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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Flashmobs Back in the News

Flashmobs Back in the News

Washington Post: ‘Flash mob’ of 150 teens attacks Temple University students, cops in Philly

Safeguarding Digital Assets After Death


Safeguarding Digital Assets After Death

At present, states are grappling with how to handle the digital assets of individuals after they have passed away.  There are several competing legislative proposals under consideration to include the Privacy Expectation Afterlife and Choices (PEAC) Act which was recently unveiled by NetChoice.  According to NetChoice, a trade association that represents many technology companies including Facebook and Google, PEAC requires companies to disclose contents only when a court finds that the user is deceased, and that the account in question has been clearly linked to the deceased. PEAC stands in stark contrast to the approach of the Uniform Fiduciary Access To Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) which treats digital assets much like physical assets, and relies on the principles of fiduciary duty to ensure that no harm results from granting access to accounts. To learn more about the PEAC proposal go here.

Social Media Influencers


Social Media Influencers

Last night, 60 Minutes did a report on the new wave of social media stars and how they are influencing this new medium of communication.  Here is the beginning transcript of what was discussed.

There is a new trend in advertising that might surprise you.  It doesn’t show up in any traditional media.  It’s exploding on mobile devices, set off by young people — most in their twenties — who have attracted large numbers of followers on social networks — platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. They’re called social media influencers. And some of them have larger followings than the most popular movies or TV shows.

Major companies are paying them millions of dollars to influence their followers –– and persuade them to buy products… to continue reading go here.

The Rise of Big Data and the Loss of Privacy

Anca D. Chirita


The Rise of Big Data and the Loss of Privacy


This paper explains why ‘big data’ matters and why privacy is now lost as a social norm. The European Data Protection Supervisor initially suggested a consumer protection approach to data owned by monopolists. It relied on the essential facility doctrine of intervention where a smaller entrant is foreclosed because it cannot access the data owned by the monopolist. Both the report and the doctrine are now of little help to competition authorities. Instead, the paper will evaluate the legal framework to clarify the scope of application of the data protection rules and elucidate whether competition intervention has any merit in its own right. Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the former Directive 95/46/EC will be mentioned before the paper fully engages with the recent developments in the area of data protection. In particular, drawing on the risks associated with data processing in both Directive EU/2016/680 and Regulation EU/2016/679, the paper seeks to determine how price discrimination can actually happen in the form of abuse of personal data. The latter carries an economic significance, as through the misuse of such data, consumers can be left worse off when bargaining or shopping online. Further risks associated with the processing of personal data concern health, which could, in turn, raise life insurance premium rates. In other cases, personal data can reveal a particular economic situation, personal preferences or interests, reliability, or behaviour, which could make price discrimination much easier.

The new regulation mentions the risks associated with online activity and the need to overcome different rules on the protection of personal data, which could distort competition. The major provision is one which explains that the regulation does not apply to a ‘purely personal or household activity’, including social networking and online activity. This is to be interpreted in the sense that data protection and supervision do not have as a purpose safeguarding the online privacy of individuals. This is significant since many influential commentators have long held that competition law should not become a regulatory tool for intervention in the area of personal data protection. Nonetheless, the regulatory approach to data processing aims primarily to protect employees from businesses that process personal data and that could lawfully disclose such data to the competent authorities in the wake of various investigations. However, the present framework can easily be abused or misused. It is broad on potential data subjects, as it includes ‘persons possessing relevant information or contacts’. So anyone’s personal data could be saved for unknown purposes.

The paper moves on to critically review the position of mere silence or inaction in the case of default settings of social networks or web browsers to review the position of informed consent under the new regulation. The paper argues that recent theories of informed consent place particular emphasis upon the degree of sophistication and the length of privacy policies, rather than affirmative box ticking. There are hidden ‘small prints’ or pitfalls, such as ‘improving customer experience’, which make it possible to process personal data without a just cause.

The paper examines Windows 10, GoogleFacebook, Linked-In, Instagram, Snapchat, and Whisper’s privacy policies to establish compliance with data protection and reveal which distinctive categories of personal data are being processed. Existing evidence of price discrimination will be used to extract the pitfalls associated with social platforms based on trust and the potential abuse of consumer confidence that such data is safe from being shared with third parties. Although there are warnings regarding the selling of data, the paper will remain focused on the big data owned by the three main companies, namely, GoogleFacebook, and Microsoft. The selling of personal data could potentially lead competition authorities to uncover the bid-rigging of markets for personal data, which could extend competition intervention to include more ‘secretive’ social media, such as Whisper, Snapchat, or Instagram. Installed software and browsers can also be used as a means to improve users’ experience, but the processing of sensitive and confidential data has little to do with this purpose.

The paper agrees with the merits of the dissenting opinions by the late Commissioner Rosch and Commissioner Jones Harbour, albeit the paper argues that the EU Commission’s intervention is warranted by the enactment of the new rules on data protection, in particular, by what these rules have now left outside their material scope. Relying on Stiglitz’s theory of economic inequality, the paper argues in favour of considering data as the new currency in two-sided markets. While Google’s sale of its users’ privacy to third parties has famously been described as ‘Googlestroika’, namely, a ‘privacy derivative’, this zero-priced product remains problematic through the sharing of personal data with third parties.

In conclusion, the paper adds the abuse of personal data to the non-exhaustive list of abuse of dominance. The latter happens on online platforms, which are outside the scope of data protection laws. Such platforms misuse the trust and confidence of individual users by making them reveal personal data and by encouraging users to voluntarily consent to the transfer of personal data to third parties. Personal preferences or choices are later shared with advertisers and sellers and used to engage in price discrimination. Ultimately, data protection laws are useless in practice, as they solely highlight the need to educate consumers and raise awareness. There is, therefore, one active remedy left: the intervention of competition policy. Indeed, online price discrimination and booking manipulation based on users’ personal data is now a social norm.


Estate Planning for Digital Assets: Assigning Tax Basis and Value to Digital Assets

Elizabeth Ruth Carter


Estate Planning for Digital Assets: Assigning Tax Basis and Value to Digital Assets


These materials were prepared in conjunction with the LSU 46th Estate Planning Seminar. They explore the various types of digital assets–including social media(Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.), audiobooks, music and video files, and bitcoin–and the estate planning challenges these assets present. These material also consider the federal estate and gift tax issues posed by digital assets, including questions related to small business valuation.


Counsel: Chubb Insurance


Counsel: Chubb Insurance

JOB SUMMARY: Counsel will report to and assist the Managing Counsel with legal issues that scan the entire business, including marketing, compliance, operations and sales. Tasks will include performing legal research, identifying new or emerging areas of risk, and managing or providing support on specific legal topics.  The successful candidate will also be expected to serve as the primary attorney responsible for social media.


  • Counsel and advise internal business clients regarding a wide range of matters including application of consumer protection statutes, insurance advertising laws, CAN-SPAM and privacy laws

  • Provide legal advice and monitor business compliance with internal policies and procedures

  • Assist in the development of new policies and procedures and provide updates and advice on policies.

  • Keep informed of new laws, regulations and industry trends that could affect the company and proactively recommend changes to practices and policies.

  • Research and provide legal advice on diverse and complex federal, state and local laws as well as insurance rules and regulations.


  • J.D. from an ABA accredited law school and licensed to practice law in Illinois

  • 0-3 years of experience advising clients on consumer protection issues, insurance/financial services matters, and/or compliance;

  • Knowledge and ability to provide prompt, practical advice on matters involving social media, digital advertising, and marketing materials;

  • Ability to provide practical and creative solutions to compliance issues involving consumer complaints and requests for information from regulatory bodies;

  • Ability to identify changes in law and ensure compliance, propose guideline and practice changes, and educate and train internal customers;

  • Demonstrate the ability to identify, define and analyze problems, establish decision making parameters, assess risks, recommend prompt, practical solutions, and influence stakeholders; and


Strong verbal communication, writing, training, and team/interpersonal skills

Strong business acumen and strategic thinker

Detail-oriented, organized, responsive and deadline-driven

Ability to multi-task and handle a variety of high priority projects simultaneously

OUR BENEFITS: As a Combined/Chubb corporate employee, you have access to one of the most comprehensive benefit plans in the business, designed to meet your needs and help you reach your financial goals. Chubb is committed to supporting its employees with a comprehensive compensation package that is appropriate in the market where they work. Below are several of the many benefits we offer our employees:

  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Tuition reimbursement

  • A company-match 401(k) plan

  • Disability insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Employee referral bonuses

ABOUT COMBINED INSURANCE: Combined Insurance Company of America (Chicago, IL) is a leading provider of supplemental accident, disability, health, and life insurance products and is a Chubb company. With a tradition of more than 90 years of success, Combined Insurance is one of Ward’s Top 50® Performing Life-Health Insurance Companies and was named the number one Military Friendly® Employer by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2015 and 2016. Combined Insurance is committed to making the world of supplemental insurance easy to understand. For more information about Combined Insurance products, career opportunities or to contact a local sales agent, call 1-800-490-1322 or visitwww.combinedinsurance.com.

ABOUT CHUBB: Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. With operations in 54 countries, Chubb provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients.  As an underwriting company, we assess, assume and manage risk with insight and discipline.  We service and pay our claims fairly and promptly.  The company is also defined by its extensive product and service offerings, broad distribution capabilities, exceptional financial strength and local operations globally.  Parent company Chubb Limited is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CB) and is a component of the S&P 500 index.  Chubb maintains executive offices in Zurich, New York, London and other locations, and employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide. Additional information can be found at: www.new.chubb.com.


NLRB Says Northwestern Football Players Can Tweet


NLRB Says Northwestern Football Players Can Tweet

ESPN: Free to tweet: Northwestern’s restrictions on football players ruled …