Category Archives: Social Media

Despite Equifax Breach Causes, Social Engineering Still Biggest Threat to Data Security

It’s now been widely reported that the cause of the recent Equifax data breach, which compromised the personal data of perhaps as many as 143 million people, was the result of the company’s alleged failure to apply a patch to fix a known security hole in some open source software (OSS), known as Apache Struts.  But there is now some controversy about whether those reports are accurate or reliable, and some of the early reports have since been retracted.  There is technical complexity about security holes in OSS and application of patches that have led to conflicting viewpoints on how …

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Autonomous Vehicles: Job Killer?

According to the 2014 Census data, more than 4.4 million Americans work as drivers. Will autonomous vehicles kill most of these driver required jobs? With the growth and advancement in autonomous vehicle technologies, many Americans are in danger of losing their job or taking significant cuts in their income because a new and convenient technology is taking their place. Autonomous vehicles are expected to reduce labor cost, fuel cost and accidents. The potential savings will outweigh the human cost, especially as companies fight for profit margins. While companies plot to save money in the future through using this new tech …

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Autonomous Vehicles: A Regulatory Perspective

The coming innovation of autonomous vehicles (i.e. self-driving cars) has been covered pretty widely in the news over the past 18-24 months.  Not long ago, the reality of autonomous vehicles was unknown to most Americans.  But it is now creeping into the consciousness of more and more Americans.  As the certainty of this new technology approaches, it is becoming clearer that it will cause massive disruption in an area of American life that is intensely regulated at every level.  If you think about it, the manufacture, distribution, sale, ownership, and operation of cars are all regulated by federal, state and …

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Cyber Security and Social Engineering: A Big Low Tech Problem

Headline-grabbing cyber hacks of email accounts belonging to celebrities, corporations, government officials and political campaigns are becoming the norm.  Cybersecurity intended to guard against these acts brings to mind high tech computer hardware and software fixes delivered by knowledgeable IT professionals, who are expected to prevent network intrusions, stolen passwords, viruses, ransomware attacks and other hacks. But the most recent notable cyber hacks were not caused by high tech espionage.  Rather, they were the product of low tech social engineering – the use of deception to manipulate users into divulging confidential passwords and other personal information.  This kind of hack …

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Legal Considerations for Website Privacy Policies

You finally created your website. Did you include eye-catching graphics? Check. Did you include an attention-grabbing banner slogan? Did you post all of your social media handles? Did you include a privacy policy for the website? Maybe… We get questions from clients about whether they are required to include a privacy policy and, if so, what should it say.  The answers may surprise you, but a privacy policy should definitely not be an afterthought for website owners.  It certainly isn’t a best practice to simply copy and paste the privacy policy of another’s company’s website.  The representations made in website …

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Ninth Circuit Reaffirms Section 230 Protections

Information Counts.  That’s the title of this blog.  And it’s an indisputable fact.  Information is – and has been for at least 20 years – the currency of our economy, providing consumers, regulators and the general public information about business, practices and events. A critical, and even indispensable, factor in the development of the information economy is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was part of the massive Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996.  That subsection provides that “[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided …

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You Just Used My Picture Without Permission?

Artist Richard Prince’s exhibit entitled “New Portraits’’ was displayed at New York City’s Gagosian Gallery and Frieze New York during the summer of 2015.  This exhibit featured screenshots of other people’s Instagram photos.  These screenshots were not altered.  They were simply the pictures that Instagram users posted, with an addition of Prince’s comments in the comment section of the post. What is remarkable is that the individuals whose likenesses and photographs were used were unaware of the use.  Prince did not ask for permission or provide notice.  He just used the pictures.  Apparently, the art world was pleased with his …

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Autonomous Vehicles and the Internet of Things

This is our second post in a row regarding autonomous vehicles, otherwise referred to as driverless cars.  As we noted last week, driverless cars are no longer an idea of the future or science-fiction. Very soon they will become every commuter’s reality. Several major car companies such as Ford, Volvo, and Toyota have announced that their autonomous vehicles will be available to the mass market within five years. The belief among manufacturers is that autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic congestion, create efficiency, increase safety and save consumers money (i.e. time and fuel). Simultaneously with the development of autonomous cars – …

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Autonomous Vehicle Business Models: How Will You ‘Own’ One?

Google, Uber, and several major automakers are working to bring autonomous vehicles (i.e. self-driving cars) to the marketplace. In mid-October 2016, Tesla announced that three of its models will be fitted with all the hardware needed to be driverless. In September 2016, Uber cars were seen on the streets in self-driving mode. The technology is rapidly maturing, and we continue to see testing of cars with driverless capabilities in some cities.  There has been speculation that autonomous vehicles are the next radical market transformation for the automotive industry, as cloud computing was for the software industry.  The prediction is that …

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Private Bankrolling of Defamation and Privacy Suits

The New York Times recently reported that famed Silicon Valley investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has been secretly bankrolling “Hulk Hogan’s” (real name Terry Bollea) invasion of privacy suit against Gawker Media. The lawsuit concerns the publication of a sex tape involving Mr. Bollea and the then-wife of one of his friends. Yuck. Double yuck that Gawker saw fit to publish the tape on its site. The yuck factor and legal merits of the suit aside, Mr. Thiel’s involvement could be a game changer. For more than 50 years, American defamation law has been tilting decidedly in favor of …

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