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Technology Law Bulletin Fall 2004

First Circuit Ruling Curtails Wiretap Act Protections by Joeseph J.Laferrera 

“Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy.” – Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

“[T]he advance of civilization is nothing but an exercise in the limiting of privacy.” – Isaac Asimov, Foundation’s Edge

Privacy. Highly valued by patriots and scoundrels alike, we sometimes seem torn about whether our society needs more privacy or less. Although “privacy” is not even mentioned in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court has long recognized it to be among the rights guaranteed to every citizen by those documents. Like all civil rights, however, privacy has its limits, and it must sometimes bow to the demands of public safety and national security. Congress tried to strike a balance in 1968 with the passage of the so-called “Wiretap Act,” which strictly limited the conditions under which certain communications could be inter cepted. In recent years, terrorist threats and advances in technology have altered that balance, forcing lawmakers and others to reexamine the issue. more…

Granting Employees Stock under Federal and State Securities Law by Peter Moldave.

Recently, Google offered to buy back shares of employee-held stock because the shares may have been issued in violation of federal and state securities rules.

Private companies sometimes consider securities law compliance issues only when they are seeking investor funds. However, every issuance or promise to issue securities involves federal or state securities laws. Many times, compliance is either automatic (requiring no filing or other act) or relatively simple, so long as the issuances remain within certain limits. Private companies should ensure that they monitor employee stock and option issuances for compliance with securities laws, under both federal and state law. more…