Author Archive for Maragell

For the love of the game

IMG_0984When fans of the Golden State Warriors downloaded the team’s new app to their android phones, they got more than they bargained for.  While they were now able to keep up with the latest team news, their private conversations were at risk of being heard.  That’s because the technology in the app interacts with the stadium’s Signal360 beacons which are used to send fans ads and promotions based on where they are in the stands.  Those beacon signals are received by the phone’s microphone, even when the app is not in active use, and, as a result, the user’s conversations can be constantly and continuously recorded and analyzed.  While the app requests permission to access the microphone, according to a new invasion of privacy lawsuit filed against the team by users of the app, the details about how the team will be using this permission are vague and ambiguous.   Security Tip:  before installing any program, read the terms of use/service clauses carefully, and ask yourself do I really need this.


Welcome Our Newly Appointed New Jersey Certified Paralegal

Deb Myerson Accepting NJCP Certificate

Deb Myerson and Becky Reedy

Deb Myerson, paralegal at Maragell and Vice President of the South Jersey Paralegal Association, was appointed as a New Jersey Certified Paralegal at the December 4, 2012 South Jersey Paralegal Association dinner.  In order to become a New Jersey Certified Paralegal, Deb was required to earn a degree in Paralegal Studies as well as establishing to the Association a proficiency in completing substantive paralegal work.  The designation requires all Certified Paralegals to stay abreast of issues affecting the paralegal community and to complete twelve continuing education credits every two years. Deb earned her Associates degree in Paralegal Studies from Camden County College in 2005 and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Paralegal Studies from Peirce College in June 2012.  She has devoted her entire professional career to the field of investigative research and serves as one of Maragell’s department leaders.

Background Checks–A Lesson in Reading Tea Leaves

employment screening

Reading the Tea Leaves

This morning, the Today Show’s investigative reporter, Jeff Rossen, revealed once again the pitfalls of cutting corners when it comes to conducting employee background checks.  In his report, Jeff highlighted the plight of several prospective employees who were denied positions because the firms hired to conduct their background checks failed to use reasonable procedures to vet the information they retrieved.

Unfortunately for US employers, there is no central location they can check to determine if a prospect has a criminal record.  To obtain a “national criminal record check,” a search must be conducted at the federal, state, county, and if warranted, municipal, levels for every place the prospect ever lived, worked, visited or vacationed.  No employer would incur the cost to conduct such a search (nor could it given the need for the prospect to divulge his/her life’s itinerary).

Instead, employers often rely upon database searches as an alternative to conducting a thorough manual background check.  The trade-off is that while such research is cost and time efficient, the databases often link erroneous dates of births, crimes and litigation matters to individuals with similar names and social security numbers.  Until a human being takes a moment to analyze the data and compare it to what was provided by the prospect, as well as comparing it to other pieces of independently developed information about the prospect, the type of misinformation described in Rossen’s report will continue to be conveyed to the employer.  Background checks are an art form, not a mouse click.

Practice Tip:  If your firm must rely upon database searches for budgetary reasons, ask the prospective employee for a 10 year address history.  Use it to compare it to the results from your background check firm.  If crimes are listed on the report in states the prospect did not live, question your vendor—demand they check with the courthouse directly.