depositing pictures into your bank account

Pictures of cheques, that is.

Brief blur from Gizmodo:

The bank’s VP tells The NY Times that once you hit the send button, the deposit is made just like any other check—you won’t have to mail it in later, either. As everything will be handled electronically, the bank will suggest customers simply void the check before either filing or discarding it.

Seems like a win-win idea. More convenience for customers. Lower costs for the bank.

googling credit card numbers

Interesting story about someone who happened to be happily googling about and ran across some lout’s hidden (albeit rather poorly) cache of stolen credit card numbers, along with other details:

I found more than that: login details to people’s web hosting accounts and e-commerce site memberships as well. It was really freaky to think it was all just staring at me, thanks to a flukey Google search. Nothing more complicated than that. (And no, don’t email me for the search details!)

For whatever reason, a hacker has broken into a number of sites and stored the resulting DB dumps into text files that Google came along and indexed, all because this guy’s site’s directories were set to display their contents when no default file is present.

To be honest I’m not all that surprised. The hacker in question probably had put the information on a location that may have only been partially commandeered, giving him or her a place to stash his loot but possibly not being able to block index listings. Anyway, goes to show once again that, no matter how safe anyone tells you their system is, there is always room for mistakes. The gentleman’s article, in that regard, provides some good advice to make sure that its not your credit card number that shows up on a google search.

Well, perpahs except for one:

So here’s the suggestion: search Google for your credit card number.

If I may be so bold as to disagree, I’d strongly discourage everyone from doing this. Not necessarily that someone at google will be salivating over the fact that you’ve just given up your credit card and will shortly be going to the nearest Fry’s to cash in (given their options, I imagine they could care less…), but rather because that same info will be going to google by way of any number of intermediaries in a completely unsecured, unencrypted form. Not that its a huge risk – the chance of someone who happens to be listening in to your particular transmission may well be low. Then again, it ain’t rocket science to set up a filter to pick out certain number patterns in internet traffic. I guess the only point is, why take the chance in the first place?

Wikiality – Part II

There was some traffic on the ULC E-Comm Listserv (on which I surreptitiously lurk – and if you don’t know what it is and are interested in e-commerce law, highly recommended) about courts citing Wikipedia with a couple of links to some other stuff, including an article on Slaw as well as an article in the New York Times about the concerns raised by some regarding court decisions citing Wikipedia. Some excerpts and notes to expand on my previous post:

From the con side:

In a recent letter to The New York Law Journal, Kenneth H. Ryesky, a tax lawyer who teaches at Queens College and Yeshiva University, took exception to the practice, writing that “citation of an inherently unstable source such as Wikipedia can undermine the foundation not only of the judicial opinion in which Wikipedia is cited, but of the future briefs and judicial opinions which in turn use that judicial opinion as authority.”

This raises a good point that I didn’t mention in my previous post. I certainly think Wikipedia is fine to note certain things, but I really, definitely, positively, do not think that it should be cited as judicial authority. In my previous article I thought this was so self-evident I didn’t bother mentioning, but the quote above illustrates that it might not be all that clear. Court decisions, as most of you know, are written by judges who take into account the facts and apply the law to the facts of the case, along with other facts and information that may have a bearing on the case. The source of the law includes statutes and of course previously decided cases, which enunciate rules or principles that the court either applies, distinguishes based on the facts as being inapplicable, or, in some cases, overturns (for any number of reasons). Court decisions are not, of course, published on Wikipedia and are not subject to the collective editing process of Wikipedia, nor should they be. Rather, references to Wikipedia in court cases are to provide additional or ancillary context or facts to a case. They do not and should not derogate from principles of law that are set forth in court decisions. But, contrary to what Mr. Ryesky, Esq., indicates above, I don’t think referring to Wikipedia for context or facts will suddenly undermine the foundations of law, since the legal reasoning itself still will and must be based on sources of law, not facts and not context.

Hence the following end to the NTY article:

Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University Law School, saw this as crucial: “The most critical fact is public acceptance, including the litigants,” he said. “A judge should not use Wikipedia when the public is not prepared to accept it as authority.”

For now, Professor Gillers said, Wikipedia is best used for “soft facts” that are not central to the reasoning of a decision. All of which leads to the question, if a fact isn’t central to a judge’s ruling, why include it?

“Because you want your opinion to be readable,” said Professor Gillers. “You want to apply context. Judges will try to set the stage. There are background facts. You don’t have to include them. They are not determinitive. But they help the reader appreciate the context.”

He added, “The higher the court the more you want to do it. Why do judges cite Shakespeare or Kafka?”