Client Confidentiality and the NSA: May attorneys still use unencrypted email?

Lawyers handling client data are under an obligation to protect the privacy of that data. State and ABA ethics opinions have approved of correspondence over unencrypted email, deciding that in most cases such communication is consistent with the lawyer’s privacy obligation. However, those opinions were based on an understanding of privacy law that preceded the recent revelations about government storage and tracking of email under the authority of FISA and the PATRIOT Act. It may Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – August 25, 2013

McDonald’s versus the MACDIMSUM On July 2, 2007, a Canadian man applied for the trademark MACDIMSUM for Malaysian, Asian and Chinese food and drink products.  McDonald’s opposed the trademark, arguing that there is a strong likelihood of confusion between MACDIMSUM and McDonald’s family of trademarks starting with the prefixes MC and MAC.  Last year, the Canadian Trademarks Opposition Board (“TMOB”) ruled in favor of McDonald’s, finding that MACDIMSUM is not a strong mark and that Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – August 15, 2013

California Environmental Laws Do Not Apply To Bullet Train Project A brief was filed by the California state attorney general’s office in the Third District Court of Appeals arguing that the state’s high-speed rail project is no longer subject to the California Environmental Quality Act after the federal Surface Transportation Board ruled that it has jurisdiction over the project.  The state is asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the San Francisco Bay Continue Reading →

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules that Warrants are Required to Electronically Track Cell Phone Data

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that law enforcement officials must obtain a warrant before electronically tracking a suspect’s cell phone. In State v. Earls, the court stressed that users are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy in the level of detail cell phone data can reveal about their lives. This holding applies both to tracking using data from cell towers and tracking using GPS technology from the cell phones themselves. The court Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – August 6, 2013

Spies, Whistleblowers, and Computer Fraud In a case with implications for national security, whistleblowing, and free press, Pfc. Bradley Manning was recently convicted by a military tribunal of six counts under the Espionage Act as well as a variety of other crimes for the leak of sensitive government information, including diplomatic cables, Afghan and Iraqi war logs, and a video of an American helicopter attack which killed a Reuters journalist. Among these crimes was one count under Continue Reading →