ACLU’s Latest Challenge to Government Mass Surveillance: Wikimedia et al. v. NSA

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that runs Wikipedia, filed suit against the NSA to stop Upstream surveillance because mass surveillance violates the privacy necessary for the free exchange of knowledge in the Wikimedia community. Plaintiffs also include the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other advocacy organizations whose activities are affected by NSA mass surveillance due to violations of privacy rights. Upstream surveillance is the NSA’s surveillance of the Internet traffic through the Internet Continue Reading →

Social Media and the Discovery Process

We are using an increasing number of mediums to communicate today, and with this advent in technology, lawyers must likewise learn the new rules associated with discovery and social media – or adapt and stretch the old rules. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and others are all new platforms for sharing and obtaining information, some of which may be used in litigation. Given the relative novelty of these channels, the discovery process for them is still Continue Reading →

The Legal Response to Revenge Porn

It is not uncommon for couples to break up on less than stellar terms. There is quite a difference, however, between deleting an ex’s phone number and posting nude pictures or videos of him or her on the Internet in order to cause embarrassment or fallout with friends and family. This phenomenon, known as revenge porn, has increasingly received attention from the nation’s lawmakers and pro bono attorneys. This attention culminated in October of 2013, Continue Reading →

City of Los Angeles v. Patel – Facial Challenges to Privacy Statutes and Why They Are Essential to Developing a Body of Statutory Law to Govern Privacy

On October 20, 2014 the Supreme Court decided to hear the case City of Los Angeles v. Patel. [1] The case involves a local ordinance, which requires operators of hotels to keep records of their guests, and to provide them to the police if requested without any judicial oversight.[2] The Ninth Circuit held that the statute was invalid because it did not satisfy the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness requirements in all circumstances.[3] As presented to the Continue Reading →

The Conflict in Electronic Medical Records

As physicians and hospitals increasingly move away from physical record-keeping to electronic health record (EHR) systems, the push and pull between the need for healthcare privacy/security on one hand, and the necessity of sharing healthcare information on the other, continues to grow as well. One example of how this problem plays out is that moving sensitive healthcare information to the cloud makes it easier to share and access patient information, but it also makes it Continue Reading →

Use of Athletes as Science Experiments: Are We Next?

John Calipari, University of Kentucky basketball coach, is a renowned and often controversial figure. He is also one of the first coaches to implement the use of heart-rate monitors during team practices to push his players beyond their comfort zones into complete physical exhaustion. Not only do the heart-rate monitors measure players’ exertion rates, but they also keep track of caloric burn. While the original purpose of these devices was to measure player exhaustion and Continue Reading →

Personal Data Encryption and its Legal Implications

Under the regime of Apple’s iOS 7 operating system, a law enforcement agency seeking access to a passcode-protected iPhone would send the phone, along with a valid search warrant, to Apple, who would then be obligated to bypass the passcode using a built-in “backdoor.” Thus, providing the law enforcement agency with the relevant information found in the phone. When iPhone users upgrade to the recently released iOS 8 (or purchase an iPhone 6 or 6 Continue Reading →

How to Stanch the Heartbleed: Short-Term Fixes and Long-Term Solutions

Experts disagree over the potential impact of Heartbleed. Many worry about the sheer ubiquity of OpenSSL code – which serves as the encryption platform for many Android devices plus over two-thirds of the Internet – and has been adopted by companies like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Yahoo. Government entities like the F.B.I. and the Pentagon also rely upon OpenSSL. Two weeks ago, the Canada Revenue Agency announced that its website was attacked with Heartbleed over Continue Reading →

Target-ing Data Security Breaches

On December 19, 2013 Target reported that there had been unauthorized access to Target customers’ payment card data, which may have resulted in 40 million credit card numbers and personal information of up to 70 million individuals being exposed.  The Target data breach was so significant and shocking that there are reports that a “cyber-thriller” movie based on the breach is in the works.  Only months later, Neiman Marcus reported that 350,000 of its customers’ Continue Reading →

White House Proposes to End NSA’s Mass Collection of Phone Data – But Reforms Don’t Go Far Enough for Many Privacy Advocates

Responding to mounting public pressure, President Obama announced this week that he would be proposing legislation to end the National Security Agency’s mass collection of phone records. Under the new proposal, phone metadata would be stored by telephone companies, not the NSA, and could only be obtained by the NSA through a court order.  However many members of Congress as well as privacy advocates argue that the proposal does not go far enough and that Continue Reading →