WXXI AM News

Law

New research finds that most Americans agree about how far they are willing to let the government go to protect the public during the pandemic. We have a conversation about civil liberties, and where the line should be when it comes to government restrictions.

Our guests weigh in:

  • Kevin Cope, associate professor of law, and director of the Immigration Law Program at the University of Virginia School of Law
  • Lauren Hall, associate professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts at RIT

Experts in the legal field are warning consumers about scams and fraudulent online tools that target vulnerable populations and essential workers during the pandemic. From tip scamming, to meal price inflation by delivery services, to charity and phishing scams, attorneys say there's a lot to look out for. The New York State Attorney General has launched an effort to combat such scams.

This hour, our guests share what they think consumers need to know. Our guests:

  • Scott Malouf, local attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law
  • Mike Johansson, senior lecturer of communication at RIT, and social media consultant at Fixitology
  • Letitia James, New York State Attorney General 

How much do you know about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)? The proposed amendment would guarantee equal legal rights for Americans regardless of sex. It was first proposed in 1923, and was reintroduced in the early 1970s.

It’s back in the news because after nearly a century of debate, the amendment has now been passed in 38 states, qualifying it for ratification. But there’s a catch: the deadline was 1982. So what happens next?

This hour, our guests help us understand what the ERA is, its history, and what’s next in terms of the law. Our guests:

  • Beth Cordello, chair of the labor and employment practice group at Pullano & Farrow
  • Amy Stephens, co-host of the Transformation Thursday podcast
  • Kate Kelly, human rights attorney with Equality Now

A federal court recently ruled that politicians can't block followers on Twitter. The decision came after critics of President Trump sued him because he blocked them on the platform. The court ruled that followers would miss out on access to politicians and public information provided by them, and that violates their First Amendment rights.

We discuss the intersection of free speech, politics, and social media with our guests:

  • Roy Gutterman, director of the Tully Center for Free Speech, and associate professor of magazine, news, and digital journalism at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University
  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law

New York State has joined a list of more than 40 other states in banning what experts call revenge porn. It refers to the venue for distribution of nude or sensitive images, usually after the end of a relationship.

We talk about what the law says, and what psychologist hope we can learn about our behavior with digital technology and social media. In studio:

Do you know someone who has left Facebook out of concerns about privacy? Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress over how his company handled user data and privacy, and the company's role in Russia's influence in the presidential election. 

We talk about what we learned from the testimony, the role of social media platforms when it comes to user data, and who owns and is responsible for content posted to social media sites. Our guests:

  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law
  • Mike Johansson, senior lecturer of communications at RIT, and social media consultant at Fixitology
  • Emily Hessney Lynch, digital marketing manager at NextCorps, and director of content at I Heart ROC

"Finger Lakin' Good?" Yes, that's the name for a new resort near Canandaigua Lake chosen by local businessman Brian Mastrosimone. But Kentucky Fried Chicken is suing to block the name, saying it infringes on their popular slogan, "Finger lickin' good."

Mastrosimone says this is a case of corporate bullying. KFC says they wish him well, but he can't rip off its brand. Who's right? KFC provided a statement to WXXI. Our guests: 

  • Brian Mastrosimone, owner of businesses under the umbrella name of  “Finger Lakin’ Good”
  • Kristen Mollnow Walsh, partner at Nixon Peabody LLC

Do we have the "right to be forgotten?" Parts of Europe have adopted a law bearing that name, essentially saying that search engines like Google can be limited from linking to embarrassing stories about our past. Did you get caught going cow tipping on a drunken college night? That can be erased, so a future employer won't find it. Were you charged with a crime? Did you give an interview that you wish you hadn't? New York State had a bill that would give you the right to be forgotten. But is that a good idea?

We discuss the ramifications of our past, and how to make sure our free speech rights mesh with our privacy. Our guests:

  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law
  • Chris Thomas, partner with Nixon Peabody
  • Ann Marie Walker, workshop specialist at RochesterWorks!

The University at Buffalo has launched an Innocence and Justice Project, devoted to helping inmates who were wrongfully convicted have their convictions reversed. The project brings eight students into contact with the 440 motions from inmates; those inmates might be innocent, or they might have suffered a miscarriage of justice in some way.

We talk about the effort to bring more resources to inmates who don't have the means to fight their convictions. Our guests:

  • Kim Diana Connolly, director of the University at Buffalo School of Law's Advocacy Institute
  • Jon Getz '92, co-director of the University at Buffalo’s Innocence and Justice Project
  • Farina Mendelson '17, third year law student and participant in the University at Buffalo’s Innocence and Justice Project

Halloween is, sadly, an excuse for racists to put some awful imagery out in the public sphere.

Two fans at a Wisconsin Badgers football game dressed up as Trump holding a noose, with the noose around Obama. In Florida, a homeowner staged a mock lynching in the front yard, to the horror of neighbors. And a southern college is considering sanctions against a student who dressed up, in blackface, as Bill Cosby.

These actions are widely considered offensive, but are they protected speech by law? Or are there possible legal penalties? And what can we learn from this? Our guests:

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