August 2016 Archives



A $655 million award against the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority for attacks that killed or wounded members of 11 American families in Israel has been thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

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Judges Pierre Leval and Christopher Droney and Southern District Judge John Koeltl, sitting by designation, said Daniels erred in finding personal jurisdiction in Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization, 15-3135.

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About Jim Calloway:

Cyber Security for Small Firms and Solo Practices is a topic I was recently asked to discuss as a guest on the Digital Detectives podcast. As most of you know, I have co-hosted the Digital Edge podcast for many years with Sharon Nelson of Sensei Enterprises. This time the tables were turned as Sharon and her husband John W. Simek hosted me on their podcast. Let me also add that discussing cybersecurity with John and Sharon is somewhat akin to teaching a class on religion to the Pope.

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I include in the podcast my top five cybersecurity tips for solo and small firm lawyers along with a range of other topics. It is free and you can listen to the podcast via the Legal Talk Network or subscribe to it on iTunes. I hope you enjoy it.

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FBI Warns of Possible State Election-System Hacks - ABC News

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The FBI is warning state officials to boost their election security in light of evidence that hackers targeted related data systems in two states.

In a confidential "flash" alert from its cyber division, first reported by Yahoo News and posted online by others, the FBI said it's investigating the pair of incidents and advised states to scan their systems for specific signs of hacking.

The FBI said Monday that it doesn't comment on specific alerts, but added that it routinely sends out advisories to private industry about signs of cyber threats that it comes across in its investigations.

Read more here....




In a ruling that expands the definition of "parenthood" in New York, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the nonmarried, ex-partner of a biological parent may seek custody or visitation rights of children they once agreed to conceive and raise as co-partners with their exes.


The 6-0 court, the state's highest, said that given the legalization of same-sex marriages and other societal changes that have upset the notion of "parents" as being a married man and woman, it was time for it to abandon the precedent it has adhered to since its 1991 ruling in Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M., 77 NY2d 651.

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The ruling in Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C., 91, and Matter of Estrellita A. v. Jennifer D., 92, reversed denials by family courts in Chautauqua and Suffolk counties of visitation sought by the former same-sex partners of children's biological mothers. The petitioners in neither case had married their partners or legally adopted the children.

Read complete analysis  by , New York Law Journal


Read complete decision at:

https://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/Decisions/2016/Aug16/91-92opn16-Decision.pdf


New Procedure Helps People Making IRA and Retirement Plan Rollovers

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A new self-certification procedure will help recipients of retirement plan distributions who inadvertently miss the 60-day time limit for properly rolling these amounts into another retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA).


Government Hackers Caught Using Unprecedented iPhone Spy Tool | Motherboard

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This is the first time that anyone has uncovered such an attack in the wild. Until this month, no one had seen an attempted spyware infection leveraging three unknown bugs, or zero-days, in the iPhone. The tools and technology needed for such an attack, which is essentially a remote jailbreak of the iPhone, can be worth as much as one million dollars. After the researchers alerted Apple, the company worked quickly to fix them in an update released on Thursday.

The question is, who was behind the attack and what did they use to pull it off?

It appears that the company that provided the spyware and the zero-day exploits to the hackers targeting Mansoor is a little-known Israeli surveillance vendor called NSO Group, which Lookout's vice president of research Mike Murray labeled as "basically a cyber arms dealer."

Read more: Meet NSO Group, The New Big Player In The Government Spyware Business

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Read entire, detailed Motherboard report here...




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Investigators discovered that a company called the NSO Group, an Israeli outfit that sells software that invisibly tracks a target's mobile phone, was responsible for the intrusions. The NSO Group's software can read text messages and emails and track calls and contacts. It can even record sounds, collect passwords and trace the whereabouts of the phone user.

In response, Apple on Thursday released a patched version of its mobile software, iOS 9.3.5. Users can get the patch through a normal software update.


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Read entire report here...

By Peter Jones on 

The National Labor Relations Board, in Columbia University, issued a 3-1 decision yesterday holding that graduate, and undergraduate, student assistants are common law employees within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act and therefore are eligible to organize and bargain collectively under federal labor law.  In so doing, the Board overruled its prior determination in Brown University

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AGScamHelp

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Thousands of New Yorkers are scammed by companies who take advantage of homeowners in distress. Don't let it happen to you. The New York State Attorney General created AGScamHelp.com to assist homeowners in finding free, qualified mortgage assistance relief services from a network of trusted partners operating across the state under the New York Attorney General Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP). We are dedicated to alerting homeowners like you about foreclosure rescue scams so you can avoid scammers and get legitimate help.




Employer Tax Withholding Responsibility - YouTube

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Learn how to deposit withheld employee taxes to avoid a trust fund recovery penalty in this new YouTube video.

Watch this and other videos on the IRS YouTube Channel

Civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday, alleging that the Baltimore Police Department's  (BPD) unlicensed use of the controversial cell phone surveillance tool known as Stingray violates the law through racial discrimination and willful interference with cell phone calls.

The complaint, filed by the Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, and the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, calls on the FCC to "address harms caused by BPD's unauthorized use" of Stingrays, also known as cell site (C.S.) simulators. 

(Published on Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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The Baltimore Sun reports:

The groups argue that surveillance using the devices also undermines people's free speech rights and describe the use of Stingrays as an electronic form of the intrusive police practices described in the scathing Justice Department report on the police department's pattern of civil rights violations.

"The problem of radicalized surveillance is particularly pronounced in Baltimore, where BPD's racially biased policing is clearly reflected in its racially biased deployment of [cell site] simulators," the groups say in the complaint.



Domestic Violence: Finding Safety & Support - Contents - NYS OPDV

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Is this Publication for Me?

This publication was created mostly to help people who have been abused by their intimate partner. But it is not always easy to recognize abuse, even for victims themselves. This publication will try to help you figure out if there is abuse in your relationship and will give you information on how to be safe and get help if there is abuse. If you are not sure, this publication might be for you if:

  • Your partner does things that make you afraid.
  • Your partner does things to control you.
  • Your partner threatens to hurt you.
  • Your partner physically abuses you.
  • If you think this publication might be for you, please keep reading. As you do, remember:
  • You are not alone.
  • You are not to blame.
  • You do not deserve to be abused.
  • There is help available.
  • This publication is also for you if you know someone who is being abused or someone you think might be being abused by their partner. You will find information on how you can help a friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or acquaintance, including:
  • How to talk to them about the abuse.
  • How you can be prepared to help.
  • How to help them get support and services.

If you are a professional helping victims of domestic violence, you will find helpful information in this publication as well.

If you have picked up this publication and find that it is not for you, please pass it on to someone who might find it helpful if it is safe for them to have it.

Access "Domestic Violence: Finding Safety & Support" here...



The Insider's Guide to Hiring a Virtual Receptionist-Webinar Registration

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If you're considering a virtual receptionist service--or just interested in learning what virtual reception is all about--this webinar can help! 

During this 45-minute webinar, they will answer these common questions: 

- What is a virtual receptionist service, anyway? 

- How does a virtual receptionist service differ from other options? 

- How can a virtual receptionist service benefit my business? 

- What features do various services offer? 

- What should I ask when shopping around, to ensure I make the best choice? 

This free webinar is from Ruby Receptionists, so there will be a commercial aspect to the presentation; but one can expect it to be as professional as the sponsor.

Register here...


Audi Connecting Cars In The U.S. To Traffic Signals | Ubergizmo

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Audi has announced today that it's rolling out technology in the United States which will enable its cars to communicate with traffic signals. It says that this will be the industry's first use of this relatively new technology and that it's going to provide a more stress-free ride. The company has said that select 2017 Q7 and A4 models that are built after June 1st, 2016 will feature this groundbreaking technology that connects cars to municipal infrastructure.

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruled on August 10 that the law criminalizing "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" violates constitutional protections for human dignity, privacy, and equality before the law. The case had been brought by Caleb Orozco, director of United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) more than six years ago. The Chief Justice ruled that the definition of "sex" in the country's constitution, includes sexual orientation. BuzzFeed has the text of the ruling. Activists hope that the ruling will have an impact on other Caribbean countries; the attorney general of Antigua said that the government would be "looking at" the ruling. American Religious Right groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and C-Fam have provided support to Belize Action, a group that fought the decriminalization effort. (Religious Dispatches)





Benjamin Scott Wright, U.W. 2014, is an attorney editor at the State Bar of Wisconsin. Before beginning his work with the State Bar, he was in private solo practice in Janesville. He writes, "I had been practicing solo for about one year - a year filled with ups and downs, triumph and defeat, stress and uncertainty. In late June the State Bar hired me as a new attorney editor - proof positive that you don't have to be perfect to make an impression!"

Paula Davis-Laack wrote about perfectionism in the March 2016 issue of Wisconsin Lawyer, highlighting seven negative traits. Her article's purpose is to convince us that perfectionism is a real problem, not a humble-brag. In my view, it is especially a problem for young lawyers.

In thinking about my own perfectionism, I realized it's driven by fear. I'm afraid each day's work might bring mistakes, criticism, misunderstanding, and failure. That fear, however, is irrational. It can be countered with the truth.

So here are four fears that drive my own perfectionism, along with four truths that counter them. I hope my introspection will encourage others to view each day's work as a step forward (even if imperfect), instead of as another chance for failure.



New Phishing Scheme Mimics Software Providers; Targets Tax Professionals

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  Tax Pros Are Target of New Phishing Scam

Tax professionals: Be aware of a new phishing scam that uses email purporting to be from tax software providers to trick unwitting practitioners into downloading malware to their systems and revealing passwords and other sensitive information.


VW owners, get the facts! | Consumer Information

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If you own one of these cars, visit VWCourtSettlement.com. At the site, you can enter your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) and find out how much you can get. Or you can call 844-98-CLAIM and ask.

It's particularly important for you to get this information if you're considering selling your car. Potential buyers may offer what sounds like a good deal, but it's still less than you can get for a buyback under the FTC's settlement with VW. Whether it's a private purchaser or an unscrupulous dealer, those buyers are just going to turn around and sell the car back to VW for more money through the court-approved buyback program.


Read complete FTC article here...


NYSBA--Real Property Law Section Student Internship Program

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FemaleWfolder.jpgThe Real Property Law Section (RPLS) has partnered with law schools in New York State to create an RPLS Student Internship Program. The purpose of this clinical program is to give second and third year law students interested in transactional real estate (including environmental and sustainability issues) and real estate litigation a semester of work experience in a law firm or corporate law department. 
  
For a synopsis of the program goals and procedures click here. 

We are now actively soliciting firms to host law students who wish to participate in the internship program during the Fall 2016 semester. The host firm will have one or more law students working ten to fifteen hours per week assisting real estate practitioners in the firm. 

Student interns do not receive compensation from the host firm but, instead, receive course credit from their law schools. The host firms must not bill for the students' work, as that would violate the law schools' policy. The interns' work product should be sufficient compensation to the host firm.
 
  
Host firms are asked to assign at least one research and writing assignment to the intern during his/her semester of service, to critique the intern's work product, and to interact with the law school's internship program coordinator. 
  

Programs from previous years were extremely successful and we have had very positive feedback from our host firms, interns and participating law schools.
  
All firms that are interested in participating as a host firm this fall should complete and email the application form to David L. Berkey (dlb@gdblaw.com) as soon as possible.

Please see the New York State portions of the USEPA's publication: "Cleaning Up Brownfields Under State Response Programs - Getting to 'No Further Action'" http://www.dec.ny.gov/data/der/factsheet/epabfnfa.pdf

These pages provide information on aspects of New York State's response programs available to owners and prospective purchasers of brownfields.  It is a guide for owners of brownfields properties on the general requirements for entering a brownfield into a state cleanup program and the process for attaining a state decision or certification of the need for "no further action".

The full report may be found at: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/cleaning-brownfields-under-state-response-programs-getting-no-further-action


ABA Free Legal Answers

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NY.freelegalanswers.org is a website where members of the public can go to post basic legal questions that attorneys can answer for free.  The client can create an account on the website after completing a short screening questionnaire to determine if they qualify (based on income), and agreeing to the limited scope of representation that the website offers.  Similarly, any attorney in New York can create an account on the website after completing a brief limited scope representation tutorial (developed by Judge Fern Fisher) and agreeing to the terms of the program.

Attorneys may, at their leisure, log on to the website and respond to questions posted by members of the public.  Attorneys may select which questions to answer by previewing questions, which can be sorted by practice area so they can easily see which questions fall within their areas expertise. 

This will allow attorneys of all types to do pro bono work from any location for any length of time.  This will provide attorneys who may have difficulty doing pro bono work (government attorneys, retired attorneys, rural attorneys, etc.) an opportunity to do pro bono work in a way that fits their lifestyles. 

NY.FreeLegalAnswers.org will be going live at the end of August.  In order to adequately test out the platform and respond to questions submitted by members of the public in its early stages, I am seeking out 100 volunteers who are interested in learning more about the project and using the site.  The target launch date is currently scheduled for August 23rd.  If you are interested in learning more about volunteering, please fill out this form and send it back to me.  You may also share the form with any trusted colleagues who may be interested in participating.

Please note that there is absolutely no obligation here.  I am simply seeking out people who are interested in learning more about the project so that I may provide them with more information about it closer to the launch date.  At that point, I can provide more guidance to those participating in the test panel so they know exactly how the site works and what to expect - most likely via a memo and conference call for those who are available for one.

To access a power point presentation and video demonstration of the national free legal answers platform, please go to: www.americanbar.org/groups/probono_public_service/....

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Kristen

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Kristen Wagner Esq.
Director, Pro Bono Services
New York State Bar Association
Albany NY
(518) 487-5640
kwagner@nysba.org
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Dials - Clock-based Calendar App with Sync

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EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY

This free calendar application for Apple and Android mobile devices may appeal most to users who live by the motto, "one day at a time." Daily schedules are presented on a 12-hour clock face accompanied by a smaller weekly calendar at the bottom of the screen. When users add daily agenda items, a timer indicates the amount of time until the next agenda item begins. Users can quickly add agenda items for any point in the future. Dials syncs with Google Calendars, so users can easily update appointments and reminders from their Google accounts. For the aesthetically inclined user looking for an alternative to the more traditional calendar applications, Dials' unique interface may be the solution. Available for Apple devices running iOS 9.0 and up and on Android devices 4.2+. 

Copyright © 2016 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.eduhttps://scout.wisc.edu/

How to scan QR Codes | Ubergizmo

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By  on 08/05/2016 17:00 PDT

QR Codes have been invented a couple of decades ago in Japan. They are 2D barcodes that can pack a lot of information into a relatively small space. Also, their design makes them pretty resilient in case their support gets scratched. Since QR Codes are more and more used worldwide, knowing how to scan/decode them is very useful. In this article, we will be knowing - what is a QR Code and several ways to scan QR Codes.


The IRS warns tax professionals and taxpayers to stay vigilant against an increase in IRS impersonation scams. The scams come in the form of automated calls and demands for tax payments on iTunes and other gift cards.



Comprehensive Revisions, Enhancements and Structure Changes

This proposed rulemaking is a comprehensive revision to existing regulations. The last comprehensive revisions to the regulations governing solid waste management in New York State occurred in 1993. In support of these regulatory changes a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) [PDF] (292 KB) has been prepared. The revisions include technical amendments and clarifications, as well as updated criteria needed due to legal and policy developments.

The existing regulations for solid waste management facilities are currently found in Part 360. A component of this proposed rulemaking is to subdivide the solid waste management facility regulations into groups that are similar in nature, such as facilities that recycle and recover materials. Therefore, the current Part 360 criteria will be found in Parts 360, 361, 362, 363, 365, and 366. In addition to the solid waste management facilities and activities currently regulated under Part 360, this proposed rulemaking includes revisions to regulations governing waste transportation (Part 364) and state assistance grants to municipalities related to solid waste management (Part 369). This rulemaking will also incorporate minor amendments to Parts 621 and Parts 370-374.

Read more here...





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