Involuntary Technological Encroachment

Once upon a time, the advent of the radio was considered a major advancement, and families in the evenings would huddle together and listen to favorite radio shows. Not that much later, television became the big thing. And with TV, it was easy to sit passively by as a couch potato watching one show after another.

Indeed, there is the following joke: A man says to his wife, “Honey, if I ever became a vegetable, please pull the plug.” So, the wife walks past her husband on the couch over to the television set and pulls its plug from the wall electrical socket.

Continue reading Involuntary Technological Encroachment

New Law Could Allow for Phone Searches After Car Crashes

For many decades, Americans have taken to the roads to get from one place to another. And, in more recent times, Americans have become addicted to their smartphones — texting, posting, online searching, making purchases, among many other uses of their devices.

Put the two together, driving and smartphone use, and there is a clear recipe for potential disaster. Driving an automobile already is an inherently dangerous activity. Utmost attention should be paid to driving because split-second decisions can mean the difference between life and health versus injury or death. Continue reading New Law Could Allow for Phone Searches After Car Crashes

Will California Consumers Share in Wealth From Their Online Data?

Technology companies collect all sorts of data on their users. The terms of service located on their web sites spell out for users the types of data collected and how that data will be used. The data collected from users is extremely useful for tech companies in terms of how to market to them further, and accordingly, that data has tremendous economic value.

Along comes the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, who according to APNews.com, has announced that California consumers should share in the billions of dollars that tech companies make on personal data they collect. Indeed, Governor Newsom reportedly has asked his aides to come up with a proposal for what has been referred to as a “data dividend” for California residents. However, it is not clear whether he envisions a tax on tech companies, refunds to users, or some other idea.

Continue reading Will California Consumers Share in Wealth From Their Online Data?

Internet Companies Must Take Down Anti-Government Content in Vietnam

Question: How free is the internet? Answer: Less than free in certain countries. Further answer: And becoming even less free in other countries — witness Vietnam, discussed briefly below.

At the start of this month, a law went into effect in Vietnam that mandates removal of online content considered offensive to the Vietnamese government. According to SoyaCincau.com, the law was put on the books “under the pretenses” of Cybersecurity, but what it actually does is require the takedown of content deemed “toxic” by the government.

Continue reading Internet Companies Must Take Down Anti-Government Content in Vietnam

Online Gambling Potentially Impacted by New Justice Department Opinion

The Wire Act was enacted in 1961. That statute makes it a criminal offense to transmit information that seeks to promote interstate or foreign wagering.

Fast-forward to September, 2011: the Obama-era Justice Department rendered an opinion that only sports betting came with the ambit of the Wire Act. Prior to that, the Justice Department applied the statute to non-sports gambling.

Continue reading Online Gambling Potentially Impacted by New Justice Department Opinion

Amazon Sales Through The Roof This Holiday Season

Once upon a time less than 20 years ago, there was concern that people would not trust providing their credit card information to make online purchases. Indeed, there was a question as to whether people would take the plunge and order holiday presents online. My, how times have changed!  Continue reading Amazon Sales Through The Roof This Holiday Season

Emailgate — Here We Go Again!

Long before votes were cast for the 2016 Presidential election, this blogger discussed how Hillary Clinton’s government-related emails that were sent and received on private servers could become a thorn in her political side.

Why?

Because government records must be maintained as government records so, among other reasons, they can be open and available to public review. Indeed, laws like the Freedom of Information Act maintain that to have a vital and truly functioning democracy, those who govern must be accountable to the governed; the workings of government must be transparent pursuant to “sunshine” laws. Sunshine is the best disinfectant when it comes to government affairs. Continue reading Emailgate — Here We Go Again!

Pa. Supreme Court Rules Employers Have Legal Duty to Protect Employees’ Personal Information from Data Breaches

On November 21, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) had a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to protect sensitive employee information against an unreasonable risk of harm when that information is stored on an internet-accessible computer system. Dittman v. UPMC, No. 43 WAP 2017 (Pa. Nov. 21, 2018). In doing so, the Court made clear that the criminal acts of third parties who may breach a computer system do not alleviate the legal duty on a business to protect such information. The Court further held that the economic loss doctrine (a doctrine that precludes tort cases where the loss is purely monetary) did not apply in this case because the legal duty to protect sensitive employee information exists independently from any contractual obligations between the parties.

Visit the Duane Morris LLP website to read the full Alert.

California Net Neutrality Law Put On Hold Pending Federal Litigation

California recently passed what some argue to be the most robust net neutrality state law in the United States. That law has not yet gone into effect.

The very same day that California Governor Jerry Brown signed the net neutrality bill into law, the US Department of Justice was quick to filed a federal lawsuit, among other goals, to block implementation of the law. And last week, the Department of Justice and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra entered into an agreement to further postpone implementation of the California net neutrality law until the federal lawsuit is concluded.

So, what is at stake here? Continue reading California Net Neutrality Law Put On Hold Pending Federal Litigation