An IT executive turned California e-Discovery Attorney and Consultant shares his personal insights and experience - with an emphasis on facilitating the relationship between legal and technology professionals.
I understand we live in a 'first-to-press' world, and I further understand that - most of the time - it's important to get a story out as soon as possible. But, that doesn't mix too well with judicial decisions. In my view, you should treat them like a fine meal.
Let's begin with the premise that the Internet makes it easier to...
Does your mind automatically think of positive attributes such as, 'communicate with others', 'market your business' or 'research virtually any topic'? You'd be right about all of them. Unfortunately, the Internet also makes it easier to:
There have been a trifecta of such cases in Georgia; and juries haven't been shy about awarding substantial (six-figure) damages. What's the commonality? They're all blogging cases. The highest award of the three is $900,000 (The article says it's nearly ten-times what the plaintiff's sought - $48,000 - but isn't that nearly twenty-times? Must be that new math...)
Yikes! Did I mention how much I love you all?
People are taking - what used to be - vicious 'water cooler' gossip at worst and posting it online. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the law, that creates an important distinction. It changes an old case of slander (spoken statement, aka 'to the ear') into a new case of libel (written statement, aka 'to the eye').
Hint - libel is usually considered more serious. Never mind the evidentiary advantages (you put your comments in writing), but people are much more apt to believe something written rather than spoken. Why? Because the perception is that someone wouldn't put an item in writing unless they had a reasonable level of confidence that it was true.
I guess they haven't been watching the primary contest, lately...
(Embedded video feeds aren't resolving properly on some systems. If you don't see the video interface above, here's a direct link to launch it, manually)
Last night, 60 Minutes broadcast an excellent, in-depth analysis of the Stuxnet Worm and how it was used to infiltrate and damage the Iranian nuclear program. Let's put politics aside for a moment (as I always try to do on this blog). Anyone who wants (or needs) to understand how malicious code may be used to wreak havoc upon a thought-to-be-secure system should watch this video.
Particularly, pay close attention to how the worm was introduced into the facility's computers. I guarantee, it'll be the best 15 minutes you can invest before you sit down and formulate your security plan.
I just checked...I haven't done one of these since late October, last year. A general hat tip goes out to many of my colleagues who, through social media, reminded me about EFF's HTTPS Everywhere, which is an extension for Firefox and, as of this posting date, currently in beta for Chrome. Here's their own description of the product:
"HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox and Chrome extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure."
So, why didn't I simply Tweet that? Well, actually, I did. However, there are a couple of things you might want to consider before installing it. As with all products, that's usually the easy part. Will you read the installation notes or the FAQs? Probably not. At least keep these two things in mind:
Some users experience degraded performance. I'm using Firefox and I'm seeing markedly degraded performance. However, the benefits outweight the detriments, so that's not a showstopper for me.
Occasionally, the product will add an 's' to 'http' addresses on the command line. To most, this is meaningless; until they start sharing/embedding those links, that is. Sometimes, this will cause errors at the other end, unless that user's system also has the extension or 'understands' what's happened, as my IE9 browser did. Luckily, this is rare.