Category Archives: Fulfilled Expectations

In Which the U.S. Government Gives Me Free Stuff

The good news is that the United States government is going to give me three years of credit monitoring and identity theft protection absolutely free.

The bad news is that in March of 2014 the U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management got hacked. The OPM cybersecurity team didn’t detect the hacking until April of the following year, by which time the hackers had stolen the records of 21 million people.

I’ve never been a government employee, but in the 1990s I had a national security clearance, and the stolen data includes records of people who applied for a clearance. I didn’t have to fill out the gigantic SF-86 form (the country was between the Cold War and the War on Terror, so security procedures were very relaxed) but I still had to provide a lot of information, all of it tied to my Social Security number. And apparently the OPM thinks the stolen data includes my information.

Which is why the government is now spending $133 million of taxpayer money to buy ID theft detection service for me and everyone else who got hit.

Biglaw According to Ashley Madison

When I first downloaded a copy of the hacked database dump from the Ashley Madison adultery-oriented dating site, I naturally checked if anyone I know had been naughty. When that didn’t pan out, I tried to think of something fun I could do with all that data.

Then over at The Big Questions economist Steve Landsburg posted what he called “The Ashley Madison Test of College Faculty Cluelessness” in which he ranked 33 top colleges according to how many of their faculty used their work email addresses to register at Ashley Madison.

…feel free to use these rankings as a measure of your college faculty’s average cluelessness, at least when it comes to maintaining anonymity over the Internet.

I thought that was an amusing way to poke fun at academia, and since I occasionally cover legal issues, I figured that I could do the same for law big. So here’s a list of email domains from Vault’s list of 100 most prestigious law firms to work for in 2016, ranked in order by the number of times email addresses with that domain appear in the Ashley Madison data dump:

RankEmail DomainNumber of
Ashley Madison
Accounts
1fr.com18
2mofo.com9
3dlapiper.com8
3kslaw.com8
3mwe.com8
3gtlaw.com8
7jonesday.com7
7sullcrom.com7
9omm.com6
9crowell.com6
9klgates.com6
12reedsmith.com5
12sidley.com5
12debevoise.com5
12bakermckenzie.com5
16foley.com4
16mto.com4
16hunton.com4
16kirkland.com4
16cgsh.com4
16hklaw.com4
16whitecase.com4
16wc.com4
16troutmansanders.com4
16winston.com4
26lw.com3
26morganlewis.com3
26velaw.com3
26nixonpeabody.com3
26mcguirewoods.com3
26steptoe.com3
26pattonboggs.com3
26quinnemanuel.com3
26wilmerhale.com3
26mayerbrown.com3
26bakerbotts.com3
26goodwinprocter.com3
38nortonrosefulbright.com2
38kattenlaw.com2
38perkinscoie.com2
38arentfox.com2
38alston.com2
38dechert.com2
38gibsondunn.com2
38cov.com2
38fenwick.com2
38dorsey.com2
38cliffordchance.com2
38finnegan.com2
38blankrome.com2
38mintz.com2
38pepperlaw.com2
38weil.com2
54hugheshubbard.com1
54duanemorris.com1
54lockelord.com1
54manatt.com1
54pbwt.com1
54paulweiss.com1
54seyfarth.com1
54sheppardmullin.com1
54venable.com1
54bsfllp.com1
54ropesgray.com1
54akingump.com1
54shearman.com1
54proskauer.com1
54freshfields.com1
54wsgr.com1
54irell.com1
54jenner.com1
54bakerlaw.com1
54kayescholer.com1
54bryancave.com1
54cravath.com1
76allenovery.com0
76arnoldporter.com0
76bracewellgiuliani.com0
76cadwalader.com0
76cahill.com0
76chadbourne.com0
76cooley.com0
76davispolk.com0
76dentons.com0
76drinkerbiddle.com0
76friedfrank.com0
76haynesboone.com0
76hoganlovells.com0
76kilpatricktownsend.com0
76kramerlevin.com0
76linklaters.com0
76milbank.com0
76www.orrick.com0
76paulhastings.com0
76pillsburylaw.com0
76srz.com0
76simpsonthacher.com0
76skadden0
76wlrk.com0
76willkie.com0

Since this post mentions 100 freakin’ law firms, I should probably include a few clarifications:

There are reasons unrelated to adultery for having an account at Ashley Madison. Journalists, for example, have created Ashley Madison accounts while writing stories about the service. (Since I’ve considered writing posts about Ashley Madison in the past, I thought I might have created an account. It turns out I didn’t.) Similarly, employees of law firms could have created accounts as part of the investigation of a legal matter. Or they may just have been curious.

It’s also important to note that Ashley Madison does not verify email addresses, so these accounts need not have been created by any real person at those law firms. They don’t even have to be real email addresses. The email addresses in the Ashley Madison database could have been put there by literally anyone on the internet. (This is why I’m not posting individual addresses.) Some lawfirms have purchased short high-prestige domains, and people entering random letters for a made-up email address could easily hit on them by accident.

Furthermore, there’s a chance that this is not the real data from Ashley Madison. It’s possible I found another fake data dump. This post is based on data listed at The Pirate Bay, and this time I was more careful, so I think it’s the Thursday dump everyone’s been talking about, but I could be wrong. And even if it is the dump everybody’s talking about, there’s no guarantee that it’s really from the Impact Team hacking group, and even if it is, there’s no guarantee that this data actually came from Ashley Madison. As I write this, they have not confirmed its authenticity. However, the lack of vigorous denials makes me think this is probably the real thing.

[Update: A PR representative for one of the law firms pointed out that many of the email addresses are obviously fake, and some of them are duplicates. I had already explained that Ashley Madison does not verify email addresses, but in case the implications of unverified email were not getting across to readers, I have changed this post to put greater emphasis on implications of unverified email. Furthermore, I have replaced the names of the firms with the domain names from the data dump to make it clear that the email addresses are not necessarily valid email addresses at those firms. I also re-wrote the database query to crush out duplicate email addresses, which changes some of the counts and rankings. Finally, I changed the tone to more clearly indicate that this post is intended for amusement.]

Unrelated Stories: Photographing Cops

Via Nobody’s Business comes the news that our British cousins have made it illegal to take pictures of cops:

From today, anyone taking a photograph of a police officer could be deemed to have committed a criminal offence.

That is because of a new law – Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act – which has come into force.

It permits the arrest of anyone found “eliciting, publishing or communicating information” relating to members of the armed forces, intelligence services and police officers, which is “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”.

You might think that last part about terrorism is a safeguard against abuse, but it’s not. It won’t prevent the cops from arresting you. The only place it does any good is at your trial, and by then it’s too late. Even if the charges are dropped and you are released later the same day, the cops will already have confiscated your camera and had a chance to delete your photos.

Why would they do that?

Check out this story Simple Justice found about how one Schenectady cop spends his shift:

Dwayne Johnson, who was the city’s highest paid officer last year with earnings of $168,921, spends most Tuesday early mornings in an apartment at the corner of Queen Philomena Boulevard and Sir Benjamin Way, near Kings Road. Although Johnson is typically scheduled to patrol the city until 8 a.m., he parks his marked police car on Sir Benjamin Way just before 4 a.m. and remains indoors for several hours.

The eight-year veteran of the department was observed by a Daily Gazette reporter and other witnesses as he entered and stayed in the apartment on five Tuesdays in a row this year.

The reporter has photographs.

If British cops are anything like Schenectady cops, it’s no wonder they don’t want their picture taken.

Best Line About Blagojevich

Megan McArdle puts it in perspective:

Most of my friends are libertarians, and hence tend to assume that this sort of quid pro quo is in fact how people get appointments.  But we thought it was done with some subtlety, a nudge and a wink, not full frontal demands for payola… There’s something really sad about having gone so far that your indelicacy actually amazes the folks who want to legalize prostitution and open air drug markets.

(Source)

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