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Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Tweeting Bank Takeovers – Rumors in the Corp World = Jailtime?

In Social Media, Technology Issues and the Law on August 2010 at 9:30 am

Two individuals were charged with “the dissemination over the social network Twitter of false rumors for the purpose of destabilizing the national banking system…and causing runs on banks.” The two were arrested in Venezuela, by officers of the Scientific, Penal, and Criminalistics Investigations Corps (CICPC).

Luis Enrique Acosta Oxford, 41 years old, and Carmen Cecilia Nares Castro, 35, could face an 11-year prison sentence for Tweeting.

The two began posting rumors about bank takeovers back in March 2010, causing some instability in the markets. The CICPC confiscated a cell phone and other electronic devices during a search it conducted in connection with the arrests.

Wilmer Flores, National Director of the CICPC, wants the arrests to set an example to people about the harms and consequences of Tweeting, and to “[a]ny individual who propagates ill intentioned rumors through any medium.” He notes, that such individuals are “committing a crime and [are] answerable for it to the appropriate authorities.”

Note to self… perhaps practical jokes on Twitter won’t fly in Venezuela…

by: Sheheryar Sardar, Esq. & Benish Shah, Esq., Sardar Law Firm LLC

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Money Scams… through YOUR Social Media Account

In Social Media, Technology Issues and the Law on August 2010 at 10:44 am

Criminals are truly masterminds at times… other times, they just use the simplest idea and run off with your money before you know what happened.  And in some cases, social media is making it easier on them.

People lower their guard when someone they know from a social networking site needs their help. Rather than sending an email to random people, these simple yet brilliant criminals have learned they can improve their chances by hacking into social networking accounts and then directing pleas for money to the account holder’s list of friends… or simply just adding a hundred or so people, and reaching out to them.

Individuals connected to you on social media networking sites seem to be a part of your own personal network (whether you’ve met them or not) and so people are more likely to reach out/help them out. Regardless of the fact that the “person” on the other side of the Twitter feed might be a bot, and not a “person” at all.

And with the lack of social media laws at this time, it’s imperative to look at social media with your guards up first, down much later.

For example:

If someone sends you a serious message over a social media site, ask them a security question such as, “when was the last time I saw you” or “do you remember where we met?”  Generally ask a question that does not have a readily available answer on your social media profile.

by: Sheheryar Sardar, Esq. & Benish Shah, Esq., Sardar Law Firm LLC

For more information on social media law, contact: Sardar Law Firm

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Jailbreaking … is it legal? Or just not necessary il-legal?

In Social Media, Technology Issues and the Law on August 2010 at 11:44 am

The U.S. Copyright Office and Library of Congress announced Monday that jailbreaking the iPhone is one of several practices that DOES NOT violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This simple bit of information may open upon Pandora’s box in the business/tech world of competing phones, apps and social media.

Modifications purely for the purpose of making an iPhone, or other, similarly protected device, compatible with third-party software are fair use.  Marybeth Peters, register of Copyrights, wrote in a ruling that jailbreaking is “innocuous at worst, and beneficial at best.”

The decision, although limited in scope, strikes a blow for property rights. It says: If you buy an iPhone or iPad, it’s your property, and you have a right to do what you want with it.  But – it does not open up all the doors in the world of jailbreaking, and big corporations still have a say in what happens if/when a consumer engages in jailbreaking.  For one thing, jailbreaking your product will void your warranty.

Interesting note:  this decision does not say that jailbreaking your product is legal; it just states that it does not violate the DMCA.

There are still several other legal issues that might make jailbreaking illegal; however, the issues were considered beyond the purview of the copyright office.  For example, there is no ruling on whether the purchaser of an iPhone or iPad owns the copy of the software on the device, recommending instead that the issue be addressed by new laws, not regulations.  The issue may be more of anti-trust or contract/corporate law, rather than copyright – as noted by the copyright office.

by: Sheheryar Sardar, Esq. & Benish Shah, Esq., Sardar Law Firm LLC

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RIM vs. India… or Privacy vs. Government?

In Technology Issues and the Law on August 2010 at 10:30 am

Interesting issue being faced by RIM here:  consumer privacy, or government control?

The Indian government’s internal security and intelligence services cannot break the encryption of the new BlackBerry device, which makes countering terror threats and national security matters difficult – especially for a region which faces constant threats and attacks from domestic Maoist insurgents and other extremist groups.

The Indian government has issued another warning to RIM that its BlackBerry operations in India will be suspended unless it respects Indian laws and adheres to security policies as defined by the government.   RIM was issued a similar warning in 2008 but the matter was resolved after RIM agreed that they will allow the government to monitor Blackberry networks.

The Indian government is quite clear in their warnings, they want RIM to allow security forces access to data sent using Blackberry devices by reducing encryption or providing necessary decryption keys.  RIM on their part has once again said that they will cooperate with the government.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Commit Social Media Suicide (SMS)

In Entrepreneurs and Social Media, Social Media on August 2010 at 10:30 am
Great piece on the social media, when done wrong….
The world is no longer as forgiving as it once was.  Way back when, in the 90’s, you could say one bad thing and people would eventually forget about it and life would move on.  However in today’s world, anything we say or do can linger on the web forever.  One bad article, one disagreeable blog, one questionable picture and your entire reputation is ruined.  Committing suicide on the web proves to be easier than a slit wrist.  When you use social media at any point you are branding yourself for the millions of other people with internet access.  That picture you took while drunk last year when you were “young and stupid” is going to haunt you as you hunt for jobs.  That video of you insulting your manager’s mother may get you fired.  The web is your new personal billboard and we all need to be very careful of what message we’re sending to the people driving by.  Be very careful what you say, who you say it to and how.  Limit the number of outlets your own words reach no matter how good they are.

By limiting your quoted text and images you funnel all traffic to a small set of websites which makes it easier to have things removed at a later time if need be.  For the unfortunate readers who have already made the mistake of social media suicide, don’t fret, you can come back as a phantom.  The one great thing about the web is that, although you can’t make it forget, you can force it to forgive.  A great way to make your bad deeds invisible is to drown them out using the same web to your advantage.  Tag new, more interesting pictures of yourself.  Post lots of interesting videos to drown your old ones out and post dozens of blogs and articles that represent you in the light you wish to be represented.  Having your own website can aid drastically in this mission because it mentions your name time and time again which should make it easier for that to come to the top of any Google or Bing search about you.  Even with the drowning tactic, recovering your full soul after sms is very difficult, therefore the lesson to be learned from this blog is not to flood the web with happy thoughts of you but to make sure that one bad thought never gets there in the first place.  A single wrong act can counter dozens of good ones.  Keep that in mind.

Republished with permission from Global Executive Board.

Nabeel A. Shah is a team member at Global Executive Board.