this series is debuting in Chicago, per readers’ choice.
If the Windy City has left you cold and lonely, and you’re willing and able to put your love life in ATL’s hands, I’ll do my best to set you up with a fellow legal eagle who doesn’t seem like a completely awful human being. If you’ve read past columns, you should know that I’m setting that bar low for a reason.
The survey, plus advice on how to prepare for a blind first date, after the jump…
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.