Category Archives: Media

eDiscovery California: Social Media Laws Take Effect Jan. 1, 2013

CTD - LaptopWelcome back, all.  I hope you had a nice holiday and are fully rested so that you may now spend the rest of the season…at the mall!  We're getting close to the New Year and as is true each time we approach January 1st, we have a bunch of new laws taking effect.  California employers and post-secondary institutions should take note of two of them; AB 1844 and SB 1349.  Both were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown back on September 27th, 2012.

Although the language in each bill is different, essentially, AB 1844 prevents employers (also potential employers) from demanding, using or exploiting an employee's (or potential applicant's) social media passwords and information.

SB 1349 is substantially similar, except that it applies to post-secondary institutions; both public and private.

There is speculation in the media about the necessity of these types of regulations.  Many believe that a substantial risk of invasion of privacy doesn't exist.  Maybe not; but moving forward, I believe the risk will increase exponentially.

What's next – bionic mannequins???

#CalBarAM12: From Hash Tag to App!

CalBarAM HomeIf you're attending the State Bar of California 85th Annual Meeting this week in Monterey – or want to stay abreast of the action (because as you know, lawyers are synonymous with action…) there's an app for that.  Available for both Apple and Android devices, you can monitor the #CalBarAM12 hash tag on the fly, organize your meeting/CLE/reception calendar, find maps to various meeting locations and the city itself, share contacts dynamically and a whole lot more!

Folks, the Bar's effort here is truly impressive.  I'm very proud of my colleagues who made this happen.  Plus, the LPMT Section's Social Media SubCommittee gets a little credit as well – we named it and also created the companion hash tag.

CalBarAM12 App Home
Soon, our Section will release our own app, so stay tuned for that announcement as well.  In the meantime, safe travels!

It’s Fun, Until Someone Loses an i

MP900427743Heard any negative news coming from Apple, lately?

You've got this great, new O/S, iOS6 and you've got this great, new iPhone 5 causing excitement everywhere.  And, you just happen to be on the team that developed the new 'Maps' software – which is destined to knock Google Maps off of your devices.  Oh…one more detaiL…the thing is obviously not ready for prime time.

Imagine being in the rollout meetings.  What do you do?  Are you going to be the one to tell the boss that they should hold the release?  I wonder if anyone actually tried to do that (and kept their head).  Of course, you may also enter an alternative universe in which you:

  1. Convince yourself that, contrary to the information in front of you, your product is the "Best Maps app ever!"
  2. Convince yourself that only a few people rely on Maps and it won't be a big deal if it isn't 'perfect'
  3. Ignore the issues entirely and release it, anyway

Did Apple choose door #3?  Inertia is difficult to contravene; after all, a body in motion stays in motion.  I'm pretty sure, based on the fallout, if Apple had the opportunity for a do-over, they'd seriously consider another path.  Pretty sure…they do have a history of a, "Damn the torpedoes!" attitude; but, they're certainly not alone.

Lesson #1 – Never replace a superior product with an inferior one.  Even if your product is 'adequate', customers will already have been 'spoiled' by the previous experience and expect an equal – or greater – experience (otherwise, why switch?).  This will only serve to augment the replacement product's shortcomings, as if one trained a magnifying glass on them.

Hey, I'm not a billionaire…I'm sure Apple isn't particularly interested in my opinion.  However, I did notice how quickly the company gave out the name of the manager in charge of developing the app…

As the Beastie Boys suggest, Check Your Head.

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat…

 

The Federal Judicial Committee has published proposed Model Jury Instructions (re "The Use of Electronic Technology to Conduct Research on or Communicate about a Case") [link opens 2-page PDF].  I honed in on the following language, to be given before trial and at the close of the case:  "I expect you will inform me as soon as you become aware of another juror’s violation of these instructions."

As well meaning as this language may be, is it a realistic strategy?  Never mind the fact that it's next-to-impossible to know what that person across the room is tinkering with on his or her smartphone.

As Roy Scheider (Brody) said in the 1975 movie, Jaws:

 

eDiscovery California: Formal Opinion Interim No. 10-0001 (Social Networking) Raises an ‘Adject’ Issue

MP900442339First, my disclaimer:  This is a State Bar of California Opinion – and I'm Vice-Chair of their Law Practice Management & Technology Section Executive Committee (LPMT).  I want to remind you, "This blog site is published by and reflects the personal views of Perry L. Segal, in his individual capacity.  Any views expressed herein have not been adopted by the State Bar of California's Board of Trustees or overall membership, nor are they to be construed as representing the position of the State Bar of California."

The last time I analyzed one of these, it pertained to VLOs.  I found that Opinion much more difficult to address.  Formal Opinion Interim No. 10-0001 (Social Networking) is easier in some respects, because its main purpose is to apply current California rules (specifically, Rules of Professional Conduct:  Rule 1-400 Advertising and Solicitation and sections of the Business and Professions Code) to what it refers to as, "social media websites".  That's where the trouble begins; with the adjective.  We'll get to that in a moment.

There's no reason for me to do a dissertation on 1-400.  California attorneys should already be familiar with this Rule (or they can look it up, above).  Suffice it to say, for our purposes, this can be like Jeopardy, because we need ask ourselves two questions:

  1. What is a communication?
  2. If a posting is determined to be a communication, is it an advertisement or solicitation?

The only major problem I have with the document is Footnote Two on Page One (link opens the 6-page PDF).  It attempts to describe Facebook "friending" as an example of what it considers a "controlled" group.  It doesn't seem to take into account that, like Twitter, et al, your control group can republish your post (e.g. Re-tweeting).  My view?  Continue to treat your posts as if they're visible to the entire world!

Page Five reminds us of Rule 1-400(F):  "…the Committee notes that a true and correct copy of any “communication” must be retained by Attorney for two years. Rule 1-400(F) expressly extends this requirement to communications made by “electronic media.” If Attorney discovers that a social media website does not archive postings automatically, then Attorney will need to employ a manual method of preservation, such as printing or saving a copy of the screen."  [italics added]

Gulp!  How many of you remembered that part of the Rule?

Concluding, the Opinion has an adject(ive) issue.  It refers to "social media websites", but it also refers (as it should, in my opinion) to general attorney websites.  If I were to make one glaring modification to this document, it would be to find the phrase, "social media website(s)" wherever it appears, and replace it with, simply, "websites".

The qualifier serves no purpose.

By the way, if you'd like to comment on the Opinion, the 90-day period is open through 5pm, July 2nd, 2012.

Calbar’s LPMT Section is Now on Twitter & Facebook @calbarlpmt

LPMT SealThis is a bit of a coup for us, folks.  Only a select few of the State Bar of California’s Executive Committees have been awarded proprietary social media accounts, and LPMT is fortunate to be one of them.  So, if you’d like access to another source of up-to-date news and information about Law Practice Management and Technology – directly from your representatives at the California Bar – please ‘like’ us on Facebook and/or ‘follow’ us on Twitter.

You don’t need to be a member of LPMT – or even a member of the Bar!  All are welcome, so we encourage you to join us and take a peek at our offerings as we’re adding new benefits all of the time.

I Never Promised You a (Dusty)Rose Garden…

Artificial-Sweeteners
…but I did promise to try to post more often.  Isn't it a shame when work gets in the way of a good blog post?  Having not posted anything this week, I wanted to let you know about two subjects I'm working on for you right now:

  1. Due to all of the controversy over Google's privacy policy, I'm writing an instructive article about alternate software products you may use to sync email, contacts and calendar on all of your devices; including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.  And here's the best part – you can do it free (for power users who want more robust features, I'll also include some pay options).  I don't know about you, but being able to create emails, calendar appointments and/or modify contacts – then having the device automatically propagate the data to all of my other devices simultaneously – is one of life's greatest time-savers!  Here's another bonus, that should appeal to many of you – you'll have a database that lives on your own device, not just via access in the cloud.  Yes, there will be pictures, in fact, I've been playing with an excellent app that creates terrific images from a non-rooted Android smartphone.  Stay tuned…
  2. I'm also working on a comparison of scientific analyses in California courts versus other jurisdictions.  I'd seen a few good articles floating around about using the Daubert analysis to support the implementation of predictive coding.  Well, that's not going to help in the Golden State, where we follow the Kelly-Frye standard (aka the 'Kelly' standard).  I'd had a lot of exposure to this during my days at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.  Ask me, sometime, about how my boss and I successfully used a "Sweet'N Low" packet to impeach the defense's scientific evidence in a criminal case, once.  I suppose today, we would have called it the Splenda Gambit…

I won't post until I have the time to do the quality job you expect, so look for them a little ways down the road.  In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

v-Discovery Insights: #Facebook – An Arm of the #CIA

Well, this is my wrap-up post for 2011.  I'm about halfway through writing my assessment of CalBar's Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 10-0003 (Virtual Law Office) and should have it up by early next week.

And no, I'm not finished with my sections of the Calbar book, yet…

I see all of the year-end predictions and top-ten lists out there, but I'm closing out 2011 with this video from The Onion News Network.  I'm laughing, but not too much…

 

Happy New Year!

Fine’s ‘Old Ball & Chain’ May Result in a New Ball & Chain

By now, most of you are aware that the wife of assistant-basketball-coach Bernie Fine of Syracuse was recorded in what is the now-infamous, "I knew everything!" debacle.

MP900315546Didn't I just caution about the people closest to you?  Folks, the old world is over.  No matter the circumstances, you must always assume that you're being watched, recorded or tracked; even in the so-called privacy of your own home.  I've reached the point where I believe you must ask yourself, "Am I about to say/write something that could be construed as harmful?" before ever opening your mouth or sending a text or email.

It's impossible for me to get inside the head of a person to figure out what they were thinking – and if we delved into the moral aspects we'd never come to any resolution – but take this as another extreme example of what happens when private thoughts become public.

Think broadly.  This isn't just about one person.  The recording was made in 2002 and has apparently been in the possession of authorities for years.  It's Penn State all over again.

Heads will roll…and perhaps they should.