Internet On Trial

Internet On Trial

Modern Day Litigation, Cyber Defamation, and Law in Sports & Entertainment

Über Policy Updates Raises Privacy Concerns

Posted in Privacy Law

über – definition

I’m a huge fan of Über — the mobile app that gives you instant access to a chauffeured Town Car, SUV, or eco-friendly hybrid vehicle, 24 hours a day, in over 300 cities worldwide. As an Internet & privacy law attorney, however, I’ve had to convince myself to look the other way regarding its privacy policy, which permits the company to collect massive amounts of data about its customers. I was able to do so because in my own personal experience I’ve always found the company to be very responsible — i.e. in every city I’ve used them (except Chicago) Continue Reading

Answers to 10 Common Questions About Email

Posted in Email, Internet & Media Law, Litigation & Appeals, Privacy Law

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

Answers to 10 Common Questions About Email

Posted in Email, Internet & Media Law, Privacy Law

em@il banner
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….
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First Amendment Doesn’t Cover Jokes About Cops

Posted in First Amendment, Internet & Media Law, New Jersey, Social Media Law

bart_first amendmentThe 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

Two Rules for Representing Yourself in Legal Proceedings

Posted in Litigation & Appeals, New Jersey
abe lincoln_diy lawyer

Image courtesy of Cybertelecom

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

World Backup Day: Are YOU Prepared for a Total Data Loss or Breach?

Posted in Internet & Media Law

2015-03-31 world_backup_day

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

Do You Control Your Smart TV Using Voice Commands?

Posted in Privacy Law
Photo credit: Samsung Tomorrow

Photo credit: Samsung Tomorrow

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.

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California’s “Yelp” Bill Becomes Law

Posted in Cyber-defamation, Defamation, Internet & Media Law, Social Media Law


Yelp 1-star Review

In this age social media justice, sooner or later you’re going to have an encounter with a negative online review, whether your a business owner, or simply a consumer. It seems like it’s becoming an accepted aspect of our lives. Increasingly, however, consumer reviews posted on various Internet sites are becoming the subject of litigation. Continue Reading

5 Reasons the Sleeping Yankees Fan’s Lawyer Should Be Disbarred

Posted in Defamation, Media Law, Sports

Robert Rector, a.k.a. the Sleeping Yankees Fan

By now, everyone has heard about the $10 million defamation lawsuit filed against ESPN by a disgruntled NY Yankees “fan” who became the butt of a joke after falling asleep during a Yankees–Red Sox game this past April. The lawsuit was filed July 3rd in a New York state supreme court in Bronx County (yes, that’s where Yankee Stadium is), and has since been widely publicized by all the big networks. What the networks aren’t telling you is that the lawsuit is garbage. Literally, the claims in the complaint are so utterly baseless that the paper it was printed on now has less value than it did before it left the copier. Continue Reading

SCOTUS Catapults Itself into the 21st Century

Posted in Privacy Law

The proverbial ink wasn’t even dry from yesterday’s recap of Edward Snowden’s chilling account of the extent to which the government can literally take control of any cellular phone, when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) published its landmark opinion in Riley v. California, which requires police to get a warrant before searching a cellular phone. Despite the ubiquitousness of cellular phones for over a decade, not to mention smartphones and the iPhone, during more than half that time, until yesterday, SCOTUS had not pronounced any sort of constitutional threshold governing the search of cellular devices. In 38 short pages, that is all history. But what does this landmark decision really mean to most of Americans? Continue Reading