“The Internet’s Own Boy” – Victoria Blachly to Speak on Panel

Come listen to an intriguing panel discussion on digital rights, digital privacy, net neutrality and more.

Special guests will include:

– Stuart Kaplan, Emeritus Assoc. Prof. of Rhetoric & Media Studies, L&C College & Member, ACLU OR Board of Dir.

– Bill Giard, Principal Engineer, PDIT Organization and lead’s Intel IT’s Software and Application

– Mary Beth Henry, Manager, Office for Community Technology, Mt Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, City of Portland

Victoria Blachly, Partner, Samuels Yoelin Kantor, Attorneys At Law

The Internet’s Own Boy follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

For more details, and to purchase tickets, visit OMSI’s event page.

March 31, 2015 – Event Schedule:

6:30pm: Panel discussion

7:00pm: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (Rated NR & 105 minutes)

9:00pm: Q&A

The Link Event: Planning for – and Protecting – Your Digital Assets

Together with The Link, SYK Partner, Victoria Blachly is presenting on recent Oregon and national legislation regarding digital assets and how to plan accordingly.

Do you have bank or investment account statements delivered to you online because businesses are encouraging or even pressuring customers to go paperless?  Do you have hundreds if not thousands of photographs of your charming family or adorable pets stored online?  Do you post to any online social media accounts that tell part of the story of your personal or professional life?  What happens to those accounts or assets when you die or become incapacitated?  Does the personal representative have the authority or ability to access those accounts and try to put the pieces of a financial picture back together?  Can those photographs be copied and delivered to the grieving family left behind?  Should certain accounts or information be deleted, particularly if a protected person is being targeted online or identity theft is an issue?  Even if an authorized user has the password to access an online account, is that a fraudulent cybercrime by misrepresenting to the end user who you are?  All of these questions lead to one inescapable issue:  The internet is outrunning the law.

It’s a policy decision:  It’s about CHOICE.  Do US citizens want large corporations to decide what happens to their online accounts when they die or become incapacitated or do they want the freedom to plan and pick options for what happens to their online accounts?  And if people decide to ignore the problem and assume someone will put the pieces together when they die, then there needs to be a way to do that, because currently the large online companies hold all of the cards.

Register for the March 11, 5:30 PM event at SYK through The Link for Women or contact mrobinson@samuelslaw.com

IRS Telephone Scam – Don’t Fall for It!

Recently, I spoke with two clients who were almost victims of a pervasive telephone scam involving a person posing as an Internal Revenue Service agent.  In each instance, the caller demanded immediate same-day payment of thousands of dollars in order to prevent drastic enforcement measures as a result of alleged tax debts.  In one instance, the perpetrator actually threatened criminal arrest if the money was not paid the same day.  Luckily, in both instances the wannabe IRS agents failed in their attempted swindle as reasonable questions from both of my clients yielded answers that were both hostile and suspicious.

In a recent public notice, the IRS issued a consumer alert giving taxpayers additional tips to avoid these telephone scams.  The typical scam described in the alert is similar to that experienced by my clients.  In these situations, the scammer may know your name and address, and possibly other personal details such as the last four digits of the victim’s social security number.  Their caller ID may contain a false descriptor that references the IRS in some way.  In almost all instances, very serious enforcement actions – such as bank account levies or criminal arrest – will be threatened.  To avoid such consequences, the scammer seeks payment through some fast payment system, such as a temporary debit card or wire transfer.

In the recent alert, the IRS reminded taxpayers of the following five things the IRS will never do:

1. Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.

2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If in doubt about an alleged communication from the IRS, you can always call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040 to ask more questions.  If you do receive a scam call, you can also file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant.  Just follow that line, choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

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