Social Networking Websites

Working as a process server is a tough job. It might be one of the few modern professions where “don’t shoot the messenger” still has literal meaning. Seth Rogen made it look kind of cool in Pineapple Express, and he got to wear disguises. But that movie wasn’t exactly realistic.

But what if there was a new, technologically savvy way to serve hard-to-access litigants? Some sort of online community that everyone was a part of? Oh wait, we have that. It’s called Facebook.

::Light bulb goes on::

At least, that’s what a judge in England was thinking on Tuesday when he ruled that a defendant in a commercial dispute could be served via Facebook. The judge gets points for forward thinking, but at the same time I’m not sure the plan was too well thought-out…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “You Got Served — By Facebook”

Like it or not, sex offenders have rights, too.

Sex offenders are the easiest people to take away rights from. Even other criminals hate sex offenders. Their crimes are heinous, it’s unclear if recurring sex offenders can ever be “cured,” and if they ever get out of jail, even most progressives are happy to severely curtail their rights and freedoms.

It’s tough to take a public stand for the rights of pedos. But someone has to do it. Yesterday, a Louisiana federal judge struck down a state law barring sex offenders from Facebook and other social media. He used a First Amendment argument to scrap the law, which took effect in August, and created a “near total ban on internet access” for sex offenders.

That’s all well and good, although Facebook isn’t exactly pleased….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sex Offenders, Welcome to Facebook (Well, Kind Of)”

Humiliating? Yes. Harassment? No dice.

At this point, nearly everyone has at least one friend who finds perverse joy in posting stupid, unflattering photos of their friends to Facebook. Maybe drunk photos or maybe just dorky, grody ones from right after you ran a marathon or something.

In these mildly annoying situations, most people would untag the photos and then forget that they existed. But not everyone. A Minnesota man named Aaron Olson could not handle the fact that his uncle posted photos from his childhood in front of the Christmas tree, along with some snarky captions. So he sued his uncle for harassment.

A Minnesota district court tossed his case, and earlier this week the Court of Appeals of Minnesota denied Olson’s pro se complaint. Judge Natalie E. Hudson wrote a surprisingly zen unpublished opinion, considering how silly the lawsuit (and Olson’s in-court behavior) was…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “No, You Can’t Sue Your Uncle For Putting Embarrassing Family Photos On Facebook”

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….

The battle between educational institutions and loudmouth students who fight for the right to say dumb things is a rich area of recent American history. A student says something inflammatory. The school suspends/fails/disciplines the student. The student sues, and everyone has a big First Amendment debate party.

Usually, I have a lot of sympathy for the schools. Teenagers are, how do I say this, dumb. They think they know everything, and that somehow it’s of cosmic importance that they are allowed to proclaim their love for illegal drugs on campus.

But I cannot abide when schools become the fun police. The University of Minnesota currently falls under this category. In a case that will be heard today by the Minnesota Supreme Court, a mortuary sciences student is fighting to overturn ridiculous penalties levied against her for a couple of (seriously) harmless jokes made on Facebook.

Some commentators are worried about broader implications the case will have on the power colleges have over their students. I’m more upset about the fact that the University of Minnesota can’t take a joke….

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It’s always tempting to call people like the guy in this story the stupidest (alleged) criminal ever. But, somehow, the bar for getting arrested via internet idiocy keeps getting set lower and lower.

In the modern era, it seems that thieves and would-be murderers can’t help but gloat about their illicit activities online.

But until today, I’ve never heard of a wanted man posting on his local sheriff’s Facebook wall, commenting on a story about the fact that police were looking for him.

Wait, did I say commenting? This dude started a whole thread. You can’t make this stuff up….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “He Trolled the Law, and the Law Won”

Landing a Summer Public Interest Legal Job: hotsexyskippy@yahoo.com is not an appropriate email address to have on your résumé. LOL.

PSLawNet, offering job search advice over Twitter.

The great thing about free stuff is that it is free. Nobody cares what kind of plastic junk they’re getting as long as it’s free. Why do sports fans go nuts over t-shirt cannons, even though the shirts are ugly as hell and always XXL? Duh, because they’re free.

To me, it seems logical that no one has any right to complain when free stuff is taken away, or when it turns out to be a major letdown.

If you want a crummy T-shirt so badly, go buy one. If you want to go to Starbucks, don’t complain that your aunt Maggie didn’t give you a big enough gift card for Christmas. Just go buy your coffee.

Judging from a recent LexisNexis online promotion geared toward law students, though, it seems I might be in the minority. On its Facebook page, Lexis has been advertising “challenges” for law students. Supposedly, the first 1,000 students to complete each challenge win 1,000 “Lexis points,” which are similar to credit card rewards points.

Tragically, some computer problems caused students to have trouble accessing and submitting their answers earlier this week. A tidal wave of law school students became enraged and took to Lexis’s Facebook with their fury. Woe to he who angers law students….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Students Go Insane Over LexisNexis’s Online Promotion”

[T]his might be a helpful alert to lawyers who are hiring someone to try to promote their sites: It’s possible that the promotion might consist of behavior that is par for the course for purported penis enlargement products, but not really in keeping with the sort of reputation that lawyers generally seek to cultivate.

– Professor Eugene Volokh, issuing a warning to lawyers that hire outside companies to promote their law firm websites using spam blog comments.

Alex Macgillivray

Bad day for the Internet…. Having been there, I can imagine the dissension @Google to search being warped this way.

– Alexander Macgillivray, general counsel of Twitter, commenting via Twitter about Google’s recent plan to alter search results based on users’ Google+ networks. Macgillivray used to be in-house counsel at Google. Corporate Counsel analyzed his comments yesterday.

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