Privacy

With Murdoch gone, British media can return to doing what it does best.

* A federal judge tossed out a law requiring tobacco companies to put graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. If paying $7 a pack doesn’t stop you from buying smokes, I don’t think nasty photos will either. [CNN]

* SCOTUS won’t deal with Arizona’s controversial immigration law for a couple months, but the Eleventh Circuit will hear oral arguments about Alabama’s even stricter law today. But why would you immigrate to Alabama, of all places? Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The Seventh Circuit ruled that police can search a cellphone for its number without a warrant. Judge Richard Posner compared it to law enforcement’s ability to open a pocket diary and copy the owner’s address. The bigger question is: do drug dealers keep diaries? [Wall Street Journal]

* James Murdoch, the News Corp. heir apparent, has resigned in the wake of the News of the World scandal and related lawsuits. Now everyone can just go back to reading British tabloids for the Page Three Girls. [Los Angeles Times]

* RIP Lynn D. “Buck” Compton, the prosecutor who secured a conviction of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, and the Army paratrooper portrayed in the book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.” [Washington Post]

Google's new privacy policy is not this sexy.

* Remember Phillip Closius, the former dean of University of Baltimore Law, who said the university was raiding the law school’s funds? Yeah, he was totally right. Just guess what percent of the law school budget was going to the rest of the university. Starts with “A” and rhymes with “dot.” [National Law Journal]

* The humanity! Oklahoma’s worst fears have come true; American judges are enforcing Sharia Law! Whatever are we going to do? There is no solution in sight — except to maybe stop overreacting… [CNN]

* Mitt Bot won in both Arizona and Michigan last night. Can we send Santorum back to the 16th century yet? [Washington Post]

* Twenty-five suspected members of Anonymous were arrested across Europe and South America. They ain’t anonymous anymore. [New York Times]

* In other cyberlaw news, Google’s new privacy policy not only stinks, it probably violates European Union law. Hey Google, don’t be evil! [New York Times]

From SCOTUS to POTUS?

* Justice Clarence Thomas for president? Hey, it could happen. Lat and Kash’s 2010 proposal is getting a second look. [Daily Beast]

* Speaking of presidents, the Arizona and Michigan primary elections are today. I know folks on the coast often don’t pay too much attention to those middle-of-the-country states, but it will be interesting to see what the Illegal Immigration State and Crippled American Auto State have to say about our ragtag bunch of Republican presidential candidates. [New York Times]

* Emails published yesterday by Wikileaks appear to show that certain Pakistani military intelligence knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding in the months before Seal Team Six raided his garrison and killed him. I hope Wikileaks has juicier material in the pipeline? [Telegraph (U.K.)]

* Congratulations to Tony West, who will become acting associate attorney general, the No. 3 post in the Justice Department. [Chicago Tribune]

* Interesting report on tensions between the White House and the NSA, which has tried to get permission to monitor private web activity, perhaps at the expense of privacy. But Google knows everything you do on your computer, so why shouldn’t the government? [Washington Post]

She definitely loves wieners.

* Vedel Browne has been charged in the machete robbery of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He faces up to 20 years if convicted, and with that sentence, we’re betting he wishes he got away with more than $1,000. [CNN]

* ¡Viva México! These days, Mexico’s got more than just drug cartels, violence, and prison riots. More and more U.S. and international law firms (like DLA Piper) are crossing the border to set up shop. [Wall Street Journal]

* Which Biglaw firms own New York’s congressional delegation in terms of donations? The same Biglaw firms that have handed out bigger bonus dollars: Boies Schiller, Davis Polk, and Paul Weiss. [Politicker]

* Jury selection in the Tyler Clementi case is under way. Dharun Ravi, the Rutgers student who allegedly spied on his roommate, faces up to ten years in prison. Should’ve taken the plea bargain, bro. [New York Post]

* Some women like their wieners with a side of abuse, but that doesn’t mean they want the encounter memorialized on film. A federal judge says that’s too bad, so let the cameras roll. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Katherine Darmer, a Chapman University law professor, passed away after falling from a building last week. Her death is now being probed as a possible suicide. Rest in peace, professor. [Los Angeles Times]

Sidney Spies

* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks Roe v. Wade was a mistimed ruling, saying things would be different today if the court had been more “restrained.” Well, wire hanger sales would be up, that’s for sure. [CBS News]

* Bait and switch of the day: personal injury firms are enticing plaintiffs to sue with promises of free iPads, but they may never see them. Blame England for this one. At least it’s not happening in America… yet. [Daily Mail]

* Netflix is settling its nationwide video privacy lawsuit for $9M. It’s embarrassing enough that you know you watched the Twilight saga so many times. Netflix doesn’t need to keep your shame on record. [paidContent]

* Remember Sidney Spies, the sexy First Amendment freedom fighter? Her final yearbook photo submission was rejected, and now her family wants to file a complaint — because nobody’s gonna tell their daughter that she can’t look like a skank. [ABC News]

* Roger Aaron, one of Skadden’s most prominent mergers-and-acquisitions partners, RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]

Austrian law student and founder of the websit...

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.

Continue reading at Forbes.com….

SLU Law's Raven Akram

* Time for a Biglaw battle: William Baer of Arnold & Porter is the front runner to take over the DOJ’s antitrust division, but could he lose the spot to one of O’Melveny’s finest, Richard Parker? [Blog of Legal Times]

* It’s about time people remembered there’s no such thing as privacy anymore, but in case you forgot, Google is here to remind you. Say hello to the company’s latest plan for internet domination. [Washington Post]

* Welcome to New Jersey, a lovely place where Governor Chris Christie thinks that gay people are qualified to be state supreme court justices, but completely unqualified for marriage. [Businessweek]

* Indiana Tech is breaking ground on the law school nobody wants, and St. Louis University is moving the law school everyone hopes will attract more NFL cheerleaders. [National Law Journal; St. Louis Business Journal]

* Pamela Anderson has settled a lawsuit over her alleged failure to promote the sale of condominiums. Because people would totally buy a condo after a pair of boobs told them to do it. [Winnipeg Free Press]

* Two men from West Virginia claim that they were sexually assaulted by Andy Dick in a nightclub. The long and short of this lawsuit: Andy Dick has been accused of allegedly acting like Andy Dick. [Toronto Sun]

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I have to arrest you.

It has already been a big week for legal technology. Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in United States v. Jones. The case dealt with emerging fourth amendment and privacy issues now that law enforcement have increasingly advanced technological abilities.

Well, law enforcement in the city of East Orange, New Jersey have also embraced technology in the fight against crime. Unlike law enforcement in Washington D.C., however, East Orange’s brilliant new plan involves shining a remotely controlled red light at would-be criminals.

Below the jump we have video footage of Hal this cool, new, swiveling stoplight….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Jersey Police Decide to Turn on the Freaky Red Light”

The Supreme Court just handed down a unanimous opinion ruling in one of the most closely watched cases of the year. All the justices agreed on the result, but diverged significantly in reasoning.

This morning, the court issued its decision in United States v. Jones. Police in Washington, D.C. placed a GPS tracking device on the car of Antoine Jones, a nightclub owner, without obtaining a warrant. The GPS device helped law enforcement link Jones to a house used to store drugs and money. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison. An appeals court later overturned his conviction.

The central issue in Jones was whether attaching a GPS device to a car (i.e., allowing law enforcement 24/7 access to a person’s movements), without obtaining a warrant first, violated the Fourth Amendment.

The case has been heralded as one of the most important privacy cases in recent memory. Wired’s Threat Level blog said Jones “is arguably the biggest Fourth Amendment case in the computer age.” Editor emerita Kashmir Hill attended oral arguments for the case back in November.

What did the justices say? The ruling might surprise you…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: SCOTUS Rules in Highly Anticipated GPS Tracking Case”

Shoes. Oh my God, shoes.

On Monday, my roommate came home griping that his Zappos.com account, which he had not used in a year, had been hacked. Instead of feeling sympathetic, I started wondering how I might write about it. Data breaches are a dime a dozen these days.

It seems almost every company loses control of their customers’ sensitive data at some point. Someone almost always sues after the news breaks. But the lawsuits are rarely successful, unless customers can show real harm caused by the breach.

Most often, companies do not give up full credit card or Social Security numbers. This week, Zappos said it only suffered unauthorized access to somewhat less sensitive information. It’s a bit unnerving, but not the end of the world.

Did that stop some opportunistic consumer from taking action against the online shoe retailer?

Of course not. And we didn’t have to wait very long. A Texas woman filed a class-action lawsuit against Amazon, which owns Zappos, the same day the breach was announced. Is her lawsuit premature, vague, and a bit silly? Probably. Will it go anywhere? Probably not. But c’mon, you gotta love melodramatic, eager-beaver, consumer litigation.

So what, exactly, did Zappos lose? And how many people’s data was compromised? (Hint: it’s a lot.) Let’s mosey on past the jump and find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Zappos Suffers a Data Breach, and the Other Shoe Drops with a Lawsuit”

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