Data & IT Law Monthly: November 2015

The overview of interesting Data & IT Law articles and news in November 2015!


The legal regulation of virtual currencies in over 60 countries

The law firm Perkins Coie LLP had published an interesting overview of the legal issues of virtual currencies in different countries of the world. In November, it was updated and therefore we decided to include it here.

You may read a Current Summary and Developments Over Time for over 60 countries all around the world. However, it is necessary to stress that it only serves informational purposes and it is not a legal advice.


Social media posts and civil litigation – are they discoverable?

There are several interesting court rulings dealing with this issue, especially in the United States. The authors of Socially Aware blog had addressed these issues in their latest newsletter.

The authors argue that recent case law establishes that a person’s entire Facebook profile is not discoverable merely because a portion of that profile is public. In 
turn, Facebook’s privacy settings can provide at least some protection against discovery requests—assuming that the user has taken efforts not to display photos publicly that blatantly contradict his or her legal claims.“

Their conclusion is that “courts treat social media data no differently than any other type of electronically stored information; what you share with friends online may also be something you share with your adversary—and even the court.”


The legality of web tracking and “do not track” requests

For some time now, there had been a popular movement demanding an inclusion of “Do Not Track” setting in the web browser. The reason is to not be tracked by third-party web trackers.

However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had recently dismissed a petition to forbid online services to track the visitors. It argued that the petition violated FCC rules on the bias.

Accordingly, for now, the companies can use third-party tracking in their online products. You may find companies, that are supporting “Do Not Track” movement, here.


Are EU data protection rules more harsh for US than France?

Many authors had addressed the decision invalidating Safe Harbor ruling (you may read about it at data & it law here).

At HL Data Protection, they looked at the decision from a different perspective. The authors decided to compare the standard held for United States with the standard held for France. They address the issues of an ongoing mass surveillance within Europe. They come to an interesting conclusion:

“The reality is that data protection authorities in Europe have very little power over the laws in their own country. They have much more power over non-EU countries because they can theoretically block data transfers.”


The possibilities of machine learning for lawyers

The article gives a nice overview of possibilities of machine learning for lawyers. The good thing is that it also introduces more technical concepts, but is still possible to comprehend.

You may read about machine learning, predictive analytics, converting documents to numbers and artificial intelligence. It finally compares machine learning with artificial intelligence approach and argues that:

Most of the current technology assisted review in eDiscovery implements existing machine learning algorithms. This is helpful but limited, and to achieve the best possible results it helps to have the assistance of a data scientist.

Artificial Intelligence approach requires more work, and results in systems for very specific applications. However, it allows unprecedented precision, such as Google machine translation.

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