July 2009

The Future of Law: Will Big Law Firms Go the Way of the Powdered Wig?

July 27th 2009

The Times of London has published serialized extracts of Richard Susskind’s forthcoming book, The End of Lawyers? His thesis is that legal practice hasn’t changed as quickly as business, and he suggests that big law firms are where metropolitan newspapers were a generation ago. I know quite a few  “recovering lawyers” or “lawyers in denial.” They […]

Are IP Addresses Personally Identifiable Information?

July 15th 2009

In a ruling that could cause shockwaves throughout the online legal community, a federal judge in Seattle has held that IP addresses are not personally identifiable information. According to  U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones: “In order for ‘personally identifiable information’ to be personally identifiable, it must identify a person. But an IP address identifies […]

Public Mug Shot Galleries Punish Without Due Process

July 13th 2009

Funny and Unusual Punishment Before we had state identification, mug shots were used to establish identity. They still fill that role, but now they also punish, entertain, deter, and transfix a growing, voyeuristic audience in print and online. The Christian Science Monitor points out the popularity of a crop of sensationalist pulp magazines with names like […]

Is It Criminal for Minors to Use Google? Could Be.

July 10th 2009

There is a growing disconnect between the legal staff who write terms of use for websites, those who operate the site, and site visitors. I’ve come to believe that each level of disconnection introduces new sets of legal risks, which this story only start to illustrate. Chris Soghoian observed in CNET that Google’s terms of […]

Could UPS Have the Worst Tagline Ever?

July 7th 2009

Funny, I thought the United Parcel Service delivered parcels. Vague: Sounds like it was written by a marketing committee. Self centered: No suggestion of a benefit to their clients. Immodest: “we are the sun in the solar system of commerce” Hard to read: Long words + moving vehicle = missed opportunity. Al Ries said good […]

Mass. Bill Proposes Access for Political Bloggers and a Video Record of Committee Meetings

July 4th 2009

We’ve seen governments monitor private citizens through video surveillance and increased access to electronic records. Here’s a proposal for citizens, and their media, to use some of these same tools to follow the work of their representatives in government. Massachusetts’ Open Meeting Law and Public Record Law may be expanded by S1458 to provided better access […]

Personal Aside: On the US Flag and Current Events

July 2nd 2009

The year’s most patriotic weekend is upon us.  And if you’re like me the prospect of a long weekend is incredibly welcome. So, for your consideration, here’s a more personal post about an American symbol and what we might make of it. This winter I bought a US Flag, and after many years in my […]