Monday, December 19, 2016
In this 22-minute film, Van Der Meer tracks the movements of a person who stole (or is suspected of stealing) his android phone. Only Van Der Meer's phone was no ordinary phone stolen under ordinary circumstances. Before the thief stole the phone, Van Der Meer installed a tracking app (Cerberus) into the phone's system memory. This app was installed in a manner such that it could not be deleted by resetting the phone or updating the operating system (the film explains how). This embedded app allowed Van Der Meer to track the phone's location, access its contents and operate it remotely. Van Der Meer even took a photograph of the user, presumable without the user even knowing.
Next, Van Der Meer purposefully let his phone get stolen (it took four days but eventually, it was stolen). He then tracked the thief through the app embedded into the phone, learning a surprising amount of information about him. Van Der Meer received information about when the SIM card was replaced, tracked the phone's daily movements, took photos and videos remotely, identified the thief's phone and text contacts, read texts, listened in on his private conversations, and purchased updated call credits for the phone. Van Der Meer is shown doing all these things in the film.
I highly recommend this short film to any lawyer interested in how our digital devices can be used or misused to track and document our whereabouts and activities and to reveal our secret lives and documents. I am not well-versed enough in current technologies or privacy law generally to comment about the film beyond saying I found it both highly entertaining and eye-opening. I have seen attorneys call up client documents on their phones and tablets in the courtroom and of course, e-filing has become all the rage. How secure are these client documents, such as proprietary files or trade secrets? How secure are sensitive court filings such as adoption records or trade secrets filed in camera? What about other e-filed information such as tax returns? It does not seem enough to me to incorporate these devices into practice without considering -- and paying for -- the security tools, training and protocols necessary to keep private matters private.
This film will make you think twice about the personal and business privacy issues related to your phone.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering, a Nov. 19, 2011 NY Times article, is a must read. It highlights just how incompetent most legal education is today. It highlights the fact that law schools teach little practical skills and factual scholarship is often only read by other faculty.
As I noted in a comment to the article, the fundamental reason for this is that law schools are only, and I mean only, in hiring faculty with stellar academic backgrounds. Nevermind that they may never have practiced law or represented a client. What is more imporant is that they got a law review article published in Yale.
Readers who are not familar with this might be stunned to know that law professors are "legal scholars"-not highly skilled lawyers. Many may not even be a a member of the bar. As the article points out, law schools frown on lawyers with experience.
Additionally, in most schools the most important and practical classes (legal writing and legal research) are taught by non-tenure track professors who are also the lowest paid.
Don't believe me. Check out the background of any FT non-clinical faculty member highered at any ABA approved law school in the last 10 years. If you can get a hold of their CV, you will see that some even list summer associate experience on it because their legal experience is so light.
This is indeed a said state of affairs.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
A friend of this blog, Jim Castagnera who is a professor at Rider University and Associate Provost, and who edits Castagnera's Law, Education and Employment Watch blog, just wrote an interesting movie review of "The Help," available here. If any of you are thinking of seeing this movie about Jim Crow laws in the 1960's you will find Jim's review of interest. Jim is also the author of several books, including Al-Quaeda Goes To College, which I previously reviewed here.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein