Ello, the ad-free network that went viral last year as the Facebook-killer, has launched the ability to share music and video clips in its feed, reports TechCrunch. Last September, the world had gone crazy over Ello, which was an invite-only social network. It was kind of funny to watch people post requests for Ello invite on Facebook. Ah, the irony.
Then of course there's the fact that Ello wants to remain ad-free, which sounds great in theory, except investors will want returns and unless they increase user engagement on the site, convincing future investors will be hard.
Serious data breaches have become routine in the United States, yet a recent survey shows that the majority of religious institutions do not have a full-time IT professional, have no system to detect a potential breach and do not even have a policy to mitigate the chances of a breach. Think it will not happen to your organization? So did the hundreds of businesses already impacted. Attacks on religious institutions in the past couple of years have involved theft of funds; "ransomware" attacks in which hackers freeze an organization's database until a fee is paid; appropriation of employee, member and donor information for sale on the dark web; and "hacktivist" attacks by groups that commandeer an organization's website to modify its message. The problem is only growing as most sensitive operations of organizations become digital. Organizations that endure cyberattacks suffer long-term reputational damage and typically need to retain counsel as well as digital forensic, credit monitoring and other experts to comply with state and federal laws and to defend against litigation and regulatory investigations in the aftermath of an attack. Altogether, 48 states, the District of Columbia and certain U.S. territories have passed laws that impose obligations on organizations related to a breach and require them to notify the people who have been impacted. These laws are frequently amended to increase consumer protections. When organizations have residents of multiple states impacted, each one of these legal regimes is implicated. Federal agencies also may require reporting. The Ponemon Institute reported that the average total cost of a cyberbreach in 2017 was $7.35 million in the U.S., varying according to the number of records impacted and industry, with a minimum cost in 2015 of $307,000. Many religious institutions have no cyber insurance liability coverage, yet most general liability insurance policies do not cover cyber-related incidents. Cyber insurance policies vary radically in the extent of their coverage even at similar prices, meaning that review of these policies by independent agents or counsel is always a good idea. Holland & Knight's attorneys have internal threat detection and emergency management capabilities as well as extensive experience and relationships with regulators and digital vendors to assist in cyber liability prevention as well as breach response preparation.
In Telescope Media Gp. v. Lindsey, No. 16-4094, 2017 WL 4179899 (D. Minn. Sept. 20, 2017), the court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' challenges to the application of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) to the operation of their videography business. The plaintiffs argued that the MHRA's requirement that they serve same-sex couples seeking wedding video services violates their constitutional rights. The court concluded that MHRA primarily regulates conduct, rather than language. In terms of its effect on the content of their videos, the court ruled the MHRA is content-neutral and, thus, must survive only intermediate scrutiny. The court added that the MHRA easily meets this test because 1) it furthers an important state interest of preventing invidious discrimination; 2) its purpose is unrelated to the suppression of free expression; and 3) any incidental restriction on First Amendment freedoms is no greater than essential to achieve its purpose. The court determined that the MHRA does not compel speech; is not a prior restraint granting defendants unbridled discretion; is a neutral law of general applicability and does not violate a fundamental right.
In Country Mill Farms, LLC v. City of East Lansing, No. 1:17-cv-487, 2017 WL 5514818 (W.D. Mich. Nov. 16, 2017), the court granted in part and denied in part the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims rooted in their refusal to host a same-sex wedding on their farm and, as a result, the East Lansing Farmer's Market's decision to decline their vendor application based on an amendment adopting the city's non-discrimination and public accommodations ordinance. The court dismissed the plaintiffs' 1) as-applied free speech claim on the grounds that the city's decision was based on their conduct, rather than speech; 2) overbreadth challenge to the public accommodations law; 3) Equal Protection Clause claim for lack of evidence that similarly situated vendors were treated differently; and 4) Home Rule City Act claim. The court allowed to proceed the plaintiffs' 1) facial free speech claim because the ordinance regulates speech based on content; 2) overbreadth challenge to the general business practice language in the vendor guidelines and harassment portion of the ordinance, both of which encompass communication; 3) First Amendment retaliation claim; 4) Free Exercise claim based on the city using a generally applicable and neutral policy to target their religiously motivated conduct; 5) Establishment Clause claim based on allegations that the predominant purpose of the changes to the vendor guidelines was motivated by disapproval of the plaintiffs' religious beliefs; 6) prospective unconstitutional conditions claim based on the plaintiffs' argument that they must give up their religiously motivated conduct in order to obtain a vendor license; 7) violation of their due process rights; and 8) Article 1, Section 4 of the Michigan Constitution protecting religious freedoms.
In Gaylor v. Mnuchin, No. 16-cv-215-bbc, 2017 WL 4466621 (W.D. Wis. Oct. 6, 2017), the court granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and declared that 26 U.S.C. §107(2), which excludes from the gross income of a "minister of the gospel" a "rental allowance paid to him as part of his compensation," violates the Establishment Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The court found that the exemption, inter alia, 1) was not needed to eliminate discrimination, either among religions or between religious and secular employers; 2) could not be justified as a mere "accommodation of religion" because the Supreme Court has held that the payment of a generally applicable tax does not qualify as a substantial burden on free exercise; and 3) tended to foster excessive entanglement and created the prospect of inconsistent treatment over religious doctrine. Although ministers may have unique housing needs, so do other employees not covered by the exemption. The court requested additional briefing regarding what additional remedies are appropriate.
In Real Alternatives, Inc. v. Sec. Dep't of Health and Human Servs., 867 F. 3d 338 (3d Cir. 2017), the court ruled that the contraception coverage mandate did not violate the Equal Protection Clause as applied to a nonprofit, non-religious, anti-abortion organization and the free exercise rights of its employees. The court ruled that the nonprofit is not similarly situated to a house of worship, based on adherence to a shared position on abortion. The plaintiff organization averred that its views on human life are based on science, reason and non-religious philosophical principles, rather than religion, but added that it opposes the use of all contraceptives as "morally wrong." The court worried that by trying to encompass the organization, the exemption would swallow the rule and overly broaden religious-based exemptions in similar contexts. Real Alternatives' president, vice president of operations and vice president of administration alleged that their sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit them from using, supporting or otherwise advocating the use of abortifacients, or participating in a health insurance plan that covers such items. The court rejected their claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It found that "payment for the ability to have coverage does not give an employee an active 'role' in the underlying plan." Likewise, the court ruled that filling out a form does not involve the sort of "substantial" burden contrary to RFRA.
An award-winning Manchester based company has partnered with George House Trust to offer a new service to HIV positive gay and bisexual men.Result CIC, winners of a major prize at the National Diversity Awards in September this year, are offering life coaching free of charge as part of a scheme called 'Being+'. Unlike counselling or guidance, the purpose of coaching is to get people to arrive at their own decisions, with the coach supporting the development of plans to make the person being coached better able to cope with their future. It can happen face to face, via Skype or on the phone and those taking part will benefit from six to twelve sessions on a one to one basis. And there's no cost.Result CIC will be be focussing on HIV+ men who need support to change their career, get back in to work, become more assertive or who need to set themselves some life goals. One of their directors, Andy Hilton, is also the chair of the National Long Term Survivors Group supporting people who have lived with HIV or AIDS for five years or more.As a community interest company (hence the CIC), Result CIC have worked with a wide range of people and groups including recent immigrants, disabled people, young people facing challenges in their lives and anyone who they describe as 'marginalised' and this collaboration furthers their commitment to 'creating opportunities for people to grow.' One of their directors is Jane Cordell, named as one of the Power 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. If you're interested in applying, there's an online form available on the George House Trust website.MORE FROM THE BLOG. 781b155fdc