Much like the "Cloud computing revolution" there is an almost frenzied excitement around social media, and many companies are stampeding to exploit social networking. The promise of increased intimate customer interactions, input and loyalty, and enhanced sales and expanded market share can result in some organizations overlooking the thorny issues arising out of social networking. Many of these issues are legal in nature and could increase the legal risk and liability potential of an organization employing a social media strategy.In this multi-part series the InfoLawGroup will identify and explore the legal implications of social media. This series will help organizations begin to identify some of the legal risks associated with social media so that they may start addressing and mitigating these risks while maximizing their social media strategy. In Part One of the series, we will provide a high level overview of the legal risks and issues associated with an organization's use of social media. In subsequent parts members of the InfoLawGroup team will take a deeper dive into these matters, and provide some practical insight and strategic direction for addressing these issues. As always, we view our series as the beginning of a broader conversation between ourselves and the larger community, and we welcome and strongly encourage comments, concerns, corrections and criticisms.
The United States Supreme Court issued its decision today in City of Ontario, California v. Quon, ruling that a public employer's examination of an employee's personal text messages on a government-issued pager did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Justice Kennedy's opinion for the Court remarked that a review of messages on an employer-provided device would similarly be regarded as "reasonable and normal in the private-employer context."
My former colleague and friend Nolan Goldberg has written this nice piece on "Securing Communications in the Cloud" regarding the Central District of Illinois decision in US v. Weaver (yet another child pornography case contributing to the development of information law). Nolan points out the Weaver court's focus on the unique nature of web (or cloud)-based email services. With webmail, a copy stored by the host in the cloud, in this case Microsoft Hotmail, might be the only copy, not just a backup. Therefore, the logic goes under the Stored Communications Act, the emails sought by the government in Weaver were not in electronic storage and the government only needed a trial subpoena, not a warrant.