In the wake of the recent Target stores and Neiman Marcus data breaches (plus three other well-known retailers, according to this Reuters report) Congress has 20 privacy bills in the works this year, aimed at consumer privacy and data protection. The Personal Data Privacy & Security Act of 2014 (PDF) introduced by New York Senator Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer), along with Senators Pat Leahy (@SenatorLeahy), Al Franken (@alfranken), and Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) expands both civil and criminal penalties for the misuse of personal information mined from retail data breaches. Continue Reading
Most people think about browser history in the context of hiding from your spouse/significant other the fact that you sometimes look at online porn (not that I would know from personal experience), or, perhaps, not letting your kid know that you’ve been reading online reviews about the new bicycle or gadget he’s been hounding you for. Continue Reading
In October, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals became the highest federal court to decide that police must first have a search warrant before they can install a GPS tracking device on a vehicle. That decision came roughly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court decided that installing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle constitutes a “search” under the Fourth Amendment (which protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures). When evidence is obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the usual remedy is suppression—i.e. the prosecution can’t use it in court. This is known as the exclusionary rule a/k/a the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine. Continue Reading
There are a lot of lawyers out here. So if you want to be a successful lawyer, you have to differentiate yourself from the crowd. My dilemma, however, is that I try to avoid tooting my own horn (no pun intended). How does one differentiate themselves from others, without showcasing or highlighting the things that make them different (which really means better)?
My friend and mentor David Sparks (@MacSparky) is the kind of attorney that I’ve aspired to become since 25 or so years ago, when I got hooked on the NBC drama series L.A. Law. David writes the very popular blog—not so much about law—MacSparky, where, this week he reflected on his 20th anniversary as a lawyer. I asked David if I could repost his reflections here, because I felt like they embodied my own sentiments about why it’s great to be a lawyer, and what makes a lawyer great: Continue Reading
Do you love your smartphone, can’t imagine coping without it by your side 24/7, but at the same time are concerned about your expectation of privacy? Earlier this week, Boston attorney Cynthia Larose posted a great recap and summary of the current law and pending legislation in the areas of biometrics, facial recognition, geolocation (a/k/a GPS tracking) on Mintz Levin’s Privacy & Security Matters.
In 2013 geolocation and biometrics were hot topics. Apple included a fingerp…rint reader on the new iPhone which was either really cool or an epic fail depending on your viewpoint, and Google and the NSA are tracking our every move. Continue Reading
On December 1st, New Jersey became the 12th U.S. State with a social media password-protection law. Under that newly effective legislation, employers are prohibited from (a) asking employees or employment candidates for their usernames and passwords to their social media profiles; (b) retaliating Continue Reading
People apparently still don’t realize how pervasive social media use is, and why there are certain things that are better left unsaid (if not offline). In this case, chalk one up for the good guys: Continue Reading
Kentucky attorney Scott Townsend recently blogged about why it’s important for entrepreneurs to establish the proper form of business entity when they start up a new business or venture. Chief among his reasons were to create an identity, and start building credibility for the start-up, and to protect the founders from from personal liability related to the business. Although I don’t disagree with Scott’s reasoning, I don’t believe that neglecting or failing to establish a business entity remains as a significant problem in today’s business law climate. That’s in large part because of the Internet. Forgetting about Legal Zoom, Continue Reading
The phenomenon known as “revenge porn” is a growing concern for many people, so much so that it’s starting to catch the attention of state legislators, who want to enact criminal statutes to punish its perpetrators. But although it seems like a step in the right direction, there are better ways to combat revenge porn than passing criminal laws.
It’s been 20 years since the American Psychiatric Association published a new edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM). Since 1952, psychologists and psychiatrists have been relying on the DSM to consistently and systematically diagnose and classify mental illness and disease. During the six decades since the DSM was first published, it has evolved from a modest 130-page booklet into a treatise with almost 1000 pages. Also during that time, the number of mental disorders identified in the DSM has tripled from 106 to roughly 300. But although the DSM is revered as the bible of the mental health field, it has not been without controversy. For example, in the DSM-I homosexuality was listed as a sociopathic “personality disturbance.” Continue Reading