Saturday, November 30, 2002

jury debriefing

The Delaware Supreme Court is accepting comments on a proposed rule change that would allow jurors to be questioned by attorneys (and perhaps pro-se litigants) after the case is over, in a supervised setting. Today's News Journal's article portrays several attorneys' views on the subject. Here is another.

I am not convinced that this would be a good idea. I think that when we balance the good that allegedly would come from this as against the appeals chaos that it will inspire, the balance comes out in favor of leaving jurors alone. Furthermore, I think that our system of justice depends heavily upon the privacy of the jury deliberation chamber, and the freedom that the jurors have to express their respective points of view, and share their frank opinions. When we put these jurors in a situation where their deliberations now become part of a public circus, I can smell only disaster.
are you ready for e-stamps?

The United States Postal Service and Microsoft are teaming up to bring us a new service that allows confirmation of the delivery of emails with a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a sender. The news was announced at the Fall Comdex. (link via AuthentiDate is the company that would provide the confirmation and authentification services.

Friday, November 29, 2002

privatizing the moon

An Alternet article called The Men Who Sold the Moon looks at private attempts to get into orbit, and onto the moon. Last month, TransOrbital, Inc. became the first private business to be granted permission from the US government to explore, photograph and land on the moon. Their site gives more details on their first three commercial missions -- TrailBlazer, Electra, and Electra II. Sending a message to the moon seems pretty affordable.
guarding the coast

Once upon a time, there were five federal agencies known by the following names: the Revenue Cutter Service, the Lighthouse Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, the Bureau of Navigation, and the Lifesaving Service. At different periods in time, these agencies all became part of the US Coast Guard. Seaford Delaware's branch of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary includes a History of the US Coast Guard on their site which explains how these different agencies were united. I learned quite a bit about the history of the nation from this report from the US Coast Guard Historian's Office. The Auxiliary's site also has a lot of information about boating, regulations, and safety on their pages. The Coast Guard is just as busy today as ever. Maybe busier.
who's watching the henhouse?, no, who's on first

New Castle County's ethics soap opera continues. As seen in today's News Journal, the County is attempting to recreate their failed attempt at maintaining an Ethics Commision without correcting the problem that caused it to fail. In short, they either didn't want to adequately fund it or they didn't want it to have sufficient funds to operate effectively. You pick.

A token watchdog is worse than no watchdog at all, at least for our citizens. It would give us the false sense of security of thinking that someone is overseeing the ethics of our county government. So let us think about it. Who would be served by a token Ethics Commission, that is ineffective? The article in the News Journal said that the County Commissioners said that the constituents want to keep the Ethics issues local, rather than turning the process over to the State. Is this true? Are ethics better dealt with by an underfunded body under the direct control and pay of the people they are policing? Remember, time after time we have seen in the news how our county government has been misused and corrupted. Would the State oversight option not be cheaper and more nuetral? Yeah, I can see how we, the constituents opt out of the cheaper better plan and choose the ineffective and more expensive plan. That's just like us.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

happy thanksgiving

We will be spending today, and possibly tomorrow, with our friends and families celebrating all of the positive things that have happened over the past year, so posting here will probably be light. A large part of what we have to give thanks for are the many people who have visited this site, and the Law Office, and whom we have had the good fortune to meet, to work with, to exchange ideas with, and to learn from. Thank you.

We look forward to the coming year, and hope that it brings us all plenty to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Tricks of the Trade
By Private Investigator Michael T. O'Rourke

Question: I am a paralegal in a law firm specializing in plaintiff’s personal injury cases. Our client was involved in a collision on the Delaware Memorial Bridge as she passed through the toll booth. The defendant, in this case, is a New Jersey resident. He was taken into custody by the Delaware River Bay Authority Police immediately after the police officer checked his license.

How do I find out more information about the defendant?

Answer: Start with the drivers license number. A New Jersey drivers license number is 15 digits. A letter, followed by 14 numbers. There are three sets of five digits each, and each set is separated by a single space.

The letter digit is the first letter of the licensee’s last name. The next four digits represent the next four letters in the licensee’s last name. They are in an unpublished DMV code. Every person with the same last name will have the same first five digit set in New Jersey.

The next five-digit set is an unpublished DMV code representing the middle initial and other DMV administrative data. The first two digits of the last five-digit set indicate the licensee’s month and year of birth. Hence, the first two digits will always be 01 through 12, if the licensee is a male, and 51 through 62 if the licensee is female.

NJ DMV adds 50 to the birth months to represent a female gender. The third, and fourth, digits of the final five-digit set represent the year of birth (the same for both gender). The final digit is eye color. 2 is brown, 4 is blue, 5 is hazel, and 6 is green.

Contact NJ DMV in Trenton, N.J. and obtain a certified copy of the defendant’s driving history, and vehicles by name. Also obtain vehicle registration information on the vehicle the defendant was operating at the time of loss.

The driving history will reveal a last known address, and date of birth. The vehicle information will provide you ownership information and the name of the insurance company.

You now have the names, and addresses of all defendants -- the driver, the vehicle owner (negligent entrustment), and the insurance company.

Use your favorite investigative resource (you can call me) to verify the addresses, and obtain other materials relevant to your case. It will be especially interesting to conduct an inquiry regarding criminal records involving the defendant.

Why did the Police Officer take the defendant into custody? Review the Uniform Traffic Collision Report.

Was there a DUI involved? Was the defendant charged with a moving violation? Any witnesses listed on the Report by the Police Officer?

If the accident was especially severe, the fatal accident reconstruction team will also provide a report. This report is conducted on some non-fatal accidents.

Secure recorded statements of all witnesses (driver, passengers, toll collectors, police officer, EMT’s, Fire/Rescue personnel) for future use.

Was either of the vehicles towed? Don’t forget to contact the tow operator. You can’t imagine the things said to a tow truck driver.

Obtain photographs of the accident scene and the vehicles involved in the collision.

Ask the investigator to provide asset/liability information with their report. This will help the attorney decide if they should go after policy limits in extreme cases, or in an asset rich environment, take another approach.

Det. Michael T. O'Rourke is a Member of the National Association of Investigative Specialists, The National Association of Professional Process Servers, and sustaining member of the Delaware Paralegal Association. He is also a Court Certified Special Process Server, and a Licensed Private Investigator in DE and PA. Michael specializes in Insurance Defense and Criminal Defense. He invites your questions to:

Loss Solutions, Inc.
824 N. Market Street,
Suite 425, P.O. Box 368,
Wilmington DE
(302) 427-3600.

Or you may e-mail him at

Previous Tricks of the Trade from Michael T. O'Rourke:

October 20, 2002
September 16, 2002
August 25, 2002
May 28, 2002
March 25, 2002
February 25, 2002
January 17, 2002
November 26, 2001
October 23, 2001
September 25, 2001

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

blacklists and the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the agency leading the battle against unwanted and unsolicited commercial emails in the U.S. Washington is interested in the problem. We even have lobbyists joining together at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to discuss how to lessen those emails.

News that the FTC has become the first federal agency to turn to email blacklists has a number of people concerned that their rights to access to the government are being infringed. Some companies filtering emails based upon blacklists that they compile from spam reports have been described as overzealous in their attempts to thwart unsolicited commercial email. I appreciate the efforts that many of these companies are making, but there are signs that some of the criticism leveled their way might be warranted. The irony is that a number of messages sent by email to the FTC either reporting spam, or on methods and ideas to fight spam, have been blocked [according to the news reports] by at least one of the blacklists which the FTC is using. This is a technology in its infancy, and it needs time to grow and develop. But, in the mean time, the mail may not be getting through.
santa switches

I've watched it a couple of times. Will Farrell's life after Saturday Night Live seems to be filled with commercial art. Or, should I say, commercials. His latest is an Apple Switch parody brought to us by Apple (does it count as a parody, if they target themselves?). Anyway, I'm trying to decide if the Santa and Lawyers ad (requires quicktime) is funny. I snickered when I saw it. But, I've always thought that a parody should bring belly laughs. Or at least a ho ho ho.
total information briefing

We've been trying to following the different aspects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Total Information Awareness project, but it seems to be growing quickly beyond our means. It's a good thing we're able to turn to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). They held a press briefing yesterday at the National Press Club, providing some interesting information to the media. Their Total Information Awareness page also shows a number of other updates on the status of the project from the last couple of days. If we keep on writing about this topic, I may have to start posting all of my entries here anonymously. Otherwise, I fear someone will pay me a visit asking me to get with the program, and keep my mouth shut.

posted by anonymous

A domain name versus trademark dispute has Norweigan company SMSfun, selling sunglasses at, squared off against American search engine Google over the use of the domain name. The Berkman Center's Greplaw is covering the story, which is mostly in Norweigan. It appears that the Norweigan business has won the first round.

Monday, November 25, 2002

the digital millennium copyright act (dmca) in court

Software that gives people the ability to make copies of ebooks inspite of copyright protections will be examined closely next week, in a federal court in San Jose, California. The Copyright Act became law in 1998, and now, four years later, it faces a challenge. At a hearing today, issues such as an interpretation of the criminal provisions of the DMCA for a jury were discussed.
budgets and bottles

Just how bad is the budget crisis that many states are experiencing? Reuters says that they are "sunk in the worst financial doldrums since World War II." But, those aren't their words. The wire service is repeating the statement made by the National Governor's Association in their Fiscal Survey of States (pdf). It may be time to look for some creative ways to decrease projected budget deficits. Delaware is reviewing one solution that Massachusetts followed in 1990 -- having unclaimed bottle deposits turned over to the State. I'm not keen on the idea of the State benefitting at a cost to the environment, and I've written a little on the subject before. I appreciate the State's consideration of ways to lessen the bleak financial picture we've seen painted in the media. Hopefully, we'll also consider some other ideas that don't rely upon me throwing a bottle away, rather than having it recycled, to benefit the State's finances.
state court jurisdiction over the net?

When I read the headline Court blocks state DVD-cracking suit, I knew right away that I had to turn to the pages of Denise Howell's Bag and Baggage for the full story. Denise doesn't disappoint. She sat in on the oral arguments before the California Supreme Court in September, and provided a great amount of insight as to what happened during those proceedings. Thanks, Denise!
computer geeks and politics

Slate is running an article called Why Computer Geeks Should give Up on Politics. It covers a variety of subjects, including Digital Rights Management, government sanctioned computer intrusion to "protect" copyrights, the GeekPAC, blogging politicians, and what Slate calls the highest stakes issue of all -- the Total Information Awareness (TIA) research project. DARPA, which is in charge of the TIA project, may have been instrumental in starting the internet. But the net's success so far is because it's something that people wanted, often despite the the protests of bureacracy. People may not be quite as euthusiastic about supporting the TIA.

[November 27, 2002 -- Contrast that article to Declan McCullagh's Is it time for a GeekPAC?.]
a bit of cinema noir about it

I almost picked up a copy of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood a couple of weekends ago, and upon reflection I should have. I really loved Wind-up Bird Chronicles by the same author. After reading Bill Altreuter's thoughts about the book over at Outside Counsel in his November 12th and 14th posts, I want to go back to the bookstore that I found it at and buy it. Unfortunately, I'll have to travel to the other end of Delaware to do that. I saw it down at a bookstore in Dewey Beach, which is Sneaking Suspicions territory. Raymond Chandler is another favorite author of mine, and I think that Bill captures the connection between the two pretty well. I was thinking about Chandler when I read about the Hollywood gumshoe who had weapons charges filed against him earlier today. The story seems to have all the makings of a Chandler plot.
filming jurors

I've written here about cameras in courtrooms before, but the thought of a judge allowing a crew to film jurors' deliberations comes as a bit of a surprise. A Texas judge is allowing video recording to take place during the decision-making of a jury in a capital murder case.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

when art becomes crime

Is it against the law to incorporate popular cultural figures and symbols into art? Our newest intellectual property laws are having an effect upon artists and their works. They are possibly making those creators criminals. We've pointed to here before (make sure that you read the pop-up disclaimer for full effect). The Newark Star Ledger writes about the organization's exhibit to be held in New York City through January (the illegal art web site indicates that the show will close on December 6th, so if you plan to go, check the dates carefully). The Star Ledger's article explains how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the Bono Copyright Extension are chilling artistic endeavors. The exhibit will also be shown in Chicago. There are some nice links to copyright resources on the illegal art site's pages.
library runs into filtering problem

The problem is that they used their name as part of the domain name for their web site. The Flesh Library (named after Leo Flesh, who donated the money for the library's present location, 70 years ago) also installed filtering software on their computers. When they officially unveiled their new web site, to their chagrin, it was blocked. (via slashdot)
computers in classrooms

Good idea or bad idea? I came across a link on Arts & Letters Daily, in their list of "Classics" to an article called The Computer Delusion. Though it's five years old, it makes for some interesting reading, and it has sparkled a great amount of debate since its publication.. I'm not sure that I agree with a number of the arguments that it makes, but the main one is spot on right. Computers are just a tool. Without good teachers, a healthy cirriculum, and other resources, the goal of having computers in classrooms is a short sighted solution, focusing more upon the tools than the objectives of education. I just wonder, five years later, what author Todd Oppenheimer might think of computers in classrooms. His article from 1999, describing educational methods in Waldorf Schools, shows a healthy education system in the absence of computers. A Red Herring article called Is our children learning? also examines the question. They make a good point, that I'm happy to see:
The new law, called No Child Left Behind, also requires that 25 percent of technology funding be allocated for training teachers to use the new tools.
I think that's the key to realizing a benefit in having computers in classrooms -- enabling teachers to learn to use the technology as just another available tool to achieve educational objectives.

[November 25, 2002 -- Today's Wilmington News Journal has a look at computer in classrooms in Delaware, in an article called Students test online exams.]
"I just want to say one word to you -- just one word -- 'plastics.' "

That's the line whispered to a young Benjamin Braddock in the movie The Graduate 35 years ago. Some interesting essays have been written on the meaning of that line in the time since the movie's release (for instance, see "Just One World ...'PLASTICS'": Suburban Malaise, Masculinity, and Oedipal Drive in The Graduate), but it looks like the word "plastics" is going to spawn a whole new set of meanings. That's my observation after reading the news that Food scraps make perfect plastic. Biodegradable, too.
a new classic

Hu's on first.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

building a digital library

There are some interesting observations about archiving sites on the internet in an interview with Brewster Kahle (via current copyright readings), the inventor of the Wayback Machine. The site allows you to travel back in time as you search through their collection of pages culled from the taking of a snapshot of the web every 60 days since 1996.
copyright is a right

That's the message from John Bloom over at the National Review Online in a commentary called Right and Wrong. A nice, commonsense argument against copyright extensions.
holy big ben, batman

The dynamic duo apprehended teens involved in misappropriating alcoholic beverages in a store in the UK. (via Blogdex)

Friday, November 22, 2002

no filtering in delaware's county libraries

The county library system in Delaware is getting an updated computer system allowing its public access terminals to connect to the internet. The new system will be phased in over the course of the next week, terminal by terminal. The computers will be able to connect to the web, and parents are required to "sign authorization for their children's computer use and are responsible for monitoring what Web sites they visit."

Filtering software to block adult content will not be used on the libraries' computers. It might make accessing any information about one of Delaware's three counties difficult. Library spokesman Anthony Carter explained, "Sussex County does end in s-e-x."
service animals in places of business

There's some controversy going on in an Idaho city over a woman who is using a horse as a service guide animal to overcome her blindness and balance and hip problems. City officials are seriously concerned that the horse is getting too close to traffic, and may pose a health risk. They've invoked an old law that prohibits horse riding in the city. Does the law apply to an animal that may be a service guide under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Guidehorse Foundation, which has a considerble amount of information about the use of miniature horses as guide animals, also has a section on Legal Access for Service Animals. There they describe a service animal as follows:
A: The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
The quote is from their Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business. If you are a shopkeeper, restauranteer, taxi driver, or run some other privately owned business that serves the public, the page is worth a visit.
revenge of the blog

Yale Law School hosted some high energy speaking and writing today about blogs and the law, and blogs and the media. Perhaps no one had as much energy as the Malcolm Sisters, over at The Kitchen Cabinet, who wrote about the event. The good folks at Law Meme were large and in charge from all accounts, and my attention was fully focused upon the Law and Blawgs Panel where blogging favorites Denise Howell, the Shifted Librarian Jenny Levine, Copyfight's Donna Wentworth, and Consensus at Lawyerpoint's Seth Schoen took center stage. Rory Perry from the West Virginia Supreme Court also made a cameo appearance. Some great responses to questions and other comments from the event are scattered across many of those web sites. It sounds like a fun time was had by all.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

total information awareness, part two

On Tuesday, I wrote a little bit about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) new project called Total Information Awareness (TIA). Evidentially, I wasn't the only one expressing concern over the project, and efforts under it to test the gathering of as much private information about people in the US as possible. After reading the transcript of a press conference (scroll about halfway down) from the Pentagon, in which some of those fears were probably meant to be claimed, I'm even more worried about DARPA's proposed new database system.

Some other interesting details about the project are beginning to come out. The New York Times (free registration required for Times' articles) writes about a discarded plan to make changes to the internet called eDNA:
The plan, known as eDNA, called for developing a new version of the Internet that would include enclaves where it would be impossible to be anonymous while using the network. The technology would have divided the Internet into secure "public network highways," where a computer user would have needed to be identified, and "private network alleyways," which would not have required identification.
The Times originally started a wave of media attention on the project with an article on November 9th, followed up by a William Safire column called You are a suspect. This last Sunday, a Times editorial, A Snooper's Dream, called for the project to be shut down pending an investigation.

The New York Times isn't the only paper to criticise the government project. From an editorial in today's San Francisco Chronicle:
The idea of the "Total Information Awareness" campaign is to draw from government and commercial records -- everything from your magazine subscriptions and credit-card purchases to your college transcripts and divorce papers -- to establish individual dossiers. The concept (cooked up by John Poindexter, a figure in the Iran-Contra scandal) is to not wait until an American is suspected of terrorism, or any wrongdoing for that matter, to compile this information. The idea is to have a file that tracks the life of everyone -- including you.
Many other news organizations and advocacy groups have begun to question the project. Overblown hype? Paranoia? Reread the Pentagon transcript, and see if you feel a sense of reassurance that this project won't be that invasive. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has also compiled a great amount of information on the project on their Total Information Awareness page.
another solution to spam

A friend left me a copy of a Wall Street Journal review about a new add-on program for your email client called Matador. It's a Windows-based program that works with Outlook 2000, and Outlook 2002. A version that works with Outlook Express is expected to be out shortly. There is a fee for the program, but it has a free one month trial period. It may be worth trying out if it lives up to the description in the review. It is available from a Palo Alto company called Mail-Frontier. Looks interesting.

[later... I also wanted to point out Doc Searls latest entry on filtering email. His post, The Yam Solution is about the use of personal digital certificates from trusted third parties. If an email has a digital certificate authenticating who the sender is, it gets past a filter. I don't know if we're quite ready for this, but we have to start somewhere.

This testimony (pdf) from Jonathan Zittrain before Congress a couple of years ago also touches upon what digital certificates might mean to the internet. There's a certain freedom of anonymity that I appreciate about the web. But, it comes with a lawlessness about it. Chances are good that the internet will become more regulated in the future rather than less. Some questions surrounding that involve who does the regulating, and how much of a role the public will have in making that decision.]
posner on intellectual property

In a lecture on Tuesday, at the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, Federal Judge Richard Posner spoke about the expansion of Intellectual Property Law, and gave a nod of support to the team that recently challenged the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act before the US Supreme Court. Overly broad business method patents also came under scrutiny in his speech.
oil spill in spain

A group of Delawareans may be headed off to Spain to help rescue some wildlife after an oil spill that has been called "twice as large" as the spill from the Exxon Valdez. A Christian Science Monitor interview about the prevention of oil spills notes that: "If you are in a major spill, if you can recover 15 percent of the spilled product, you've done a pretty good job." If the Tri-State Bird Research and Rescue recovery team does go, I wish them much luck and success.
Delaware Days

December 7th is being touted as the day to celebrate the First State's history, in recognition of the state's leaders decision to ratify the US Constitution on that date back in 1787. A series of lectures through out the state will lead up to the 7th, and the Wilmington News Journal has a list of all the events.

I guess that background music would be out of place in a courtroom. At least, not on TV. Like the laughtracks that accompany many television sitcoms, music helps fill some of the silent spaces to create a certain ambiance. An article called TV's mood music provides an interesting look at choices made involving which music is played when upon the small screen. I'll be paying a little more attention now, after reading it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

total information awareness

Is it healthy to apply skepticism to an article making the claim that Uncle Sam wants your data, and seriously appears to mean "all" of your data, including everything that might be stored electronically about you? I thought so, at least till I visited the pages of the Information Awareness Office. Their stated mission is:
The DARPA Information Awareness Office (IAO) will imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components and prototype, closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness useful for preemption; national security warning; and national security decision making.
Just what is "total information awareness?" Wired write a little more on this subject back in August.
i love libraries

I updated my membership at the University of Delaware's Library today. I usually try to do that as a birthday present to myself, but it's been many months since my last birthday. You don't have to be a student or faculty, or staff member to use the University's library, though there is a charge. It's $25 for Delaware residents and $60 for out-of-staters. The school has such a wide variety of books that I feel it's money well spent. They also updated their cataloging system, Delcat, in July, so that you can search for books at home over the net.

I also want to add here how much I appreciate blogging librarians. Here are three that I like to visit on the web: The Shifted Librarian, and, and The owners of these sites have a real passion for what they do, which is protecting and preserving people's chances to share ideas.
lobbying segway

We've written before about the scooter Segway and the lobby effort that they've been sustaining. While the "Human Transport" device arrived with a lot of hype, the most amazing thing about it seems to be the speed at which around 30 states have adopted laws allowing the vehicle to be ridden on sidewalks. As always, for updates on the Segway, I turn to the Segway News blog.
blogging in the USA

Australian paper The Age is running an article called Blogging comes of age in US online politics, and the WSJ has an article today named ...Find a Blog. If you're relatively new to the world of blogs, there are some great links in the WSJ article for more on the subject.

Monday, November 18, 2002

offerings from the cia

Whatever your paranoia quotient, there's always some interesting reading over on the pages of the magazine Studies in Intelligence. Some snippets from a couple of the articles to be found there this month. From a review of a book that looks at censorship during wartime, specifically World War Two:
On 17 August 1942, a nationally syndicated columnist wrote that she had received “a very stern letter” about her remarks on the weather, “… and so from now on I shall not tell you whether it rains or whether the sun shines where I happen to be.” The columnist was Eleanor Roosevelt and she was referring to an article in which she had described weather conditions during one of her official visits around the country with her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during World War II. That the First Lady would receive such a reprimand reveals much about the nature, scope, and effectiveness of censorship in wartime America. How and why such information restrictions succeeded are the subjects of Michael Sweeney’s history of the Office of Censorship, Secrets of Victory.
The author of the review writes of the relevance of the book's material today with it's attempt to "give the reader a taste of the problem of finding a proper balance between wartime secrecy and the public’s right to know."

I also found an article on gender discrimination and glass ceilings within the CIA to be compelling reading when framed within the struggle of One Woman's Contribution to Social Change at CIA:
When I returned from an overseas assignment in 1981, I found the Directorate much changed from two years earlier. As chief of a DO budget and finance branch, I noted that we had a stream of new officers in training or headed overseas. That in itself was not new. What was different was that the trainees were no longer all white males. Sizeable numbers of female officers were coming through, although it was not until the 1990s that we began to see more minorities. I wondered what had prompted the change in the DO. A chance hall conversation with Harritte Thompson led me, years later, to pursue her story and look into the legislation that enabled her success.
I'm not quite sure what to make of an online magazine in which the first word to appear over the table of contents is "Unclassified," but many of the other articles are worth looking over. Filter them as you will.
you just never know...

In 1942, one futurist predicted that cars would be replaced almost completely by helocopters in 1955. A September, 1942, article from the Atlantic Monthy called The Coming Air Age makes this proposition sound almost reasonable. Actually, it makes it sound quite reasonable.
space showers tonight

When we were growing up, my brother and I camped out a couple of nights around his birthday in mid-August to watch meteor storms. I once counted 17 shooting stars in a half-hour period. I remember being amazed. From what I'm reading in the newspaper, that's not much of a light show. Make sure that you peek your head outside tonight to watch the Leonid meteor storm. It's estimated that viewers in parts of North America may be able to see 3,000 to 6,000 bits of space-faring dust lighting up the sky per hour. It may be possible to see more in the early morning tomorrow, too. This particular storm isn't expected to swing by again until 2098.
at the beach

I don't think that it's a cosmic conspiracy, but I'm beginning to wonder. Why is it that every time I go to the beach, it rains? I've visited the ocean before without the clouds pouring forth torrents of nor'eastern proportions. But not the last five or six times I went. This last weekend was no exception. Rain, followed by more rain, chased by even more.

Didn't let it dampen my spirits however, though the weather probably played a large part in limiting the attendance at Fritz Schranck's Beach Blogger Weekend at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, this last weekend. Good food, great beer, and interesting conversation ranging across a wide variety of subjects. I'm very glad I attended. Thanks to Fritz and his family for their wonderful hospitality.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

anonymous activism

If you're going to blow a whistle, you might want to do it quietly. That's the advice given by the authors of a guide called "The Art of Anonymous Activism: Serving the Public While Surviving Public Service," who have targeted public employees as their intended audience. The writers of the guidelines come from a trio of interesting looking web sites. There's the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), the Government Accountability Project (, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer).
a reason to believe?

The artifact that may or may not have been the repository of the remains of the brother of Jesus Christ went on display in Toronto today. Is the "James ossuary" what many claim it to be? No doubt exists that it is an ancient burial box. But I find very little incentive for anyone from the Museum to attempt to prove or disprove what is being claimed of the container. Especially with large crowds of potential visitors on their way to the museum. Maybe they can sell advertising space on the box in the areas not marked by the inscription that some claim proves it held the bones of James, brother of Jesus.
from an australian perspective

The Age looks at file sharing and KaZaA, in an article called Singing in cyberspace. Beyond the issue of a US Court trying to control activities beyond its borders, it also raises this question:
The legal issues go far beyond music. A key question is whether there is liability in making it possible to infringe a law. That's a minefield. A decision along those lines might render car makers responsible for speeding fines or video camera companies liable to prosecution for child pornography.
I don't believe that the recording industry in America will agree with that perspective. But, it may be a view that they have to entertain and consider as they readjust their business models for a future where online sharing of music happens.
send your comments in

The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace closes for comments from the public on Monday. The nature of the internet -- the fact that it is so difficult for the government to regulate and control, means that any plan to try to make it more secure requires public input and participation. tries to put the national strategy into perspective and does a decent job. Take a look and see what you think.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

the courageous act of kindness
Here is an interesting article by a california lawyer/buddhist priest which addresses the stress factors that we face in our legal careers, and an approach to limit the stress as we strive for happiness.
smile, you're on candid camera

This morning's article by Al Mascitti points out the dramatic increase in the use of cameras in public areas in Wilmington. Although I am still shocked by the Supreme Court's 1987 decision in U.S. v. Dunn, the cameras on public streets do not phase me. We have no "reasonable expectation of privacy" with respect to being viewed as we conduct activities on public streets. Similarly, we are "in plain view".

I do, however, find intriguing Al's suggestion that we put cameras in the offices of public officials.
winner wins

I like this positive expression instead of the beleaguered "loser pays" phrase. When winners win and losers lose, we will have a system that works. Currently, you can win the case and pay money. Did you really win?

A revision of our judicial system to incorporate the correct principles (like many enlightened nations have done since the Roman Empire) is the single most effective way to improve it. Walter Olson has written clear articles explaining the strengths of this improvement in our laws, and he has even testified before Congress. Mr. Olson maintains an informative web log ("blog") entitled Overlawyered. There is a nice topic page for this issue, for quick reference. I wonder if we could get him to speak to the DSBA? I wonder if my colleagues would listen?

Monday, November 11, 2002

enabling underage smoking?

Does the web make it easier for those under 18 to purchase cigarettes? Maybe. Should steps be taken to verify the age of those who purchase online? A senator from New York has a plan on how web sites that sell cigarettes can verify the ages of those who purchase online:
Schumer's plan would require customers buying cigarettes to type in driver's license or other state identification numbers, which the vendor would check against existing databases.

Delivery workers would then be required to verify the ages of those receiving the cigarettes, Schumer said. He said sites that sell cigarettes to minors would be shut down.
Yesterday, the senator had the assistance of his 13 year-old daughter in demonstrating how easy it is for teens to purchase online. She went through the motions of ordering at a site that sells tobacco products, but stopped before the actual purchase because, according to her father, "it's illegal to do." Then again, the reason she didn't make a final purchase may have also had to do with 13 year-olds rarely having credit cards...

I'm not thrilled with the idea of web site owners involved in ecommerce having access to a database of driver's licenses. I don't realistically expect that Federal Express or the UPS will engage in age verification upon delivery.

The Federal Government has advocated an age verification system based upon credit card ownership in legislation such as the Communications Decency Act or the Child Online Protection Act when it comes to pornography. Wired Magazine ran a response to that practice last month called Why Online Age Checks Don't Work?. Credit card companies have been issuing cards to people as young as 16.

Then again, the Senator inadvertently demonstrated another way to regulate the sales of tobacco based upon age when he halted his daughter's purchase because "it's illegal to do."
indian burial sites

Is that hill you've just sliced past on the golf course the site of a sacred indian burial place? It could be if you're playing at the Moundbuilders Country Club in Ohio. A 74 year-old Cherokee woman was recently fined for stopping to pray at the mound near the 10th hole of the Club's course. The Indian Burial and Sacred Grounds Watch site compiles information related to news and campaigns involving indian grave sites. The page's owners also display state laws regarding the protection of burial sites. Here's Delaware's.
22nd out of 50? C'mon Delaware

Delaware was ranked 22nd on digitization by the Center for Digital Government. We should take that as a challenge, Governor Ruth Ann Minner! Ernie the Attorney via Windley led me to this story.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

giuliani off broadway

The plot sees hero Rudy travelling to Mexico City to consult on anti-crime measures. Is it theatre, carefully choreographed by the City's government or a sincere effort to bring an expertise on zero-tolerance policy law enforcement to Mexico?
tomorrow's news today

This headline caught my eye: Group Opposes Vouchers for Police, Fire Services, from the pages of Future Feed Forward, an information and financial services company that gives us tomorrow's headlines today. Fun Site.
our ninth president, george washington

George Washington was the first President of the United States, or was he? A look at how the USA was governed in the days after the Declaration of Independence sprang up on Metafilter recently. A very interesting post, with some great links and comments.
america's newest supergroup?

Question: What do you get when you cross the Indigo Girls with the Dead Kennedy's?

Answer: An interesting night at Ole Miss.

A stop off on the Spitfire Tour at Mississippi State University the University of Mississippi (thanks, Jen) on Monday night has the performers standing up for free speech. How do we get the Spitfire Tour to visit Delaware? (If anyone from the University of Delaware is reading here, it looks like the tour has dates open after the 11th for the fall and spring -- go for it!)

Friday, November 08, 2002

English Rule? American Rule? Alaska Rule?

A recent Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal (pdf) raises the point that loser pay laws will shorten the length of litigation, and lessen the overall caseload of our courts, by giving the litigants the incentive to do so. The author correctly points out that the incentive is not currently there. In fact, in many types of circumstances, there is an incentive to file more lawsuits and drag them out.

I have been working against the current for over a year now on researching, drafting and drumming up support for a hybrid law that will achieve the same goals. Although I come at this problem with a different perspective than does the author of the article, I think we both arrive at the same result.
so it's not just me, after all?

Going around the blog circuit... from Stefan to Xeni at Boing Boing is a great excuse for my attitude. It seems that a Japanese survey has shown that I am a cranky old fart because I use the computer... it's not just a character flaw after all!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

how can I convert my company into a Delaware company?

A recent client question, and my response:

Question: I have a Florida LLC, and I wish instead for it to be a Delaware, LLC. What are my options?

Answer: One of the beautiful aspects of Delaware Corporate Law is that it is so flexible and internally consistent. You have several options. One option, that would probably be too burdensome, is that you can create a Delaware LLC, and then sell the Florida assets and contracts to the Delaware company. Another less burdensome option to consider is to create a Delaware LLC (maybe even with the same name as the Florida LLC), and then merge the two companies, leaving the Delaware LLC as the surviving entity. Similarly, you can convert other entities, such as a regular corporation, or an S Corp, or a Close Corp, or a Partnership, or a LLP, into an LLC or one of the other sorts of entities, or amend your existing entity to reflect the changes in your business. We can do many different things to keep the structure of your business in tune with the changing laws and the focus of your business. These transactions should be drafted and/or reviewed by a Delaware Attorney.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

green card lottery information

If you want to apply for a chance to get a green card, go directly to the INS web site. It's infuriating that there are fake sites out there trying to scam people attempting to immigrant into the USA. If the web site's name doesn't end with a "gov" then you have the wrong place. Here's the official warning about these fake sites from the Federal Trade Commission.
law on tv

I've been keeping my comments to myself regarding David E. Kelley's short lived television show Girls' Club, but if the failure of that show gives him more time to focus upon his writing to The Practice, than maybe his spectacular failure (the show was cancelled after two episodes aired) may turn out to be a good thing. A New York Times columnist contacted Kelley, and wrote about what we might see (NY Times, reg. req'd) on the show this season. One topic that will come up frequently is the erosion of civil rights after September 11th. I'm interested in seeing how that plays out. This weekend, the show takes on the Catholic Church.
Military police are among the Army's most-deployed soldiers, often arriving before and staying longer on-scene than most other troops.

Combat Mp's
US Army MP School text and picture from ArmyLink Photos,
part of ArmyLink, the official website of Army Public Affairs.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

birth certificate bloopers

My father's last name is different than mine. It's because of a Polish nurse. That's not intended as an insult to Polish nurses, or Polish people in general. But, it's the truth. Last names are a fairly complex concept in Poland. If you visit this page, and scroll down to the section on Last Names, or Surnames, you see that a polish last name may be spelled differently depending upon whether the name refers to a male, or a female.

When my grandmother arrived at the hospital ready to let my father into the world, the Polish nurse who checked her in spelled her last name Slawska. Unfortunately, my father didn't have a Polish nurse prepare his birth certificate, and his name wasn't adjusted for gender. My father's birth certificate lists his last name as Slawska. As he was gowing up, he used the correct spelling, Slawski. At least, until he got into the Marine Corps, who insisted that he had to use the name indicated his birth certificate. Why he never had his name legally changed, I'm not sure.

Mistakes do happen on birth certificates. A man in Italy recently had a similar problem (via blogdex). His birth certificate incorrectly lists a feminine version of his first name, and also carries the designation "female." He applied to have the erroneous name and gender corrected on the certificate seven years ago, but bureaucracy has conspired to keep the change from happening. When applying for a marriage license, the information on his birth certificate caused the Italian government to deny the license. Wanting to get married, he tried a different approach:
Buonocore was driven to try an unorthodox legal tactic. He appealed to a court in Torre Annunziata, south of Naples, to have his sexual identity overturned under Italy's sex-change law. He's never had a sex change, but no matter. If he could prove he was a he, his lawyers reasoned, the court would have to alter his birth certificate and let him change his name to boot. "It was a trick," he said in an interview. "But it was an open trick."

Last week, a judge agreed. He ruled that Luciana is really all man and always has been, and whatever the pretext, it was high time to put things right. "I'm going to get married right away," the soon-to-be Luciano said.
Let this be a cautionary note to all the parents-to-be out there. Check that birth certificate over carefully before checking out of the hospital. Failure to do so may impede your child from getting married sometime in the future. And, when my father gets mentioned on the web (congratulations, Dad!), they spell his name wrong...
pooh and tigger too

I'm not sure what Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, or Tigger would say about the battle over their ownership as intellectual property, but keeping track of the battle is giving me a headache.
manga in the USA

It's one of the hottest businesses in Japan. And, one of the most popular titles is coming to the US, in a phonebook sized edition. Business 2.0 looks at how some parts of Manga comic books might be Lost in Translation. It's a shame, because the originals sound like they have a lot of character. Here's one example of what may not be included in the new release:

A middle-school ninja battles some mean upperclassmen by making their clothes disappear. Every once in a while he goofs, casting the spell on himself.
That actually sounds like it has a lot of comic potential. I wouldn't call this censorship, but rather a business marketing decision. Though it does raise the question, what might be lost when something is translated into another language or adapted for a different cultural market.
what is FATF?

The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering was established in 1989 and are currently committed to operate until at least 2004. It is a multinational group that has set out to create standards and regulations designed to meet its goals. Thus far they have published their malignant manifesto... "The Forty Recommendations". This is going to cost more than I can imagine. And the disruptive impact upon regular business will be immeasurable. They have broadened the scope of their proposed regulations to include not only banks, but many other entirely unrelated businesses:

Annex to Recommendation 9: List of Financial Activities undertaken by business or professions which are not financial institutions:
  • Acceptance of deposits and other repayable funds from the public. [including attorneys]

  • Lending.

  • Financial leasing.

  • Money transmission services.

  • Issuing and managing means of payment (e.g. credit and debit cards, cheques, traveller's cheques and bankers' drafts...)

  • Financial guarantees and commitments.

  • Trading for account of customers (spot, forward, swaps, futures, options...) in:

    • money market instruments (cheques, bills, CDs, etc.) ;

    • foreign exchange;

    • exchange, interest rate and index instruments;

    • transferable securities;

    • commodity futures trading.

  • Participation in securities issues and the provision of financial services related to such issues.

  • Individual and collective portfolio management.

  • Safekeeping and administration of cash or liquid securities on behalf of clients.

  • Life insurance and other investment related insurance.

  • Money changing.
And guess who will pay for this...with every credit card transaction, every bank deposit, every insurance policy, every registered agent firm, and every attorney relationship?

What about the attorney-client privilege? Do you want your attorney to be required to report how much you pay her and for what service ? Where will this data go and how will it be used?

Monday, November 04, 2002

Captain Ezra Lee

From the Commercial Advisor, Nov. 1821

Died, at Lyme, (Connecticut), on the 29th ult.

Captain EZRA LEE, aged 72, a revolutionary officer.—It is not a little remarkable, that this officer is the only man, of which it can be said, that he fought the enemy upon land–upon water–and under the water; the latter mode of warfare was as follows: --

When the British fleet lay in the North River, opposite to the city of New-York, and while general Washington had possession of the city, he was very desirous to be rid of such neighbors. –A Mr. Bushnell, of Saybrook, (Conn.) who had the genius of a Fulton, constructed a submarine machine, of a conical form, bound together with iron bands, within which one person might sit, and with cranks and skulls, could navigate it to any depth under water.

In the upper part was affixed a vertical screw for the purpose of penetrating ships bottoms, and to this was attached a magazine of powder, within which was a clock, which, upon being set to run any given time, would, when run down, spring a gunlock, and an explosion would follow.

This Marine Turtle, so called, was examined by gen. Washington, and approved; to preserve secrecy, it was experimented within an inclosed yard, over twenty to thirty feet of water, and kept during day-light locked in a vessel’s hold. The brother of the inventor was to be the person to navigate the machine into action, but on sinking it the first time, he declined the service.

Gen. Washington, unwilling to relinquish the object, requested major general Parsons to select a person, in whom he could confide, voluntarily to engage in the enterprise; the latter being well acquainted with the heroic spirit, the patriotism, and the firm and steady courage of the deceased above mentioned, immediately communicated the plan and the offer, which he accepted, observing that his life was at general Washington’s service.

After practicing the machine, until he understood its powers of balancing and moving underwater, a night was fixed upon for the attempt. General Washington, and his associates in the secret, took their stations upon the roof of a house in Broadway, anxiously awaiting the result.

Morning came and no intelligence could be had of the intrepid sub-marine navigator, nor then could the boat who attended him, give any account of him after parting with him the first part of the night.

While these anxious spectators were about to give him up as lost, several barges were seen to start suddenly for Governor’s Island, (then in possession of the British), and proceed towards some object near the Asia ship of the line, --as suddenly they were seen to put about and steer for the Island with springing oars.

In two or three minutes, an explosion took place, from the surface of the water, resembling a water pout, which aroused the whole city and region; the enemy ships too the alarm – signals were rapidly given – the ships cut their cables and proceeded to the Hook, with all possible dispatch, sweeping their bottoms with chains, and with difficulty prevented their frighted crews from leaping overboard.

During this scene of consternation, the deceased came to the surface, opened the brass head of his aquatic machine; rose up and gave a signal for the boat to come to him, but they could not reach him, until he descended under water, to avoid the enemy’s shot from the Island, who had discovered and commenced firing in his wake.

Having forced himself against a strong current under water until within reach of the shot, he was taken in tow and landed at the battery amidst a great crowd, and reported to general Washington, who expressed his entire satisfaction, that the object was effected, without the loss of lives.

The deceased was under the Asia’s bottom more than two hours, endeavoring to penetrate her copper, but in vain. He frequently came up under her stern galleries searching for exposed plank, and could hear the sentinels cry. Once he was discovered by the watch on deck, and heard them speculate upon him, but concluded a drifted log had paid them a visit – he returned to her keel and examined it fore and aft, and then proceed to come to some other ships; but the impossibility of penetrating their coppers, for want of a resisting power, hundreds owed the safety of their lives to this circumstance.

The longest space of time that he could remain under water was two hours – for a particular description of this submarine curiosity, see Silliman’s journal of arts and sciences.

The deceased, during the war, ever had the confidence and esteem of the commander in chief, and was frequently employed by him on secret missions of importance. He fought with him at Trenton and Monmouth; at Brandywine the hilt of his sword was shot away, and his hat and his coat were penetrated with the enemy’s balls.

On the return of peace, he laid aside the habiliments of war, and returned to his farm, where, like Cincinnatus, he tilled his lands, until called by the great commander in chief to the regions above.

He died without an enemy; he was universally beloved. The suavity of his manners – evenness of his temper, and correctness of his principles, was proverbial and pleasing to all his acquaintance.

He enjoyed the confidence of his fellow citizens, to an extent almost unparalleled. – His desk was the repository of deeds, contracts and other evidences of property, as well as the widows and orphans wealth for safekeeping.

He constantly read the papers of the day, and was by many considered to be a political prophet. His christian and moral life was sternly strict; -- his bible his guide and rule of action. "to do unto others, as he would they should do unto him," was his universal maxim and rule of life.

His benevolence and charity was only circumscribed by his means. – Contented and happy, he was a perfect example of the great blessings which flow from the perfect enjoyment of life, regulated by a christian and moral virtue. He has left a widow, (with whom he has lived 51 years), and a numerous offspring to mourn the loss of one of the best of men.

From Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America: Or, An Attempt To Collect And Preserve Some Of The Speeches, Orations, & Proceedings, With Sketches and Remarks On Men and Things, and Other Fugitive or Neglected Pieces, Belonging to the Revolutionary Period in the United States; Which, Happily, Terminated in the Establishment of Their Liberties: With a View to Represent the Feelings That Prevailed in the "Times That Tried Men's Souls," to Excite a Love of Freedon, and Lead the People to Vigilance, as the Condition on which it is Granted.

Compiled and published in 1822 by H. Niles, Printed by William Ogden Niles.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

cybersleuth training, sir!

I'm not sure why images of Bill Murray and Harold Ramis traveling about Europe in a Winnebago come to mind, from the movie Stripes, when I read about a new cybersleuth training camp being set up in Pittsburgh. It's not like those are the kinds of guys who are going to end up training there to combat cyberterrorism and white-collar crime. OK, so where are they going to get their cybersleuths? And, do they get special urban assault vehicles disguised to look like Winnebagos? Or will they be equipped with something more modern?
like google for the police?

Coplink is a new tool developed in Arizona, and is being used by police officers in Arizona. It's a database that uses information gathered by law enforcement agents, and has the ability to make connections between that information that might elude investigators:
Coplink works by linking and comparing data from new and existing files. For example, Mr. Griffin said, in a Tucson case a man was found lying face down after his throat had been cut and he had been run over by a vehicle. The man was still alive, and before he was taken to a hospital he told people at the scene, "Shorty did it." The name Shorty was put into Coplink and cross-referenced with the victim's personal data, and within minutes the records showed that the two men had been in prison together.
The software is being used in an effort to find out more about the movements and activities of the suspects in the Washington area sniping cases prior to their capture.
sex in korea

Sometimes a headline just catches your eye. Like this one; 60,000 S. Koreans desperately want to have 'sex'. A ban against "sex" was recently lifted by the South Korean government.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

how do you say "lawyer" and other questions

A Dialect Survey from Harvard University is asking how you pronounce certain words, and other questions, including which words you use for particular objects. They are taking the results and putting them on maps of the USA. Some sample questions:
What do you call the area of grass between the sidewalk and the road?

What do you call the long sandwich that contains cold cuts, lettuce, and so on?

What is the distinction between dinner and supper?
And, of course, the correct way of saying "lawyer" is to rhyme the "law" part with "boy," and not with "saw." The rest of you just have funny accents.
the henhouse v. the fox

Here's another disappointing story about a lapse in responsibility with an ironic twist.
drug testing

Drug testing is invasive, insulting, and generally irrelevant to job performance. Why do so many companies insist on it?
ReasonOnline takes a thorough look at drug testing in the work place. Is drug testing effective? Is alcohol a much larger problem? Once a company has a drug testing program in place, what perceptions might they face if they decide to stop?

Friday, November 01, 2002

law and literature

According to an article in the New York Times over 40% of law schools now offer Law and Literature classes. The movement has its critics, and I wonder if it's a class that should be offered as part of a law school curriculum. But, I would have signed up to take a class like that if it was offered at my law school. Then again, they are offering this Shakespearean Continuing Legal Education (CLE) class
cybersecurity and the fbi

At a speech given to the Informational Technology Association of America yesterday, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III talked about changes to the FBI to protect businesses. It makes for interesting reading. What challenges face the federal government? How much help will the private sector provide them? The director also mentions the FOIA issue that I raised earlier today:
Second, let me address your greatest concern, and therefore our greatest concern: the chance of having your reports made public under the Freedom of Information Act. We completely understand your ambivalence and your lawyers' warnings, but we are confident this issue can be worked out to everyone's satisfaction. Let us approach Congress together with a plan that will provide the tools you need to protect your equities and that we need to do our job.
The speech does give some insight into how the federal government will try to work with business to try to make their networks more secure.
lawyers are starting to stand up for the cause

In response to a continual barrage of lawyer bashing, and other such slanderous and small minded negativity, some lawyers are stepping up to the battle lines. Campaign slurs by the Republican party against the profession as a whole are entirely inappropriate. They make me ashamed to be a Republican.
businesses afraid of reporting cybercrimes?

You're the chief information officer for a tech business. Your computer system has just been hacked. Who do you call?

A number of businesses have been hesitant to contact the FBI in that situation. At a cybercrime conference in Virginia yesterday, government officials made assurances that they would try to avoid bad publicity for a company when circumstances like that arise. presents a view of reporting cybercrime from an information executive's perspective called Fear Factor: A reality check on your top five concerns about reporting security incidents. The article does raise a serious concern in addition to those five that people should be aware of.

The five that they list, and explain very well:
  • Fear of calling the wrong agency
  • Fear that everyone will find out
  • Fear that the government will take computers away
  • Fear that they will end up looking bad
  • Fear that there is no benefit to reporting cybercrime
The article also considers a Freedom of Information Act exemption that was being reviewed by the Senate that would protect information disclosed by a company that voluntarily reported cybercrime to the Federal Government. The act was originally the Critical Infrastructure Information Security Act of 2001 (summary), which was worked into the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (pdf). (See TITLE VII—Miscellaneous, Subtitle C—Critical Infrastructure Information, starting on page 170).

However, as the article states, it may be possible that preparedness for a cyberattack should be part of an SEC disclosure, as is the reporting of a cybercrime:
"We can show that reporting may be a legal duty," says Christopher Wolf, a partner for Proskauer Rose in Washington, D.C.—specifically, in cases where an incident could have a significant impact on business.
And, under the Homeland Security Act, a disclosure to the SEC would not be protected under the FOIA exemption. A sidebar to the article notes that the Homeland Security Act didn't make it through the legislative process this term. But, it's possible that the exemption will survive any retooling of the Act when the next term begins. And, even if the Homeland Security Act doesn't go through, this issue will likely be revisited in some form.

So, you're the chief information officer for a tech business. Your computer system has just been hacked. Who do you call?