Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One of those, “Can this happen here?” questions.
John E. Dunn reports:
A small US law firm has bravely admitted losing its entire cache of legal documents to the Cryptolocker Trojan despite attempting to pay the $300 (£180) ransom in a bid to have them unscrambled.
According to TV reports, Goodson’s law firm in the North Carolina state capital Charlotte [The Law Offices of Paul M. Goodson, P.C.] became the latest victim of a malware menace that was custom-written to lever ransom money from precisely this type of relatively cash-rich but time-poor firm.
Read more on Computerworld UK.

This is not what I expected. Aaron's has settled with the FTC but if they had this software on all the computers they rented, didn't tell their customers, and took 185,000 photos, how is this NOT a class?
Associated Press reports the latest development in a lawsuit I’ve been following on this blog because consumers sued Aaron’s over spyware on their computers:
A federal magistrate has recommended against class-action status for a lawsuit filed over spyware installed on computers leased from furniture renter Aaron’s Inc.
If accepted by a federal judge, the recommendation would mean the lawsuit would be reduced to the original claim filed by Crystal and Brian Byrd of Casper, Wyo.
Read more on New Haven Register.

(Related) ...but this is nothing new.
Back in November 2012, Nationwide Mutual Insurance disclosed an attack on their network that compromised customers’ personal information. The breach turned out to be pretty large, with over 1 million affected.
Two potential class action lawsuits were filed following the breach, including Galaria v. Nationwide and Hancox v. Nationwide. The Hancox case was transferred to the Southern District of Ohio in March and consolidated with the Galaria complaint.
Now Judge Watson has granted Nationwide’s motion to dismiss both suits. To cut to the chase: as other courts have held, unless the named plaintiffs can demonstrate injury-in-fact (e.g., if their information had been misused) or impending as opposed to speculative harm, they’re not going to survive a motion to dismiss.
I’ve uploaded the court’s opinion and order here (pdf), and am trying to find out whatever happened to the California Insurance Commission’s investigation of the breach. I’ll update this post if/when I get an answer from the Commission.


Is this all they can think of?
7 Industries Drones Are Set to Revolutionize
… But I’d like to introduce you to seven industries that are ready and braced to be (mostly positively) impacted – if not revolutionized – by the technological progress that’s surrounding drones right now. While you’re reading, why not think about how drones might impact your own industry?


I usually wait for these to settle into their final form, but this one might be interesting in draft.
HR 3696 the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2013
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 11, 2014
H.R. 3696, (Mr. McCaul) To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make certain improvements regarding cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection, and for other purposes. The “National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2013”. Full text of H.R. 3696, as introduced [PDF]


Interesting article. What would it be worth to prevent/avoid half of a companies lawsuits? Even 10%
PreSuit: How Corporate Counsel Could Use “Smart Data” to Predict and Prevent Litigation


Another “Big Data and the law” article.
UK – Big Data for Law
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 11, 2014
“The National Archives has received ‘big data’ funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to deliver the ‘Big Data for Law‘ project. Just over £550,000 will enable the project to transform how we understand and use current legislation, delivering a new service – legislation.gov.uk Research – by March 2015. There are an estimated 50 million words in the statute book, with 100,000 words added or changed every month. Search engines and services like legislation.gov.uk have transformed access to legislation. Law is accessed by a much wider group of people, the majority of whom are typically not legally trained or qualified. All users of legislation are confronted by the volume of legislation, its piecemeal structure, frequent amendments, and the interaction of the statute book with common law and European law. Not surprisingly, many find the law difficult to understand and comply with. There has never been a more relevant time for research into the architecture and content of law, the language used in legislation and how, through interpretation by the courts, it is given effect. Research that will underpin the drive to deliver good, clear and effective law. Researchers typically lack the raw data, the tools, and the methods to undertake research across the whole statute book. Meanwhile, the combination of low cost cloud computing, open source software and new methods of data analysis – the enablers of the big data revolution – are transforming research in other fields. Big data research is perfectly possible with legislation if only the basic ingredients – the data, the tools and some tried and trusted methods – were as readily available as the computing power and the storage. The vision for this project is to address that gap by providing a new Legislation Data Research Infrastructure at research.legislation.gov.uk. Specifically tailored to researchers’ needs, it will consist of downloadable data, online tools for end-users; and open source tools for researchers to download, adapt and use.”


For my students, all of whom will get great jobs and earn more money than they can possibly spend.
Pew – The Rising Cost of Not Going to College
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 11, 2014
“For those who question the value of college in this era of soaring student debt and high unemployment, the attitudes and experiences of today’s young adults—members of the so-called Millennial generation—provide a compelling answer. On virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment—from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the share employed full time—young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education. And when today’s young adults are compared with previous generations, the disparity in economic outcomes between college graduates and those with a high school diploma or less formal schooling has never been greater in the modern era… The economic analysis finds that Millennial college graduates ages 25 to 321 who are working full time earn more annually—about $17,500 more—than employed young adults holding only a high school diploma. The pay gap was significantly smaller in previous generations. College-educated Millennials also are more likely to be employed full time than their less-educated counterparts (89% vs. 82%) and significantly less likely to be unemployed (3.8% vs. 12.2%).”

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