Privacy Expert Lori Andrews Warns About Social Networks

Our guest on my March 2 Washington Update radio show was author Lori Andrews, discussing her latest book, I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Lori AndrewsPrivacy. She revealed the career and more personal dangers of participating in such social networks as Facebook, Linked In and Twitter -- and she offered an expert view on how to balance the risks and benefits of participating.

Lori AndrewsMeanwhile, 113 former state attorneys general co-signed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court this week urging the court to throw out the 2006 convictions of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

The bipartisan petition by the former top legal officers of more than 40 states is the latest development in Siegelman's prosecution. The petition is unprecedented in Supreme Court history aside from the smaller number of signatures for a previous petition to the court on Siegelman's behalf.

Like a recent column by George Will, the brief focuses on the suspect legal basis for the prosecution begun during the Bush administration of Alabama's most popular Democrat. Our Justice Integrity Project, among others, has documented other scandals in the case through the years, as summarized below. 

For the Andrews interview, co-host Scott Draughon and I held a special edition of our weekly Update show on the MTL network. The American Bar Association's ABA Journal listed her in 2008 as a "Newsmaker of the Year." It described her as "a lawyer with a literary bent who has the scientific chops to rival any CSI investigator." Click here to listen to the interview live nationwide on the My Technology Lawyer (MTL) radio network archive.

Professor Andrews is the author of 10 non-fiction books and three novels. The internationally recognized expert on emerging technologies has created a Social Network Constitution. On March 23, 2012, she and Professor Richard Warner will host a free conference in Chicago on Internet Privacy, Data Aggregation, and Social Networks.

Her path-breaking litigation about technologies caused the National Law Journal to list her as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America." In 2002, she won the National Health Law Teachers Award. In 2005, she was made an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine for her "distinguished achievement in the field of legal medicine."

Andrews is a professor of law at IIT Chicago-Kent; director of IIT's Institute for Science, Law and Technology; and an associate vice president of IIT. She has been a visiting professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Yale College and her J.D. from Yale Law School. Her non-fiction books include Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy, Future Perfect: Confronting Decisions About Genetics and The Clone Age: Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology. She is the author of more than 150 articles on health care policy, biotechnology, genetics and reproductive technologies. She is also the author of three mysteries involving a fictional geneticist. Research on her latest novel took her from the White House to an institute for tropical biology in the jungles of Vietnam. She uses her fiction to address the social issues she covers in her legal work and teaching.

Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent and president of the Authors Guild, says of the latest Andrews research:

This pathbreaking book is fascinating, frightening and essential reading.  It demonstrates how much of what we treasure in our lives is unwittingly being surrendered as we fall into the spider web of social networks, a disaster in the making that requires a thoughtful but immediate legislative response.

Andrews traveled across the country and the world, interviewing people who use social networks to expand their opportunities and enrich their lives. She also found court cases about people whose lives, relationships, and careers have been ruined based on social network posts. The book and more details, including reader reviews, are available here on She uses Twitter: @LoriAndrewsJD.

Don SiegelmanConcerning Siegelman case, the former chief legal officers of more than 40 states urged on March 1 that the Supreme Court review the former governor's 2006 convictions on corruption charges.

A federal jury in Alabama convicted him in 2006 based on allegations that a wealthy donor gave $500,000 in contributions to a state lottery campaign that Siegelman favored, with the donor reappointed in 1999 to a seat on a state health care board to which previous governor's had appointed him. After years of appeals, Siegelman, free on bond since 2008, seeks Supreme Court review. The former attorneys general are led by former New York Attorney General Robert Abrams. They submitted a friend of the court brief saying:

This case is about the criminalization of First Amendment freedoms — the giving and receiving of campaign contribution — based on an indefinite standard that will significantly alter the liberty of constituents to contribute to political campaigns without fear of criminal liability and the desire of citizens to run for political office in a system that largely depends on private contributions.

The arguments in the brief focused primarily on a vital but narrow legal element of the convictions: campaign contributions. The donations in 1999 and 2000 were to the non-profit's issue campaign seeking more money for state funding of education, not the candidate's own campaign. But the legal issues are similar.

Other factors, including a series of scandals little-addressed in the appellate or other watchdog processes, are summarized below. Human rights advocates have cited the case as a prominent example of a political prosecution and bipartisan cover-up.


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Siegelman Case Background

Wall Street Journal, Ex-Attorneys General Back Siegelman, Steve Eder, March 1, 2012. More than 100 former attorneys general are backing one of their own — Don Siegelman, Alabama former governor and attorney general, who was convicted in 2006 on corruption charges. The brief was backed by 113 former top state lawyers, including some who also served as governors, such as Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm and Wisconsin’s James Doyle. Siegelman spent nine months in custody, and has been free on bond awaiting appeal since 2008.

Leura CanaryJustice Integrity Project, Siegelman Case Showdown Nov. 2 Hurts Obama, Not Rove, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 1, 2011.  A legal showdown of historic proportion unfolded Nov. 2 in an Alabama federal court. Squaring off in Montgomery Courtroom B4 were the Obama Justice Department and its most important domestic defendant, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, once the leading Democrat in his state. Siegelman wants the government to provide documentation proving that Middle District U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, right, really withdrew from the case, as she claimed. Her husband, William Canary, was a political opponent of Siegelman's.

Justice Integrity Project, Siegelman Sentence Delayed As DOJ Hides Conflict Data, Sept. 11, 2011. The Alabama judge presiding over the notorious Bush prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman postponed the defendant’s re-sentencing last week while prosecutors continue to stonewall defense requests for documents showing whether federal prosecutors violated the defendant's right to an honest, unbiased prosecutor.

On Sept. 22, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery postponed his re-sentencing of Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy on corruption charges. Decisions by the Supreme Court and other appellate bodies reduced charges, requiring re-sentencing. “No one [in authority] has ever grasped the magnitude of the recusal issue and why it is the most important issue in this entire case,” former Siegelman aide Chip Hill wrote me this week. “Absent proof that the case was conducted without conflict of interest, every action taken in that conflicted environment should be invalidated. That would include the original indictments, the trial, conviction, etc.”

Mark FullerHuffington Post, Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows, Andrew Kreig, May 15, 2009. The Alabama federal judge who presided over the 2006 corruption trial of the state's former governor holds a grudge against the defendant for helping to expose the judge's own alleged corruption six years ago. Former Gov. Don Siegelman therefore deserves a new trial with an unbiased judge ─ not one whose privately owned company, Doss Aviation, has been enriched by the Bush administration's award of $300 million in contracts since 2006, making the judge millions in non-judicial income. These are the opinions of Missouri attorney Paul B. Weeks, who is speaking out publicly for the first time since his effort in 2003 to obtain the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery on Doss Aviation-related allegations. Fuller is at left in a photo by Phil Fleming shortly after the jury verdict on June 15, 2006.

Justice Integrity Project, Don Siegelman Guest Column: The President Needs to Engage His Moral GPS, Sept. 12, 2011. Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman: The President should have pursued those responsible for implementing torture as a means of interrogation, and could have explained to the country that this is something that we must do, in order for countries throughout the world, and peoples throughout the world, to once again have respect for the United States.

Huffington Post, Did DoJ Blackmail Siegelman Witness With Sex Scandal? Andrew Kreig, July 21, 2009. The top government witness in the 2006 federal conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges is providing new evidence that prosecutors failed to fulfill their legal obligation to provide the defense with all records documenting witness-coaching. Former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey swears that prosecutors failed to reveal to the defense details of most of his two dozen prep sessions before he became the Bush Justice Department's key witness that former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy bribed the former Democratic governor.

Huffington Post, Siegelman's First Trial Judge Blasts U.S. Prosecutors, Seeks Probe of 'Unfounded' Charges, Andrew Kreig, May 21, 2009. One of the most experienced federal judges in recent Alabama history is denouncing the U.S. Justice Department prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Retired Chief U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon of Birmingham calls for a probe of misconduct by federal prosecutors ─ including their alleged "judge-shopping," jury-pool "poisoning" and "unfounded" criminal charges in an effort to imprison Siegelman.