Sunday, July 17, 2011

Technology, Law, and the Workplace: Week in Review (The Harry Potter Edition)

This weekend, Harry Potter fans everywhere are celebrating the last film in the series based on J.K. Rowling's novels about a magical world of witches and wizards. No matter your opinion of the books, none can deny that the world of Harry Potter has become a popular culture phenomenon. When the film debuted on Thursday, it broke the box office record for a midnight showing.

As a fan of the series, I have to admit that I was tempted to attend the midnight showing of the series finale. However, I know myself well enough to know that I would not be able to function at work well the following day, so I decided to wait for the weekend. Many of my friends did not make the same decision, and though some were able to handle the sleep deprivation, many were quick to admit that they were not at the top of their game at work the next day.

In my mood of self-congratulation, I ran across a New York Times article Monitoring the Private Lives of Your Employees. The article, written by an entrepreneur in the ongoing series entitled "You're the Boss," describes far more troubling information an employer received in the form of an anonymous email tip. But in this information age, an employer is often able to monitor the private lives of employees in things large and small—including whether an employee who looks tired went to the midnight premiere of the latest Harry Potter movie. Like the entrepreneur in "You're the Boss," employers must ask themselves the non-legal practical question of whether the information they are seeking is trustworthy and important enough to justify the potential intrusion into the private lives of employees.

Technology in the Workplace
Technology and the Law More Generally
  • Pentagon discloses largest-ever cyber theft (Star Tribune)
  • Cops to Get Facial Recognition Devices; Will They Need Warrants to Use Them? (ABA Journal)
  • Must Defendant Give DOJ the Password to Her Encrypted Laptop? Federal Court Will Decide (ABA Journal)
  • NJ Appellate Court Allows GPS Tracking to Catch a Cheating Spouse (WSJ Law Blog)
  • Can the Government Compel You to Reveal Your Passwords? (Digital Passing)
  • Facebook, Myspace, Fair Game as Evidence in Court (WSJ Law Blog)
Technology in the News
  • Goodbye, Paper Savings Bonds (NY Times)
  • To Track Militants, U.S. Has System That Never Forgets a Face (NY Times)
  • Smartphones and Mobile Internet Use Grow, Report Says (Bits)
  • In Search of a Robot More Like Us (NY Times)
  • Digital Domain: The Therapist Will See You Now, via the Web (NY Times)

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