Exhibit A: Fresh from the 3D Printer

imagesBy Kelsey O’Neal

Everyone has heard the story about the man who used a 3D printer to make a gun that would make it past TSA. 3D printers have become a part of the modern world. They have been used in the medical field to create custom orthotics; they are an integral part of any modern design process; and some people even give them to their children as a fun toy. 3D printing manufacturers have experienced a great deal of litigation directed against them. But do 3D printers have a productive place in the courtroom?

Some attorneys think that 3D printers can do a great deal of good during litigation. Fennemore Craig, the second-largest firm in Arizona, has started to use 3D printers in their litigation practice. This firm, which has also used Google Glass in litigation to show the jury exactly what personal injury plaintiffs go through daily, says that using 3D printing has given them several distinct advantages. First, the use of the 3D printers has forced the firm’s attorneys to start thinking about overall trial strategy before litigation has even started, and thus have a considerable leg-up on the opposing party. Second, every writing instructor will tell you that it’s better to show rather than to tell. The ability to show a jury or an opposing attorney exactly what the widget was supposed to look like is much more powerful than just telling him or her that it was defective. Third, using a 3D printer has been shown to induce settlement, which saves clients time and money as well as enhances judicial economy. Continue reading

“Disappearing Forever” Too Good to be True? Snapchat Reaches Settlement with FTC

ImageBy Chris Ferrell

On May 8th, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that Snapchat, a mobile application company, had agreed to settle with the FTC over several charges, including deceptive advertising, failure to maintain security features, and collecting data from application users. The FTC alleged that Snapchat deceived users by claiming that their “snaps” (which are pictures users take with their cell phones and send to other users) would “disappear forever” after being viewed. According to Snapchat, users send 400 million photos and videos per day. However, recipients of a snap can save the snap in different ways, including: taking a “screen shot” of the picture, downloading the picture as original content, or, at the extreme, hacking into different Snapchat users’ accounts and stealing their photos. We’ve previously covered the legal ramifications of taking a screenshot of snaps in the context of revenge porn.

The FTC further alleged that Snapchat’s failure to secure its “Find Friends” feature resulted in a security breach that enabled attackers to compile a database of 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers. Snapchat also allegedly took contacts from Apple iOS users’ address books, as well as geolocation information from people using Android-based phones. Snapchat does not have to pay a fine, but, under the settlement, it is prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy and security of users’ information. Snapchat must also implement a comprehensive privacy program that will be monitored by a third-party privacy group for the next 20 years. Although Snapchat claims to have already addressed the FTC’s concerns by “improving the wording of their privacy policy” and implementing security counter measures, is that enough to allow applications like Snapchat to continue to exist? Continue reading