I’m a technology geek. I’m cognizant of the argument that a not entirely thought-out prosecution could lead to the suppression of ideas and technology, and I have no desire to do that.
– Wesley Hsu, chief of the cybercrime unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, explaining his approach to prosecuting cases. You can check out Kashmir Hill’s interesting profile of Hsu over at Forbes.
Tech guru Hwang secretly attended law school at Boalt Hall just to score his seven-month gig at Davis Polk, which he spent planning a computer program to replace first-year attorneys by automating tasks like document review (shhhh — don’t tell him about predictive coding or anything like that). Hwang plans to release the program to firms FOR FREE this summer. Look out Biglaw, you’re being forced down the same road Sterling Cooper did with its fancy IBM 360. Watch out for severed nipples!
* The cop who became a global internet meme for pepper spraying protesters at Berkeley Davis is now appealing for worker’s comp, arguing that he suffered psychiatric injury. Pray for him. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]
* Ariel Castro has pleaded guilty. Professor Douglas Berman suggests that the death penalty may have made this possible. An alternative theory is that Castro doesn’t think being locked up in a tiny space for years on end is all that bad. [Sentencing Law and Policy]
* Lawyer arrested for bringing meth into a courthouse. I’d say “better call Saul,” but this sounds more like something Saul would do. [Press Democrat]
* An Akin Gump partner, James Meggesto, is in hot water for Tweeting his disdain for a congressman and a Native American chief. For the record, when a tweet opens with “Resisting urge to tweet…”, you’ve failed. [Politico]
* This story actually reminds me of the plot to the new BSG series — a networked house can easily be hacked by cylons. Or in this case, Kashmir Hill. [Forbes]
* New York’s energy regulations are increasing demand for energy-efficient solutions. The most efficient thing about my apartment is finally getting a break in the heat. [Breaking Energy]
A good chunk of America was Googling “class action” this weekend thanks to Facebook. Millions of the site’s users received an email in the last few days with the subject “Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION.” Those that didn’t immediately delete it as spam discovered they’re entitled to up to $10 from the social networking giant for putting them in “Sponsored Story” ads. That’s when Facebook takes something you Liked or a link you posted and uses it in an ad aimed at your friends. (So, word to the wise, never ever post a link on Facebook to a 55-gallon gallon drum of sex lube.)
Fraley v. Facebook, the class action lawsuit that could make a bunch of Facebook users a little richer and a bunch of class action lawyers (led by Robert Arns) a lot richer, was filed in California in 2011 by an enterprising group of plaintiffs led by seamstress Angel Fraley, shortly after “Sponsored Stories” launched. They claimed the company had violated the law by using their names and likenesses in ads without their permission and without paying them. (Lead plaintiff Fraley later dropped out of the suit citing Facebook lawyers’ aggressive tactics, which basically consisted of digging up embarrassing material about her from her profile page.)
Facebook and the plaintiffs settled the suit in December to the tune of $20 million. That $20 million is covering the class action lawyers’ fees ($7.5 million plus expenses), with the rest either being divvied up among approximately 125 million presumably-aggrieved Facebook users who appeared in Sponsored Stories ads, or, if the demand is too great, divided by a bunch of non-profits that work on privacy issues. If the amount of money divided by the number of claimants comes out to less than $4.99 each, the money goes to the non-profits, who surely must be in the midst of planning a major “Rock The Claim” campaign. Unfortunately, I can’t help out.
* Let me just say that societies that fully utilize the talents of women have an inherent advantage over the ones that don’t. With one rules change, we now have twice as many potential combat soldiers. Glory. [Daily Beast]
* A “Good Samaritan” gun owner defended a little boy from pit bulls by shooting at the dogs who were mauling the little boy. Look, as a dad, can I just say that if you see some pit bulls attacking my son, please help… by running at the pit bulls and saying, “Git, git away from that boy,” not by shooting a freaking hand cannon towards my child! [Cato @ Liberty / Cato Institute]
* Okay, who has standing to sue for a violation of the 27th Amendment? Who? I want this to happen. Come on, constitutional scholars. Make it happen. Let’s see who really cares about “all” the amendments, not just the ones that allow people to shoot each other. [The Note / ABC News]
The change comes on the heels of corporate owner Facebook giving itself the right to dip into the data Instagram has on its users, which means Instagram’s photos will start being fed into Facebook’s well-oiled advertising platform.
[Y]ou hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service…
In other words, Instagram recognizes that it shouldn’t screw over users who have private accounts by using their photos in ads aimed at the general public (though they can put them in ads aimed at your friends).
* Colin Powell continues his tradition of saying the right things only when he has no power to do anything about it. [CNN]
* A new poll shows Americans think it’s more “morally acceptable” to kill criminals than to love somebody of the same sex. After I saw that poll, I turned to Jesus and said, “Now your failure is complete.” [Atlantic]
* Kashmir Hill was on the Kojo show talking about the Dharun Ravi sentence. Sure, like she’s never been taped having a gay hook-up. [The Kojo Show]
* Black people who wear hoodies get shot to death, and white people who wear hoodies don’t live up to their IPO expectations. What a lovely post-racial world some people seem to be living in. [Dealbreaker]
* Here come the men in black. Won’t let you remember. Here come the… what are you doing? Decapitate him? Come on, he’s not an alien, you get that we just saw a movie, AAAAHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOO. [New York Daily News]
Elie wasn't the only ATL writer who dressed as a pirate this year.
Unfortunately, ATL editor emeritus Kashmir Hill has never been molested. But I think she’s getting rogered-but-good by her landlord.
Kash, who recently moved to D.C., sent us pictures of her Halloween party this year because, well, I asked, and one of the cool things about my job is that I can generally demand that women send in pictures of themselves without it sounding too creepy.
She had a pirate-themed party. But when she showed me why she went with that theme, my lawyer brain kicked in and instead of a suggestively dressed Kash, I saw a potential lawsuit in the making.
Since ATL readers have been so helpful with my own landlord/tenant issues, I thought you guys might be able to provide Kash with some unsolicited advice.
And yes, I’ll show you her Halloween costume in the bargain….
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