Privacy

If you use Facebook, you’ve probably noticed the sponsored stories that periodically pop up within the site. These (IMHO annoying) ads are an important part of Facebook’s revenue strategy. But recently, the company got sued over the stories, for allegedly violating the law by publicizing — but not paying — users who “like” certain advertisers, and not providing a way to opt out of the program. A settlement plan was recently announced. But uh oh, the federal judge handling the case rejected the settlement on Friday. Why?

Maybe something to do with the plaintiffs attorneys getting $10 million, the actual plaintiffs getting nothing, and an overall sense that left the judge wondering if the terms were “merely plucked from thin air”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “I Don’t Think Class Action Settlement Means What You Think It Means”

I'm not the guy you kill. I'm the guy you buy!

* A St. Louis plastic surgeon has been sued for allegedly posting topless photos of her breast augmentation patients online — with their names attached to the photos. It’s just more evidence that sooner or later everyone will be naked on the internet. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* Dewey have enough partners to make the Partner Contribution Plan viable? It seems that we do! [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Wow, the miracles of technology. Now if you have a paternity dispute that you need to clear up, you don’t need to go on Jerry Springer. All you need to do is visit your local taco truck DNA testing van. [Legal Blog Watch]

* You know that scary feeling when it seems you have forgotten something but you can’t figure out what it is? Well, you forgot your toddler — at the grocery store. There, fixed it for you. [Legal Juice]

* Oh boy, another misbehaving state judge. This one, from Georgia, allegedly pre-signed arrest warrants and hit on a woman who appeared before him in court. Sounds like quite the stand-up dude. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

* What are the top five movies all law students should watch? Let the arguing over this list begin… [Greedy Associates]

* I’m sure there must have been a legitimate reason for a federal judge to compare the civil liberties of Muslim Americans to a “hideous sea monster,” but c’mon, really? [Chicago Tribune]

* “I’ve been a restaurant waitress, a hotel hostess, a car parker, a nurse’s aide, a maid in a motel, a bookkeeper and a researcher.” This SCOTUS wife was well-prepared to give a graduation speech at New England Law. [Huffington Post]

* Sniffling over lost profits is the best way to get a court to take your side. Biglaw firms have asked the Second Circuit to consider reversing a decision in the Coudert Brothers “unfinished business” clawback case. [Legal Intelligencer]

* James Holmes, the alleged Aurora movie theater gunman, is being evicted from his apartment. Guess he didn’t know — or care — that booby-trapping the place with bombs would be against the terms of his lease. [Denver Post]

* The ABA has created a task force to study the future of legal education, and its work is expected to completed in 2014. ::rolleyes:: Oh, good thing they’re not in any kind of a hurry — there’s no need to rush. [ABA Journal]

* Indiana Tech, the little law school that nobody wants could, has hired its first faculty members. Thus far, the school has poached law professors from from West Virginia, Florida A&M, and Northern Illinois. [JD Journal]

* When divorces get weird: is this lawyer’s soon-to-be ex-wife hacking into his law firm email account and planning to publish privileged communications online? Yep, this is in Texas. [Unfair Park / Dallas Observer]

* Breast-feeding porn: yup, that’s a thing, so start Googling. A New Jersey mother is suing an Iowa production company after an instructional video she appeared in was spliced to create pornography. [Boston Globe]

* If someone from your school newspaper asks you for a quote about oral sex, and then you’re quoted in the subsequent article, you’re probably not going to win your invasion of privacy lawsuit. [National Law Journal]

The information subpoenaed does not need to be relevant to a crime; in fact, it may be used to dissipate any suspicion of a crime.

Judge William Fletcher, in a Ninth Circuit decision ordering utilities companies to turn over customer records even without a warrant. The case, U.S. v. Golden Valley Electric Association, deals with Alaskans suspected of growing marijuana indoors.

Hey boss, plz stop thnx.

* Global agribusiness group Monsanto Co was awarded $1 billion in a patent infringement case against DuPont for improperly duplicating some kind of crazy seed technology. [New York Times]

* For particularly thick-headed employers who don’t understand it’s a bad idea to ask employees for Facebook passwords, now Illinois will fine them $200 for doing so. [Chicago Tribune]

* A federal judge in Washington sanctioned well-known plaintiff’s attorney Joy Ann Bull for filing grossly inflated fee statements. She was consequently asked to resign her partnership at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd. Welcome to the breadline! [LegalNewsline]

* Should a trial judge who is a Brooklyn Law grad recuse himself from a case against Brooklyn Law filed by Brooklyn Law alumni? Meh… [National Law Journal]

* As Ralph Baxter nears retirement, who will be chosen to lead Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe? [Am Law Daily]

* The Ninth Circuit already issued an injunction against Arizona’s new late-term abortion ban. Like they say, it’s all about shakin’ hands and killing kissin’ babies. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The psychiatrist James Holmes was seeing at the University of Colorado was so alarmed by his behavior sometime before his alleged shooting spree that she notified the school’s “threat assessment team,” but apparently nothing was done. Looks like someone missed the assessment boat, by like, and ocean or two. [Denver Post]

Before you could turn a little bit of a blind eye (to children on websites like Facebook) but if this rule is adopted as proposed it will be significantly harder to do that.

– an anonymous privacy attorney, discussing the FTC’s proposed revision to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. The revision would explicitly make websites, mobile apps, and data brokers all responsible for third-party data collected about children.

They're heeere.

If you’re concerned about it, maybe there’s a reason we should be flying over you, right?

– Douglas McDonald, director of special operations at Unmanned Applications Institute International, defending the domestic use of unmanned drones, which recently led to a 16-hour standoff between a farmer, his family, and police in North Dakota.

I have said time and time again that electronic privacy is, at best, quickly slipping out of existence, and at worst, already an illusion. That might be overly cynical, but it makes life easier if you can expect that whatever information you post online could realistically, unexpectedly, and embarrassingly, be published and seen by many people. Same goes for your personal consumer information. Advertisers figure out your consumer preferences, the music you like, the food you eat, etc. and so on.

That said, at least some public officials are not yet ready to let privacy fade quietly into the night. The Attorney General of California has created a new organization — a start-up, if you will — specifically to protect individual citizens from “those who misuse technology to invade the privacy of others.” Ooh, methinks that ain’t a bad idea…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Here They Come to Save the Day! California’s New Privacy Squad Is on the Way”

The FDA's central office?

Forget the vast right-wing conspiracy. Forget the secret Communists hiding out in America. Over the weekend, the New York Times unleashed a massive article blowing the lid off the scariest conspiracy of them all: the secret Food and Drug Administration surveillance conspiracy.

Apparently, the FDA has been spying on some of its scientists, seeking out “enemies” of the agency, reading scientists’ private correspondence with everyone from journalists to attorneys to Barack Obama, taking screenshots of their personal computers, and more. The agency is facing accusations of privacy and whistleblower violations, and the scandal is so absurd that one senator has called the FDA the Gestapo.

Extra, extra, read all about it…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The FDA Should Probably Leave Spying to, You Know, Real Spies”

* Kristen Saban has already moved to dismiss the suit filed by her former sorority sister stemming from their alleged sororitastic catfight. [WSFA]

* Massage parlor busted in prostitution sting: a victory for human rights. Said massage parlor/brothel shares a building AND A SIGN with local law firm: hilarious. Of course there are pics. Do you even need to ask? [KREM]

* Speaking of sex for money, Canada no longer offers visas for foreign strippers, escorts, or massage parlor workers. [Newser via Legal Blog Watch]

* “I lost the Casey Anthony case. Vote for me for State Attorney!” Does the state of Florida realize the rest of the United States only keeps it around for comedic relief? [Daily Beast]

* Missy Elliot is suing a car dealership that, she says, has not delivered her Lamborghini as agreed to. Man, that car dealer might be in trouble, because she’s a b*tch. See, Missy got more cheese. Back on up while she rolls up her sleeves. [Jalopnik]

* I really don’t want to make this joke, but I feel like I have no choice: in San Francisco, two drunk guys walking around naked would not only not get arrested, but no one would even bother giving them a second look. [Legal Juice]

* More praise for the new book from our in-house counsel columnist Mark Herrmann. Nice work! [Class Action Blawg; Law and More]

* Seton Hall Law professors are organizing a mini-golf tournament. It’s called networking, folks. [Lincoln ESQ.]

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