Monthly Archives: September 2010
Is It Permissible for a Lawyer to Befriend a Witness on Facebook In Order to Gather Information for a Lawsuit?
Ever worry that what you do on a social networking site could be used against you in a court of law? While no one is recommending that Facebook provide users with its own version of the Miranda rights, two Bar Associations have recently considered this issue in the context of lawyers using information from social networking sites to gather impeachment material to use against witnesses in civil lawsuits. On September 10, 2010, the New York State Bar Association, Committee on Professional Ethics, followed the March 2009 opinion of the Philadelphia Professional Guidance Committee in ruling that it is improper for … [ Continue reading ]
MARYLAND COURT: EMPLOYEES WHO STEAL DATA FROM THE COMPANY COMPUTER DO NOT VIOLATE THE COMPUTER FRAUD AND ABUSE ACT
A federal district court in Maryland held that an employee who allegedly stole proprietary data from his prior employer did not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) because he was authorized to access the data and use the data on the job before he terminated his employment with his prior employer. Océ North America, Inc. v. MCS Services, Inc., 2010 WL 3703277 *3-*5 (D. Md. Sept. 16, 2010). Océ North America (Océ) “designs, manufactures, sells, and services high volume production printing systems . . .for commercial printing functions.” Id. at *1. The complaint alleged that a former Océ … [ Continue reading ]
Facebook Places Has Checked-in: Brand Owners Should Consider Proactively Setting Up Pages to Prevent Unfixable Errors
By: Jamie N. Nafziger Dorsey & Whitney, Partner. Those familiar with Foursquare, Yelp, Gowalla and other location-based social networking sites will not be surprised that Facebook has jumped into the fray and recently launched several geolocation-related services. This article includes recommendations on how brand owners can protect their brands in connection with these new services. 1. Facebook Places Facebook Places launched in August 2010 and provides a place for users to “check-in” at a physical location from their iPhone (similar functionality for Android and Blackberry devices is in the works). They can also check-in their friends (if their friends do … [ Continue reading ]
A critical element in proving either a civil or criminal violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), the federal computer crime statute, is that the defendant act with criminal intent as opposed to mistake or negligence. In discussing the breadth of computers covered by the CFAA the Eight Circuit emphasized the importance of this critical element of intent: “[w]hat protects people who accidentally erase songs on an iPod, trip over (and thus disable) a wireless base station, or rear-end a car and set off a computerized airbag, is not judicial creativity but the requirements of the statute itself: … [ Continue reading ]
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Count Dismissed Against Goldman Sachs Computer Programmer Charged with Stealing Source Code
A New York federal Judge dismissed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) count charging Sergey Aleynikov, a former computer programmer for Goldman Sachs & Co., with stealing the computer source code used in Goldman’s high-frequency trading system. U.S. v. Aleynikov, 2010 WL 3489383 *14-17 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 3, 2010). The reasoning underlying this opinion underscores the need for the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve the conflict between the 9th Circuit and the 1st, 5th, 7th and 11th Circuits on the applicability of the CFAA to employees who steal data from their employers. As described by the court, ”Aleynikov was responsible … [ Continue reading ]
California Court Permits Company to Subpoena Yahoo, Google and ISPs to Identify Anonymous Computer Hacker
A federal court in San Jose California last week permitted SolarBridge Technologies, Inc. (“SolarBridge”) to serve subpoenas on Yahoo, Google and various Internet Service Providers to identify the sender of an email containing SolarBridge’s confidential and trade secret protected data including schematics and other product designs of current and future products. SolarBridge Technologies, Inc. v. John Doe, 2010 WL 3419189 (N.D. Ca. Aug. 27, 2010). With criminals hiding behind the anonymity provided by the Internet this case has widespread application to companies willing to take aggressive action to protect their data and provides an excellent blueprint for going after anonymous … [ Continue reading ]
Two federal district courts, one in Maryland and the other in Texas, dismissed what each court considered to be valid civil claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). Title 18 U.S.C. § 1030. The CFAA is the federal computer crime statute that provides a civil cause of action to “any person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of the” statute. The ground for dismissal in each case was the lack of federal jurisdiction for failure to meet the CFAA’s jurisdictional requirement of $5,000 in loss.