Category Archives: Online Interactions

Minnesota’s Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board Addresses Ethical Obligations regarding Metadata

From ABA Site-tation:

At the end of March, Minnesota’s Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board approved a new ethics opinion addressing lawyers’ ethical obligations regarding metadata. Opinion No. 22, available in PDF format on the LPRB’s website, addresses the three primary metadata questions: what is a lawyer’s duty when sending electronic documents; what is a lawyer’s duty when receiving electronic documents; and what is a lawyer’s duty upon discovering confidential or privileged metadata. We’ve updated our metadata ethics opinion comparison chart to include the new Minnesota opinion.

Also from Site-tation, basic training on How to Secure PDFs for Transmission is now available to ABA members.

Opinion Rules Third Party Facebook “Friending” Unethical

The Philadelphia Bar Association recently issued an advisory opinion stating that it is unethical to have a third party “friend” a witness on Facebook for the purpose of gaining information about that person.
From the opinion:

The inquirer believes that the [Facebook & MySpace] pages maintained by the witness may contain information relevant to the matter in which the witness was deposed, and that could be used to impeach the witness’s testimony should she testify at trial. The inquirer did not ask the witness to reveal the contents of her pages, either by permitting access to them on line or otherwise. He has, however, either himself or through agents, visited Facebook and Myspace and attempted to access both accounts. When that was done, it was found that access to the pages can be obtained only by the witness’s permission, as discussed in detail above.
The inquirer states that based on what he saw in trying to access the pages, he has determined that the witness tends to allow access to anyone who asks (although it is not clear how he could know that), and states that he does not know if the witness would allow access to him if he asked her directly to do so.
The inquirer proposes to ask a third person, someone whose name the witness will not recognize, to go to the Facebook and Myspace websites, contact the witness and seek to “friend” her, to obtain access to the information on the pages. The third person would state only truthful information, for example, his or her true name, but would not reveal that he or she is affiliated with the lawyer or the true purpose for which he or she is seeking access, namely, to provide the information posted on the pages to a lawyer for possible use antagonistic to the witness. If the witness allows access, the third person would then provide the information posted on the pages to the inquirer who would evaluate it for possible use in the litigation.
The inquirer asks the [Professional Guidance] Committee’s view as to whether the proposed course of conduct is permissible under the Rules of Professional Conduct, and whether he may use the information obtained from the pages if access is allowed.

See the full opinion for the Bar Associations’ response to the this request.
Source: Fastcase blog

100 Law Related Twitter Feeds

Online Best Colleges has compiled a list of the Top 100 Twitter Feeds for Law Students. It is an interesting list of feeds from various legal folks and organizations, including law students, firms, attorneys, academics, law librarians, and more.
Whether these are, in truth, the “top” law related Twitter feeds is hard to say, but it is a useful list for those are interested in listening in on or engaging in conversation with other law-minded people. Despite being billed as ‘”for law students,” this list could have a much wider audience.

Wisconsin to Tax Internet Downloads

Beginning on October 1st, Wisconsin will begin collecting a 5% sales taxes on Internet downloads of music, games, books, ring tones and other video entertainment. The District of Columbia and 15 states have similar laws.
From JS Online:

[Governor] Doyle has been fighting for the change for years. He and other state officials say it is a matter of fairness: Internet vendors shouldn’t have a tax-exempt advantage over Wisconsin’s brick-and-mortar retail stores….
Some digital downloaders don’t see it that way, however.

Read the full article for more.

Woman Arrested for Killing Virtual Husband

From Yahoo News:

A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband’s digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday…
The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead….
She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

Ads to Appear in Meebo IM Service

From ReadWriteWeb:

Starting next month, Meebo will be rolling out ads in the IM service that invite users to access quizzes, polls, long-form video and other resources. Users will be able to opt-in to sponsored experiences that are targeted to them specifically, based on their demographics and behavior.

It’s unclear if the ads will carry over to the MeeboMe widgets, which lots of libraries are using to place reference chat boxes on their web sites.
For more on Meebo and other reference IM services, see my article, IM a Librarian: Establishing a Virtual Reference Service with Little Cost or Technical Skill.
Source: LibrarianInBlack

Managing Your Professional Reputation Online

Steve Matthews over at Stem Legal has written a very useful article on managing your online reputation. He writes:

Online reputation management isn’t a question of blogging gone badly, or someone posting drunken pictures in Facebook (although both are possible). It’s a business issue for every lawyer who practises, and it requires some form of monitoring and, more often than not, active attention…
Perhaps surprisingly, it is not the lawyers who participate online who are most vulnerable to negative reputation risks. More often, it’s lawyers without a web publishing presence, and with a related dearth of content about them, who are at the greatest risk. Unfortunately, in many firms, that group includes the senior members of the partnership…
So if bad profile on the web lingers in the search engines if it isn’t addressed, and if the adage of keeping silent and letting things blow over no longer works, what does? The answers come in the form of personal web publishing and developing one’s online voice. When a client or prospective client goes hunting for content about a lawyer, that content should accentuate the positives and help bury the negative.