Drone Law (or the Lack Thereof)

ThinkstockPhotos-452549881This following is a guest blog post by George M. Moore, PhD, JD, a Scientist-in-Residence at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, where his course in Drones and Surveillance considers both the technical and legal aspects of drone use and its impact on privacy issues. Dr. Moore is a member of the California and Colorado state bars.

The crashing of a drone on the White House grounds among other recent incidents have shown that drones may pose direct threats to our security, but perhaps a greater long-term threat of drones is to our privacy. A collision between safety, security, privacy rights, and commercial utility is about to happen, and the legal community needs to be prepared to recognize and address the issues that will surely arise. Continue reading

Divorce Papers Served by Facebook: Cold or Practical?

ThinkstockPhotos-465393314Calling social media “the next frontier in the developing law of the service of process over the internet,” a New York judge has allowed service of divorce papers via Facebook private messaging. This is either a cold invasion of one’s social media space or a practical solution to a service problem. Either way, it’s something few recipients will “Like.” Continue reading

Who’s an Independent Contractor in the New Economy?

ThinkstockPhotos-86492263Deciding whether to treat workers as employees or independent contractors is tricky in general and even more so in the context of the new so-called sharing economy. In recent decisions, courts have refused to resolve whether the drivers for Lyft and Uber should be treated as employees or independent contractors, leaving it for juries to tackle the question. And the answer could majorly impact the companies’ highly successful business model. Continue reading

Huge Settlement in Massive Data Breach, But Will It Help?

ThinkstockPhotos-496237855Remember the massive data breach incident at Target stores during the holiday season of 2013? It resulted in a huge class action suit that may soon be settled for $10 million. Could this be the cautionary tale to get retailers to take data security more seriously? Continue reading

Should We Worry about Marijuana DUIs?

146967521The number of drivers with alcohol in their system has has gone down significantly while the number of drivers using marijuana has gone way up. Safety-wise this doesn’t seem to be a bad trade. A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study (.pdf) has found that drivers with THC in their blood are no more likely to be involved in car crashes than are drug-free drivers. Continue reading

Revenge Porn Victims Have New Rights

102733346In 2013 and again in 2015, California amended its disorderly conduct statute to include instances of “revenge porn.” See Pen C §647(j)(4). The first convictions are coming down with more likely to follow. Continue reading

Defenders: Be Ready to Advise on the New Immigration Program

114392182The following is a guest blog post by Katherine Brady, a Senior Staff Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco.

On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced a new program—Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)—that may help millions of undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Qualifying applicants will get a temporary reprieve from deportation (currently set at three years), as well as an employment authorization document that will permit them to get a legal social security number. In California alone, over one million people may qualify for this program. Criminal defense lawyers will get a lot of questions about this program, because the main bar to eligibility is conviction of certain crimes.  Continue reading

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