Magistrate Judge Says There are Limits to Relevance of Social Media Accounts But Warns Plaintiff About Privacy Settings

A Magistrate Judge in a New York federal court recently had words of caution for social media-loving litigants and the lawyers who want to read their posts.  In a decision refusing to penalize a plaintiff for supposedly deleting posts on her Facebook account, the Magistrate Judge in Thurmond v. Bowman, pending in the Western District of New York, discussed the relevance of social media accounts to claims for emotional distress and cautioned the plaintiff not to change her privacy settings.

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Malaysia Airlines Flight Debris Likely Found, Many Months Later

We often take for granted the amazing capabilities, power and reliability of technology. For example, without giving it much thought, we often put ourselves in high-tech cylinders that take us many thousands of feet into the air, propel us through the sky at hundreds of miles per hour and safely land us in destinations all over the world.

But, unfortunately, technology is not perfect. We were reminded of this fact in March 2014 when Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing and then could not be found in the ensuing months, notwithstanding unprecedented technological search efforts.

And now, more than two years after the flight disappeared, Malaysian and Australian authorities report that two pieces of aircraft debris located a couple months ago on beaches in South Africa and Mauritius “almost certainly” are from MH370, according to BBC News.  Continue reading Malaysia Airlines Flight Debris Likely Found, Many Months Later

Drone Collision Task Force to the Rescue

Drones, drones, drones … Everyone is droning on about drones as they become ever more ubiquitous. But as drones become more commonplace, there have been growing concerns — especially with respect to safety in the sky.

So, along comes the European Aviation Safety Agency, just proclaiming that it intends to establish a task force specifically dedicated to studying the risks posed by drones, especially as relates to potential drone collisions with aircraft.  Continue reading Drone Collision Task Force to the Rescue

Are Robots Ethical?

It appears that robots are at least one of the waves of the future. As an example, 23 million of Twitter’s user accounts in fact are autonomous Twitterbots. Why? Apparently, they are there to perform research, heighten productivity, and create enjoyment. However, other such bots have been designed with less than pure intentions — indeed, at times with the goal of wreaking some havoc.

So, where do the ethics lie here? And what happens when humans presently are developing much more complicated and sophisticated “robots” going forward?  Continue reading Are Robots Ethical?

Ashley Madison Class Representatives Cannot Remain Anonymous

It seems like just yesterday that the Ashley Madison site became big news. The Ashley Madison site claimed that it was the world’s largest place on the Internet for married people to find adulterous partners. Indeed, the site boasted that it had more than 38 million users. And importantly, the Ashley Madison site claimed that people looking for affairs could do so anonymously. Unfortunately for Ashley Madison users, the site was hacked in July, 2015, and some of the personally identifiable information of some of the site’s users was leaked.

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Children May Proceed With Climate Change Case, Federal Judge Rules

What are we going to do about climate change? Can government get the job done to protect us? Well, some children do not believe so, and they have taken the matter to federal court. Indeed, a federal magistrate has just ruled that their climate change lawsuit may proceed.

Thomas Coffin, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the federal district court in Eugene, Oregon, has ruled in the case Juliana v. United States, that a climate change lawsuit, brought by twenty-one youth from the ages of 8 to 19 years-old, may proceed. The lawsuit specifically asserts that the federal government of the United States is in violation of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by allowing and supporting ongoing production and combustion of fossil fuels.

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Drones Pose a Real Threat to Commercial Flights

Drones have become cheap and fun to operate for many people. Operators love to fly their drones up into the sky, maneuvering them around while taking photos and videos from aerial vantage points. But do these activities come with risk? Absolutely!

Indeed, last week it was reported that on just one day, April 1st, three drones almost collided with aircraft that were landing at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands. And one of these drones apparently came within a mere 300 meters of a plane as it was heading toward a runway.  Continue reading Drones Pose a Real Threat to Commercial Flights

Review Website Alleges Scheme to File False Defamation Suits

Consumer review website Pissed Consumer posted on its blog the results of an investigation that, it says, suggest that attorneys in California are filing suspicious defamation lawsuits in an attempt to help their clients remove unfavorable reviews from major search engines.

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EPIC Helps Challenge Surveillance by US and British Intelligence Agencies

The Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC) has just filed a third-party intervention brief before the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) to help challenge the surveillance activities of intelligence organizations of the United States and the United Kingdom.

The case, according to EPIC’s brief, “impacts the human rights to privacy, data protection and freedom of expression of people around the world …,” and is of “broad international importance because it involves arrangements to transfer personal data between the United States and European counties.” A core purpose of EPIC’s intervention is to show the Court that “current trends in U.S. and European surveillance law … are undermining privacy, data protection, and security.”  Continue reading EPIC Helps Challenge Surveillance by US and British Intelligence Agencies

Will Your Smartwatch Save Your Life?

The love affair with smartphones has led to further rapture with smartwatches. Right now, we can act like Dick Tracy, with the world on our wrists within these tiny smartwatch gadgets. But these smartwatches might not all be about work, communications, and fun and games. Why? Because there is the potential that smartwatches might evolve soon to have the capability of saving lives.

We know that smartwatches presently have health sensors that can monitor steps taken, flights climbed, and heartbeat rates for exercise and physical fitness purposes. And Apple, ever on the cutting edge, apparently believes that it can go further to use such monitoring capabilities to facilitate calls for help during health emergencies.

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