Monday, October 5, 2009

Berkeley Law conference to explore legal aspects of social media

Just a quick plug for a conference set for Friday, October 23 at Berkeley Law School called "Social Networks: Friends or Foes? Confronting Online Legal and Ethical Issues in the Age of Social Networking." Or, as speaker Orin Kerr of GW Law School and the Volokh Conspiracy put it, "Conference Where We Get to Sit Around And Talk About Facebook." I'll be speaking on a panel about an issue that has become near and dear to my heart: "Can Lawyers 'Tweet' About Their Work? Confidentiality & Legal Professionalism in the Age of Social Media." Among my fellow panelists will be one of my blogging heroes, David Lat of Above the Law.

Here's the whole schedule:

9:00 - 9:15
Welcome to the Conference and Introductions

  • Jason Schultz, Co-Director of the Samuelson Clinic for Law Technology and Public Policy
  • Erin Murphy, Conference Chair and Assistant Professor of Law at UC Berkeley

8:30 - 9:00
Four Problems Unique to Social Networking and the Law

Four case studies will set the themes for the day. These case studies, collected from panelists and the news, will be shared at the beginning of the conference to provide a common groundwork of facts and circumstances that illustrate key legal and policy questions related to the use of social networking websites. They will focus on real stories, real conflicts, and the unique problems that social networks create for our legal system, both from the perspective of administering the law and the ethics of legal professionalism.

  • David Lee – Clinic Student, UC Berkeley Law
  • Shane Witnov – Clinic Student, UC Berkeley Law

9:40 - 10:40
Does Overt Access to Social Networking Data Constitute Spying or Searching?
Social networking websites are massive repositories of voluntarily disclosed information and frequent recipients of subpoenas, warrants, and requests for user information in criminal and civil investigations. Laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act limit what can be disclosed to different parties in different circumstances. Do these laws strike the right balance between privacy and justice? Is there fair access to this data between defense, prosecution and civil litigants?

  • James Aquilina – Executive Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel, Stroz Friedberg
  • Mark Howitson – Deputy General Counsel, Facebook
  • Jennifer Granick – Civil Liberties Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Deirdre Mulligan (moderator) – Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley iSchool; Director, BCLT

10:40 - 11:10

11:10 - 12:10
Are You Really My Friend? The Law and Ethics of Covert or Deceptive Data-Gathering

The quandary of whether or not to add someone to your social network perplexes many people, but most people do not realize that the “friend” could be an F.B.I. agent, a defense investigator, or an opposing attorney covertly seeking information. Where is the line between an honest investigation and an unethical deception? What are the consequences for crossing it? Are the rules the same, or should they be for different participants in the legal process such as law enforcement, defense investigators, and civil investigators?

  • Paul Ohm – Associate Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School
  • Lauren Gelman – Former Executive Director, Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society
  • Shane Witnov (moderator) – Clinic Student, UC Berkeley Law

12:10 - 1:40
Keynote Address

  • John Carlin, Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Director of the F.B.I.

1:40 - 2:40
MyFace in Court: Admissibility and the Probative Value of Social Networking Evidence
Searches and attempts to obtain evidence from Social Networking Websites have increased, but is the evidence admissible and valuable? How do you authenticate the evidence? What do juries find convincing? Practitioners and judges discuss best practices.

  • Wes Hsu – Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chief Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section,
    U.S. Attorney’s L.A. Office
  • Kurt Kumli – California Superior Court Judge, Santa Clara County
  • Bill Gallagher – Partner, Arenstein & Gallagher
  • Chuck Weisselberg (moderator) – Professor of Law, UC Berkeley Law

2:45 - 3:45
Regulating Crime in the Cloud: Policing Unlawful Behavior on Social Networks
Social networks are the new frontier for criminal activity. The networks are used to coordinate crimes such as sex trafficking, drug deals, and gang activity. Other crimes like cyberbullying take place on the social network itself. The panel will discuss how to regulate these new spaces. Are current computer laws adequate safeguards? What policies should companies develop in response?

  • Robert Morgester – Deputy Attorney General, Special Crimes Unit, Office of the California Attorney General
  • Orin Kerr – Professor of Law, George Washington University
  • Jim Dempsey – Vice President for Public Policy, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • John Carlin (moderator) – Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to the Director of the F.B.I.

3:45 - 4:15

4:15 - 5:15
Can Lawyers “Tweet” About Their Work? Confidentiality & Legal Professionalism in the Age of Social Media
Lawyers’ uses of social media tools and networks raise distinct challenges to the legal profession and the duty to maintain confidentiality. How will lawyers operate in an age of unprecedented transparency and permanent online records of everyday transactions? Where is the line between appropriately guarded comments and breaching attorney-client privilege? Can use of social media or networking ever be in a client’s best interest?

  • John Steele – Attorney at Law; Adjunct Professor, Indiana University (Maurer School of Law).
  • David Lat – Managing Editor,
  • Ben Sheffner – Production Counsel, NBC Universal Television Group; Editor, Copyrights & Campaigns blog
  • Jason Schultz (moderator) – Director, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic; Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, UC Berkeley

1 comment:

  1. The issues on this schedule are all important, but they're not what I was expecting or hoping to see. Or maybe "Virtual Worlds" haven't gotten the same prominence of other social networks. There are important copyright and taxation issues concerning SecondLife and other virtual worlds, including a recent copyright suit that will be significant if it goes to trial.

    Even within the subject matter of this conference, virtual worlds add a different slant, because they encourage anonymity far more than sites such as MySpace. International issues are also significant, particularly with regard to gambling and pornography, where the laws are quite different across the globe.

    Still, the issues here are relevant, and I'd love to see a summary of items relevant to users, especially with regard to data gathering and law enforcement.


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