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Posts from the ‘General’ Category

DEA Sued for Creating Fake Facebook Account Using Woman’s Photos

How would you like to stumble upon a Facebook page that you did not create, and that also displayed your name and your personal photographs?  Better yet, how would you feel if that same page was created and being used by a government agency to catch criminals?

That is exactly what happened to a Sondra Arquiett in 2010 when an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) took it upon himself to create a fake Facebook account with the hopes of establishing contact with criminal drug dealers.  DEA agent Timothy Sinnigen admitted to creating the account and appropriating Arquiett’s likeness, according to the federal lawsuit that Arquiett filed against the DEA and agent Sinnigen in the Northern District of New York.  Arquiett had previously been arrested for drug charges in 2010, and during that time some of her personal items were seized.  One of those items was her cell phone, which contained personal and private photographs.  Sinnigen used the photographs on the fake Facebook page in order to create the impression that it had been created and was being managed by Arquiett.

The photographs, some of which contain images of Arquiett’s young son and niece, were taken and used without permission or authorization.  The complaint alleges that Arquiett was “deprived of her Constitutional rights, including her right of privacy afforded to her under the First Amendment”.  This clearly raises some concerns about privacy, and to what extent the government can use your personal information.  The Justice Department will investigate this practice and the issues it creates.

The case had been set for trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, however it appears now that it may head to mediation.
By Taylor Hume

Liable for texting a driver? Not new, not remarkable, and what else?

The recent case of Kubert v. Best, (August 27, 2013) in New Jersey has caused a great stir:  The facts of the case are, essentially, that the plaintiffs were “grievously injured by an eighteen-year-old driver who was texting while driving and crossed the center-line of the road.”  New Jersey prohibited texting while driving at the time (N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3).  The underlying claims against the driver were settled, but the Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of their claims “against the driver’s seventeen-year-old friend who was texting the driver much of the day and sent a text message to him immediately before the accident.”  In its opinion New Jersey’s three-judge Court of Appeals panel decided, with a concurring opinion but no dissenting opinion, that “when the sender ‘has actual knowledge or special reason to know,’ … from prior texting experience or otherwise, that the recipient will view the text while driving, the sender has breached a duty of care to the public by distracting the driver.”  Contrary to popular belief, the texter was not held liable in this case, and the dismissal of claims against her was upheldThis despite the fact that :

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Want to get hired by Google? A look inside the process…

The Washington Post had an interesting look into Google’s unique hiring practices today coupled with photos taken from inside its Manhattan offices.

Hiring is always a dicey proposition.  Hiring the wrong person can be costly in a number of ways: the search process is expensive, training is expensive, and bad employees can try to destroy a company from within by stealing trade secrets or revealing private company information.

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WIN8: Microsoft’s Misstep?

The author runs the table on OSes:  I have a Linux-laptop, a Windows XP laptop and desktop, a Windows Vista laptop, a Windows 7 laptop, and a Windows 8 laptop.  To call Windows 8 a “disappointment” is like calling the Atlantic Ocean a puddle…  You may be wondering what Windows 8 has to do with business law.  The fact of the matter is that Windows, in its various versions, is the most popular software ever, and the migration (or failure to migrate) to a new version is a major business concern.

More importantly, Windows XP, sometimes billed as “the most popular operating system ever,” is set to reach “End of Life” less than a year from now, on April 8, 2014.  This might not seem like an issue, but millions of users, particularly businesses, continue to use the venerable Microsoft XP operating system.  For those of you who are visual, consider the following data from Netmarketshare:

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How Your Cell Phone Became a Perching Felony: About the Recent DMCA Transition to Making Cell Phone Unlocking Illegal

Before you read any further, go read and take note of this petition.  You may want to sign it (I did), but context will help in reading this blog post.  In case you’ve been studying really, really hard for the Bar Exam, or were suffering from a surprise case of “dead” over the last week, you inevitably heard that the process of “unlocking” cell phones, previously legal, is now illegal because of government fiat.  For those who may not have understood or thought to ask, “unlocking” is not the same as “jailbreaking.”  In a nutshell, jailbreaking involves making it possible for a device to run code either from sources the manufacturer did not intend the device to be able to use or to run code the manufacturer did not intend it to be able to run (though most people talk about Apple IOS devices, Sony, for example, will note that other devices can also be “jailbroken”).  Unlocking, however, involves making it possible for a device intended for use on one wireless network to be used on a different network – wireless devices sold by a particular wireless company are generally, but not always, sold programmed so that they can only use that company’s network.

Regular readers of Internetbizlaw and the Centre Knowledge blog know that I am pro technology consumer, and very cynical about the “graying” of property rights.  I am not going to spend a lot of time in this post discussing the “right and wrong” of legalizing unlocking, or not, but everyone should understand a few facts:

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If You Can Read This, You Might Just Have to Sue Someone…

How long did it take for this page to load?  Not fast enough for you?  Well you might just have a potential lawsuit on your hands.

While my cynical humor may seem funny to some and sad to others, it also has grains of truth.  In this age of digital consumer sophistication and the debate over net neutrality some consumers have taken to the Courts to enforce ISP speed and bandwidth claims.

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Another Lesson Learned: Instagram Quickly Backtracks After Angering Its Users

This week, users of Instagram scored a victory with the company’s management over a plan to amend Instagram’s terms of service that would allow the third-party use of users’ photos without their permission or any form of compensation.  This change, which was scheduled to take effect in mid January, caused an uproar among Instagram’s user base.

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Breaking: John McAfee Arrested

The AP is reporting that John McAfee has been arrested by Guatemalan police for entering the country illegally.  More details…

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John McAfee Seeking Asylum in Guatemala

On his blog, John McAfee announced that he is seeking asylum in Guatemala.  Mr. McAfee will be holding a press conference this afternoon when he will take questions.  Mr. McAfee’s latest string of posts on his blog gives more information about his whereabouts over the last few days, contains a messages to the family of Gregory Faull (who was murdered), and details what Ms. McAfee’s planned next steps.  Finally, Mr. McAfee posts a pictures and information about two of his friends he says are wrongfully being held by Belize authoritiesRead more

Eric Crusius to Speak at Affiliate Summit West 2012

Some good news to report: I will be speaking at Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas next month.

For more information on Affiliate Summit (which will be January 13-15, 2013), go here and for more information on my session (entitled “How Affiliate Marketers Can Avoid Legal Pitfalls”) go here.

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