Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In a long-ranging interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt talked at length about privacy.

Google Inc. executive chairman Eric Schmidt said one of his biggest failures as chief executive of the search giant over the last decade was grappling with the rise of social identity services such as Facebook Inc.

In a wide-ranging keynote interview at the D9: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California Tuesday, Mr. Schmidt said Google had missed on "the friend thing"—including valuable information about who users and their friends are, which can be used to improve the information delivered to them. "In the online world you need to know who you are dealing with," said Mr. Schmidt, who became executive chairman earlier this year while Google co-founder Larry Page took over the CEO role. "I clearly knew that I had to do something and I failed to do it."

Future Google products will add social functionality, he said, such as the previously announced service rolling out to websites starting on Wednesday called "+1" which will help users recommend search results to their online social contacts.

Mr. Schmidt said the consumer Internet today has come to be dominated by a "gang of four" companies that want to be platforms for other companies: Google and Facebook, along with Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. "We have never had four companies growing at the scale that those four are in aggregate," he said.

Mr. Schmidt's comments came as Google increasingly faces pressure to both partner and compete with all three of those tech titans. Mr. Schmidt said Google recently renewed its relationships with Apple for use of its maps and search services, even as Google develops Android, its alternative to Apple's iOS operating system for phones and tablet computers.

Even as Google develops its own social services, he said the company tried to partner with Facebook on search but was rebuffed.

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the interview, Mr. Schmidt also said privacy was a top concern for Google, and that he would "much rather" have a private company making decisions about consumer privacy than the government. Nonetheless, he said he generally supported some kind of privacy regulation by the U.S. government "because it would rationalize some of the questions" about the issue, meaning that it could simplify the debate.

With Google's size and dominance, Mr. Schmidt said the company expects "constant review" of its acquisitions and policies by regulators. Since he stepped down from his position as CEO, Mr. Schmidt said he has been focusing much of his energy on dealing with outward-facing public policy issues.

Write to Geoffrey A. Fowler at geoffrey.fowler@wsj.com

"If you were giving a speech before 45,000 people and someone at the back threw a pie best to immediately shut your face and get the hell out!"

This is a must watch classic!

"Twitter the cat" on the subject of super court injunctions for celebrities!

"Twitter the cat" is out of the bag!

New Twitter user publishes claims over privacy injunctions
Claims about 14 gagging orders follow UK and US court battles to unmask anonymous tweeters

Josh Halliday
May 31, 2011

A user Twitter has published claims about 14 privacy injunctions. (Photograph: Chris Batson/Alamy)

Another Twitter user has published claims about 14 privacy injunctions allegedly obtained by high-profile performers, sportsmen and politicians.

The new Twitter account launched on Monday and has almost 800 followers at the time of publication.

On Monday evening, the anonymous user began posting a series of hitherto unpublished claims about the alleged gagging orders, including links to news articles and court documents.

Earlier this month, a Twitter user amplified pressure to reveal the identities of celebrities said to have taken out privacy injunctions with a string of claims about the alleged indiscretions of six prominent personalities. The account quickly gained more than 100,000 followers, with many more forwarding the claims across the internet.

Ryan Giggs, the Manchester United footballer named by an MP in the Commons as being behind a gagging order preventing reporting of an alleged affair with a reality TV star, is attempting to unmask Twitter users accused of revealing details of the privacy injunction.

Giggs brought the lawsuit at the high court in London and Twitter is understood to have successfully resisted handing over the users' private information.

However, Twitter was forced to hand over the personal details of a British user earlier this month in a separate case involving south Tyneside council. The local authority brought the legal challenge in a Californian court – a move which could spark a change of tack for UK authorities attempting to unmask anonymous Twitter users.

The original Twitter claims – some of which were rejected as false by their subjects – prompted the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, to describe modern technology as being completely out of control following the publication of Lord Neuberger's report on privacy injunctions.

Judge said: "I'm not giving up on the possibility that people who peddle lies about others through using technology may one day be brought under control, maybe through damages, very substantial damages, maybe even injunctions to stop them peddling lies. It will take quite an effort for parliament to get a grip on this."

Twitter says it removes "illegal tweets and spam" but that it "strive[s] not to remove tweets on the basis of their content."

• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email editor@mediaguardian.co.uk or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000. If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly "for publication."

• To get the latest media news to your desktop or mobile, follow MediaGuardian on Twitter and Facebook

"Another judge bites the dust, and another judge bites the dust, and another judge bites the dust ....."

Los Angeles, California

The sixth State Superior Court Judge, James Chalfant, has stepped down from sitting on the Richard I. Fine case involving the County of Los Angeles. Fine's Motion to "Null and Void" all of Judge Yaffe's Orders in the Marina Strand Colony II Homeowers Association versus County of Los Angeles, including his Civil Contempt of Court, have been sent back to Judge Carolyn Kuhl who is searching for a Judge elligible to sit on Richard Fine's Motion, but it appears that all the Judges in Los Angeles now realize they have a serious conflict when sitting on cases involving the County of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County Payments Create Conflict

Judge Carolyn Kuhl was one of five other Judges who have side stepped from the Richard Fine case involving the County after it was revealed she and the others have been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from the County of Los Angeles and continue to do so. Although Court officials have declined to respond to Full Disclosure's inquiry as to how many times Superior Court Judges in Los Angeles had been recused or disqualified from sitting county cases, they do admit that all Los Angeles Judges were recused on the 2006 Sturgeon versus County of Los Angeles case where the payments to California Judges was found to be illegal.

Retroactive Immunity From Criminal Prosecution

The Judges and County officials received retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution in 2009 for their involvement in the illegal payment scheme when Senate Bill SBX 211 was approved by the legislature in the middle of the night without any public debate. This measure promises to be scrutinized as the Judicial conflict
controversy escalates.

Judicial Wall Of Resistance Broken

Appearing in this video are Richard I. Fine Ph.D., former U S Prosecutor and Steve Ipsen, Deputy District Attorney who discuss how Los Angeles County payments to Judges create a problem of bias when sitting on cases where the County is involved. Judge James Chalfant has received $608,000 from L. A. County according to the County Auditor's Report obtained by Richard I . Fine who says that the Judge had no choice but to recuse himself from sitting on his Motion to Null and Void all of Judge David Yaffe's Orders, including his Contempt Order that held Fine In solitary "coercive confinement" for eighteen months in the Los Angeles County Jail. Court Documents available from the links below:

Notice of Renewal To Void All Yaffe's Judgments including the Contempt Proceedings:


Notice of Recusal & Renewal Of Motion To Null and Void Yaffe's Orders 4-25-11:


Notice To Null and void Judge Kuhl's Orders 3-9-11:


Monday, May 30, 2011

Injuncted for $1 by "The Silencer" - Jerk!

How lawyer who's made millions keeping secrets of stars made me sign a gagging agreement ... on our second date

By Sarah Oliver
May 29, 2011

  • Keith Shilling paid 1 pound for confidentiality agreement

  • Ferrari-driver 'treated' her to cheese on toast supper

  • Told her 'my last girlfriend was thinner than you'

  • £1 agreement: Keith Schilling got Sarah Oliver to sign the confidentiality contract on her second date

    It was only our second date. I was sitting by a coffee table in the Hampstead home of the lawyer they call ‘The Silencer’, Keith Schilling, when he produced a typewritten document.

    It was, he said, a confidentiality agreement. After all, he had made his name and his fortune by keeping secrets, and I was a journalist, a senior feature writer on The Mail on Sunday.

    He passed me a pen and told me where to sign. Feeling faintly ridiculous and wondering if this was some kind of elaborate joke I wasn’t quite cool enough to get, I scribbled my name with a smile.

    Then he paid me £1 to make it legally binding.

    Blimey, I’d been injuncted. Let’s hope it wasn’t a super injunction, or I’m going to be in a spot of bother for even beginning this story.

    Could there be a clearer illustration of Keith Schilling’s modus operandi? In his world, nothing is taken on trust and nothing is left to chance; the protection of his stellar client list – which today most notoriously includes Ryan Giggs – was his supreme concern. Even to the detriment of any – or, in my case, all – romance.

    I met Keith on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend, another high-flying media lawyer, in the late Nineties. My friend and his wife were dining with an old law-school chum (Schilling) at London’s then much-favoured OXO Tower restaurant.

    Would I like to make a foursome? Just 30, single, and tied down by no more than a bachelor-girl flat in London’s Notting Hill, I had no reason to decline.

    I had been in Edinburgh enjoying August at the Fringe Festival and flew back to London for that first date. I remember precisely the moment I saw him waiting for us all, sitting with his drink in the far recesses of a darkened bar. I remember it because I thought he looked perfectly happy alone.Shock: Sarah Oliver, pictured here in the 90s, was told by keith Schilling 'my last girlfriend was thinner than you'

    I was wearing a mismatched pair of hot-pink slip dresses by luxury label Ghost, prob-ably with raspberry crushed-velvet pumps and a statement necklace clasping a piece of dark-red jasper, a favourite outfit back then.

    I’m not one to judge my own dinner-party credentials, but I must have passed muster as he volunteered to drive me home.

    He had a red Ferrari. And, as we growled through the slumbering summer streets of late-night London, I had one of those moments where you just want to jump for joy: hot date, hot car, hot night. Then we broke down. On The Mall. Right outside Buckingham Palace.

    'Regarding me one morning as I dried my hair, he mused: "My last girlfriend was thinner than you ..." I was pretty startled, not least because I was a tidy size 8 and weighed no more than eight-and-a-half stone.'

    Keith got out and stuck his head under the bonnet. I lurched between being really impressed he might actually know what he was doing with a Ferrari engine and being really terrified we were going to be arrested as a security threat.

    He got his car going again and dropped me off at home. My flat was in the hands of builders so I wouldn’t invite him up for coffee. (I couldn’t: it was a scruffy, dusty horror.) The next day, I returned to Edinburgh where I had another equally alluring date: tickets to see Eighties band Heaven 17.

    When I got back, he asked me out again. Would I like to come to his place, a magnificent townhouse near Hampstead Heath?

    It had been designed by Conran. Amid its expensive surroundings, he treated me to supper. Cheese on toast.

    Did he even know how to cook anything else? No matter: neither did I, and I scoffed it sitting perched on a very expensive kitchen work-top.

    That’s when the confidentiality agreement emerged. I look back now and wonder why I didn’t leg it then and there – but I had, and still have, both a fondness and a weakness for self-made people.

    It’s easy to succeed when you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth or when new money buys you a whole canteen of cutlery.Silencing: Keith Schilling, pictured here leaving the High Court in March 2002 while he was acting for Naomi Campbell, treated Sarah Oliver to cheese on toast

    Keith Schilling’s mum had a job in Sainsbury’s, his dad was often out of work. He left school at 15 and, he told me, knew what it was like to push the tea trolley. All that he had and crucially, all that he was, he had achieved alone. (That word again.)

    He was obviously quite brilliant, possessed of the sharpest wits and, when he chose to display it, a dry sense of humour.

    He was also in great physical shape, having recently returned from an expedition to Everest base camp. Deeply tanned, he wore his dark blond hair in a small ponytail at the nape of his neck and dark suits with crisp white shirts. I liked his style.

    'The most extravagant he got was dispatching his local cab company for emergency supplies: tobacco and fag papers for him, Dairy Milk for me'

    I’m not sure he was too smitten with mine, though. Regarding me one morning as I dried my hair, he mused: ‘My last girlfriend was thinner than you ...’ I was pretty startled, not least because I was a tidy size 8 and weighed no more than eight-and-a-half stone.

    Fourteen years later, two dress sizes bigger after two sons, the memory of that particular missile still makes my jaw drop.

    Despite my written agreement never to compromise Keith or any of his superstar clients with information gained by his side or in his home, his life would remain a closed book, with his work 100 per cent off-limits.

    It was evident, even from that second uneasy date, that a man whose profession was keeping other people’s secrets was never going to be a happy match for a woman whose profession was unearthing them.

    I’d like to tell you we had a fine old time regardless, that we drank champagne and scoffed great food in London’s best restaurants, went to the theatre or stayed up late dancing.

    But the most extravagant he got was dispatching his local cab company for emergency supplies: tobacco and fag papers for him, Dairy Milk for me.

    Unsurprisingly, M’Lud, within a very, very few weeks the dates were dead and buried. Him, politely: ‘This isn’t really working, is it?’ Me, understandably cross to have scuppered my chances with a handsome, Ferrari-driving, Hampstead-dwelling millionaire:‘Um, no.’)

    I didn’t see Keith again until many years later at a Fleet Street party. His face looked vaguely familiar and I was just about to wander over and say hello when I remembered who he was and why that wouldn’t be such a good idea. He might tell me I was still fatter than his last girlfriend, for one thing.

    But the true postscript to those ill-judged days is this: a small white lace dress of mine (another piece by Ghost) had gone astray at his house – I’d left it hanging in a wardrobe.

    But the true postscript to those ill-judged days is this: a small white lace dress of mine (another piece by Ghost) had gone astray at his house – I’d left it hanging in a wardrobe.

    When it turned up, he called. I said I’d nip over and collect the frock – it’s not as if we had squabbled – but he was adamant he wanted to put it in the post. In the post? Really?

    A couple of days later, it turned up in a plain, brown handwritten envelope. The dress slithered out. There was no note.

    Of course there wasn’t; his is not the kind of near-absolute power achieved by squandering time or emotional energy where none is strictly necessary.

    I can only speak from my own experience, but I’d say that in life, as in the kind of brutal privacy law he has made his own, Keith Schilling is the master of sudden death.

    The moral: Don't leave your Blackberry on camera mode in your front pant pocket with a large banana!

    Nude Tweet: Ontario PC Candidate George Lepp Says Pornographic Twitter Photo Not of Him

    May 29, 2011
    Whose privates were shared with the world via a photo posted to the Twitter feed of an Ontario PC candidate?

    The Ontario Progressive Conservatives denied a report in the Toronto Sun Sunday night that rookie candidate George Lepp was embarrassed to learn a photo of "his family jewels" was posted to his campaign Twitter account.

    The Sun story says Alan Sakach, communications director for the Ontario Conservatives, told the paper the device was operating on camera mode in Lepp's front pant pocket when it went missing.

    But Sakach quickly denied the report, telling the Toronto Star the image was not of Lepp and that he has no idea how it was taken. “This is crap journalism,” Sakach told the Star, accusing The Sun of misquoting him.

    Sakach told The Canadian Press that Lepp is extremely upset that something was tweeted in his name and it was not from him.

    He said the candidate from Niagara was leaving the party convention in Toronto and was jostled by people from another convention and the Blackberry was "pickpocketed." The candidate didn't know it was stolen until the next morning when his son spotted the post on Twitter.

    The Sun described the pictures as "too graphic to reproduce in the newspaper" and depicts a naked man from the waist down, with a close up of his genitals and crossed legs. It appeared on Lepp's Twitter feed for about 20 minutes before it was pulled down, the paper reported.

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    They're coming for you Mr. Monkey!

    Twitter forced to hand over personal information after council launches legal action using taxpayers' money

    By Jack Doyle
    May 29, 2011Shock: Councillor Ahmed Khan was horrified after he was told by Twitter that personal information would be handed over to the council

    Twitter has been forced to hand over the details of users of its website in a landmark legal ruling.

    The case was brought by a council seeking to uncover the identity of a blogger who criticised officials and councillors.

    South Tyneside Council went to the U.S. courts to force Twitter to reveal the person behind the ‘Mr Monkey’ account.

    The case could have widespread implications for users of the social networking site, and lead to a flood of actions by lawyers trying to find out the names of anonymous posters in order to sue them.

    It could But criticsalso have implications in the case of Ryan Giggs, whose lawyers have demanded Twitter reveal which users named him as the footballer with a privacy injunction over his affair with model Imogen Thomas.

    attacked the council for taking the case all the way to the Californian courts to defend the personal reputations of councillors and officials.

    The bill to taxpayers is thought to be tens of thousands of pounds. Charlotte Linacre, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers will be concerned at the price they are having to pay for the council to take legal action that protects some individual staff by attempting to silence others.

    ‘At a time when South Tyneside Council needs to reduce spending and prioritise to meet the needs of residents, it seems simply irresponsible to be spending money in the Californian courts.’
    More ...

  • How lawyer who's made millions keeping secrets of stars made me sign a gagging agreement... on our second date

  • New gagging order row erupts: Court to hear 'sensitive' sex case in secret

    • ________________________________________________________
      The council was awarded a legal order last month, requiring Twitter to reveal the name, address, email address and telephone number of the users behind five accounts.

      Council lawyers said the person behind the accounts had posted ‘false and defamatory’ statements about three councillors, including the council’s Labour leader, Iain Malcolm, and a senior official.

      Implications: Ryan Giggs could successfully get information about people who named him as having an extramarital affair with Imogen Thomas

      A council spokesman said: ‘The council has a duty of care to protect its employees and as this blog contains damaging claims about council officers, legal action is being taken to identify those responsible.’

      One of the individuals named in the legal order, councillor David Potts, claimed the action was justified. He added: ‘We have a duty to look after our employees. It is not a case of politicians not wanting to be criticised.

      ‘I don’t mind being criticised. I’ve got a thick skin. But this blog is perverted, sleazy, sick, filthy and is full of sordid lies.’

      Royal Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie of Sloppydom!

      Another quiet night for Harry and Eugenie ... Drink -stained pair leave nightclub looking dishevelled

      By Mail On Sunday Reporter
      May 29, 2011

      At the Royal Wedding they looked immaculate, but as Prince Harry and his cousin Princess Eugenie tumbled out of London’s trendy Public nightclub early yesterday, they were distinctly dishevelled.

      Harry, dressed in jeans and a blue open-neck shirt with a grey T-shirt underneath, appeared to have drink stains on his right sleeve.

      Eugenie, meanwhile, wore a frilly blue mini-dress – with stains on the front – and a black leather jacket with matching ankle boots.Party's over: Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie leave the nightclub. Drinkstains can be seen on his sleeve and on her outfit

      Harry has rarely been seen out in London since the Royal Wedding, but he spent several hours at the club in Chelsea on Friday night.

      Run by the Prince’s friend Guy Pelly, Public nightclub – set in an old antiques warehouse – is a favourite haunt of celebrities.

      A jeroboam of best champagne costs £6,000 while a bottle of vodka can go for up to £1,250.Worse for wear: A drink stain covers the front of Princess Eugenie's blue dress as she leaves a nightclub at 2.30 a.m. after partying with Prince HarryPrince Harry leaves a nightclub in the early hours of the morning his eyes partially closed and the bottom of his shirt undone as he is accompanied by his protection officers

      Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! 0-60 in 2.8 seconds!

      Saturday, May 28, 2011

      The ultimate in censorship here's looking at you!

      Sheila Fraser retiring - unfortunately it will never take place!

      Style but no class - trapped in a golden cage!

      Friday, May 27, 2011

      "Don't even think it D S-K!"

      How not to toast the Queen!

      The string orchestra of the Scots Guards mistakenly began playing the British national anthem before the President had finished his address during a banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night.

      Mr. Obama carried on talking over the start of God Save the Queen and raised his glass to the Queen before the music had finished.

      However, the Queen did not appear to be offende3d and thanked the leader for his "very kind" words.

      The most hated telephone words you'll hear, "Your call is important to us please stay on the line!"

      Good Day Readers:

      After waiting about 20 minutes during which time we were told multiple times by recorded message how important our call was while thanking us profusely for our patience, we finally got through to a live Shaw employee.

      For over a year now like many of you we've been getting anonymous messages (we're good for 4-5 monthly) like the one below but this takes the cake: ATTENTION WEB-MAIL USER,

      We would like to inform you that a 4.8 magnitude trojan virus was discovered in our admin database and due to this development our admin department is currently carrying out scheduled maintenance and upgrade of our webmail service and as a result of this your original password will reset.

      We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

      To maintain your account, you must reply to this email immediately and enter your current E-mail and Password here and send to controldesk01@9.cn (E-mail: .......... Password: .......... confirm password: ..........). Failure to do this within 48 hours, your account will be deactivated from our database. Remember to re-set your password after this 48 hours update.

      Thank you for using our email Service !

      © ACCOUNT ABN 31 088 377 860 All Rights Reserved.
      E-Mail Account Maintenance.

      What the hell is a 4.8 magnitude trojan virus an earthquake? We wondered why Shaw with its massive technical expertise and large base of talented employees couldn't put the people responsible out of business.

      In what came as no surprise the employee advised it's very difficult to identify those responsible because they route their messages through multiple servers located around the world. However, we were informed we could contact the company's internet abuse line (internetabuse@sjrb.ca) as if that would do any good. If seems if Shaw could do anything it would have done it long before now so suffer on making sure you keep your account current.

      Clare L. Pieuk


      Here's what we don't understand?

      Good Day Readers:

      Recently, The Winnipeg Free Press ran a short piece in which it note Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal was quoted as saying he could envision television cameras in courtrooms but only for the sentencing phase. Presumably that was to prevent witnesses from being influenced by the testimony of others resulting in a possible mistrial or appeal. Yet in the United States the high-profile Casey Anthony murder trial is currently underway and receiving live coverage from major networks

      What don't we understand?

      Clare L. Pieuk

      OMG this must be true!

      "It's downtown Madam!" That could never happen in Manitoba Small Claims Court ..... or could it?

      Producer T J. Hohnston and Leslie Dutton Executive Producer/Host

      Full Disclosure Network® is“the news behind the news” produced byEmmy Award Winning Host/Producer Leslie Dutton and Producer T J Johnston. The twice nominated Full Disclosure public affairs program is the only PublicAccess Cable show to win an Emmy in competition with the broadcast network television stations in Southern California.

      More than mere investigative journalists, they have exposed political corruption, voter fraud, our malfunctioning state courts, and errant police policy where it compromised the Rule of Law.

      From the judicial system to the Presidency, Full Disclosure has interviewed police chiefs, and U.S. attorneys general, pursuing government accountability in issues including Iran Contra, Watergate, Whitewater, our border security and immigration policy, and its effect on the War on Terrorism.

      The Full Disclosure programs can be viewed on community cable channelsthroughout California, in major cities across the United States and on the Internetwebsite http://www.fulldisclosure.net.

      Watch this nine minute preview of the Prosecutor & The Presidency Series and Forum link here: http://fulldisclosure.net/flash/Special_Services.html

      Thursday, May 26, 2011

      So how's Winnipeg's whistleblower program working these days Mayor Katz? Caught anyone lately eh?

      Southern California-style small claims court! Or a defendant's worst nightmare, "All rise please for Judge Cho!"

      Los Angeles, California witnesses who were to testify at a Small Claims Court appeal trial de vovo in the Santa Monica Superior Court of California were shocked and astounded by the Kangaroo Court procedures employed by Judge Lawrence Cho in the attorney fee-dispute claimed by Donald L. Zachary against the American Association of Women Incorporated (AAW).

      Wednesday, May 25, 2011

      Announcing our inaugural Golden Pompous Ass Award for Excellence in Legal Eloquence!

      Good Day Readers:

      The Law Society of Manitoba in it's preoccupation with protecting the public interest against bad lawyering is silent in it's definition of misconduct as it relates to solicitors who make beyond asinine statements. To remedy such an obvious shortcoming we've taken it upon ourselves to introduce The Golden Pompous Ass Award for Excellence in Legal Eloquence or GPAAELE.

      Consider some of what our leading candidate (A shoo-in!) has said recently:

      Paragraph 2(b) Page 3 from a Statement of Claim filed (March 31, 2005) in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench:

      "An order prohibiting these defendants from causing to be published on the internet website www.cybersmokesignals.com or any other internet website, any message, letter, or article purporting to be from any individual other than themselves unless that indivudual's actual legal name is published together with the accompanying message, letter or article."

      The ultimate "oy vey" moment!

      File FD (Family division) 99-01-56515. "Star candidate" as part of a Queen's Bench divorce proceeding filed his completed 1998 income tax return. As of last summer it was still there for the world to photocopy. Why or why as a lawyer no less did he not ask a judge for a sealing order. Identity theft doesn't get any easier!

      Or huh?

      "Upon investigation, the plaintiff was able to ascertain that in October, November and December 2003, a person or persons unknown to the plaintiff had deposited money into the plaintiff's Royal Bank chequing account which money was then automatically withdrawn by Chrysler to pay the monthly payments on the vehicle. The December amount of money deposited to the plaintiff's account by the person or persons unknown was insufficient to cover the December payment of Chrysler with the result that other cheques written by the plaintiff were returned NSF and the plaintiff incurred bank service charges as a result." (Statement of Claim filed by our leading candidate on behalf of the plaintiff August 26, 2005)

      Still unconvinced?

      "As I was leaving the Court room you said, "it's far from over Murray." I will repeat what I said to you in Court namely that it does not behoove you as counsel to make threats to me as I am leaving the Court room. I had not engaged you in any discussion following the decision. You stated that your statement was not a threat. I request that you keep such comments to yourself in the future. (Correspondence of April 19, 2010 from candidate to attorney for the defence)

      Then there was this little gem written to a Court of Queen's Bench Pre-Trial Justice by our leading candidate:

      On April 15, 2011 Mr. Pieuk who was formally self-represented, appointed Mr. Bruun as counsel of record.

      The usual practice for civil pre-trial conferences is that clients do not attend and only counsel attend. As a result I have communicated with Mr. Bruun seeking his confirmation that Mr. Pieuk will not be attending on June 30. Mr. Bruun advises that he expects Mr. Pieuk to attend and that if I object I can raise the matter with you.

      I do object. By June 30 Mr. Bruun will have been Mr. Pieuk's counsel for some 2 and 1/2 months. He can review all case conference memos and pre-trial conference memos issued previously by Justice Simonsen. He can speak with his client and obtain instructions with respect to those matters to be dealt with at a pre-trial conference.

      There is no reason for Mr. Pieuk ot be in attendance on June 30th and no reason for an exception to be made to the normal Court practice.

      I am raising this now with a request that you provide us with direction so that we do not have to spend any part of the limited time available on June 30th dealing with this issue.

      Footnote: And where might you think Mr. Pieuk spent the morning of Wednesday, June 30, 2010 beginning at 10:00 a.m.?

      Join us on June 2, 2011 starting at 9:30 a.m. when we announce the winner of our first prestigious Golden Pompous Ass Award for Excellence in Legal Eloquence.

      Clare L. Pieuk

      "Private" Ryan or how we saved The Law Society of Manitoba from itself!

      Good Day Readers:

      We've been closely following the Ryan Giggs saga the married British Premier League "Foot-baller" who allegedly had an affair with reality television celebrity Imogen Thomas than tried to muzzle the Press by using a super injunction. You can read and excellent account of this case in the Time Magazine article reproduced below.

      How does this relate to the LSM? Enter "Blackie" based on Jack Boyle's character Boston Blackie (circa. 1920s to early 1950s - novels, radio, films, television) an accomplished jewel thief and safecraker who graduated to become a successful private investigator.
      "Enemy to those who make him an enemy ..... friend to those who have no friend - that's Blackie!"

      Under the Star Chamberesque provisions of The Legal Profession Act governing The Society's operations the identities of allegedly wayward members cannot be divulged until there has been a disciplinary hearing and only after a finding of misconduct. Section 79(1) (a), (b) of the LPA provides for financial penalties and/or a possible jail sentence for individuals and corporations that do.

      It would appear Blackie's case is far, far, far from over as he fights on in a battle the likes of which the LSM has probably not seen before in its glorious annals. We believe many precedents will be set before it's over that will fundamentally challenge the way The Society currently does business in areas such as:

      - full disclosure
      - investigative techniques
      - public access to hearings and "publishability" by media citizen journalists
      - the role of prosecutors and independence
      - conflicts of interest
      - the rights of interested third parties to submit motions briefs and make oral presentations

      to name but a few.

      Oh, and BTW how did we save the LSM from itself? Get this. Back on September 23, 2010 it issued a 3-page, 3-count Citation against Blackie signed off by The Society's Ms Marilyn Billinkoff, Deputy Chief Executive Officer. The actual initials of the parties involved were used even those of an organzation instantly recognizable to everyone. Anyone with half a brain can connect the dots. So we changed that before publishing the document. The complaints became "Mr. Y" (What a guy that "Mr. Y!") a lawyer and "The Bully" a non-lawyer while the corporation became ZZZ.

      My God imagine a super injunction in the hands of the LSM! There's a lot more to be written before Blackie becomes a footnote at The Law Society of Manitoba.

      Finally, after reading the Time Magazine article, "Battle Between Privacy and the Press" describing the power of Twitter combined with The Society's Draconian approach to the public interest, mixed in with a little conspiracy theory, we wondered could an @Blackie emerge followed by copycats? Interesting to speculate.

      Now back to Private Ryan. Read on.

      Clare L. Pieuk
      Battle Between Privacy and the Press
      By Eben Harrell
      Tuesday, May 24, 2011Manchester United's Ryan Giggs, on May 24, 2011 (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)

      It was the final act in what Britain's Daily Mail called "one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience in modern times."

      Chafing under a court order that barred the press from naming a top player in an English soccer club who was alleged to have had an affair with a reality-TV star, Britons took to Twitter. By May 21, details of the affair had been leaked so widely on the Internet that over 50,000 users had tweeted the name of the player: Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs. By Monday, a member of Parliament felt the situation so absurd that he named Giggs in a parliamentary session, knowing full well that under an 1840 law granting parliamentary privilege, the courts can't restrict MPs' comments in Parliament — or the publication of those comments. So British media outlets were free to splash headlines about Giggs' alleged infidelity, breaking the worst-kept secret in sports.

      Britain's privacy law is one of the most protective in the developed world. It is also one of the most immature. Since the law came into force in 2000, celebrities have been able to obtain injunctions that prevent the publication of personal details ranging from carnal indiscretions to more serious issues, as long as the courts agree that the details violate their right to privacy and aren't matters of real public interest. In some cases, so-called super-injunctions prohibit newspapers from even acknowledging the existence of the court order.

      But while Britain's mainstream media have been reluctantly inhibited by these laws, the cacophony of new media has proved almost impossible to police. In the Giggs case, various judges have suggested that Twitter users could be in contempt of court — but how to prosecute tens of thousands of people, many of them anonymous? Giggs has sued Twitter for the identity of the user he believes was the first to leak details of his affair, but obtaining information from the California-based company is a jurisdictional nightmare. Speaking about the thorny task of balancing a right to privacy with a right to free speech, Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday admitted that Britain should review its privacy law, saying that "it is rather unsustainable, this situation where newspapers can't print something that everyone else is clearly talking about."

      According to Judith Townend, a doctoral researcher at the Centre for Law, Justice & Journalism at City University London who is putting together a history of British privacy law, the use of injunctions in Britain first entered the spotlight in 2009, when it emerged that the oil-trading company Trafigura had obtained a super-injunction that blocked newspapers not only from reporting on the company's dumping of toxic waste off the coast of Ivory Coast but also from reporting that such a ban on coverage was in place. The controversy came to light when Labour MP Paul Farrelly, who felt the injunction violated the public interest, raised the issue in Parliament. With the debate over freedom of the press heating up again now, British politicians sympathetic to the press's complaints have begun using the same parliamentary-privilege loophole to release other restricted information, including the fact that former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin, who oversaw the bank during its disastrous performance in the run-up to the financial crisis, had taken out a super-injunction barring the reporting of his extramarital affair.

      The intervention of MPs, however, has resulted in constitutional wrangling over the separation of powers. When the Liberal Democrats' John Hemming revealed in Parliament on Monday that the injunction-wielding soccer star was in fact Giggs, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow rebuked the MP for "flouting the courts." That echoed the sentiment of Britain's most senior judge, the Lord Chief Justice Igor Judge, who a few days earlier had criticized MPs for invoking parliamentary privilege when breaching privacy rulings. "You do need to think, do you not, whether it's a very good idea for our lawmakers to be flouting a court order just because they disagree with it or because they disagree with the law of privacy," Lord Judge said.

      To help avoid such conflict, a committee on injunctions, led by another senior judge, released a report on May 20 suggesting that media organizations should be told in advance about applications for injunctions affecting them so they have time to challenge a gag order. But such a step would lead to costly court proceedings. And it would do little to constrain the users of social-networking sites.

      Around the globe, the struggle to balance the right to individual privacy and the right to a free press has been complicated by the Internet's muddying of the definition of press. In Britain, the division between the two competing rights is particularly wide. The country has some of the most aggressive and gossip-hungry tabloid newspapers in the world, and it also has judges who seem willing to balance the tabloid culture with relatively draconian privacy rulings.

      In the U.S., by contrast, many states have strong privacy laws, but they are loosely enforced because the U.S. media are, on the whole, more likely to self-censor — something that baffles many British journalists. George Brock, a former editor at the Times of London and now director of the journalism school at City University London, remembers watching, with "my mouth wide open," the U.S. media voluntarily withhold information about presidential candidate John Edwards' extramarital affair — despite the widespread Internet rumor. "In a British equivalent, there would have been very little reticence on the part of even mainstream publications to pursue that story aggressively," says Brock.

      But while British newspapers are constrained by the threat of fines if they breach privacy law, most Twitter users are confident that they can post with impunity. Right now, it's clear that, "with about 75,000 people having named Ryan Giggs on Twitter, it is impractical to imprison them all," as Hemming said in Parliament on Monday. That may be true, says Joshua Rozenberg, a British legal commentator, but as British privacy law matures — and as new media outlets like Twitter come under increased scrutiny — the Internet's cloak of anonymity could be lifted. "Just because it's the Internet and just because you think you are anonymous, you can't be sure that in the future there won't be some form of technology that allows courts to find out who you are, or perhaps some legal mechanism that can force Twitter and other sites to reveal your identity," he says. "I'd offer a word of warning to Twitter users breaking privacy laws: Be careful."

      Tuesday, May 24, 2011

      Dilberting "your friends!"

      May 23, 2011

      PHILADELPHIA – The office life depicted in Dilbert often preys on real-life attitudes and fears. Now, readers of the character can swap places with the eternally befuddled office drone and his not-so-sharp cubicle dwellers.

      Peanuts Worldwide, the marketing agent for Dilbert, says readers can now personalize up to 25 separate Dilbert comic strips with their own images and share them online with others.

      Created by Scott Adams, Dilbert is carried by more than 2,000 publications worldwide, printed collections and was even an animated series.

      Using technology created by PixFusion, readers can upload a photo to http://www.pixfusion.com, select an animated strip and personalize it with their own image, becoming Boss, Wally, Alice or Carol.

      The strips, based on Dilbert animations originally created by Ring Tales LLC, can be shared via Facebook and other social networking sites and cost 99 cents per strip.

      Rich Collins, CEO of Big Tent Entertainment, which represents PixFusion, said making Dilbert a focal point for personalization was common sense, given the longevity of the character and its reference to business experiences that are not only amusing but infuriating.

      "At one time or another nearly everyone in today's workplace, no matter where they are in the world, has seen a Dilbert comic strip and immediately related to it from their own personal experience," Collins said.

      "Chances are you probably know someone like Dilbert or have had a crazy boss, so it seemed only natural to enable fans to personalize their favorite comic strips and put themselves into one of the many hilarious Dilbert scenarios that they often recognize from their own workday experiences," he said.

      Online: www.dilbert.com

      Go Gaga on less than a dollar!


      Tax Court nixes lawyer’s attempt to write off internet poker losses
      Written by Michael McKiernan
      May 20, 2011

      A Toronto lawyer who left Bay Street in 2006 in an abortive attempt to make it as a professional Internet poker player has failed in a bid to write off the $120,000 loss he ran up that year before slinking back to practice.

      Steven A. Cohen claimed he made the career switch in December 2005 after Goodmans LLP deferred a decision on elevating him to partner for a second consecutive year.

      His master plan envisioned a $150,000 annual profit by targeting weak, inexperienced players in small-stakes games, before elevating in the long-term to higher stakes for a $500,000 annual return, the same level he would have made as partner at Goodmans, according to the ruling in Cohen v. The Queen.

      Instead of just resigning, Cohen stopped taking on new work and passed off files until he was terminated with seven months severance in March 2006, said the ruling.
      But things didn’t quite go as planned, and his $80,000 in winnings for 2006 were dwarfed by the $200,000 he ploughed into the venture. Those business expenses included $2,000 for a Las Vegas seminar on poker, $1,000 for travel to tournaments in Vegas, and $500 for articles and books on the game.

      A judge not only won’t allow the write off of Internet poker losses but also called into question Steven Cohen’s card skills. (Photo: iStockphoto)

      In the May 12 ruling, Tax Court of Canada Justice Frank Pizzitelli decided Cohen’s actions did not suggest the poker venture was conducted in a business-like way, and refused Cohen’s appeal of his tax assessment which denied his bid to deduct his $120,000 losses.

      “The suggestion he was calculating and disciplined is also questionable. While he may have done the math, as his counsel argued, in knowing the odds of different card hands while playing, this was information available from his materials and capable of being determined by a fourth grader as his material suggests. Moreover, he demonstrated a total lack of discipline by both abandoning his strategy of playing low stakes games against inexperienced players after just three months and by simply increasing his credit card limit from $27,000 to $40,000 when needed,” wrote Pizzitelli.

      The decision also delivered a damning verdict on Cohen’s poker skills.

      “The fact his initial strategy was to play inexperienced players suggests he himself did not have the superior skills necessary to compete at a higher level that would bring him the $500,000 paycheque he aspired to. The fact he lost money every month, including the first three months he played smaller stakes games, does not even suggest a superior skill set at that level,” Pizzitelli wrote.

      Cohen’s claim of professionalism might have had more credibility, according to the judgment, if his own web site did not indicate he started his own law firm in March 2006, the same month he left Goodmans.

      “I find his explanation for the March 2006 date, which is that he continued to be a member of the Bar during the period notwithstanding that he started a new venture, hence why he used that date on his marketing material, to be unsatisfactory. If that was the intention then why not just say he has been [practising] law since the earlier date he was called to the Bar,” Pizzitelli said.
      Michael McKiernan

      One of our newer team members, Michael McKiernan, is staff writer for Law Times. Michael has worked for local newspapers in the Toronto area and as a general assignment reporter for the National Post. He relishes the challenge of keeping lawyers in touch with Ontario’s lively legal scene.

      Latest from Michael McKiernan

      Niagara lawyer wins $20K cost award against former client
      OBA hands out its big awards
      Lawyers disciplined under judicial complaints protocol all women so far
      Diversity front and centre
      Lax O’Sullivan to merge with London firm

      "Legalized highway robbery" at Winnipeg's Provincial Law Courts Building!

      Good Day Readers:

      Although not about parking meters watching the video below brings back memories of our many visits to the Law Courts to undertake research.

      First off, to see a publicly available court file one need only produce a piece of photo identification, complete the simple application form, pay the princely sum of $5 (assuming you're not a party to the case) and voila! For the file registry clerk the process can be completed in 5-minutes or less assuming, of course, the dossier is on site and does not have to be retrieved from storage - an easy $60 an hour which is likely far less than they're being paid.

      In our "open justice system" one is then free to photocopy any and all contents to their heart's content but that's where the "legalized highway robbery begins."

      The cost per page is 25 cents and to make matters worse there is no change machine on the premises for the convenience of patrons to convert bills into quarters and loonies. Compare this to Shoppers Drug Marts where anyone can use their photocopiers for 10-cents a page. There's a provincial election in October join the protest to demand Manitoba Justice provide better photocopying services at the Law Courts!

      Legalized highway robbery? You be the judge and jury.

      Clare L. Pieuk


      Looking for one honest judge! Thank God this doesn't happen in Canada ..... does it?

      Whistleblowing gone bad!

      You left your ID in the elevator stupid!

      Monday, May 23, 2011

      Don't Bitcoin in Mission, British Columbia!

      Good Day Readers:

      ​You don't have to be growing marijuana to get raided for it. At least one Bitcoin miner was "visited" by police because unusually high power usage led them to suspect he was growing marijuana, according to an unconfirmed report that apeared Monday on the site Techland.

      Bitcoin, the anonymous virtual currency, uses distributed computing power to validate transactions. Users who dedicate their CPU cycles to the network are potentially rewarded with Bitcoins - similar to gold mining except instead of digging a miner uses cryptographic math.

      Like grow ops, Bitcoin runs up significant electricity bills producing a lot of heat because super-fast computers are used. In the past, high power consumption has alerted police to clandestine marijuana operations and busts have resulted. Mission, British Columbia has a bylaw that allows the town's Public Safety Inspection Team to search peoples' homes if they use more than 93kWh of electricity per day.

      Increasingly, ubiquitous prosumer computing could lead to false positives not just for Bitcoin miners but also hardcore gamers, as well as, anyone runnning video rendering farms or web servers at home.

      Should be interesting to see how the courts adapt to these uses when interpreting reasonable suspicion standards.

      Clare L. Pieuk

      "Boooo! Boooo! Boooo!" - the lawyers

      Note: 1 British Pound = $1.58 Canadian

      "Boooo! Boooo! Boooo!" - the judge


      Good Day Readers:

      Just when you think you've see it all! Perhaps the company should be renamed "Erotic Motors."

      Clare L. Pieuk
      __________________________________________________ Lawyer Complains About "Large Breasted Woman" In Court

      In a Cook County lawsuit involving a car dealership and some very unhappy clients, an attorney has been noticeably distracted from the legal case at hand. Apparently, legal counsel at Gauthier & Gooch for the defendants, Exotic Motors, Inc., drafted a motion pointing out that the plaintiffs' attorney resorted to "theatrics" in allowing a "large breasted woman" without "any evidence of legal training" to sit at the counsel's table during the trial. The counsel for Exotic Motors was so distraught by this woman and her abilities to "distract" the legal case at hand that he drafted the motion to displace her from the counsel's table.

      Although it is unclear whether or not the defendant's motion was actually filed with the court (a representative at Gauthier & Gooch didn't provide much information, but said that she thought the motion was just handed to the plaintiffs' attorney), the motion regarding the so-called "large breasted woman" is definitely a non-issue. The plaintiffs' attorney has indicated that the woman is, in fact, his legal assistant, in a response to the defendant's motion:

      a) Plantiffs' paralegal is clearly qualified for the work she performs before and during trials, and there is no reason to believe that her appearance at Plaintiffs' table will have any detrimental effect on Defendants' presentation of its case to a jury and b) Defendant's motion does not cite any existing law or make any good-faith legal argument for the proposition that a woman may be barred from a counsel's table at a jury trial because she is "large breasted."

      The so-called "questionable theatrics" involved with this case aside, the lawsuit at hand involves two customers who purchased a car from Exotic Motors for $13,500.00, which Exotic Motors issued a warranty and guaranteed to repair the car if needed. The purchased car broke down soon after the transaction, and Exotic Motors refused to make any repairs, as stated in the warranty.

      Contact the author of this article or email tips@chicagoist.com with further questions, comments or tips.