What makes it worthwhile

Cohen Davis solicitors awards winners
Tonight, we will be joining the crème de la crème of the legal profession in England and Wales at the Law Society Excellence Awards ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel.

I am so proud that our law firm, Cohen Davis, has been shortlisted by the Law Society judges for an award in Excellence in Client Care Service.  We work hard every day to make people happy, to improve the quality of their lives and to make their experience in receiving legal services exceptionally rewarding. We do our best to deliver an outstanding level of client care with our internet law services to all our clients by opening our process up to them with our Legal Teamwork App, which lets our clients see everything we do, as we do it, live in real time, and by sharing with them our thoughts and strategies minute by minute, step by step.

Curiously, in the early days of the firm, when I told my colleagues that we were going to deliver an App that lets our clients see everything we do, they all thought I was out of my mind.

Last year, we decided to take things further and limit our project intake to 45 at any given time with the intention of maximising the quality and speed of our work, basically placing quality before profit. This means that some clients have to wait sometimes for up to 2-3 weeks before we begin work on their projects.  Again, many of my colleagues thought I have completely lost the plot. since when do solicitors say “no” to work?

They said that if we were that honest with people, we would scare them off and they will go elsewhere, where they think their internet law matter will be dealt with faster. This didn’t happen and those who know me well, also know that “grab as much as you can” has never been my thing anyway. So yes, sometimes clients need to wait for their project to get a formal start date but so far everyone has accepted this with grace because clients understand the benefit of doing things properly and thoroughly and of being told the truth about timescales. Every internet law case is different and every individual and business are also unique so we must give people the time and attention they really deserve.

So forget the ceremony and the champagne that will be pouring tonight at the Law Society Excellence Awards ceremony because what makes it worthwhile, for me at least, is those touching testimonials that keep coming.

Thank you all.

Yair cohen

 

Is Google a victim of anti-trust witch-hunt by the European Commission?

Google anti-trust caseAnti-trust cases against Google

Yet again, the European Commission has placed Google alleged anti competitive behaviour under the spotlight.  Google is now accused of misusing its dominant market position in Europe as the provider of the operating system Android, to stop competitors from developing enhancements to Android. By taking active steps to “nicely” persuade mobile telephone manufacturer to use Google Android operating system exclusively at the expense of other versions of Androids,  Google’s makes it almost impossible for competitors to enter the mobile telephone operating system market which in turn prevents technological developments, according to the European Commission’s latest 150 pages Statement of Objections which it sent to Google and to its parent company Alphabet earlier this year.

Google however cares less about its operating system and more, much more, about the operating system being tied in to its Google search engine. The European Commission is saying that Google also forces telephone manufacturers to preinstall Google search engine on all new Androids mobile google anti trust casetelephone, which means it also stops competitors from having a fair opportunity to enter the mobile telephone search engine market.

So why is Google so keen on having exclusivity over mobile telephone search engines? The answer is that it cares less about the search engine and more about being able to manipulate search results so that its Google Store, and Google sellers can dominant the comparison search market regardless of merits.

Search comparison searches is, guess what? Yes, the subject of yet another European Commission alleged anti competitive investigation against Google.

Confused? Not to worry! Listen in to my interview with attorney Bennet Kelley, live on Cranberry FM,  Google’s Antitrust Battle with the EU with Yair Cohen.  Google anti-trust case made simple where we cover all the different anti-trust cases the European Commission currently undertakes against Google and where we ask the burning question:

Is Google a victim of anti-trust witch-hunt by the European Commission?

Lawsuit against Facebook

Lawsuit against Facebook Yair Cohen UK social media litigation lawyer

Lawsuit against Facebook by Shurat Hadin Law Center,

Radio interview with Yair Cohen. Facebook sued by Israeli and USA citizens over Palestinian attacks. Lawyers have filed a $1B lawsuit against Facebook, accusing it of knowingly supporting the Palestinian group Hamas. Law suit against Facebook might succeed. The law suit is filed under the USA in Anti-Terrorism Act. This is not the first case where Facebook is said to be providing “material support or resources” to terrorist organizations or to affiliates of terrorist organizations responsible for assisting in the commission of terrorist acts.

Previous similar law suits were filed against financial institutions. The law suit against Facebook follows a number of documented experiments conducted by Shurat Hadin Lawcenter, a Tel-Aviv based organisation that sets its aim to fight terrorism and safeguard Jewish rights worldwide. The organisation alleges that Facebook consistently refuses to take action to remove terrorist inciting material.

This law suit also follows a recent report by the Middle East Quartet that says Palestinians who commit terrorist attacks are often glorified publicly as “heroic martyrs.” Many widely circulated images depict individuals committing terrorist acts with slogans encouraging violence. The spreading of incitement to violence on social media has gained momentum since October 2015, and is particularly affecting the youth. Anti-Terrorism Act says victims may recover with “threefold the damages he or she sustains and the cost of the suit, including attorney’s fees.”

One of the main issues in the case is likely to be whether Facebook is much more than a neutral internet platform or a mere “publisher”. The law suit would have alleged that Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions and targeting advertising based on people’s online “likes” and internet browsing history.

Additionally the law suit presumably will rely on Facebook’s refusal to take down inciting pages, claiming that they do not violate its “community standards.” Calling on people to commit crimes is not constitutionally protected speech and endangers the lives of American Jews and Israelis. The Anti-Terrorism Act, takes incitement to terrorism, or facilitating acts of terrorism outside the scope of free speech.

Facebook harassment legal advice

Social media lawyer.Facebook harassment legal advice

Facebook harassment legal advice

Amazon fake reviews legal advice

Amazon specialist lawyer Yair Cohen

Amazon specialist lawyer Yair Cohen

Amazon users who post or who commission agents to post fake reviews are now more likely to face legal action by Amazon as the company has so far this year issued more than 1000 law suites against both users and vendors for posting fake or manipulated online reviews.

As some Amazon sellers offer refunds and discounts in exchange for good reviews, the UK Competition and Markets Authority has recently published its investigation into online reviews following complaints about  fake reviews being posted onto review sites, negative reviews not being published and businesses paying for endorsements in blogs and other online articles without this being made clear to consumers.

Following the investigation, in April 2016 the Authority  wrote to more than 50  marketing companies, businesses that use the services of marketing companies and publishers of online articles and blogs, to warn them that helping to arrange or publish advertising or other marketing that is not clearly distinguishable from the opinion of a journalist or blogger may result in them breaking the law.

Businesses that mislead consumers may be in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The UK Competition and Markets Authority has also issued advice to businesses whose products are being reviewed that they could be breaking the law if they

  •  pretend to be a customer and write reviews about their own products
  • commission third parties to write fake reviews
  • offer inducements – money or gifts – to customers to write positive reviews their business

In the United States, Amazon has pushed forward with  legal actions against vendors who it says manipulated its review system by offering unfair inducements in return for good reviews.

The topic of Amazon fake business and product reviews was the centre of the  BBC Radio 4 consumer affair program  You and Yours. Amazon specialist lawyer Yair Cohen discusses the latest developments below.

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Bulk Personal Datasets collected by UK government includes solicitor client privileged information

The bulk personal datasets collected by British intelligence agencies is reminiscent of dark days and dark regimes, Yair Cohen, of the London-based law firm Cohen Davis Solicitors, told Sputnik.

In an interview with Sputnik, Yair Cohen, of the London-based law firm Cohen Davis Solicitors, slammed the UK intelligence agencies’ bulk personal datasets (BPD) as a reminder of dark days and dark regimes.

Bulk Personal DatasetsThe interview came after the human rights watchdog Privacy International managed to obtain a cache of documents which shed light on the UK spy agencies’ controversial BPDs. This is the collection of personal data of people, most of whom present no particular interest to the intelligence services. Other documents include admissions by government lawyers that the vast majority of data was supplied on a volunteer basis. “I suspect that some of the information was being supplied by email providers or organizations that handled emails as well,” Cohen said.

Bulk Personal Datasets

These organisations are likely to include Microsoft and Google who provide corporate email operation services, otherwise it is hard to see where legally qualified information or journalistic communication could be obtained from on a voluntary basis, possibly in blatant breach of the Data Protection Act.

Cohen Davis Solicitors is one of a minority of law firms in the UK that is using SSL security and email encryption as a routine way to communicate with its clients.

Yair Cohen expressed alarm about what he described as “the level of scrutiny” pertaining to the BPDs.

Bulk Personal Datasets

Bulk Personal Datasets

“I’m also concerned about the level of scrutiny carried out by unknown and unnamed officials, something that reminds [me] of dark days and even dark regimes,” he said.

According to him, the documents which had been released are procedurals documents which provide and insight into the type and nature of the bulk personal datasets collected by the UK government.

“What was actually disclosed is not the documents related to specific individuals but rather the policy that governs the collection of that data. By reading those documents we can understand what type of information was being handled and how it was delivered,” he added.

Listened to the interview with Yair Cohen:  bulk personal datasets collection by government UK

Legal implications for parents who post children pictures on Facebook

As the French police have warned parents that their grown-up children could sue them for putting their security or privacy at risk in relation to photographs posted by their parents on Facebook and elsewhere when they were younger, many parents in the UK are asking for clarification of the law concerning placing children’s images on the internet, particularly on Facebook.

Back in 2012, European citizens were given a new right by The European Court of Human Rights, which is a ‘Right to the Protection of One’s Image’. The case which resulted in this new right actually involved a real princess, Princess Caroline von Hannover, who applied to the court for an injunction preventing the publication of two series of photographs relating to her private life, which had appeared in German magazines, because she said the publication infringed her right to the protection of her private life and of her own image.

The court agreed with the Princess and the judges stated that in their view, a person’s image constitutes one of the most important attributes of his or her personality because it reveals the person’s unique characteristics and distinguishes the person from his or her peers. The right to the protection of one’s image is in fact one of the essential components of personal development. Therefore an individual has a right to control the use of their image, including the right to refuse publication.

In the case of children, once they grow up, they might not wish to have their images exposed to the world at large, yet they might be prevented from doing anything about the publication. Images that were originally posted on Facebook by the child’s parent might since have been copied to other websites or downloaded by strangers. In theory, the child could successfully sue their parent(s) for breaching their privacy, as the possibility that an image posted on Facebook could be copied or downloaded is real and had been known to the parent all along.

So as parents do we need to think twice before we post images of our children on Facebook?

I think so, but there are opinions to the contrary. Listen to my conversation with Shelagh Fogarty on LBC Radio 97.3 FM.

Yair Cohen social media. LBC

Interview with social media lawyer

 

 

 

Can employer monitor employee email

Can employer monitor employee email? Employers have the right to read employees’ work emails and electronic messages, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. In practice, however, employers need to ensure that their internal policies allow then to do so and that employees are made aware of the fact that work computers, email accounts and messenger services are used for work purposes alone. I even don’t recommend that employees check their personal Gmail account using the work computer because there might be circumstances where the employer will be justified in monitoring those too.

As good practice employers who wish to monitor employee email should require employees not to use their own personal email or skype accounts to communicate on behalf of the business and make clear that the employer reserves the right to monitor employee email.

In 2014, Microsoft was accused of spying on one of their employees’ personal Hotmail account and reading messages, which included alleged disclosure by the employee of confidential Microsoft work related information to a third party. The employee was interrogated for 3 hours and eventually dismissed from his job on the basis of the information which was discovered in his personal emails account.

Employers can spy into employees’ personal computers, including reading emails in order to protect their intellectual property, to preserve the good reputation of the business and to enhance the safety and security of other employees.

Employees who  for example, defame or harass other people or businesses through their work computer can end up bringing trouble to their employer who might be found to be vicariously (indirectly) liable to the action of the employees.

Employers therefore can, under many different circumstances, claim that they are in fact duty bound to spy on employees’ computers and communications to protect the company, its employees or even the safety and security of third parties.

Can employer monitor employee email

Can employer monitor employee email

What is the position, however, regarding employers spying on employees who use their own mobile telephone but via the employer’s Wi-Fi system remains to be seen. Sooner or later a case addressing precisely this point is likely to arise.

Can employer monitor employee email. Internet and social media lawyer Yair Cohen radio interview, complaining the rights of employers to monitor employees’ email at work.

Net neutrality abolished. Fast lane or slow lane and what the fuss is all about

Since the inception of the internet the concept of net neutrality meant that all data is equal in the eyes of the internet service providers (ISPs), which means that all content has to be streamed to our computers and mobile devices in equal speed and quality. It seems however, from now on, some data will be more equal than other, with priority of delivery given to the highest bidders.

In short, ISPs will be able to “hide” some content by delivering it through a slow lane and this is likely to restrict our choice and limit our ability to consume information in a neutral way. Read more about this very interesting topic .

Net neutrality: EU votes in favour of Internet fast lanes and slow lanes

Net neutrality: EU votes in favour of Internet fast lanes and slow lanes

There is also a radio interview I did with one of the radio station which goes into a bit more detail on how this topic is likely to affect you as an individual or your business. Read in more detail Net neutrality vote in the European Parliament. What does it really mean?

Internet law expert Yair Cohen radio interview on Radio Sputnic on Internet fast lane and slow lane.

TalkTalk data breach can I leave TalkTalk?

TalkTalk data breach can I leave TalkTalk?

TalkTalk Data Breach – Can I Leave TalkTalk?

TalkTalk Data Breach – Can I Leave TalkTalk?

TalkTalk Data Breach – Can I Leave TalkTalk?

You, as a TalkTalk customer, may feel that the recent data breach, when considered in the context of a series of unpleasant dealings as a customer of TalkTalk is the final straw and are asking yourself, “Can I leave TalkTalk?”

As with many similar consumer contracts, there is a 21 day cooling off period, which is essentially a grace period in which a consumer has the opportunity to change their mind without incurring a penalty. If your contract has gone beyond the 21 day cooling off period you may be asking, “What can I do?”

It seems that as a customer of TalkTalk, you are very limited in terms of what you can do in order to come out of your contract early without incurring a penalty, as it appears, after considering the contract, that there is a complex charging system for customers who wish to leave TalkTalk early. These complex charges are referred to in the contract as “Early termination charges”. It seems that these charges are distinct to each service that you are provided with by TalkTalk, and that the charges are also accumulated.

For example, if you are a customer of TalkTalk and have “Fibre Large” package which you wish to cancel, the contract states that you will need to pay £15 per month for every month left on your contract, in addition to the phone, broadband and television service early termination charges. This could add up to a vast sum, in some cases to nearly £800.

TalkTalk states the following on its website:

“In the unlikely event that money is stolen from your bank account as a direct result of the cyber attack (rather than as a result of any information you give out) then as a gesture of goodwill, on a case by case basis, we will waive termination fees

It’s important to remember that the cyber attack was a criminal act and we are acting in line with our terms and conditions.

 Customers can talk to our customer services team which is free from TalkTalk landline.”

TalkTalk seems to suggest that it may, as a gesture of goodwill and on a case by case basis, decide to waive termination fees. The number of cases in which it decides to waive termination fees is yet to be determined but is very likely to be minimal because of the caveats attached to the offer, particularly the statement, “rather than as a result of any information you give out”. So, if someone called you and you gave them additional information which ended up assisting them in stealing money from your account, then it look as if you are not going to be eligible for the offer.

I analysed the TalkTalk contract on behalf of BBC radio 4 PM show. Listed here:

 

Yair Cohen Presents at Internet Law Leadership Summit 2015 in Las Vegas

Yair Cohen presents at the Internet Law Leadership Summit

Yair Cohen presents at the Internet Law Leadership Summit

Yair Cohen has been invited to present at the Internet Law Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada on 19-20 November 2015 at the Aria Resort & Casino hotel.  The Internet Law Leadership Summit brings together the world’s top lawyers whose practices are focused on internet law, social media law. trademark law and reputation law on the Internet.  Yair Cohen’s presentation will include topics relating to UK defamation law, UK harassment law – strategies and practice. This year the presentation will go to the heart of the practicalities of on the new Right to Be Forgotten ruling by the European Court and the opportunities for corroboration between USA attorneys and UK lawyers on internet law related matters.

Yair Cohen is a social media lawyer with Cohen Davis, a firm based in London whose practice is focused on creating groundbreaking court rulings in the area of internet law in the United Kingdom..

Yair Cohen presents at the Internet Law Leadership Summit Las Vegas

Yair Cohen presents at the Internet Law Leadership Summit Las Vegas