Technology

[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.

Not going to lie. These guys are starting to make me nervous.

While the Internet was throwing itself a party yesterday for taking down the Stop Online Piracy Act, getting drunk off its own power and shooting pistols into the air like a Mexican fiesta, the Department of Justice was already throwing up a big middle finger to offshore rogue websites, or whatever they’re calling pirates now.

Yesterday, the DOJ and FBI seized and shut down one of the largest filesharing websites on the internet. The department also filed indictments against seven people involved in the site, in what authorities call one of the “largest criminal copyright cases ever brought.” That’s pretty big news all by itself. But, oh it gets better.

Everyone’s favorite shady hacker collective, Anonymous, struck back in revenge almost immediately. The group launched massive denial of service attacks against every media and governmental website their deranged hive mind could think of.

So, which of your favorite movie streaming sites is no longer online? And who faced the wrath of Anonymous? It’s a long list…

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Anyone who works with e-discovery has no doubt encountered the bewildering array of vendors and service providers clamoring for legal technology business. It can be confusing.

As the e-discovery industry has exploded, vendors’ roles have expanded and changed as well. Just a few years ago, it was more common for attorneys and their firms to have to piece together several vendors to form a cohesive e-discovery attack plan. These days, many service providers offer more start-to-finish options.

Even though it is all very technical, vendor work sometimes walks the line between IT work and actual lawyering. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has become wary of discovery vendors that might offer misleading advertisements about their legal certifications. Last week the Court’s Committee for the Unauthorized Practice of Law (sounds intimidating!) delivered an opinion clarifying some rules relevant to discovery vendors.

While they were at it, the committee delivered a couple solid kidney shots. Ouch….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Is the D.C. Court of Appeals Feeling Testy Toward E-Discovery Vendors?”

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”

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.

Hey! Who turned out the lights?

Tomorrow is going to be the most boring day in the recent history of the Internet. For 24 hours — on January 18 — several high-profile websites will go dark, to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act.

No one will be able to research potentially fake facts about their favorite celebrities, discover the newest nerdy memes, or upload photos to social media sites.

It’s true, the frightfully unpopular bill is losing legislative steam, but the Internet’s collective rage is still hot, hot, hot.

So who’s shutting down tomorrow?

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This ship be sinking.

* How many one percenters do you think are members of the 11%? According to this poll, Congressional approval ratings have hit an all-time low. Looks like it’s time to occupy Congress. [CNN]

* Wikipedia is planning a site-wide blackout this Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act. At least they’re giving some advance notice. If you’ve got papers to write, hurry up and finish. [Businessweek]

* Racial profiling ain’t easy. Sheriff Joe Arpaio still wants to detain people based on the suspicion that they might be here illegally, so he’s appealing Judge Snow’s ruling. [Washington Post]

* The part you won’t see in the inevitable movie starring Robert Pattinson: victims of Italy’s Titanic reenactment will probably be unable to sue for damages in U.S. courts. [Reuters]

* Here’s the umpteenth rehashing of the “are law schools cooking their employment statistics?” argument. Better question: without minimum standards for employment, does it matter? [NPR]

* Jesse Dimmick — the kidnapper who sued his victims for breach of contract — won’t get his day in court. The “most ridiculous lawsuit of 2011″ has been dismissed. [Topeka Capital-Journal]

You made a fool of me… and got me in huge trouble with the feds.

For a long time, I have been a staunch advocate of putting passwords on all electronic devices — laptops, phones, tablets, etc. There’s no reason to leave your private life or sensitive business data accessible to any schmo who might have access to your phone, just because you’re too lazy to spend three seconds typing in a password. This is especially true for lawyers, given the client confidences that they handle.

At least personally, however, I’m more lax about sharing some access passwords with close friends or family. My girlfriend knows my iPhone and computer passwords. (I know hers too.) Usually I don’t stress about potentially catastrophic consequences of her knowing that information. But every once in awhile I read something that makes me seriously wonder if you can trust anybody.

My current crisis of trust arises from the prosecution of a man accused of conspiring to export millions of dollars of electronic equipment from the U.S. to Iran. Prosecutors found “incredibly blatant admissions of criminal wrongdoing and philandering” on the defendant’s iPhone. But the man says his wife — who he is currently trying to divorce — stole the phone and forged the incriminating evidence.

Talk about emasculating. Let’s read more about this not-so-happy couple.…

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Come on people. Throw me a friggin' bone here.

One of my favorite Mitch Hedberg jokes goes something like, “I love the FedEx driver, because he’s a drug dealer and he don’t even know it.”

Well, it turns out you might be able to say the same thing about Google AdWords. A new BBC report reveals the sketchier side of Google’s flagship, profit-making endeavor.

Keep reading to learn about the formerly Don’t-Be-Evil corporation’s inadvertent involvement in selling weed, scalping tickets to major sporting events, and providing youngsters with fake IDs.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Google Is an Unwitting Drug Dealer and Ticket Scalper”

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has been busy lately. First, the Southern California-based non-profit responsible for the Internet’s address system created a porn-only, top-level domain. And on January 12, ICANN will start allowing people to register top-level domains of whatever they want.

.Com, .net, and .org — your days of tyranny are over!

Leave it to government officials and businesses concerned about protecting their intellectual property online to spoil the party. Companies are worried that allowing just anything to sit at the right side of a URL address will lead to useless costs and headaches in order to protect against cybersquatters.

We’ve got the nitty.gritty after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Under New Internet Rules, URLs Like AboveTheLaw.YourMom Will Soon Be Available”

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