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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Is PCI Compliance Enough?

CIO Magazine recently ran an insightful article about PCI compliance. The article emphasizes that PCI “compliance” is a credit card industry minimum set of standards to protect data and to minimize data breaches. However, as the numerous data breaches…

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Attorney Brown Receives Cybersecurity Technical Certification

Attorney Shannon Brown passed the new, performance-based, CompTIA Security+™ certification exam on September 16, 2014. CompTIA Security+™ certification provides an industry-recognized method to objectively demonstrate technical skills in computer security, data security, or cybersecurity. The new cybersecurity certification is believed to be a first for an attorney in Pennsylvania. The…

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Attorney Brown Files Drone Aircraft Comments

Attorney Shannon Brown filed official comments on the FAA’s proposed, drone aircraft (UAS) regulations and explanations. The FAA printed the Interpretation of the Special Rule for…

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Droning On: Drone Aircraft Activists’ Arguments Unravel

On June 23, 2014, the FAA issued a Federal Register Notice for the operation of model aircraft (drone) aircraft. The Notice repeats the long-standing rules regarding operating model aircraft and addresses the new rules mandated by Congress—ironically, Rules necessitated by…

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Recent Interviews by Kiplinger, PBS NewsHour, and California Lawyer

Several national publications recently interviewed Attorney Shannon Brown about emerging technology-law topics such as drone aircraft and cloud computing. Kiplinger and PBS NewsHour interviewed Attorney Shannon Brown about drone aircraft and UAVs. Drones (unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned aircraft) pose a number of risks to communities and individuals from…

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Attorney Brown Quoted on PBS NewsHour Regarding Drones

PBS NewsHour  quoted Attorney Shannon Brown in a recent article discussing the commercial use of drones. The article addressed the March 6, 2014, NTSB administrative law decision, FAA v. Pirker. The controversial decision dismissed a $10,000 fine levied against a…

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Not So Fast…Commercial Drone Legality Still Remains Unclear

On 6 March 2014, in FAA v. Pirker, a NTSB Administrative Law Judge dismissed the first complaint brought by the FAA against the operator of a commercial drone for reckless operation of an aircraft. While some claim that this opinion means that the commercial drones are absolutely legal, serious…

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A Fair Approach to Drone Regulation

Drone manufacturers and would-be manufacturers paint a picture of skies filled with drones—unmanned aircraft (and other machines). Media and advocacy groups cite First Amendment rights to the use of drones. Police seek drones despite prohibitions by federal and state constitutions. But, serious issues related to safety (what happens when…

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Restrictions on the Commercial-Use of Drones

Many vendors currently offer various types of drones. Increasingly, some use drones for commercial purposes. But, the FAA currently restricts the commercial use of drones. Put simply, persons wishing to use drones for commercial use must obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate from the FAA before deploying the drone.

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Federal Appellate Court Affirms Warrant Required for GPS Tracking

UPDATE: Government attorneys continue to press for warrantless searches in GPS cases and significant, and unconstitutional, expansion of the so-called Good Faith Doctrine. On December 12, 2013, a majority of the Third Circuit agreed to re-hear the matter en banc and vacated the earlier, October 22, 2013, opinion. The information below still deals with the vacated opinion.

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Warrant Necessary to Obtain Cell Phone Tracking Data

The New Jersey Supreme Court held that government agents must obtain a warrant, supported by probable cause and issued by a neutral judicial authority, before obtaining cell phone tracking data (unless exceptional, exigent circumstances apply). State vs. Earls, A-53-11 (N.J. Sup. Ct., Jul. 18, 2013)(slip opinion).

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Presentation on Drones, Media Hacking & Just-in-Time Media

Attorney Shannon Brown presented a continuing education program (CLE) for lawyers addressing emerging technologies issues such as drones, hacking, and just-in-time news reporting. The presentation was for the 21st Annual Media Lawyers Conference sponsored by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

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Send in the Drones—Flying in the Face of Danger?

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS—the current, official FAA designation), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones. All describe remote-controlled aerial vehicles of various configurations and various sizes. Current FAA regulations and FAA guidance prohibit the commercial use of UASs without a FAA Special Airworthiness Certificate–Experimental Category (SAC-EC). Considerable controversy surrounds the use of drones and privacy, financial liability, regulatory authority, and Constitutional issues remain.

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Statements of Accomplishment for Natural Language Processing and Cryptography Coursework

Attorney Shannon Brown received two, Statements of Accomplishment for completing courses in 1) Natural Language Processing and 2) Cryptography. Coursera offers the challenging, non-credit courses which are taught by Stanford University Professors. According to data released by the Natural Language Processing professors, only about 3% of students received a Statement of Accomplishment for that course.

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Part 2: Could “Undeletable” Cookies Be a Felony in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has a new (2010, P.L. 855, No. 86) Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act (73 P.S. 2330.1–2330.9, and 2330.19). The apparent aim of the Act is to prevent software from being deceptively installed on a user’s computer and compromising personally identifiable information.

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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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Attorney Brown Continuing Education

In October, Attorney Brown returns to class by taking three, technology-related, non-credit courses:

Introduction to Machine Learning,
Introduction to Databases, and
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.

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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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Could “Undeletable” Cookies Be a Felony in Pennsylvania?

Could “Undeletable” Cookies, Zombie Cookies, Flash Cookies, “Super-cookies” or Malcookies Be a Felony in Pennsylvania?
Insidious web tracking. “Undeletable” cookies. Zombie cookies. Malcookies.[FN1] Flash cookies. Euphemistically termed “super-cookies.” Web cookie viruses. No matter what term is applied, the distribution of the code that delivers these technologies and the use of the technology by companies arguably might be felonies in Pennsylvania.

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