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DO I HAVE A CASE?

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Invisible and Unstoppable v. Privacy

     This blog really is a combination of two articles that  have absolutely nothing to do with each other, except that one provides a possible answer for the other. I am relying on a news story from a Utah TV station, and an answer from Parade.com.

     Utah police received a call that a woman was being assaulted by a man. When they arrived at the location of the call, they saw a car pulling away with a man and a woman. As they followed the car, they saw the man punch the woman.

     Soon, the police were able to pull the car over and the woman and a child ran from the car. The man in the car was taken to the hospital to be checked out; and then charged with assault. He argued with the police, claiming that he could not be charged because he was “invisible and unstoppable”.  Sounds like he had something worse than too many glasses of sweet tea.

     In an unrelated note (only related through my blogging talent of taking nothing and combining to make nothing), “Manner Up!” from Parade.com responded to the following question:

      “I recently had a hip replacement and my sister-in-law has been posting updates about my status, with photos from the hospital, on Facebook. I’ve asked her to stop but she says I’m being silly. How can I get her to stop”.

     I guess there’s a legal and a practical answer to this. You can’t really hire bodyguards at the hospital, and ask them to tackle and rip up any camera, like a paparazzi moment. Plus, with so many reality shows on TV, people have come to accept the Facebook phenomenon of  posting everything on Facebook and Twitter.

     We all do have a right of an expectation of privacy and even family is bound by that legal principle. Unfortunately, it’s like being in a crosswalk; A car might hit you, even when you are in the right.

     There’s not much that you can do to “enforce your right”. No one really wants to sue a  family member for an invasion of privacy. You can’t even force them to wear a hospital gown despite the fact that it would remind them that those “breeze in the back” hospital gowns are only funny for those not wearing them.

     This is one of those blogs where the answer is what you expect legally, but I really don’t have a good answer. Instead, I thought I would revert back to the Utah man. Maybe, the best way to stop Facebook postings is to make a claim of being invisible and unstoppable.

     And now, pic o’ day from Parade.com which posts a true Civil War picture and a current John Travolta picture. They then raise the question, “How old is John Travolta?” 

Legal News, Fast & Furious

It’s great that football season is back. Right now, I do some work and check my Twitter account for the reporters that are covering the Colts training camp.

     I’m sure that there will be nothing magical but I am even getting text messages on my phone, that let me know who the Colts just signed. When Peyton Manning signed his new contract on Saturday, the Colts owner even tweeted the information.

     Social media and legal news has changed information to clients. Now, If you “friend” our Facebook or follow my twitter tweets, you get quick information on recalls; some quickie case discussion, and why the sky is falling.

     What I like is the reactions to posts. On blogs, sometimes I get a bit long winded. On twitter, I have 140 letters to get the message out. It’s probably good discipline. Then, it’s fun to see the replies. Keeps me on my toes. And, you’re missing that, if you aren’t on the twitter feed. I know, I fought it for a while too.

     I would miss the newspaper, if I didn’t get to read it at breakfast; In the same genre, though, I really don’t count on watching the 6:30 PM news, to get my news.

      I just wonder what’s next in the instant legal information age. I’m counting on our Joel Bieber Youtube channel to provide “stuff” and hopefully get your attention. I just have to make it more interesting, so it’s not used for sleep aid. Can’t wait to see what the future has in store. Will the blog become like the 6:30 news?

A Computer Hacker Reminder

     This blog story is a reminder of the computer predators that lurk out there, and the techniques that can be employed to get our personal information. The ending of the story, as reported by PCWorld, is that the hacker/predator is facing six years in jail for  felony hacking, child pornography and identify theft. Now, here is the tale of a bad person that did harm with technology.

     23- year- old George Bronk was arrested in October, after police found evidence that he had hacked into 3200 email accounts. His purpose was to look for compromising photos of woman in their email accounts. His method was to use simple information that was already out in the public domain. In 172 accounts, he found such photos.

     Bronk would go to websites including  Facebook, and look for basic information about the individuals. Then, posing as the victim,  he would  go to Web-based email services such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail, and click that he had forgotten the  password.

     Often, to provide the password, automated questions would be sent back such as “What is your high school mascot?” or “What is your father’s middle name.”. From information collected from the sites, he could figure out where they had gone to school and even google the mascot name. The family names were easy, as well.

     Bronk is going to jail. However, he posted some of the pictures on the Internet. Those could be floating out there forever. The jail time is little consolation for those victims. The California Attorney General said in a statement, “This case highlights the fact that anyone with an email account is vulnerable to identify theft”.

Tofutti and History Sniffling

     Every now and then, a new topic comes a long for the blog.  A topic that I’ve never written about.  That’s the way it is with Tofutti. Plus, I don’t even know if I’ve ever heard the term of “history sniffling”. That’s what sent me on this course of blogging.

     First, Giant Foods has announced   that it has removed  “Yours Truly Dessert” cones from their aisles. This dessert, made by Tofutti Brands, contains a possible allergen that is not identified in the ingredients. Milk. Ok, I know it’s not much of a story but if you are allergic to milk, then you might be running to check your desserts in the freezer. Plus, Toffuti…. Come on.

     The next story from Forbes involves a class action suit that has been filed against Interclick, over the practice of history sniffling. To history sniffle, this company allegedly was exploiting Javascript to see what sites that a web surfer has visited. The suit also claims that this company placed cookies on web surfer computers, “to track them”.

     The reason I included that story is to introduce you to that term, if you are like me, and had not heard it. Also, Internet privacy is constantly under attack. If you didn’t see this 60 Minutes story that was  done on Facebook, it’s worth taking the time to watch it.

     It’s a reminder that corporate America is collecting data on all of us. It might make you think twice about checking a “thumbs up-thumbs down” sign. Maybe you’ll decide to go back to a rotary phone. Well, probably not. Plus, it really is hard to drive while dialing with a rotary.

Legal News, Notes, Nuggets

In our first trip down to the news department, I post a story that might be a wee bit off the beaten path. I do so because it reminded me of the lawyer’s ad that talks about hiring him, because you don’t want to bring knives to gun fights, or something like that.

The story involves a woman in Montana, that heard noise in her back yard. She went outside and saw a bear attacking her 12 year old collie. She grabbed the closest thing for defense…. a 12 inch zucchini that she had plucked from the garden. While hollering at the bear, he came charging at her. She threw the vegetable and plunked the bear on the head. He ran. The collie is fine but just “a bit rolled”. I suspect the vegetable projectile is in tossed salad. A reminder to always be prepared.

The old disposable razor defense has been raised. An Atlanta lawyer says that the execution of an inmate should be delayed, because the inmate’s rights were violated. Apparently, a few days before the inmate’s execution day, prison officials gave him a razor for shaving, and he tried to commit suicide. No word on whether the inmate was also given writing stationary. You’ve heard of Death by paper cut.

What does Facebook and two mother-in laws have in common? Well, even in Australia, it’s against the law to be married to two woman at the same time. Turns out that Ms Hui had been married less than a month, to Mr Ling, when a friend directed her to facebook. She was shown his wedding pictures with his other wife, from a few weeks earlier. Under the Marriage Act of Australia, you can receive up to 5 years in jail for Bigamy. Those Facebook pictures will get you every time.

It’s not really from the legal world, but the previous story of Facebook brought this one to my attention. The sister of a research bear, that was shot and killed by a hunter, now has 112,000 Facebook friends. Researcher Lynn Rogers heard about the shooting of the bear and set up a Facebook account for the Bear’s sister, to generate attention to the killing of these bears. Apparently, Lily the Bear has more friends than most of us.

That’s all until Monday. I guess you were wondering how I was going to tie my first bear story to a legal blog…. and now you know the rest of the story.

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