Friday, March 11, 2016

Gawker case also shows the risks of "digital records" of conversations in a media workplace

New York Magazine has another perspective on the Bollea v. Gawker case (besides the “public figure” and “privacy” implications discussed here Monday), by Max Read. This story deals with the danger of digital workplace conversations, which could be stored, searched and subpoenaed. 

Although this didn’t happen to Read (who used to work at Gawker), it can lead to employees being named in litigation, whether its intellectual property (libel, invasion of privacy, and the like) or a discrimination case.  That’s why lawyers like to talk in person (sometimes not over the phone).
I was involved as a witness in a discrimination case in the mid 1990s.  I was surprised at the detail of questions asked during a deposition, which included my own political views (libertarian, not necessarily sympathetic to overdoing “suspect class” or “affirmative action” thinking),  The testimony was printed and given to me with every word’s occurrence indexed in the back.

The article doesn’t mention Snapchat, but one can understand the appeal.  But even Snapchat can be breached if someone is determined enough.
On the Snapchat issue, I want to reiterate, I have little need for people to know casually “what I am doing” or “how I am”, or to “get to know me”, without some more specific context.  Lately the tone of some social media posts has been more assertive, trying to seek replies to questions of no real substance.  

Update: March 18

A jury awarded Hulk $115 million, which could put Gawker out of business, Ars Technica story

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