Category Archives: Communication

“Right to be Forgotten” Doesn’t Apply to Searches Made Outside EU

Five years ago, Europeans gained the right to ask search engines to block certain information about them.  It was unclear, however, if this “right to be forgotten” extended to Internet searches made outside the European Union.

It appears now not that it does not per an opinion issued by European Court of Justice advocate general Maciej Szpunar.  “Search requests that are made outside the territory of the European Union should not be subject to the de-referencing of search results,” wrote Szpunar.

The decision relates to a 2015 dispute between Google and the French watchdog group CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés) over Google’s decision to limit the right to be forgotten just to its French domain rather than apply it to all its national search engines.

See Reuters and The Inquirer for more.

Scientists Examine What Having Constant Access to Information Does to Our Memory

Several years ago, tech writer Nicholas Carr sparked a debate with his thought-provoking Atlantic article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”  In it, Carr suggested that not only is the Internet shaping our lives – it’s physically changing our the way that our brains function.

“[W]hat the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

Intrigued by this question, researchers from UW-Madison, Columbia, Harvard took a closer look at what having constant access to information does to our capacity to retain information, reports Interesting Engineering.  “Together, they conducted a series of experiments with student volunteers which provides support for the contention that the Internet has an effect on our memory.”

In one experiment, students were asked to write down 40 pieces of trivia.  Some were told that their answers would be recorded, others were told that they would be erased.  When asked later to write down as many statements as they could remember, those who were told that their answers would be erased remembered more statements that those who thought they would be recorded.

In another experiment, a group performed a similar task, but everyone was told their work would be saved in folders with labels.  When asked to recall the written statements, students could only recall 25% of them.  But when asked in which folder a specific statement had been saved, they were able to identify 50% of the folders.

The experiments are telling, although not surprising.  Both demonstrate that we process and remember information differently when we know that we have technology backing us up.

Although exacerbated by the Intenet, this isn’t exactly a new phenomenon.  I make a grocery list before going to the store.  As a student, I took notes in class.  As a librarian of a certain age, I even used a physical card catalog to locate library materials.  Pencils, notebooks, card catalogs, books – these are all technologies that have long enabled us to record information so that we don’t have to have perfect recall.

Interesting stuff.  Check out the article for a further exploration of this phenomenon going all the way back to the ancient Greeks.

Article: Is Confidentiality Really Forever — Even If the Client Dies or Ceases to Exist?

A recent article available on SSRN examines the question, “Is Confidentiality Really Forever — Even If the Client Dies or Ceases to Exist?
Here’s the abstract:

The law firm of Lizzie Borden’s lead attorney continues to maintain her client files in a confidential manner. In contrast, the trove of notes kept by another attorney on the defense team were discovered by his grandson, who willed the client materials to the local Massachusetts historical society, making them generally accessible some 100 years after the murder trial.
Which is the right result? Does client confidentiality live forever? What if the client is an entity rather than an individual? Should there be some point in time — 50 or 100 years — when this right to confidentiality expires? Who will enforce the privilege once all the participants are dead? These questions have important implications for attorneys, law firms, and corporate entities. But they are also questions of importance to librarians whose libraries might be given papers that were protected by the attorney-client privilege, represented work product, or were the subject of an attorney’s ethical obligation to protect the confidentiality of client matters.
This short essay raises these questions and considers the legal, policy, and practical issues involved. Several approaches are outlined and briefly evaluated.

Study Finds Consumers Trust Online Opinions – More Reason that You Should be Monitoring What People Say about You

From The Consumerist:

A global Nielsen survey reports the cool yet frightening revelation that people trust opinions they find on the internet more than those from newspapers, TV, radio and magazines. The only category that trumps online rumblings is “recommendations from people known.”

So what does this mean? The implication for consumer sales is obvious, but is this finding applicable to legal professionals? Yes, I think so.
The things that people are saying about you and your clients on the web could have a big impact on your public image and theirs. That’s why it’s very important to monitor what’s being said. See my earlier posts for tips on setting up alerts to notify you when you or your clients are discussed via Twitter, Web pages, and blogs.
Here’s the full breakdown of the Nielsen survey as it appears in AdWeek

Source: Twitter @ding0036

10 Tips for Networking at Conferences

Jason Eiseman has compiled a great list of tips for networking at conferences. Although his list specifically mentions the CALI and AALL conferences, his suggestions certainly apply much more broadly.
Here’s the basic list – see Jason’s full post for annotations.

1. Be yourself
2. You have something very important to say
3. Have an elevator pitch
4. You are not a “dream maker.”
5. You’re probably not that funny
6. Don’t pretend you remember me
7. Don’t be offended but I may walk away from you
8. Don’t do me any favors
9. You don’t have to exchange business cards with everyone: use social networking too
10. If you see me, say hello.

This is an awesome list – both funny and wise. I particularly like #2: “You have something very important to say.” But I think it goes well beyond conferences–it’s true of your professional life as a whole.
This has been a particularly personal lesson for me. As a young person, I was extremely shy and had fairly low self esteem – the kind of student that never, ever spoke up in class because I felt that I had nothing important to offer.
Fortunately, I got over it. It took some serious encouragement from a wonderful mentor who coached me through writing and eventually publishing my senior thesis. For me, it was that experience of having a published article that made me realize that I actually did have something valuable to say.
I’ve written a lot since then and presented many times, but it still sometimes amazes me that people think I’ve got something worthwhile to offer. I continue to struggle with my shyness but that little voice in my head that says “yes, I do have something important to say” keeps me talking.

Coming Soon – Route Calls, Manage Voicemail & Make Free Calls with Google Voice

From the NYT:

Google stepped up its attack on the telecommunications industry on Thursday with a free service called Google Voice… [The service] is intended to simplify the way people handle phone calls, voice mail and text messages…
Google Voice allows users to route all their calls through a single number that can ring their home, work and mobile phones simultaneously. It also gives users a single and easy-to-manage voice mail system for multiple phone lines. And it lets users make calls, routed via the Internet, free in the United States and for a small fee internationally…


There are also a slew of other features available such as call screening, blocking, voicemail transcripts, email or text notifications, conference calling and more. See the Google Voice Features page for more info, including video demos of each feature.
The service is initially only available to a select group of users but Google says the general public will be able to use it in the coming weeks. Definitely watch for news when it does become available. This is going to be huge.

Legal Ramifications of Twitter Use

An article in Law.com’s Legal Technology section offers some thoughts on the legal ramifications of Twitter use.

Lawyers caution… that Twitter carries a number of legal risks. Users posting tweets from corporate networks could expose company secrets. These conversations, lawyers note, are legally binding and subject to the legal rules of electronic discovery, which means tweets could be subpoenaed in a lawsuit.
Twitter also raises invasion of privacy and defamation issues. Trademark violations could also be alleged if Twitter users appear to have a relationship with a company or product when one does not exist or post tweets to dilute a trademarked name.
Twitter could also trigger more workplace retaliation and wrongful termination claims, whereby users will claim that they were retaliated against or fired over protected information they tweeted, such as being harassed at work or disclosing a safety violation.

Search Twitter and Track Updates with RSS

Here’s an update to my post earlier this month on Tracking Blog Posts & Comments. Now, it seems that you can search and track what people are saying on Twitter, as well. [What is Twitter?]
Go to the Twitter search page and run your search. On the results page, you’ll see a RSS Feed for this Query button.
For more info on using Twitter as a Knowledge Base & Expertise Resource, see LawyerKM. Cindy Chick also has a good post on just what you can do with the Twitter search.

Phone in a Question, Get a Text Answer Back with ChaCha

ChaCha is a free cellphone service that lets you ask any question answerable via a Web search, using any cellphone, by simply making a voice call. A few minutes later, you’ll receive an answer as a text message.
From All Things Digital:

ChaCha requires no registration and works on any cellphone carrier. It needs no special codes or key words. You just state your question as if you were asking a friend. If you prefer to type your question, you can text it to “ChaCha,” or 242242. Though ChaCha itself charges no fees, your phone carrier may charge for the minutes you use, or for the text messages.
The service works by routing your questions to one of 10,000 hired “guides” — students, stay-at-home parents, retirees and others — who look up the questions on the Web and reply. They get paid 20 cents per answer.

Read on for a review of the service and a comparison to services such as Google SMS, Goog 411 and Microsoft’s TellMe.
Thanks to my colleague, Mary Jo Koranda for the tip about ChaCha.