If you needed another reason not to break the law, here’s one: Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that expungements are no longer available for individuals with multiple convictions for a “single spree” of crimes. Expungement is the process of erasing a criminal conviction from a person’s record. The way it works is, typically, after a first-time offender is convicted of a crime and successfully completes the sentence ordered by the court, they are made to wait a 5–10 years during which they must not commit any further crimes or offenses, and at the end of that period they can apply to the court for an order of expungement. The theory behind expungement is that it is available in limited circumstances to people who made just a single mistake, a single lapse in judgment, or Continue Reading
Police arrested a 30-year-old New Jersey resident for aggravated assault, and making terroristic threats, because he posted something on Facebook, which implied that he condones violence against abusive law enforcement officers that harass innocent citizens.
People are making much ado about this week’s decision out of a Washington state appellate court surrounding a negative online review on the popular lawyer website Avvo.com. But it’s really much ado about nothing. The Avvo decision didn’t change the law; its chief holding is that people who post to the Internet anonymously can remain anonymous under protections granted by the First Amendment, that you cannot unmask the anonymous poster unless you show the court evidence to support the underlying defamation claim. The holding does not give a green light to Internet trolls everywhere to engage in malicious cyber-defamation campaigns at will.
This is part two of a two-part post addressing ten of the most common questions new clients ask about email.
6. When is it not okay to delete emails?
On the other hand, if you suspect that a lawsuit could result over something that was discussed in an email, then you have an absolute duty to preserve the data. If you intentionally delete that email, in an attempt to “destroy the evidence,” you are likely to wind up in big trouble. And this applies regardless of whether your last name is Petraeus, Cheney, or Clinton.
7. Some people say email isn’t secure, that true?
Yes, it’s true. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use email. It just means that certain kinds of data, or sensitive subject matter should not be send using email (unless it’s encrypted, of course). (This is just a very simplified, short answer to a very complicated issue, by the way.) Continue Reading
This is part one of a two-part post that addresses ten common questions I hear regularly from new clients, usually in connection with setting up their secure client portal, called Clio Connect, which allows all of our clients to securely share encrypted messages & documents with us, and to collaborate on tasks, calendar events, and even view and pay their bills. In a lot of ways, it’s like Dropbox, but far better, and infinitely more secure. And just like Dropbox, all we need to allow a new client access to our portal, is their email address….
The First Amendment is like that unwritten rule about the things you’re not supposed to discuss in a bar — politics and religion — because that’s what it’s really about. This is probably why the government isn’t in the bar business. Because of the First Amendment, the government can’t stop you from supporting the political candidate or issue of your choosing, and they can’t tell you where to go to church, or even whether you should go to church at all. But the First Amendment only applies to the government — not your parent, your teacher or professor, and unless you work for them, the government isn’t your employer either, which means that the First Amendment doesn’t protect you from being grounded, sent to detention, or, for us grown folk, from getting fired for saying you hate your job, you’re way overqualified and underpaid for the position, or even that your boss’s new toupée looks goofy.
But what about if you do actually work for the government? Does that mean you have carte blanche, that you can say whatever you want? Continue Reading
Everybody’s probably heard the old adage, “He who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client,” but apparently people either don’t believe it, or they believe they’re the exception to the rule. I say that because the percentage of “pro se” (i.e. self-represented) litigants continues to rise year after year. Why do people represent themselves in court? Generally there are two reasons: (1) you feel like you know the facts of your case better than anyone else, including the lawyer that you hired; or (2) you say you can’t afford a lawyer. Okay, there may be a third reason, too—you’re insane. Continue Reading
Today, March 31, 2015, marks the fifth annual World Backup Day. Before you physically step back from wherever you’re standing, that’s not the kind of “backing up” that was intended by the founders of World Backup Day, who were simply a group of concerned Internet users, posting their thoughts and ideas about data security to the international Internet chalkboard Reddit. This backup is a noun, in this case meaning a second (or third, fourth, fifth, etc.) copy of all your digital files, which you store in a different location that the one where the files primarily live (i.e. you don’t keep a backup of your computer on that same computer; it must be stored on another machine or disk drive, whether that be a tangible drive that’s physically located in your home or office, or in the cloud).
Perhaps you’ve already stopped reading, because you thought to yourself, “This is ridiculous—in this day and age, who doesn’t backup their data?” But simply having a backup plan in place isn’t good enough anymore. To guard against the potential catastrophes caused by a total data loss, you also need to test your backup plan, to make sure it works the way it’s supposed to. A recent survey conducted by a well-known IT company revealed that 71% of those surveyed (mostly businesses) have a backup plan in place, but despite having a plan, data loss continues to be a vexing issue. Don’t just dismiss World Backup Day as something for geeks, or something that doesn’t apply to you or your business because you own an external hard drive, and already have your files backed up to it at least daily or weekly. Even worse, don’t think that World Backup Day doesn’t concern you because you use Dropbox… Continue Reading
For the superstitious, and conspiracy theorists, an Orwellian revelation on this Friday the 13th of February. As reported last week by the Daily Beast, Samsung, the world’s no. 1 manufacturer of HDTVs, is warning customers who use voice commands to control their smart TVs that if they speak “personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of voice recognition.” So, “What’s the big deal,” you ask? Essentially, Samsung has given notice that their smart TVs have the capability of capturing and transmitting every word that is spoken within range of the device. Although this is something many of us knew, or at least suspected, now it’s out it in the open.
So be advised: If you’re too lazy to pick up the remote, you may want to keep your conversation with the TV as direct and non-incriminating as possible. Don’t talk about tax evasion, drug use. And definitely don’t try out your Violet Crawley impression.