Kashmir Hill

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.

Posts by Kashmir Hill

Back in 2009, some teen girls in Indiana had a sleepover that lived up to any teen boy’s fantasy version of one. After racy photos from the summer slumber party made their way to the principal’s office, two of the athletes in attendance were suspended from school sports for the year. That’s, like, totally unfair, said the ACLU, which helped the students sue the school, alleging violation of their First Amendment right to post slutty photos of themselves online.

The girls took photos of themselves “playing” with “phallic-shaped rainbow colored lollipops,” in the court’s words. It sounds like the oh-so-innocent unicorn horn lollipop to me. Though unicorns are usually associated with purity and virginity, these girls took the horn in a different direction, using it in photo shoots that simulated various sexual positions. I’ll leave the descriptions to the court, which wrote one of the racier opinions [pdf] I’ve ever come across (via Professor Eric Goldman’s Technology and Marketing Law Blog)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Indiana Judge Upholds High School Girls’ Constitutional Right To Post Slutty Photos Online”

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

GPS = 'Get Proof' System

Next year, the Supreme Court will decide whether it’s okay for law enforcement to put a GPS tracking device on someone’s car without a warrant. Some courts say yes and some courts say no. If it’s not the po-po tracking you, though, but a spouse who suspects you might be cheating, a New Jersey court says, “Go for it.”

A New Jersey woman hired a private investigator to follow her husband to find out if he was straying. Her husband, Kenneth Villanova, a Gloucester County sheriff’s officer, kept managing to lose the investigator [*insert high-speed car chases here*]. So the investigator, Richard Leonard, advised his client to put a tracking device in her husband’s car, reports the Star-Ledger. She put it in the glove compartment of their jointly-owned GMC Yukon.

Busted: Within two weeks, it revealed Villanova’s car sitting in the driveway of a woman who was not his wife. Oh, the bittersweet pleasure of catching a partner in the act.

Villanova was not pleased. He sued his wife and Leonard for invasion of privacy and for causing him “substantial and permanent emotional distress.” My married colleague Matt Herper has (jokingly) remarked to me before that there is no privacy in marriage. Asked to clarify, Herper says: “There’s no presumption of privacy, or right to it. If invading a spouse’s privacy is an offense, it’s probably a smaller one than expecting to keep very many secrets.”

The New Jersey appellate judges came to the same conclusion, but with slightly different reasoning…

Read on at Forbes.com….

Anyone who has spent a swampy June/July/August in D.C. knows that it’s not the ideal setting for a sizzling summer romance. So it is time to shift locations for the Courtship Connection, Above the Law’s dating service for legal eagles. 

Given my miserable less-than-perfect matchmaking track record, I was surprised by the number of emails from single lawyers and law students begging for Courtship to come to their city. I guess desperate times call for really desperate measures?

Since the only pleasure Courtship Connection tends to bring is to the readers, we shall let you choose the next city. Which metropolis of lawyers offers the greatest potential for throw-downs, of both the clashing and clicking variety? After the jump, you can vote for one of the nominees — Atlanta, Montreal, Miami, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, or Orange County, CA — and hear about the latest D.C. “cage match” of a date….

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The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments t...

Time to scratch off that Fourth one?

The Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and one of his law clerks have penned a eulogy for the Fourth Amendment. It’s been murdered, Judge Kozinski and Stephanie Grace write in an editorial for The Daily, and you all are the guilty culprits.

You’ve put a knife in it, by letting supermarkets track your shopping in exchange for loyalty discounts, letting Amazon and eBay store your credit card info, and letting Google track the websites you visit and take photos of your homes with satellites.

The problem, at least constitutionally speaking, is that the Fourth Amendment protects only what we reasonably expect to keep private. One facet of this rule, known as the third party doctrine, is that we don’t have reasonable expectations of privacy in things we’ve already revealed to other people or the public…

With so little left private, the Fourth Amendment is all but obsolete. Where police officers once needed a warrant to search your bookshelf for “Atlas Shrugged,” they can now simply ask Amazon.com if you bought it. Where police needed probable cause before seizing your day planner, they can now piece together your whereabouts from your purchases, cellphone data and car’s GPS. Someday soon we’ll realize that we’ve lost everything we once cherished as private.

via Remember what the Fourth Amendment protects? No? Just as well. | United States |Axisoflogic.com.

The lamentation for the loss of privacy has special resonance coming from these two, because it’s by one of the top federal judges in the country and that Stephanie Grace.

Read on at Forbes.com….

deirdre dare expat allen and overy.jpgFor those of you who have missed Deidre Dare, the expat lawyer who was terminated from the Moscow office of Allen & Overy after writing a smutty steamy online novel, give thanks. She’s baaaaaack.

Deidre “To Russia With Donkey and Dwarf Love” Dare is struggling with the cash flow these days. The Columbia Law grad’s London lawsuit against Magic Circle firm A&O for unfair termination in its Russia office was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, so she filed a new complaint in New York. As you might expect from an amateur sex novelist, the complaint is rather juicy. Dare (a.k.a. Deidre Clark), who was a senior attorney in A&O’s London, Singapore and Moscow offices from 2007 to 2009, claims that she was terminated after giving into — and later spurning — her supervising partner’s sexual advances. (Excerpt: “[Tony] Humphrey made sexual advances on Clark, who was intoxicated at the time. This conduct included intimate sexual contact. Humphrey kept saying “I love sex.”)

Dare is upping the ante on the lawsuit. In London, she sued for £3.5m, but in her Big Apple lawsuit, she’s hoping to take a bigger bite out of A&O: namely, $35 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

“I think NY will take jurisdiction,” Dare, a member of the New York Bar, told us by email. “And thank god for that.”

In the meantime, Dare is working on another project that is, er, rather racy….

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In an ideal world, every Courtship Connection would start with tequila shots and end with tongue-twisting. But given that we’re working with careful and risk-averse lawyer types, historically our participants have tended to put a damper on the sparks. And not just the romantic kind.

If there’s no chemistry, the next best option is brutal honesty about why that was. It’s rare to actually tell someone why a date was mediocre. It’s much easier just not to call afterward (or not to return a call, if the lack of chemistry wasn’t mutual). But these aren’t normal dates –- these are blind dates set up by a legal blog that involve anonymous, public reviews. If there are no sparks, ATL readers expect some snark. No one benefits from a “blah blah, x was a nice person, but we didn’t click” review. Readers get bored, and your disappointing date doesn’t learn anything about why he or she fails at first impressions. She seemed too desperate for a free meal? Note it. He’s a chatty Kathy? Be catty about it. Her exhaustion was a turn-off? Let us know. His ordering fancy French cocktails was unmanly? Emasculation notation, please.

In other words, Courtship Connection is supposed to be what happens when daters stop being polite, and start getting real. Think of your blind date as a legal memo and yourself as the partner reviewing it for flaws and fallacies before submitting it to the court. Let’s read between the lines and figure out why two recent dates fizzled instead of sizzled…

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I spent last week with a bunch of journos working from a beach house in the Outer Banks. I set my computer up in the house’s crow nest, blogging with a view of the ocean and a cool sea breeze. “Lunch hour” was spent playing in the waves. At night, we would make frozen drinks (summer cocktail recommendation: Jameson M&M milkshakes) and sit beneath the stars debating whether or not Anthony Weiner was cocky enough to send out that Twitter pic. This is perfect, I thought to myself.

But then late Tuesday night, it got even better, as I got to throw a little vicarious pleasure into the mix. At 10:10 p.m., my Droid buzzed with an email from a Courtship Connection couple I had sent to the Black Rooster pub earlier that night: “Full recap from us tomorrow but we have been making out all over Dupont!”

As regular readers know, that’s a rarity in this series. So what was it about this pairing that awakened the lawyers’ libidos?

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg attends a joi...

Facebook goes on the offensive to protect its founder from a man it says is a scammer

When Facebook called Paul Ceglia, the man who claims to have a contract with Mark Zuckerberg for half of Facebook, an “inveterate scam artist,” Ceglia’s lawyers at DLA Piper replied that the company had no facts to back that claim up. “We are prepared to move the case forward into discovery and our client looks forward to his day in court,” said DLA.

Facebook is ready for discovery too: their lawyers at Gibson Dunn have filed to expedite it. Their attached memorandum of law makes a strong case against Ceglia. Facebook’s hoping to give Ceglia his day in court, but it’s hoping that it’s a criminal court.

Facebook wants the original version of the contract that Ceglia claims Mark Zuckerberg signed and the emails that Ceglia said were exchanged regarding that contract. Facebook says they’re as fake as that app that claims to let you see who your Facebook stalkers are. To support their claims, they’ve dug into the dark corners of Ceglia’s past, mentioning again his drug and fraud convictions as well as disclosing a land scam that Ceglia has allegedly been running for years, that had not previously been discovered. Note to self: do not sue huge corporation with any potential skeletons in the closet.

If the allegations Facebook’s lawyers make are true, Ceglia could end up with prison time instead of a hefty chunk of Facebook stock.

Read on at Forbes.com….

The Courtship Connection has been on hiatus since the infamous night of the melon-baller. We are back with a vengeance now. We’re doing a last sweep of D.C.’s single lawyers and then moving on to a new town. We’ll let you vote on which lucky city and its lawyers get to be subjected to my questionable matchmaking attempts.

First, we need candidates. Send suggestions for the next Courtship city to tips@abovethelaw.com. We’ll then let you vote. Don’t worry: Miami, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas are already on the candidate list.

Now on to news of our latest victims match. I brought a previous candidate off the bench for this one, as I’m short on men (and lesbians — D.C.’s problem is that it has too many single ladies, and not enough of them like the other single ladies). Do you remember the guy who refused to get lost in his date’s brown eyes? Sex-starved but with high standards for chemistry. He agreed to go out on another blind date, but had a request: he wanted his match to be from the T14, even though he is not a grad of the upper echelon of law schools himself. I granted his wish.

Was prestige all that was needed to set his loins afire?

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PALO ALTO, CA - AUGUST 18:  Facebook founder a...

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg respond to Paul Ceglia, the wood chipper who claims to own half of Facebook

Now that the Winklevoss twins have been sent packing by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (with a kick in the ass on the way out the door from the rest of the Ninth Circuit), with a 0.00% chance of the Supreme Court taking their case, Facebook’s lawyers can focus on the latest “Actually, I Own Facebook” lawsuit.

Paul Ceglia claims to have a contract with Mark Zuckerberg that entitles him to half of the company. Zuck supposedly signed away a stake in Facebook in 2003 while a Harvard undergrad in exchange for $2,000 in seed money from Ceglia.

In an amended complaint filed in April (with the help of DLA Piper), Ceglia claimed to have some damning emails from Zuckerberg where they discussed “the face book” project at length. Ceglia said the emails showed that Zuck deceived him, allegedly telling him the site was not very popular with the Harvard kids, and asking him if he would like his $2,000 back — at the same time as Zuckerberg was moving out to California to ramp up operations.

Lawyers at Gibson Dunn filed Facebook’s response to Ceglia’s lawsuit this week, calling him a scam artist and saying that the contract he claims to have is “doctored” and that the evidence he has produced is “fabricated.” Here’s the scorching opener to the answer, which was certainly written as much for the media as for the judge….

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