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.”
Guy Padraic Hamilton Smith
The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Packingham v. North Carolina announced that people who have been convicted of sex offenses have a First Amendment right to access social media platforms. In reaching its conclusion, the Court reasoned that the public square — and the communicative activity that the First Amendment protects — now exists on these platforms “in particular.” Despite Packingham’s promise of free speech for arguably the most despised, feared, and misunderstood group of people in America, it did not directly address ways in which both the state and private actors keep Packingham’s beneficiaries in digital darkness. As the rolls of America’s sex offense registries swell to near one million people in 2018, sustained exclusion from platforms that society increasingly relies on for civic engagement functionally cripples the ability of an enormous population of people to reintegrate, participate, and effectively challenge laws and policies that target them long after they have exited the criminal justice system. Far from being dangerous or illicit, the voices of people directly impacted are necessary to properly balance a system which has all but foreclosed redemption, and thus their inclusion gives life not only to the values at the heart of Packingham, but to our conception of justice as well
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) announced today that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will testify before the committee the afternoon of Wednesday, September 5, 2018, regarding Twitter’s algorithms and content monitoring.
“Twitter is an incredibly powerful platform that can change the national conversation in the time it takes a tweet to go viral. When decisions about data and content are made using opaque processes, the American people are right to raise concerns. This committee intends to ask tough questions about how Twitter monitors and polices content, and we look forward to Mr. Dorsey being forthright and transparent regarding the complex processes behind the company’s algorithms and content judgement calls,” said Chairman Walden.
Using Facebook for Surveillance
While I think most are aware that law enforcement uses social media to conduct surveillance, I am not sure people know the depth of the surveillance. The Washington Post has an article that discusses how Memphis law enforcement employed Facebook to monitor the activities of members of Black Lives Matter.
According to the Post, “[t]he revelation came out of a civil suit claiming the Memphis Police Department violated a 40-year-old consent decree by gathering intelligence on activists through social media.” It will be interesting to see whether the court finds monitoring via Facebook the same or similar to past intelligence gathering and surveillance of civil rights activists. According to Memphis’ chief legal officer, Bruce McMullen, the decree cannot be applied to modern police techniques. He stated further that “[r]eading the consent decree literally, and applying it in today’s technological world, would require the police department to turn off all security cameras and body-worn cameras during a protest.”