Thursday, June 30, 2011


Whitey Bulger Syndrome - even his lawyer is starting to look like him!

Too bad he wasn't talking about President Nixon who was a bona fide "Dick!"

Where's "Her Hotiness?"

Good Day Readers:

Now that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have officially arrived in Canada where's Pippa - Kate's younger sister Philippa whom the British tabloids have dubbed "Her Hotiness." According to the Press, Prince Harry's on again off again relationship with Chelsy Davy is off again. Media rumour is swirling Harry has become quite enthralled with Pippa. Could they become the next Royal item?

And what about Princess Eugenie with her penchant for red, skin tight dresses?The reason we ask? Did you see the size of the plane that brought the Duke and Duchess here? Surely, there must have been plenty of room for a few more Royals!

Have we been spending too much time lately reading the British tabloids?

Clare L. Pieuk

Been scored have we?

Got Twitter? You’ve Been Scored
Published: June 25, 2011

IMAGINE a world in which we are assigned a number that indicates how influential we are. This number would help determine whether you receive a job, a hotel-room upgrade or free samples at the supermarket. If your influence score is low, you don’t get the promotion, the suite or the complimentary cookies.

Joon Mo Kang

This is not science fiction. It’s happening to millions of social network users.

If you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account, you are already being judged — or will be soon. Companies with names like Klout, PeerIndex and Twitter Grader are in the process of scoring millions, eventually billions, of people on their level of influence — or in the lingo, rating “influencers.” Yet the companies are not simply looking at the number of followers or friends you’ve amassed. Rather, they are beginning to measure influence in more nuanced ways, and posting their judgments — in the form of a score — online.

To some, it’s an inspiring tool — one that’s encouraging the democratization of influence. No longer must you be a celebrity, a politician or a media personality to be considered influential. Social scoring can also help build a personal brand. To critics, social scoring is a brave new technoworld, where your rating could help determine how well you are treated by everyone with whom you interact.

“Now you are being assigned a number in a very public way, whether you want it or not,” said Mark W. Schaefer, an adjunct professor of marketing at Rutgers University and the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. “It’s going to be publicly accessible to the people you date, the people you work for. It’s fast becoming mainstream.”

Influence scores typically range from 1 to 100. On Klout, the dominant player in this space, the average score is in the high teens. A score in the 40s suggests a strong, but niche, following. A 100, on the other hand, means you’re Justin Bieber. On PeerIndex, the median score is 19. A perfect 100, the company says, is “god-like.”

Companies are still refining their methodologies — sifting through data and evaluating other networking sites.
This month, Klout announced that it was beginning to incorporate LinkedIn profiles.

As Azeem Azhar, chief executive of PeerIndex, put it, “We’re at the start of this journey and we expect the journey to take us into much more nuance and granularity.”

Marketers are signing on. More than 2,500 companies are using Klout’s data. Last week, Klout revealed that Audi would begin offering promotions to Facebook users based on their Klout score. Last year, Virgin America used the company to offer highly rated influencers in Toronto free round-trip flights to San Francisco or Los Angeles. In Las Vegas, the Palms Hotel and Casino is using Klout data to give highly rated guests an upgrade or tickets to Cirque du Soleil.

“For the first time, we’re all on an even playing field,” said Joe Fernandez, the chief executive and co-founder of Klout. “For the first time, it’s not just how much money you have or what you look like. It’s what you say and how you say it.”

How does one become an influencer?

After analyzing 22 million tweets last year, researchers at Hewlett-Packard found that it’s not enough to attract Twitter followers — you must inspire those followers to take action. That could mean persuading them to try Bikram yoga, donate to the Sierra Club or share a recipe for apple pie. In other words, influence is about engagement and motivation, not just racking up legions of followers.

Industry professionals say it’s also important to focus your digital presence on one or two areas of interest. Don’t be a generalist. Most importantly: be passionate, knowledgeable and trustworthy.

Still, scoring is subjective and, for now, imperfect: most analytics companies rely heavily on a user’s Twitter and Facebook profiles, leaving out other online activities, like blogging or posting YouTube videos. As for influence in the offline world — it doesn’t count.

Mr. Azhar, of PeerIndex, calls this “the Clay Shirky problem,” referring to the writer and theorist who doesn’t use Twitter much. “He’s obviously massively influential,” Mr. Azhar said, “and right now he has a terrible PeerIndex.”

Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst with Altimeter Group, a digital-strategy consulting firm, wrote a few months ago that using a single metric to evaluate influence is dangerous. He noted that Klout “lacks sentiment analysis” — so a user who generates a lot of digital chatter might receive a high score even though what’s being said about the user is negative. Also, a single metric can be misleading: someone with little Twitter experience can snag a high score if they happen to post a video that goes viral.

More broadly, Mr. Schaefer of Schaefer Marketing and others are concerned that we are moving closer to creating “social media caste systems,” where people with high scores get preferential treatment by retailers, prospective employers, even prospective dates.

No wonder some people are trying to game their scores. Attaining true influence requires time and commitment. And while your flesh-and-blood self deserves a break every now and then, your digital self will pay the price.

“I went on vacation for two weeks,” said Mr. Schaefer, “and my Klout score went down.”

Stephanie Rosenbloom is a style reporter for The New York Times.

"God are we thirsty it's getting serious - readers you should be concerned!"

Dear Clare,

How about a post on refreshing beverage savings ideal for summer? ALO Drink, the #1 ready-to-drink aloe vera beverage in the U.S. natural market, is offering a 50 cent coupon when you Like ALO on Facebook.

Made with real aloe vera pulp and juice straight from the aloe vera plant - never reconstituted from powder, ALŌ Drink contains 25% aloe vera pulp and juice content, is naturally full of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids, and is completely Free of preservatives, artificial colorings, artificial flavors, emulsifiers or thickeners. Available in exotic flavors like mangosteen and mango or pomelo, pink grapefruit and lemon, ALŌ extracts only the desirable inner aloe pulp by using a hand-filleting method, instead of including the non-nutritious green outer skin as part of its blend.

More information can be found at

Please let me know if you have any questions or need any additional information.

Shaina Zalma Crier Communications 310-274-1072 x203
Dear Shaina,

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog. Sorry for the delay in responding but we're becoming increasingly weak. Back in June your colleague Sara Long informed us of a contest Wild Planet, a leader in sustainable canned seafood, was having to celebrate World Oceans Day - in no more than 5 words describe why we wanted to try Wild Planet and we could win 3-tins of its premium product.

Well, we thought our entry, "I will die without tuna!" (June 8, 2011) would surely be successful. Unfortunately, it wasn't so we're slowly continuing to waste away. Now we have a serious thirst issue. It's getting so bad we don't know if we'll be able to finish this postin .....

Ladies, watch those fakes!

What do power lawyers eat at a power breakfast?

Dear Blog Master:

I hope you might be able to include this in your links today or perhaps do a small write up. The Hollywood Reporter is hosting the 5th Annual Power Lawyers Event next month in Beverly Hills, link to story and release are below.

Please let me know your thoughts!

Much thanks,

ICM’s Jeff Berg to Keynote Hollywood Reporter’s 5th Annual Power Lawyers Event

NEW YORK, June 23, 2011 - Jeffrey Berg, Chairman & CEO of talent agency International Creative Management, will be the featured speaker at the Hollywood Reporter's 5th annual Power Lawyers Power Breakfast, set to take place July 13 at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The Power Lawyers event, which will feature Berg in conversation with THR news director Matthew Belloni, is held each July in conjunction with THR's annual special issue profiling the Top 100 entertainment attorneys in America. The breakfast, which began in 2007 as a first-ever celebration of influential attorneys in Hollywood, has grown to become the most exclusive gathering of the industry's top legal minds.

“The entertainment legal community is one of the most powerful and interesting segments of Hollywood,” said THR editorial director Janice Min. “With the Power Lawyers issue, we’re excited to showcase that influence.

”Added THR publisher Lynne Segall: “THR’s Power Lawyers is a franchise that we’re very proud to have started 5 years ago. It’s the one time of the year that we showcase the important contributions and work that entertainment and media lawyers do on behalf of their clients. Throughout the year they work behind the scenes and prefer not to be in the limelight.”

At the event, THR will also bestow its annual Raising the Bar Studio Lawyer Award on Jonathan Anschell, Executive VP and General Counsel of CBS Television. The award, which is given annually to an in-house legal executive at a film or television studio who has distinguished himself or herself in the Hollywood community, will be presented at the breakfast by CBS Corp President/CEO Leslie Moonves.

"Jonathan is one of those rare studio lawyers who is respected in every corner the showbiz legal community," said Belloni. "He is a natural fit for this honor."

THR's Power Lawyers event is presented by City National Bank.

PR Contact

Lisa Dallos/High10Media Haleigh Breest/High10Media;

Dear Haleigh,

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog with the information. Please forgive us but we couldn't help but wonder what power lawyers eat at a power breakfast to get tougher - 2" expensive finishing nails.

Were curious about high 10 media (

We represent our clients to the outside world, telling their stories and crafting intelligent media strategies that move them closer to their business goals.

We take our inspirational cue from competitive rowing’s “high ten” – the first ten strokes of a race performed at high speed and with perfect cadence. It’s this focused, efficient, and forward-moving approach that defines High 10 Media.

Our arsenal of communications tools is advanced and varied. It includes traditional PR services like press publicity, reputation management, media monitoring and crisis communications, and extends into social media campaigns, corporate crossovers, brand development, and red carpet events.

Whether a client is a high-profile individual, a growing business, or a corporate brand, we create tailored strategies and maintain total availability to move business forward.


Liked the write-up especially the part about the "high ten" after all anyone can do a high five. Besides, you never know when this site may need some reputation management. Would have reproduced your corporate logo but couldn't find it in Google Images.

Sincerely, (High Ten!)
Clare L. Pieuk

Vive turtle power vive!

Turtles cause runway delays at JFK

"The biggest geniuses on the RidicuList!"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Excuse us officer might you have forgotten something?"

Judges judging judges sound familiar?

Good Day Readers:

The case being discussed in the video dates back to July 2009 when a motion filed by Judicial Watch (privately funded oranization promoting transparency, accountability and integrity in government) challenged pay raises for Los Angeles Superior Court Judges authorized by the State Legislature in what amounted to Superior Court versus Superior Court.

Since then the California Court of Appeals (4th District) has handed down a decision upholding the lower court decision (Surprise!) which sided with the judges. As recently as January this year Human Rights Alert (a Non-Government Organization committed to investigating violations by California justice systems) has also jumped into the fray being critical of both the higher court's ruling and, in some instances, Judicial Watch's approach. Sounds like a case headed to the United States Supreme Court.

Below is a summary of where the case stands as of January this year written by Human Rights Alert founder Joseph Zernik.

Upon viewing the video we couldn't help but reflect about the Douglas-King-Chapman Sexcapade for which the Law Society of Manitoba and subsequently the Manitoba Court of Appeal received significant criticism in the media for it's handling of the case.

Here's what we would like to know:

(1) What's taking the Canadian Judicial Council so long to render a decision which for most laypersons would be cut-and-dried?

(2) While Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal has only said publicly in-limbo Associate Chief Justice (Family Division) Lorie Douglas has been assigned administrative duties, precisely what is she doing to earn her $254,600 taxpayer financed salary?

(3) Do taxpayers have any input in the selection of judges, determination of their salaries and benefits, as well as, changes thereof?

(4) It has been said, "The CJC is a judges' best friend." Maybe so but why do we not have independent, third-person, privately funded organizations such as Judicial Watch and Human Rights Alert to challenge the judiciary for inappropriate decisions/behaviour?

(5) Why does The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted financed by donations through its charitable Foundation appear to be the only independent, third-party organization in Canada serving this function?

Clare L. Pieuk
Sturgeon v LA County (BC351286) in the Los Angeles Superior Court and Sturgeon v LA County (D056266) in the California Court of Appeals, 4th District - Opined as elaborate Fraud on the Courts

Charles McCoy Presiding Judge (left) and Clerk of the Court John A. Clarke

Surgeon v LA County (BC351286) in the Los Angeles Superior Court - Opined as Fraud on the Court

Los Angeles, January 3 - a recent decision in Sturgeon v Los Angeles County et al (D056266) by the California Court of Appeals, 4th District, [1] affirming a judgment in the case in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, has been opined by Joseph Zernik, PhD, of Human Rights Alert (NGO) as part of elaborate Fraud on the Courts.

Surgeon v Los Angeles County et al (BC351286) in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles originated as a request for injunction against the County of Los Angeles' payments to the Los Angeles County Judges. The secret payments of about $45,000 per judge per year, have been going on for over a decade. The judges never listed the payments in their outside income disclosures, and never informed parties in cases where Los Angeles County was a party of the payments. Neither did the judges recuse. In parallel, it was shown that it became practically impossible to win a case against Los Angeles County in the Los Angeles County courts. The payments (labeled by media "bribes"), necessitated the passage of a law by California legislature, which was signed by then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the behest of the California Judicial Council, according the judges "retroactive immunities" (labeled by media "pardons"). Retroactive laws are prohibited by the California Constitution. The California Attorney General Jerry Brown (today California Governor) refused to intervene in the matter.

Therefore, the case is of the highest public policy significance. It reflects the conduct in concert of the California Government of all branches in a manner that undermines the prospect of honest court services in Los Angeles County, California, for years to come. Some of the reasons listed by Dr Zernik for the opinion of Fraud on the Court in Sturgeon v Los Angeles County are: [2] 1) The Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles acts in the case as the Court, the Clerk, the Judge, and a Party (Intervenor).

2) Justice James A Richman (California Court of Appeals, 1st District) appeared in the case for a couple of years as a Presiding Judge with no Assignment Order. In court papers, Judge Richman routinely referred to himself as "Sitting as Judge by Assignment". In contrast, the Los Angeles Superior Court routinely referred to him as sitting "by Reference, not by Assignment", and Judicial Watch referred to him as sitting by "Designation".

No record was found among the court records in the case of an Assignment/Referral/Designation Order.Requests, which were filed with the chambers of James A Richman, with Presiding Judge Charles McCoy and Clerk John A Clarke of the Superior Court, and with Judicial Watch, to explain the legal basis for the language they employed in referring to Justice James A Richman's appearances in the case remain unanswered.

3) All Minutes issued in the case were void - including an invalid legal signature box, with no name appearing below the signature line (where the name and authority of a Deputy Clerk should have been typed) and only an illegible scribble above the signature line.

4) The Superior Court of California continues to deny access to the Register of Actions (California civil docket) in the case, in apparent violation of First Amendment rights.

5) The purported Judgments in the case were posted online with invalid authentication: The Proof of Service attached to the records was from different record, dated prior to the dates of the Judgments.

6) The purported Judgments in the case were never entered in the Judgments Archive of the Superior Court, which the court claims is today the "equivalent" of Judgment Book, which the Court must maintain pursuant to the California Government Code �69844.7. Entry of Judgments in the Judgment Book is required by the California Code of Civil Procedure � 664.5 to make a Judgment "effectual for any purpose".

7) The California Court of Appeal has jurisdiction only in reviewing entered judgments, and therefore the conduct of the California Court of Appeal was with no authority as well.

Human Rights Alert also questioned the conduct of Judicial Watch in the matter:1) Requests were filed with Attorney Sterling Norris of Southern California Judicial Watch and the Judicial Watch Washington DC counsel, Mr Orfanedes, who appeared in the case, for explanation for their conduct in the case. No answer has been received.

2) Judicial Watch of Southern California runs like no bone fide public interest, non-profit organization: It is practically a one man operation of Sterling Norris, a former Los Angeles County prosecutor. It should be recalled that the Rampart Scandal report listed the DA office together with the LA court as two entities that "must" be investigated "regarding integrity of the system". [3] Human Rights Alert's April 2010 submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council was incorporated in official staff report, as part of the 2010 UPR (Universal Periodic Review) of Human Rights in the United States, with reference to "corruption of the courts and the legal profession" in California.


[1] 10-12-28 Sturgeon v Los Angeles County et al (D056266) in the California Court of Appeal, 4th District, decision affirming judgment in Surgeon v Los Angeeles County et al (BC351286) in the Los Angeles Superior Court

[2] For the records, and detailed explanation regarding the Fraud opined in Surgeon v LA County (BC351286) see:


















[3] 06-07-15 Rampart Reconsidered: LAPD's Blue Ribbon Review Panel Report (2006):

[4] 10-04-19 Human Rights Alert (NG0) submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2010 Review (UPR) of Human Rights in the United States as incorporated into the UPR staff report:

Who said, "Cops have the best dope?"

'Blood Crop': The war on Drugs

Exclusive look inside the top secret U.S. facility where contraband is stored.

Take down a troll today!

Dear Clare,

Here's your chance to help EFF topple a troll! Over the past two weeks, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has won the dismissal of two bogus infringement lawsuits filed by notorious "copyright troll" Righthaven LLC. In the first case, a federal judge ruled that Righthaven had no standing to sue an online political forum for a five-sentence excerpt of a news story posted by a user, because EFF sleuthing revealed that Righthaven did not own the copyright. Last week, the court relied on the evidence presented in the first case and dismissed Righthaven's lawsuit against a non-commercial blog that provides prosecutor resources for difficult to prosecute "no body" homicide cases.

These victories are sweet, but Righthaven and copyright trolls like them have filed thousands of additional lawsuits across the country, using the threat of massive damages available under copyright law to pressure defendants into quick settlements. One copyright troll is attempting to subpoena the identities of thousands of BitTorrent users and sue them collectively to minimize their own court costs, while another is targeting alleged adult film downloaders with hopes of exploiting the additional threat of embarrassment associated with porn. We need your financial support to bring an end to this awful business model.

EFF's hard work has provided the facts and precedents needed to dismiss even more lawsuits. Please support EFF today, and help us topple a troll!
Good Day Readers:

We hope you'll contribute whatever you can to San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation. It along with Harvard University's Berkman Centre for Internet & Society are doing leading edge digital research on predatory lawsuits such as copyright and patent trolls, as well as, SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Partication) of which we've had some firsthand experience.

Anyone using the internet could potentially benefit from the legal victories the EFF is winning.

Clare L. Pieuk

Tacky? Creepy? Will Elvis be next?

You know you've got WBS when .....

Good Day Readers:

Yesterday we ran into a gentleman we've known for over 15-years with the rim of his baseball cap pulled slightly down, shaded glasses and neatly trimmed grey moustache. After a pleasant chat we continued on our way and put it out of our mind.

We're walking a lot these days because we're fed up with "The Harper Government" telling us we're "obese" or "out of shape." Notice it doesn't have the balls to use the "f-word." Over an hour later upon arriving at a friend's place, who also happens to be Irish, and while in the middle of a conversation it suddenly came to us! My God the gentleman we'd encountered earlier sure looked like Whitey Bulger. Is this Whitey Bulger Syndrome? After all, people who spend too much time with technology can develop popcorn brains.

Our only regret was we hadn't made the connection a few years ago so we could have tried to collect the $2 million reward on Whitey's head. Does the FBI pay for failed but good leads? Next time we see the gentleman we'll tell him of the connection.

Clare L. Pieuk

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Give me my money back!" Duhhhhh!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Putting the "ass" back in "classic!" Should her head be next?

What a silly question all politicians are flakes!

Would you know what to do?

Good Day Readers:

If the police or other law enforcement authority showed up unexpectantly on your doorstep asking to search your computer or other electronic device would you know your rights and what to do? Most wouldn't. Here's an interesting, very well documented article sent to us by the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation one of North America's leading research organizations on digital law.

Although based on United States jurisprudence, nevertheless, it provides useful background information and can serve as a general guide here. We thank the people at EFF for sending it along.

Clare L. Pieuk

Know Your Rights!

By Hanni Fakhoury, EFF Staff Attorney
June 2011
Know Your Rights Whitepaper (pdf) EFF Police Tips (pdf)

Your computer, your phone, and your other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. This is sensitive data that's worth protecting from prying eyes - including those of the government.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. But how does this work in the real world? What should you do if the police or other law enforcement officers show up at your door and want to search your computer?

EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else.

Because anything you say can be used against you in a criminal or civil case, before speaking to any law enforcement official, you should consult with an attorney.

Q: Can the police enter my home to search my computer or portable device, like a laptop or cell phone?

A: No, in most instances, unless they have a warrant. But there are two major exceptions: (1) you consent to the search;1 or (2) the police have probable cause to believe there is incriminating evidence on the computer that is under immediate threat of destruction.2

Q: What if the police have a search warrant to enter my home, but not to search my computer? Can they search it then?

A: No, typically, because a search warrant only allows the police to search the area or items described in the warrant.3 But if the warrant authorizes the police to search for evidence of a particular crime, and such evidence is likely to be found on your computer, some courts have allowed the police to search the computer without a warrant.4 Additionally, while the police are searching your home, if they observe something in plain view on the computer that is suspicious or incriminating, they may take it for further examination and can rely on their observations to later get a search warrant.5 And of course, if you consent, any search of your computer is permissible.

Q: Can my roommate/guest/spouse/partner allow the police access to my computer?

A: Maybe. A third party can consent to a search as long as the officers reasonably believe the third person has control over the thing to be searched.6 However, the police cannot search if one person with control (for example a spouse) consents, but another individual (the other spouse) with control does not.7 One court, however, has said that this rule applies only to a residence, and not personal property, such as a hard drive placed into someone else's computer.8

Q: What if the police want to search my computer, but I'm not the subject of their investigation?

A: It typically does not matter whether the police are investigating you, or think there is evidence they want to use against someone else located on your computer. If they have a warrant, you consent to the search, or they think there is something incriminating on your computer that may be immediately destroyed, the police can search it. Regardless of whether you're the subject of an investigation, you can always seek the assistance of a lawyer.

Q: Can I see the warrant?

A: Yes. The police must take the warrant with them when executing it and give you a copy of it.9 They must also knock and announce their entry before entering your home10 and must serve the warrant during the day in most circumstances.11

Q: Can the police take my computer with them and search it somewhere else?

A: Yes. As long as the police have a warrant, they can seize the computer and take it somewhere else to search it more thoroughly. As part of that inspection, the police may make a copy of media or other files stored on your computer.12

Q: Do I have to cooperate with them when they are searching?

A: No, you do not have to help the police conduct the search. But you should not physically interfere with them, obstruct the search, or try to destroy evidence, since that can lead to your arrest. This is true even if the police don't have a warrant and you do not consent to the search, but the police insist on searching anyway. In that instance, do not interfere but write down the names and badge numbers of the officers and immediately call a lawyer.

Q: Do I have to answer their questions while they are searching my home without a warrant?

A: No, you do not have to answer any questions. In fact, because anything you say can be used against you and other individuals, it is best to say nothing at all until you have a chance to talk to a lawyer. However, if you do decide to answer questions, be sure to tell the truth. It is a crime to lie to a police officer and you may find yourself in more trouble for lying to law enforcement than for whatever it was they wanted on your computer.13

Q: If the police ask for my encryption keys or passwords, do I have to turn them over?

A: No. The police can't force you to divulge anything. However, a judge or a grand jury may be able to. The Fifth Amendment protects you from being forced to give the government self-incriminating testimony. If turning over an encryption key or password triggers this right, not even a court can force you to divulge the information. But whether that right is triggered is a difficult question to answer. If turning over an encryption key or password will reveal to the government information it does not have (such as demonstrating that you have control over files on a computer), there is a strong argument that the Fifth Amendment protects you.14 If, however, turning over passwords and encryption keys will not incriminate you, then the Fifth Amendment does not protect you. Moreover, even if you have a Fifth Amendment right that protects your encryption keys or passwords, a grand jury or judge may still order you to disclose your data in an unencrypted format under certain circumstances.15 If you find yourself in a situation where the police are demanding that you turn over encryption keys or passwords, let EFF know.

Q: If my computer is taken and searched, can I get it back?

A: Perhaps. If your computer was illegally seized, then you can file a motion with the court to have the property returned.16 If the police believe that evidence of a crime has been found on your computer (such as "digital contraband" like pirated music and movies, or digital images of child pornography), the police can keep the computer as evidence. They may also attempt to make you forfeit the computer, but you can challenge that in court.17

Q: What about my work computer?

A: It depends. Generally, you have some Fourth Amendment protection in your office or workspace.18 This means the police need a warrant to search your office and work computer unless one of the exceptions described above applies. But the extent of Fourth Amendment protection depends on the physical details of your work environment, as well as any employer policies. For example, the police will have difficulty justifying a warrantless search of a private office with doors and a lock and a private computer that you have exclusive access to. On the other hand, if you share a computer with other co-workers, you will have a weaker expectation of privacy in that computer, and thus less Fourth Amendment protection.19 However, be aware that your employer can consent to a police request to search an office or workspace.20 Moreover, if you work for a public entity or government agency, no warrant is required to search your computer or office as long as the search is for a non-investigative, work-related matter.21

Q: I've been arrested. Can the police search my cell phone without a warrant?

A: Maybe. After a person has been arrested, the police generally may search the items on her person and in her pockets, as well as anything within her immediate control.22 This means that the police can physically take your cell phone and anything else in your pockets. Some courts go one step further and allow the police to search the contents of your cell phone, like text messages, call logs, emails, and other data stored on your phone, without a warrant.23 Other courts disagree, and require the police to seek a warrant.24 It depends on the circumstances and where you live.

Q: The police pulled me over while I was driving. Can they search my cell phone?

A: Maybe. If the police believe there is probably evidence of a crime in your car, they may search areas within a driver or passenger's reach where they believe they might find it - like the glove box, center console, and other "containers."25 Some courts have found cell phones to be "containers" that police may search without a warrant.26

Q: Can the police search my computer or portable devices at the border without a warrant?

A: Yes. So far, courts have ruled that almost any search at the border is "reasonable" - so government agents don't need to get a warrant. This means that officials can inspect your computer or electronic equipment, even if they have no reason to suspect there is anything illegal on it.27 An international airport may be considered the functional equivalent of a border, even if it is many miles from the actual border.28

Q: Can the police take my electronic device away from the border or airport for further examination without a warrant?

A: At least one federal court has said yes, they can send it elsewhere for further inspection if necessary.29 Even though you may be permitted to enter the country, your computer or portable device may not be.

Want to test your new knowledge? Take EFF's Know Your Digital Rights Quiz!

Need an easy way to remember your rights? We have a handy one-page guide to help you talk to police if they come knocking. Print for your server room or workstation, or save it to your desktop for easy reference!

Want to learn more about how to protect yourself from unreasonable government snooping on your computer or portable electronic devices? Then be sure to check out EFF's Surveillance Self-Defense Guide!

1. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 219 (1973); United States v. Vanvilet, 542 F.3d 259 (1st Cir. 2008).

2. Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23 (1963); see also United States v. Vallimont, 378 Fed.Appx. 972 (11th Cir. 2010) (unpublished); United States v. Smith, 2010 WL 1949364 (9th Cir. 2010) (unpublished).

3. See Maryland v. Garrison, 480 U.S. 79, 84-85 (1987) (citing cases).

4. See e.g., United States v. Mann, 592 F.3d 779 (7th Cir. 2010); see also Brown v. City of Fort Wayne, 752 F.Supp.2d 925 (N.D. Ind. 2010).

5. Horton v. California, 496 U.S. 128 (1990); see also United States v. Walser, 275 F.3d 981 (10th Cir. 2001); United States v. Carey, 172 F.3d 1268 (10th Cir. 1999).

6. Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177 (1990); United States v. Stabile, 633 F.3d 219 (3d Cir. 2011); United States v. Andrus, 483 F.3d 711 (10th Cir. 2007).

7. Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006).

8. United States v. King, 604 F.3d 125 (3d Cir. 2010) (court approved search and seizure where two housemates shared a desktop computer, and one housemate granted the police access to the entire computer over the other housemate's objections, even though the objecting housemate was the sole owner of a hard drive in the computer).

9. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(f)(1)(C).

10. Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 U.S. 927 (1995).

11. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(e)(2)(A)(ii).

12. See e.g., United States v. Hill, 459 F.3d 966 (9th Cir. 2006); In re Search of 3817 W. West End, First Floor Chicago, Illinois 60621, 321 F.Supp.2d 953 (N.D. Ill. 2004); see also Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(e)(2)(B).

13. Compare 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a) (maximum punishment for first offense of lying to federal officer is 5 or 8 years) with 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(2) and (c)(2)(A) (maximum punishment for first offense of simply exceeding authorized computer access is generally 1 year).

14. See United States v. Kirschner, 2010 WL 1257355 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 30, 2010) (unpublished) (relying on United States v. Hubbell, 530 U.S. 27 (2000)).

15. See e.g., United States v. Hatfield, 2010 WL 1423103 (E.D.N.Y. April 7, 2010) (unpublished); In re Boucher, 2009 WL 424718 (D. Vt. Feb. 19, 2009) (unpublished).

16. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g).

17. See 18 U.S.C. § 983, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.2.

18. Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U.S. 364 (1968); United States v. Ziegler, 474 F.3d 1184 (9th Cir. 2007).

19. See e.g., Schowengerdt v. United States, 944 F.2d 483 (9th Cir. 1991).

20. See Ziegler, 474 F.3d at 1191 (citing Mancusi).

21. City of Ontario v. Quon, 130 S.Ct. 2619 (2010); O'Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987).

22. Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969).

23. See e.g., United States v. Murphy, 552 F.3d 405 (4th Cir. 2009); United States v. Wurie, 612 F.Supp.2d 104 (D. Mass. 2009); People v. Diaz, 51 Cal.4th 84, 244 P.3d 501 (2011).

24. See e.g., United States v. Wall, 2008 WL 5381412 (S.D.Fla. Dec. 22, 2008) (unpublished); United States v. Park, 2007 WL 1521573 (N.D. Cal. May 23, 2007) (unpublished); State v. Smith, 124 Ohio St.3d 163, 920 N.E.2d 949 (2009).

25. Arizona v. Gant, 129 S.Ct. 1710 (2009).

26. See e.g., United States v. Finley, 477 F.3d 250 (5th Cir. 2007); Wurie, 612 F.Supp.2d at 109-110; United States v. Cole, 2010 WL 3210963 (N.D.Ga. Aug. 11, 2010) (unpublished); United States v. McCray, 2009 WL 29607 (S.D.Ga. Jan. 5, 2009) (unpublished).

27. United States v. Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. 149 (2004); United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005).

28. Almeida-Sanchez v. United States, 413 U.S. 266, 273 (1973); United States v. Arnold, 533 F.3d 1003 (9th Cir. 2008); United States v. Romm, 455 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2006); United States v. Roberts, 274 F.3d 1007 (5th Cir. 2001).

29. United States v. Cotterman, 637 F.3d 1068 (9th Cir. 2011).

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Got a bad case of 'popcorn brain' do we?

Does life online give you 'popcorn brain?'

By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent
June 20, 2011
Over time, and with enough Internet usage, the structure of our brains can actually physically change, according to a new study.

(CNN) -- When Hilarie Cash arrives home from work in the evening, she has a choice: She can go outside and tend to her garden or she can hop on her laptop.

The lilacs really need weeding. The computer, on the other hand, can wait, as her work is done for the day.

Despite this, Cash feels drawn to the computer, as if it's a magnet pulling her in. Maybe there's an e-mail from a friend awaiting her, or a funny tweet, or a new picture posted on Facebook.

"I find it extremely difficult to walk away," Cash says. "It's so hard to tell myself, 'Don't do it. Go do the gardening.' "

Does it really matter if Cash gardens or goes online? Increasing, experts say it does. The worry is that life online is giving us what researcher, David Levy, calls "popcorn brain" -- a brain so accustomed to the constant stimulation of electronic multitasking that we're unfit for life offline, where things pop at a much slower pace.

Preferring a smartphone to a child

Levy, a professor with the Information School at the University of Washington, tells the story of giving a speech at a high-tech company. Afterward at lunch, an employee sheepishly told him how the night before his wife had asked him to give their young daughter a bath. Instead of enjoying the time with his child, he spent the time on his phone, texting and returning e-mails. He didn't have to work, it was just that the urge to use the phone was more irresistible than the child in the tub.

"It's really ubiquitous," says Cash, a counselor who treats people who have trouble giving up their gadgets. "We can't just sit quietly and wait for a bus, and that's too bad, because our brains need that down time to rest, to process things."

Clifford Nass, a social psychologist at Stanford, says studies show multitasking on the Internet can make you forget how to read human emotions. When he showed online multitaskers pictures of faces, they had a hard time identifying the emotions they were showing.

When he read stories to the multitaskers, they had difficulty identifying the emotions of the people in the stories, and saying what they would do to make the person feel better.

"Human interaction is a learned skill, and they don't get to practice it enough," he says.

This is your brain on technology

The human brain is wired to crave the instant gratification, fast pace, and unpredictability of technology, Cash says.

"I never know what the next tweet is going to be. Who's sent me an e-mail? What will I find with the next click of the mouse? What's waiting for me?" says Cash, who practices in Redmond, Washington. "But I know what's waiting for me in my garden."

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, admits she, too, has a hard time resisting the call of her BlackBerry. "On vacation, I look at it even though I don't need to," she says. "Or I take a walk with my husband and I can't resist the urge to check my e-mail. I feel guilty, but I do it."

She explains that constant stimulation can activate dopamine cells in the nucleus accumbens, a main pleasure center of the brain.

Over time, and with enough Internet usage, the structure of our brains can actually physically change, according to a new study. Researchers in China did MRIs on the brains of 18 college students who spent about 10 hours a day online.

Compared with a control group who spent less than two hours a day online, these students had less gray matter, the thinking part of the brain. The study was published in the June issue of PLoS ONE, an online journal.

How to cope with popcorn brain

Some people can easily switch from the constant popping of online life to the slower pace of the real world. If you're not one of those people and the slow pace makes you jittery, here are some tips:

1. Keep a record of your online life

Keep track of how much time you spend online, and what you're doing with it, Levy suggests. Note how you feel before and during your time at the computer.

"Everyone I've told to do this has come back with personal realizations," he says. "Very commonly, people will say they tend to go online when they're feeling anxious or bored."

2. Set time limits for your internet use

Give yourself a specific time period -- say two hours -- to answer personal e-mails, update your Facebook page, and check texts, Cash suggests. After that, it's time to turn the computer (or phone) off and do something offline.

3. Stare out the window

Take two minutes to stare out the window. Levy says this can help train your brain to slow down a bit.

4. Establish "free times"

In a blog on Psychology Today, psychologist Robert Leahy recommends experimenting with BlackBerry-free times. "For example, "I won't check my messages between 6 and 9 p.m.," he writes. Leahy, Director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, also recommends rewarding yourself for every hour that you don't check. "Tell yourself that you are reclaiming your life," he writes.

5. Phone a friend

Bloggers on WikiHow have been sharing their own list of tips on how to wean themselves off of everything from Internet searching to texting. One person suggests phoning a friend instead of sending instant messages. "Call a friend and ask them to go outside for at least 3 hours a day," they write. "This will distract you from the computer."

6. Get tested

According to the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, you may have a problem if loved ones are becoming troubled with the amount of time you are devoting to the Internet or if you experience guilt or shame. They offer a virtual Internet addiction test that can help you determine whether it might be time to shut down, logoff or change your IM status to "away."

Mostly guilty!

Good Day Readers:

The Chicago Tribune is reporting former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has just been convicted on 17 of a 20-count indictment stemming from his brazen abuse of power at one point even going as far as to try to sell Barack Obama's vacant senate seat. The score:

Guilty = 17
Not Guilty = 1
Hung = 2

The Tribune had a reporter tweeting from the courtroom as the jury delivered its verdict. There is no word yet on a sentencing date.

Clare L. Pieuk

"Paul, shut up for a minute and listen to Chong!"

Bye bye for Blago?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Competitors, can you spell "m-a-s-o-c-h-i-s-t?"

More nasty 'Whitey!'

Another SLAPP in the making?

Dr. David McKee

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "SLAPPs!"

Duluth News Tribune
Christa Lawler
June 14, 2011

A Duluth physician whose defamation suit against a former patient’s son was thrown out of district court said he has no choice but to file an appeal.

Dr. David McKee, a neurologist with Northland Neurology and Myology, said he is still being targeted in online attacks related to the lawsuit he filed in June 2010 against Dennis Laurion. McKee, who treated Laurion’s father after he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, alleges that Laurion made false statements about him to neurological associations, other physicians, St. Luke’s Hospital and the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee, among others. He is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

McKee said a sudden concentration of unfavorable critiques about him cropped up online before Sixth District Judge Eric Hylden dismissed the suit. “It appears that Mr. Laurion made over 100 adverse postings on the Internet once he became aware that he was going to receive a favorable decision on the motion for summary judgment,” McKee said. “Appealing seems to me the only way to curb the activities of this malicious person.”

Laurion said he has not posted anything on the Internet about McKee since the lawsuit was filed last June. He said his lawyer advised him not to. But, because the case was thrown out, technically he could if he wanted to, he said.

Laurion said he was aware there was an influx of Internet chatter about McKee after a link to a story about McKee appeared on the high-traffic website

Marshall Tanick, the Minneapolis lawyer who is representing McKee, said the appellate court will have a hearing before a three-judge panel in the fall or later this year. “

(McKee) believes the trial judge erred in dismissing the lawsuit,” Tanick said. “He is asking the appellate court to reverse the decision and reinstate the case so that he has his day in court before a jury.”

Kenneth Laurion spent four days at St. Luke’s hospital in April 2010. John Kelly, Dennis Laurion’s lawyer, told the News Tribune last summer they didn’t feel McKee acted appropriately toward their father, and they reported it to the hospital and Board of Medical Practice. Hylden wrote in his 18-page order dismissing the suit that the court did not find Laurion’s statements about McKee defamatory, “but rather a sometimes emotional discussion of the issues.”
Dear Anonymous:

Thank you very much for contacting CyberSmokeBlog to update us on an important case we haven't been tracking closely since a lower court decision was handed down a few months ago. Upon reading the Duluth News Tribune report here's what jumped out for us:

(1) Use of the term, "it appears" by Dr. McKee in the Duluth News Tribune (paragraph 3) alleging Dennis Laurion was responsible for over 100 internet postings once he (Mr. Laurion) became aware a motion for a summary dismissal of the lawsuit against him would go in his favour. It seems to us a much higher evidentiary standard will be required

(2) Mr. Laurion's denial (paragraph 4)

(3) A successful appeal and possible trial will only bring more attention to this case. We all know how easily a story can go viral on the internet

(4) Has this case the potential of becoming another SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation)?

(5) Who is/are the registered owner(s) of the site

(6) What is the liability of sites that host hyperlinks and vice versa?

We don't know the state of the law on issue (6) in the United States but here in Canada it's still before the courts. Read on.

Clare L. Pieuk
Internet link case to go before Supreme Court
April 2, 2011
Internet law specialists say everyone involved in a web publication will be watching the case closely. (CBC)

Can posting a link to someone else's website constitute defamation?

An internet law specialist says it's an important case that everyone involved in the web will be watching closely.

The top court on Thursday granted Wayne Crookes leave to appeal a British Columbia ruling that went against him in 2008.

He had argued that when a Canadian website posted links to two U.S. websites that featured defamatory statements, it was the same as publishing defamatory material itself.

The website did not reproduce any of the disputed material, nor did it make any comment.

Is a Hyperlink Publication?

Justice Stephen Kelleher of the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying the links were like a footnote or a reference to a website in a newsletter.

"I conclude there has been no publication," he wrote.

Crookes had launched several libel actions against members of the Green Party of Canada, Google, and Wikipedia.

David Fewer, director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa, said the lower courts got the decision right and there's concern about the high court taking the case.

"If they're doing it to give a pretty clear validation of the decision at trial and the court of appeal . . . kind of wanting to progress the law, then it's probably a good thing."

But a decision overturning the lower courts in favour of Crookes could cast a chill on the web, he said.

"The Crookes case is really talking about hyperlinks," he said. "Does a hyperlink constitute publication or a re-publication of allegedly defamatory content?"

Fewer said the internet is based on the use of hyperlinks.

"To import liability in those circumstances is to impose just a tremendous burden of liability on all participants in the internet," he said.

"Not just hosts, not just websites, not just bulletin boards, not just ISPs, but also individual participants, commenters on blogs, commenters in newspapers, newspapers themselves, other publishers who allow anybody to speak on the internet.

"You can just imagine the chilling effect that would have."