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We’ve been talking a lot recently about the secretly authorized stuff our government does to us — like killing us, or molesting us at airports.

Here’s another one for the list: digging through our emails or Twitter feeds or cell phone data, without probable cause, our permission, or our knowledge. This isn’t necessarily shocking in and of itself; back in April, Kashmir Hill wrote about how often the government requests information about private individuals from tech companies.

What’s shocking is the ease with which the government gets that information and the secrecy with which it does so. Somehow it’s all based on a law that is older than the Internet. The policy recently came to light when authorities ordered a small Internet provider, as well as Twitter and Google, to turn over information about Jacob Appelbaum, an American who volunteers with WikiLeaks.

How does the U.S. government circumvent basic probable cause and search warrant requirements when it wants electronic information? Let’s see….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If the Government Wants Your Email, It Gets Your Email”

Joran van der Sloot

* Bob Morse announces that new jobs data may be used to change the methodology for calculating law school employment rates. Because Bob Morse has to do the ABA’s job for them. HIYOOOO! [U.S. News & World Report]

* And speaking of employment (or lack thereof), it looks like UDel and SUNY Stony Brook have given up their plans to build new law schools. Did they smarten up and start worrying about jobs like we do? [Washington Post]

* Joran van der Sloot: rolling his eyes at murder charges since 2005. More than a year after his arrest, he’s been charged with the murder of Stephany Flores. [CNN]

* Representing a private company, Cadwalader’s antitrust case against Google got tossed. Even Biglawyers can fail to meet their burdens of proof. [CNET]

* ‘Cause tonight we’re robo-signing like it’s 1999? Mortgage paperwork screw-ups aren’t as new as you think – they’ve been around since flannel was still cool. [Associated Press]

* Remember that Oscar de la Hoya lawsuit? The settlement allegedly included $20M in exchange for getting his heels and fishnets back. You can’t keep a good crossdresser down. [New York Post]

Mon dieu, je déteste mon propriétaire.

* Led by Cleary and Wachtell, five Biglaw firms were involved in the $12.5B Google/Motorola deal. Talk about a total prestige orgy. [Am Law Daily]

* Casey Anthony will be appealing her check fraud probation order in Florida. WHERE’S THE JUSTICE FOR THAT GIRL’S CHECKING ACCOUNT!!?!? [CNN]

* Those pushing for a law school at Indiana Tech admit the state doesn’t need another law school, but “another kind.” The kind that doesn’t exist, amirite? [Chesterton Tribune]

* Your pets don’t need millions from your estate after you go to the big dog park in the sky. But if you feel so inclined, Fifi will probably use the money to dye her hair back. Pink is so not her color. [Reuters]

* For some young lawyers in Nevada, passing the bar is easier than getting a job. Meh, I guess I should’ve considered moving to Nevada. [Fox News]

* Lawyers in Texas are excited about a Twitter Brief Competition. All filings should be under 140 characters. Just imagine: @Appellant Ur lawyer sucks, ttyl #affirm [Tex Parte Blog / Texas Lawyer]

Chris Christie

* Some bloggers stand up to dubious defamation lawsuits. [Techdirt]

* And some settle: St. Thomas Law (or its insurer) is paying $5,000 to Joseph Rakofsky. [Simple Justice]

* Another day, another lawyer accused of trying to kill someone — but not succeeding. (We might have more to say about this case next week; send us tips about Jason Smiekel.) [Chicago Tribune]

* My former boss, Governor Chris Christie, defends his appointment of Judge Sohail Mohammed, standing up to some of the Sharia-obsessed crazies on the right. Alas, some of these crazies could create problems for him in 2016. (Where are all the nice, moderate, socially liberal Republicans hiding? Establishment types, please take the GOP back from these icky populists.) [Arab American Institute]

* My co-author, Zach Shemtob, takes to the airwaves in defense of our New York Times op-ed, which has been controversial in some quarters. [AM 560 WIND]

Richard Matasar

* Dean Richard Matasar, outgoing dean of New York Law School, denies that law schools are all about the benjamins; rather, NYLS and other independent law schools “exist only for the benefit of their students.” [Bloomberg Law / YouTube]

* A woman is videotaped saying that she will claim sexual assault, when no such assault happened. (Staci’s take: “Pissed off women do strange things.”) [Houston Press]

* Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, accuses its competitors of being evil. [Corporate Counsel]

* Being a tenured professor can be a pretty sweet gig. Being an adjunct prof? Not so much. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* If you’re looking for something to do on Monday night in New York, check out this fundraising event, sponsored by Weil Pays It Forward (and featuring Survivor hottie and former Weil lawyer Charlie Herschel). [Celebration of Survival]

'How do I get these stupid marks to disappear from my document?'

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about some über expensive and embarrassing examples of lawyers making technological mistakes.

Those stories involved sexily scandalous blunders, but they were relatively extreme scenarios. (If turning over thousands of privileged documents happens regularly at your firm, may God help you.)

More frequently, firm employees deal with little technological snafus that are just annoying, pointless, and a waste of time. In a world where attorneys might literally be working themselves to death, every second of the day counts. It’s when people can’t handle mundane, seriously easy computer tasks that daily tasks become inefficient and infuriating.

Keep reading for some true stories of the technologically challenged….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “All This Techno-Ignorance Will Make Your Head Explode”

Law firm advertising is expensive and certain methods may be cost-prohibitive for small firms. For instance, a small firm may not be able to afford a television or print campaign. Enter online marketing including, among other things, Google AdWords and sponsored links. In 2009, a law firm filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin state court challenging certain marketing strategies as an invasion of privacy, as defined in the Wisconsin privacy statute. Luckily for consumers and small firms, the court disagreed.

The case involved the two most prominent personal injury firms in Wisconsin. One of them, Cannon & Dunphy, used a Google AdWords PPC (price-per-click) strategy (and other search engines) to bid on the name of the state’s largest personal injury firm, Habush, Habush & Rottier. In other words, when a user would search the terms Habush or Rottier, a Cannon & Dunphy link would show up in the shaded section as a Sponsored Link.

Habush sued Cannon, alleging that Cannon’s online marketing campaign violated Wis. Stat. §995.50. That statute prohibits “the use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name . . . of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person,” and provides a cause of action where such an invasion of privacy was unreasonable.

The result of the litigation, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: An Important Victory For Small-Firm Advertising”

This news is more than a little scary.

Google announced yesterday that hackers in China had gotten access to hundreds of Gmail accounts. And it wasn’t just anyone’s email. The attack targeted senior government officials in the United States, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries, military personnel, and journalists.

I have a feeling we will hear a lot more about this over the next few days. For the moment, let’s take a look at the details we know so far….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chinese Hackers Hijack Hundreds of Gmail Accounts”

* It looks like Jonathan Lee Riches has some competition. Check out this crazy lawsuit filed against Apple (and many other defendants), by one David Louis Whitehead. Why do the wackos always have three names? [Apple Insider]

* Check out Professor Glenn Reynolds’s interesting argument against a federally-mandated drinking age of 21. “If you get shot at, you can have a shot.” [Wall Street Journal via Instapundit]

* The FTC is holding Google’s balls feet to the fire over its privacy practices. Want to turn up the heat a few degrees? [EPIC]

Do you heart boobies? I do -- for aesthetic reasons, and as symbols of female seductive power.

* Speaking of body parts, would this lawsuit have turned out differently if the bracelets, instead of promoting breast cancer awareness by declaring “I ♥ Boobies,” promoted testicular cancer awareness and read “I ♥ Balls”? [Philadelphia Inquirer via WSJ Law Blog]

* And speaking of free speech and schools, Congress should proceed with caution when passing anti-harassment legislation. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Biglaw partners team up with a former federal prosecutor to launch a new litigation boutique. Say hello to Levine Lee LLP. [Am Law Daily]

* But how does the bulldog feel about being used in an advertisement for a law firm? Cf. this controversy. [Ross Fishman's Law Marketing Blog]

Raj Rajaratnam

* Raj Rajaratnam’s got a cute insider trading friend named Octopussy. Maybe he’s been doing some other insider trading, if you know what I mean. [Bloomberg]

* Florida redefines “beating it.” It may be time to reconsider things if you’re paying $2.99 to watch a hate crime with your pants off. Come on, at least look into some free porn. [Washington Post]

* Speaking of beating it, here’s a memo to file for John Branca from Katherine Jackson: she doesn’t wanna see your face, you better disappear. [Newark Star-Ledger]

* Listen, Frank, Bingham might be trying to “defend conduct that is indefensible,” but you were thinking about trading Chad Billingsley. Give me a break. [NBC Sports]

* Google v. Government. The DOJ isn’t buying what Google’s selling because Microsoft is a little bit less evil, and a little bit more FISMA compliant. [Los Angeles Times]

* Nothing says corporate equality for women lawyers like a picture of a woman in a fugly suit trapped inside of a dog cage. [The Careerist]

The satirical Onion News Network recently reported on new government funding for that “massive online surveillance program run by the CIA,” known as Facebook — dreamed up by “secret C.I.A. agent Mark Zuckerberg.” The report made light of how much information we’re willing to make available to a third party — information that we would never consider freely handing over to the feds. While funny, the report speaks to serious concerns about privacy. Civil liberties advocates like Christopher Soghoian and Nicholas Merrill worry about the ease with which the government can get access to the digital information we store with third-parties like Facebook, Yahoo!, and Google, as well as to the rich databases that our mobile phone providers have.

Should we call it the Tech.B.I. or the Dot.Com.I.A.?

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