Media and the LawFor more than 30 years, the Kansas City Media and the Law Seminar has been at the forefront of important discussions in the media bar.  As this year’s committee chair, I may be a bit biased, but I think the focus of the seminar coming up on May 3-4 is one of the most important topics we have tackled to date: The impact of technology, culture, and politics on media freedoms.  There’s no doubt that our media and political climate has changed dramatically over the past few years, and technology continues to push the envelope as laws struggle to keep up.  It’s fascinating to think that at least half of this year’s panels involve topics that didn’t even exist when this seminar started — things like “social media,” “fake news,” and “Tweets.” 
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Businesses have largely benefitted from the proliferation of mobile devices and text messaging apps that facilitate quick, round-the-clock communications. However, such technologies also make it increasingly difficult to monitor and control the unauthorized distribution of confidential data. On March 30, UK regulators fined a former managing director of Jeffries Group for divulging confidential client information. The banker, Christopher Niehaus, shared confidential information with two friends using WhatsApp, a popular text messaging app. The exposed information included the identity of a Jeffries Group client, the details of a deal involving the client, and the bank’s fee for the transaction. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this story is that the leak was discovered at all. Because data sent on WhatsApp are encrypted and Mr. Niehaus used his personal mobile phone to send the messages, Jeffries Group only viewed the communications—and subsequently informed regulators—after Mr. Niehaus turned his device over to the bank in connection with an unrelated investigation.
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In a well-reasoned and encouraging decision to Internet businesses, the Northern District of Illinois recently found that even operating one of the largest, most popular websites in the world is not enough to create personal jurisdiction everywhere the site can be accessed. See Gullen v. Facebook, Inc., Case No. 15-cv-07681 (Jan. 21, 2016