The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 70 Number 4

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

In Texas, a tenant who moves into an apartment is entitled to a working smoke detector, a peephole in the front door, and proper security on all doors and windows, including a dead bolt on the front door.  Click here for more.

New Anti-Piracy Bill Sparks Protests

On January 18, Congress will hold a hearing for the Stop Online Piracy Act. On that same day, many websites will have a black-out to call attention to the hearing and protest the proposed law. Why? Congress wants to give intellectual property rights holders a very powerful tool to protect their work. Opponents of the Act insist the "powerful tool" in the proposed law is too broad and would amount to nothing more than Internet censorship. What will become of the controversial anti-piracy legislation? What will the Internet look like if it successfully passes Congress? Click here for more.

Forecast: Expect High Gas Prices in 2012

2011 will go down in the record books as having the most expensive gasoline in history. Don't expect 2011 to hold that record for long. Industry analysts project the national average for a gallon of gasoline will reach $3.86 to $4.13 by Memorial Day, well above the record $3.51 for 2011. Unlike previous years, prices are expected to stay high throughout the year. Why are analysts predicting such a bad year for gasoline prices? Click here for more.

Passwords: Can Courts Force Disclosure?

Can a court force you to give up your password? We're about to find out. A U.S. District Court in Colorado has been hearing arguments in a bank fraud case that hinges on an encrypted password, involving a woman (Fricosu) who is accused of involvement in mortgage scam. Prosecutors argue that Fricosu should be required to release the password so that investigators may see what is hidden behind password protection. Fricosu argues that such a requirement would be a violation of her right to privacy and her right against self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment protects "testimonial" evidence, but a court can still compel "non-testimonial" evidence like DNA and handwriting samples. How will the court rule? Click here for more.

Your Money

How much does that loan REALLY cost? Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

NLRB rule workers cannot be barred from maintaining or joining a class action. The National Labor Relations Board has just ruled that workers must be allowed to pursue legal claims as a group. The NLRB said such agreements interfere with workers' protected rights to join together to improve working conditions, and constitute an unfair labor practice. Click here for more.


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