Government May Compel Disclosure of Encryption Passwords in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Superior Court issued another troubling, computer-related opinion in late November 2017. Commonwealth v. Davis holds that the Pennsylvania government can compel an individual to disclose a computer password for an encrypted computer. Commonwealth v. Davis, 2017 PA Super 376 (Nov. 30,…

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Pennsylvania Court’s ‘Cest la Vie’ View of Data Breach Damages

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held in Dittman v. UPMC, that employees cannot sue employers after a data breach involving the employer’s computer systems even if the employee’s sensitive, personal information such as names, birth dates, social security numbers, tax information, addresses, salaries, and bank information…

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The Next Battleground for Data Breaches…Shareholder Lawsuits?

Companies ill-prepared for data breaches and failing to take reasonable steps to secure data and computer systems face increasing and serious risks to the business. Specifically, companies, officers, and boards must start taking data and computer-systems security seriously or risk shareholder lawsuits. Shareholder Lawsuits for Data Breaches In two…

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A Snapshot of Pennsylvania Social Media Cases—Winter 2011

An Overview of the State of Social Media Evidence in Pennsylvania—Winter 2011 Update
The law of social media evidence in Pennsylvania continues to develop. To date, the focus remains on civil matter, discovery issues. Issues of authentication and issues in criminal matters (such as resistance by social media providers citing the Stored Communications Act to defense access to social media for impeachment) remain open.

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DeSoto-Thinking-in-an-iPad-World: Another Pennsylvania Social Media Case—Largent v. Reed, Etc.

A new, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas case, Largent v. Reed, No. 2009-1823 (C.P. Franklin Cty., Nov. 7, 2011) (attested true copy reviewed by author), dealt with social media discovery in Pennsylvania. The 14 page opinion and two page order compelled the plaintiff to turn over the plaintiff’s “Facebook username email” (sic) and password for full access by defense counsel for 21 days. (emphasis added)

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Pennsylvania Case Addresses Authenticating Text Messages

On 16 September 2011, the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Comm. v. Koch, 2011 PA Super 201 (Sept. 16, 2011) (slip-opinion) re-emphasized
“authentication of electronic communications, like documents, requires more than mere confirmation that the number or address belonged to a particular person. Circumstantial evidence, which tends to corroborate the identity of the sender, is required.”

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A Snapshot of Social Media Cases in Pennsylvania—Summer 2011

An Overview of the State of Social Media Evidence in Pennsylvania—Summer 2011

Pennsylvania lawyers face obstacles when grappling with social media. While social media, outside the legal field, spread like wildfire, the legal community must address social media within the context of a heavily precedential system—a system that does not necessarily handle the “new” well. Social media in a legal context triggers formidable ethical issues, moral issues, and fairness issues. Nevertheless, social media will remain a potent facet of life for the foreseeable future.

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Pennsylvania Court Opinion Implicates Authentication of Social Media Evidence

A recent Commonwealth Court decision, Chapman v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review 20 A.3d 603 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2011), illustrates 1) the growing presence of social media evidence and 2) the potential for social media authentication issues in legal matters —including in administrative law matters.[FN1] Authentication of social media evidence is an emerging issue.

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