Selfie Sticks — Love Them, Hate Them, Ban Them?

The topic for today: selfie sticks. How do you feel about them — positive, negative or indifferent?

Let’s backtrack a bit first with a brief history lesson.

Long ago, actually more than a century ago, self portraits usually were created when an artist looked into a mirror and then attempted to paint his or her likeness on a canvas. Continue reading Selfie Sticks — Love Them, Hate Them, Ban Them?

Duane Morris Cybersecurity Lawyer Joseph Burton Receives National Legal Writing Award

Duane Morris is pleased to announce that Joseph M. Burton of the firm’s San Francisco office will receive a Burton Award for Legal Achievement at a gala ceremony to be held June 15, 2015, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. This honor is given to only 35 authors selected from entries from the nation’s top 1,000 most prestigious and largest law firms. Continue reading Duane Morris Cybersecurity Lawyer Joseph Burton Receives National Legal Writing Award

Internet-Connected Aircraft Potentially Subject to Hack Attacks

We keep hearing about new and different ways that data can be hacked in the online and wireless world. And, generally speaking, our concern tends to be that our personally identifiable information may be stolen and misused. But that may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the negative consequences of hack attacks.

Indeed, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) now is concerned about the security of modern aircraft that are more and more dependent on the Internet, as reported by The Guardian. According to a recent GAO report: “Modern aircraft are increasingly connected to the Internet. This interconnectedness can potentially provide unauthorized remote access to aircraft avionics systems.”

Continue reading Internet-Connected Aircraft Potentially Subject to Hack Attacks

Teens Addicted to Their Phones

Does it ever seem that teenagers can’t go anywhere without their mobile phones? Does it ever appear that whenever you see teenagers, they seem to be looking down at their gadgets while moving their thumbs at a feverish clip? Indeed, does it seem that their smart phones appear to be permanently attached to their hands as additional body parts?

Well, if these are your perceptions, a recent study supports what you have been perceiving. The Pew Research Center has released a study that addresses teen use of social media technology. According to that study, a robust 73% of American teenagers have access to a smart phone. And 88% of American teenagers have access to a mobile phone of some kind, whether a smart phone or not.  Continue reading Teens Addicted to Their Phones

Your Shopping Experience Is About to Get Even Easier

Once upon a time, shopping was a time-consuming endeavor. We had no choice but to actually get out of the house and physically travel to different stores to buy what we needed.

Then, the online shopping revolution occurred. Rather than traveling out of the house, all we now need to do is move ourselves up to our computers, and the shopping world is at our fingertips. Practically anything can be purchased over the Internet from a multitude of different Web sites. And Amazon, for example, has sought to be a one-stop shopping site, where countless thousands of items are available for purchase at any given moment, from books, to apparel, to electronics, to furniture, to food, to toys — and the list goes on and on.
Continue reading Your Shopping Experience Is About to Get Even Easier

The History of Technology — Past, Present and Future

We live in the digital age, with the Internet growing exponentially and with our lives becoming more online every day. It is easy to believe that the development of technology has happened primarily in recent times, given this explosion of information technology.

However, that is far from the truth. Indeed, technology, in all of its various facets, has been emerging over the course of millennia. Let’s take a look at just some key technology invention dates from earliest to most recent: Continue reading The History of Technology — Past, Present and Future

Be Afraid, Very Afraid Of Who You Meet Online?

Before the explosion of online communications, our world necessarily was smaller and who we came in contact with tended to people we already knew. Then our ability to reach out and communicate with others expanded dramatically and exponentially as we all started traveling at warp speed down the information superhighway.

We learned that not only could we interact with people locally, but with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks we could be communicating with people across the country and even in countries on the other side of the globe. Part of the fun was our ability to communicate anonymously, using pseudonyms.

We could be informal, we could be creative, and we could reinvent ourselves. Indeed, most of us probably remember the cartoon with a dog in front of a monitor and a keyboard that had a caption which read: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Case law developed making clear that First Amendment protections extended to the right to speak freely and even anonymously on the Internet.

All well and good, right? Perhaps for the most part. The Internet has provided a medium that has led to many beneficial communications and interactions for personal, business, and other purposes. However, human nature is not always pure. From the beginning of human history, it seems there always have been some people intent on mischief and even violent behavior. And unfortunately, with the increased ability for people to contact others via the Internet, there also is a heightened possibility for such contacts to lead to terrible results.
Continue reading Be Afraid, Very Afraid Of Who You Meet Online?

Fla. Agency Bans the Words ‘Climate Change.’ Really?

It’s baaaack. Florida, that wacky state that brought us hanging chads and other irregularities during the 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential election, has returned full force with some new controversy.

Indeed, while the great weight of scientific evidence has persuaded the vast majority of scientists skilled in the field that global warming is real and a looming danger for the planet, government officials at the primary environmental agency in Florida have been prohibited from using the words “climate change,” according to Time.com.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued an unwritten directive to not use the words “climate change” or “global warming” in official reports and communications, claims the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR).

Christopher Byrd, an attorney in the DEP’s Office of General Counsel from 2008 to 2013, informed FCIR that “[w]e were told not to use the terms climate change, global warming or sustainability,” and that “that message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

Moreover, additional former DEP personnel reportedly told the FCIR that this unwritten directive was put in place after Rick Scott, who has rejected the argument that climate change has been caused by humans, took the helm as the governor of Florida in 2011. Continue reading Fla. Agency Bans the Words ‘Climate Change.’ Really?

Smartphones Can Do Anything, Right?

Once upon a time, frankly not that long ago, a telephone was something that was tethered by a wire to a phone jack and that enabled people to make telephone calls — nothing more. A home had one phone line, and perhaps multiple phones for that line.

Things became just a bit more interesting later when a home had more than one phone line. That meant, for example, that a teenager could stay up all night gabbing on the teenager’s phone line without interfering with the ability of family members to make a phone call on another home line.

This still was a fairly simple situation. When we were out and about in the world, our phones did not follow us. Our communications tended to be more in-person, and perhaps we observed what was happening in the world around us with a bit more of a keen sense, without any technological distractions.

In the late 1980s, we witnessed the first “mobile” phones. These phones were behemoths. Such a phone and its battery pack literally took up a large briefcase to carry around. Other than the cachet of parading the fact of owning the behemoth mobile phone, it honestly was easier to use a pay phone when out of the home or office.

But in the 1990s and thereafter, mobile phone technology developed exponentially in terms of size, functionality, and convenience. And now, in a small device about the size of a pack of cards, or smaller, we literally have the world at our fingertips.
Continue reading Smartphones Can Do Anything, Right?

9th Circuit Resisting Efforts to Dilute CDA Section 230 ISP Immunity?

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) generally affords immunity for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with respect to content posted by users on their websites. There have been various efforts by plaintiffs in lawsuits to chip away at this immunity, most of which have failed. Now along comes Doe v. Internet Brands, in which the plaintiff sought to convince the Ninth Circuit to circumvent CDA Section 230 immunity under a “duty to warn” theory.

Factual Allegations

The anonymous plaintiff, Jane Doe, alleged that she was a model who was enticed to travel to Florida by two men. The men drugged her, raped her, and then displayed this horrid event in a pornographic video.

Doe alleged that the two men initially found her by way of the website Model Mayhem, which she’d joined as a member. She asserted that Model Mayhem is a site that profiles hundreds of thousands of models, and that the owner of the site, Internet Brands, allegedly knew of the illegal scheme by the two men but nevertheless neglected to warn her of the potential harm. Continue reading 9th Circuit Resisting Efforts to Dilute CDA Section 230 ISP Immunity?