If you’re partial to blog renderings of 2,500 words or more, you’ve likely read through our prior posts on Massachusetts data privacy, which posts can be found here, here, here and here, if you haven’t. If you’re partial to listening to Rodney’s smooth Western accent, and my severely diminished New England seacoast accent, you may have heard us discussing the ramifications of data privacy at episodes 1 and 2 of the Legal Toolkit podcast. If you’re partial to powerpoints that have been updated for the recent revisions to the data privacy regulations, you might like to check out ours, here. Now, if you’re partial to theoretical discussions followed by big announcements, read the next four paragraphs . . . you’ll be super-psyched.

Rodney and I have done much work on the issue of data privacy, in order to educate as many of the state’s attorneys as we can respecting the coming data privacy regime. If you’ve read our blog, or heard us speak, or done some research on your own, you likely know something of the law, and have a general sketch, at least, of what it is that is going on. In covering the issue of data privacy in Massachusetts, and getting out into the community, we have been greeted with a broad spectrum of reactions; responses range from those people who are nonchalant, either accomplishing much of what will be required already, or understanding that it is just another business process to adopt and apply, to those people who think the requirements are too much to ask of small business (solo attorneys/small firms), and so react with anger, sometimes at us. (I’ve taken to wearing a flak jacket about.) I understand all of these reactions, visceral, considered and otherwise, and my general response is two-fold, as follows: (1) get used to it: data privacy/protection regulation is coming, whether it be this present regulation, set to become effective March 1, 2010, or be it some other Massachusetts rule, or a federal law or a model rule adopted by Massachusetts; and, (2) it’s best practice anyway: you should be taking care to protect your client’s confidential information anyway. Beside being good business, much of what appears in the prevailing version of the regulation is common sense, especially requirements for systems, which many already apply. If you don’t have malware protection on your computer, and if you don’t protect your devices with passwords, you’re missing a much larger boat than that ship of the data privacy laws. Furthermore, the requirements are based on a reasonableness test, and the WISP plan implemented is to be formulated for specific businesses.

But, these general considerations are the shadow bearings for things that we have previously discussed at this blog. And, for all of that: all of our generated content, and presentations made, there is still a rather large gap of coverage of data privacy in this state:

With a shade over three months left before final implementation of the law, no one has yet put on a large-scale, all-day conference, covering these issues at the legal, regulatory, enforcement and practical compliance levels.

Until now. LOMAP, along with the Massachusetts Bar Association, Catuogno Court Reporting, Peritus Security Partners and Whitestone Marketing Group, among others, is sponsoring the Massachusetts Data Privacy Conference, a free, comprehensive, day-long program to take place January 27, 2010 at the Sheraton Monarch Hotel in Springfield. Program information, including a full description, updated faculty lists, specific agenda information, specific time and date information and more information on sponsors, is all available at the Massachusetts Bar Association calendar page and at the official conference website. You can register for the program at either site. And, again, all programming is free of charge, for attorneys and affiliated professionals and for other professionals and for anybody else, really, that wishes to swing by.

Perhaps there’s a reason that this conference will take place following January 1. Why don’t you make a resolution out of it, and take this opportunity to learn all that you can about data privacy issues in Massachusetts, before you’re scrambling to comply.

. . .

Liner Notes

I recently had a birthday. Or, at least, that’s what Facebook told all of my friends to say.

I had an excellent 21st, thanks for asking. It’s great to be able to go into a restaurant, and to order a drink, legally. Four more years, and I’ll be able rent a car. Heady, heady times.

A couple weeks before my birthday, I got locked out of one of my favorite websites: Pandora. It was a sad day: the opening of a Pandora’s Box, if you will, of crappiness. Apparently, you only get forty hours per month of listening to Pandora now . . . unless you pay for more. I don’t pay for a damn thing, if I can help it; so, it looked like I’d only get to listen to Pandora for one week out of the month (since I listen to Pandora all day at work), which would mean I’d eventually forget about using it, or no longer bother to. A sad day indeed, as I’ve said.

Why? Because Pandora is so great. I have been listening to Pandora internet radio for going on four years now. There’s been an Olympics between us at this point, and that’s how I measure time. Pandora is the offspring of the Music Genome Project, which serves to assign various elements to songs, that are, yes, unique (like a gene sequence) to those songs, but which also occur in other songs as well, such that pairs and larger groups of songs share some characteristics and not some others. So, imagine the connections that can be made between songs. (Too many lines to draw here.) Your use of Pandora involves the establishing of “radio stations”, rooted in a song or artist of your choosing. Your station will then play similar songs (songs that share the most elements with) to your artist’s style or to the style of the song that you have chosen. Once your songs begin to play, you’ll be able to bookmark songs and artists alike, share segments of songs with friends and/or buy albums you like direct from Amazon and songs and albums you like direct from iTunes. Read more about Pandora here.

If you haven’t used Pandora, you’ll be surprised how easily readable our programming is. By selecting one song or artist, the system will select a number of other songs that you already like and that you’ll grow to like, rolling, one after the other, like a scroll of your brainworks. But, don’t worry, it’s not really a microchip installed in your head, it’s just your taste recognized. You’re limited in your number of song skips; but, the good part is that you won’t really need them. So, we’re robots; but, we’re
robots who listen to great music, with our robot ears.

My robot ears, though, were wilty, like old lettuce. It was hard to work without music in the background. Enter my lovely and thoughtful wife, who purchased for me Pandora One, for my birthday. I understand that she got a great deal, and I am experiencing her bargain vicariously. There are other features for Pandora One (which really is number one), but my favorite is that I get unlimited listening, and there are no advertisements. For $36 a year, and $3 a month, that’s a price I can be quite happy with, especially as I don’t pay for it (!), and especially as that would be the cost of my monthly cup of coffee, if I drank coffee, which I don’t.

My absolute favorite part of Pandora, though, is the discoveries that I can make. As you might imagine, it’s a given that I’ll discover new songs using Pandora; and, given the design of the Pandora system, it’s also a fair certainty, as well, that I’ll like a large percentage of those songs I discover.

Here , then, are some of my favorite Pandora discoveries, of recent, as well as dated, vintage:

Bob Seger’s “Wreck This Heart”, from his 2006 comeback album, “Face the Promise”;

The Shins’ “Gone for Good”;

The Outlaws’ “There Goes Another Love Song”;

The Jayhawks’ “Save It For a Rainy Day”; and,

Chris Knight’s “Spike Drivin’ Blues”, Track 4 off of “The Trailer Tapes” album (no, not that Chris Knight, of “The Brady Bunch” and “My Fair Brady” sort of fame: this Chris Knight)

Now, if you’re thinking, “Wow, those songs sound really good, Jared has such great taste in music . . .” (I know), and you’re wondering, “How can I continue to discover”, you could get your own Pandora account, even starting with a free account. You can also view my Pandora profile, where you can see my radio stations, as well as the songs that I have bookmarked.