Category Archives: Information, Technologies and Telecom

DOJ Reviewing Paramount Consent Decrees

What are known as the “Paramount Consent Decrees” have governed the manner in which film studios have distributed films to movie theaters for 70 years. But that might change as part of a further deregulatory effort by the current administration. Indeed, the Department of Justice reportedly is reviewing the decrees.

The Paramount Consent Decrees emerged from a significant antitrust cased brought by the DOJ against Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, MGM, RKO Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and some other film studios. When the DOJ pursued this case in the 1940s, the film studios controlled many aspects of filmmaking. This included not only film production itself, but also long-term contracts with actors and the owning of movie theaters. The DOJ argued at the time that this made it extremely difficult for independent companies to compete.  Continue reading DOJ Reviewing Paramount Consent Decrees

‘Blinking Red’ Cyber Threats

Over the past couple years, we have heard a lot about Russian efforts on the internet to influence the 2016 presidential election. We also keep getting news about major hacks of businesses and the wrongful accessing of personal customer information.

And now, if that were not enough, Dan Coats, the National Intelligence Director, reportedly has stated that cyber threats to US national security are “blinking red” warning lights. Indeed, according to AP, Director Coats has revealed that online efforts to undercut the fabric of the United States are happening on a daily basis.  Continue reading ‘Blinking Red’ Cyber Threats

New California Law Seeks to Lead the U.S. in Online Privacy Protection

Privacy is like oxygen. It generally is not noticed by a consumer until it is gone. California lawmakers, however, are quite aware of privacy and have recently passed perhaps the most strict privacy law in the United States.

Only days ago, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“the Act”) was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown after it had been approved on a unanimous basis by the California State Assembly and the California Senate. The Act does not become operative until 2020, but when it goes it to effect, it will pack a punch. Indeed, the Act will provide great control to consumers with respect to their own personal data.  Continue reading New California Law Seeks to Lead the U.S. in Online Privacy Protection

Uber: Not Just Cars — All Transportation All the Time

Unless you are living on another planet, you are quite familiar with how to summon an Uber car on an app on your phone so that an Uber driver can pick you up and drive you to the destination of your choice. But Uber is not content with just this form of transportation. Indeed, Uber has grand dreams of being an all-encompassing hub for many types of transportation. Let’s take a look at some of these transportation offerings.  Continue reading Uber: Not Just Cars — All Transportation All the Time

Fighting Skyscraper Emergencies With Jetpacks

Some of us are old enough to remember the Jetsons cartoon show from the 1960s in which George Jetson and his family darted around in the sky using jetpacks and futuristic spacecrafts. Well, the future is here and now when it comes to using jetpacks to fighting skyscraper emergencies.

According to Popular Science, the city of Dubai, within the United Arab Emirates, entered into a contract with Martin Aircraft Company to buy 20 jetpacks for use by first responders in 2015. There are also more recent reports of Dubai firefighters using water-powered jetpacks and Dubai police using Star Wars-style hoverbikesContinue reading Fighting Skyscraper Emergencies With Jetpacks

Law Firms Are Potentially Vulnerable To Phishing Attacks

recent study just published by 250ok, an email analytics company, provides some apparent disturbing news — a whopping 62% of the top 100 global law firms currently fail to achieve the minimum level of email authentication to safeguard law firm staff and clients from phishing attacks.

In its study, 250ok discusses Domain-based Message Authentication and Reporting Conformance (DMARC). According to 250ok: (a) a DMARC reject policy safeguards recipients by requesting that malicious email be blocked from arriving in an inbox, and (b) a quarantine policy requests that such malicious email be placed in a spam-type folder, while (c) no policy at all allows malicious email to go into an inbox. (The study does not explain how an email is determined to be a malicious phishing email on the front end).  Continue reading Law Firms Are Potentially Vulnerable To Phishing Attacks

Ransomware: A Growing Threat

Ransomware, a method of electronically attacking corporations and individuals by holding their data hostage, has gained massive popularity amongst hackers in the last several years. Ransomware is the first form of malware to present the threats of both the destruction of important data and the economic harm the loss of that data can create. Ransomware attacks will continue to increase in scope and severity in years to come, necessitating continuous vigilance.

In essence, ransomware acts by taking data that is of value to an entity but not deleting it. The ransomware acts as a figurative glass wall, allowing the owner of the data to physically possess that data but not access it. This is accomplished by implanting a virus on the owner’s hard drive, usually by means of an infected link in an email or other innocuous-looking document. Once the link is clicked, the ransomware works by encrypting the entire storage system. The hackers then threaten to destroy the data unless a ransom is paid.

2017 saw some of the worst ransomware attacks to date, escalating exponentially in size and gravity over previous years. According to a study by the Kaspersky Lab, over 479 million attacks occurred from online sources during the first quarter of 2017, up by over 250 percent from years past. These attacks ranged across countries and industries, and plagued corporations of all sizes.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris attorneys Anjali Kulkarni and Joseph M. Burton, please visit The Bar Association of San Francisco website.

Email Is Not Dead; Gmail Rolls Out New Features

Long ago in internet time, email was hip and was the next big thing. No longer did we have to shove paper into fax machines to send relatively quick communications, nor did we have to wait for the paper to spit out from such noisy machines when receiving fast-breaking information. Instead, in paperless fashion, we could send and receive emails right from our own computers, and then laptops, tablets, and phones.

But technology continues to evolve. And as internet time went by, email no longer was cool, and by some was considered to be a dinosaur. Why? Because along came texts and the vast assortment of social media means of communication, like instant messaging, Snapchat, WhatsApp messages, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, and the list goes on and on. And there were concerns about email hacks and lack of security.  Continue reading Email Is Not Dead; Gmail Rolls Out New Features

Stealing Your Online Face – Online Truth Suffers Another Blow

What is “real” and what is “fake” in terms of online content we review? This has become a major, if not dominant, concern with respect to the reliability of what we see on the internet. Are suggested “facts” really true? Do we really know the actual source of material posted on the internet?

And now our worry in this area should be heightened by the development of face-swapping videos. For example, FakeApp can be utilized to create altered videos by inserting faces of people into these videos, as reported in detail by Business Insider. This face-swapping technique has been used by many people just for fun. As an example, Nicholas Cage’s image was inserted to have him becoming Lois Lane in a Superman movie (perhaps Nicholas Cage was not amused).  Continue reading Stealing Your Online Face – Online Truth Suffers Another Blow

Private Texts, Public Records: Nevada Public Records Act and Personal Cellphones Used for Public Service

By Daniel B. Heidtke

The Nevada Public Records Act (NPRA), NRS § § 239.001 et seq., requires that “public books and public records” must be open at all times during office hours to inspection by any person.  But, what is a “public record” and what makes a record, “public”?  On March 29, 2018, the Nevada Supreme Court addressed that issue and more by adding to its growing list of case law on the NPRA in Comstock Residents Association, et al. v. Lyons County Board of Commissioners, Case No. 70738, 134 Nev. Adv. Op. 19 (2018) (“Lyons County Board”).  In Lyons County Board, the Court built upon its prior opinion in Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. v. Blackjack Bonding, Inc., 131 Nev. 80 (2015) and further explained that an otherwise “public record” does not become “private” simply because it is maintained in or upon private property.  Thus, the Lyons County commissioners’ private cellphones and email accounts constituted public records subject to disclosure so long as the records maintained on otherwise private devices and accounts concerned “the provision of public service.”  Continue reading Private Texts, Public Records: Nevada Public Records Act and Personal Cellphones Used for Public Service