Judge Prevents Defense Attorney from Using Social Media to Research Jurors
The vast majority of judges in this country allow attorneys to use social media to research jurors. Now, a particular judge may place some type of stipulation on the research such as the attorney must share it with opposing counsel and or give jurors prior notice that research will occur. However, it is the rare instance where any attorney gets completely shutdown which is what occurred here. What is even more rare is that this is the second time, that I know of, for criminal defense attorney, Andrew Jezic. 5 years earlier a different judge told him that he could not research jurors.
Facebook in Hot Seat for Discriminatory Ads
The picture above was one of alleged discriminatory job advertisements sent by an employer to male Facebook users between the age of 18-50 who were in the Ft. Worth, Texas area or had recently visited the area. Employers are able to send this type of pinpoint advertising to specific groups of people because of the data analytics Facebook has on its users.
According to a complaint filed with the EEOC by the Communication Workers of America and ACLU, women were not shown this ad, which, if true, could violate federal law covering discriminatory hiring practices. Here, the complainants target both the employers and Facebook arguing that Facebook was an employment agency serving as “an active participant in the recruiting campaign rather than a passive publisher of content like a traditional newspaper with a classified section.”
Hate Speech on Social Media
This essay expounds on Raphael Cohen-Almagor’s recent book, Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side, Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway, and advocates placing narrow limitations on hate speech posted to social media websites. The Internet is a limitless platform for information and data sharing. It is, in addition, however, a low-cost, high-speed dissemination mechanism that facilitates the spreading of hate speech including violent and virtual threats. Indictment and prosecution for social media posts that transgress from opinion to inciteful hate speech are appropriate in limited circumstances. This article uses various real-world examples to explore when limitations on Internet-based hate speech are appropriate. In October 2015, twenty thousand Israelis joined a civil lawsuit filed against Facebook in the Supreme Court for the State of New York. Led by the civil rights organization, Shurat HaDin, the suit alleges Facebook allows Palestinian extremists to openly recruit and train terrorists to plan violent attacks calling for the murder of Israeli Jews through their Facebook pages. The suit raises important questions, amongst them: When should the government initiate similar suits to impose criminal sanctions for targeted hate speech posted to Facebook? What constitute effective restrictions on social media that also balance society’s need for robust dialogue and free communication, subject to limitations reflecting a need for order and respect among people? Our essay progresses in four stages. First, we examine philosophical origins of free speech and the historical foundations of free speech in the United States. Second, we provide an overview of American free speech jurisprudence. Third, we address particular jurisprudence that provides a framework for imposing limitations on free speech in the context of social media. American history and jurisprudence embrace free speech as a grounding principle of democracy, yet simultaneously subject speech to limitations. Finally, through a comparative exploration of real-world examples, we address the narrow instance when limitations on inciteful and targeted hate speech are appropriate.
Using Social Media to Monitor Students
Interesting article in the NY Times discussing how schools are increasingly using social media to monitor the public social media sites of their students. The article also discusses the 2014 California law “requiring California schools to notify students and parents if they are even considering a monitoring program.” This same law also permits students to see the information collected about them and have that information destroyed once the student turns 18 or leaves the district.
Authentication of Social Media
According to the article below, “there is no strict rule or formula that must be met in order to have social media communications authenticated in order to be admitted into evidence.” While this may be true in New York, other jurisdictions e.g., Maryland take a more hard-line approach to authenticating evidence derived from social media.
NewYorkLawJournal.com: Authentication of Social Media
LinkedIn and Non Solicitation Agreements
Here is an interesting article that discusses how you can run afoul of a non-solicitation agreement when using LinkedIn. Basically, it appears that sending out general “friend,” or “connect” requests via social media to former clients, employees, or customers is okay. However, targeted requests may be actionable. The article, short and well worth the read, cites two cases to illustrate what social media acts do and do not violate non-solicitation agreements.
Lawyers Seeking Advice from Internet Forums
The Texas Bar recently issued an opinion approving the practice of attorneys seeking advice from internet forums. The opinion went on to stress the importance of maintaining client confidentiality. According to the opinion
“[i]f possible, the inquiring lawyer should limit such consultation to general or abstract inquiries that do not disclose confidential information relating to the representation. If it is not reasonably possible to address the issues in question using a general or abstract inquiry, a lawyer may reveal a limited amount of unprivileged client information in a lawyer-to-lawyer consultation, without the client’s express consent, when and to the extent that the inquiring lawyer reasonably believes that the revelation will benefit the inquiring lawyer’s client in the subject of the representation.”