Information Roundup – 22 June 2008

Hope you all enjoyed the summer solstice and/or International Surfing Day. Here’s some things I’ve read lately that you might like.

  • Peter Lake, “Still Waiting:  The Slow Evolution of the Law in Light of the Ongoing Student Suicide Crisis.” Professor Lake’s latest comment on post-secondary education institutions’ duty of care.  Although he argues that administrators would benefit from development in the duty of care case law, he also suggests that Virginia Tech and its three major reports make the need for action-oriented policy clear.  The idea:  questioning the duty to help individual students at risk can be paralyzing (and the case law doesn’t help), but the link between suicide and the risk of violence perpetrated against others brings a far more clear duty to bear. 
  • Anita Kumar, “Judge Agrees to Va. Tech Payout.”  Some related news on last week’s Virginia Tech settlement approval for claims brought by families of 28 of the 32 people killed in April 2007.  The settlement has a public interest component that allows the families to meet with Governor and university and other state officials. (Washington Post)
  • Paul Ohm, “The Fourth Amendment Right to Delete.”  Professor Ohm argues that “collect/copy now, analyze later” law enforcement tactics involve the “seizure” of evidence.  Interesting comments on the nature of the proprietary interest in information:  “Cases like Hicks view dispossession as a simple matter of rivalry:  if you have my locked box, I can’t have it too.  But in the age of nonrivalrous, perfect digital copying, this view of dispossession seems tautological and unhelpful.” (Harvard Law Review Forum)
  • Clifford Davidson, “The Wrath of Quon?”  A Proskauer Rose comment on Quon v. Arch Wireless, in which a California court recently held that a communications company violated the Stored Communications Act for allowing an employer to do a non-consensual audit of employee text messages. There is a mention of “operational reality” overriding a clear language in a computer use policy, but Mr. Davidson says nothing in the case appears to restrict employers who give clear notice to employees in order to limit their expectation of privacy.  Includes a link to the decision.  (Proskauer Rose)