Social Media and Internet

Law firm cybersecurity is in the news again with two developments. First, the latest ABA TechReport says that large law firms were more likely to be victims of a data security breach last year than mid-size or small firms, with one in seven respondents having been hit overall. That’s a big deal. Next, a federal class action complaint in what is thought to be the first suit attempting to base liability solely on a U.S. law firm’s allegedly inadequate cybersecurity was unsealed on December 9. But that suit possibly turns out not to be such a big deal.
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If you “like” a political Facebook post, or tweet a comment on a controversial legal topic, are you potentially creating an ethical conflict of interest with your clients who may have contrary interests? The District of Columbia bar ethics committee thinks so, and warns about the risk in its Opinion 370, issued late last month.
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LinkedIn last week announced a “rethinking” of its endorsement feature, first launched in 2012. Starting with its mobile app, the service says it has “improved targeting” so people looking at your profile will see the endorsements for you that are most relevant to them. Coming on the heels of this development, a new Ohio ethics opinion reminds us that we should be monitoring endorsements and other kinds of testimonials to ensure they are within ethical bounds.
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Avvo has a First Amendment right to use a lawyer’s publically-available information to generate advertising revenue for itself, the district court for the Northern District of Illinois held on September 12. The ruling means that Avvo can park ads for your competitors on the profile it creates for you — unless you pay Avvo to keep them off.
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Since it debuted in the U.S. a couple weeks ago, Pokémon Go has become a nationwide phenomenon. If you’re like I was, you may need a primer in order to understand what the hoopla is about. The game was launched by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for smartphones. It features the longtime videogame franchise that involves capturing and “training” phantasmagorical creatures called Pokémon. And yes, there’s an ethics issue for you to think about.
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