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Friday, November 16, 2012

Nebraskans Asked to Help Gauge Nebraska's Internet Speed

Nebraska's Public Service Commission (PSC) is asking Nebraskans to take a simple, fast online test that will capture their current Internet speed, which will feed into a statewide database. The information collected could help both policymakers and Internet consumers improve service.

As part of the Nebraska Broadband Initiative, which aims to increase broadband access and adoption, especially in unserved or underserved areas of Nebraska, a new website was launched: Nebraska Broadband ( 

To take the test, go to: Nebraska Broadband Mapping Project  ( Instructions for taking the speed test are available. In addition to testing, site visitors can provide feedback on their Internet access.

Lapin Law Offices would urge all Nebraskans to take this simple online test. The results of the test should benefit all of us.

Study Finds Increase in Younger Drivers Texting While Driving

New annual survey by State Farm Insurance Company about teen drivers and cellphones:

  • 68% of drivers ages 18-29 reported engaging in texting while driving (up from 64% last year);
  • 34% of all drivers reported texting while driving (up from 32% a year ago); and 
  • 48% of young drivers reported accessing the Web behind the wheel (up from 43% last year)
Source: USA Today: Young drivers still texting, surfing the Web

Despite all of the media (TV, social, online, etc.) about the dangers of texting and driving this study shows that the message is not sinking in. We need to do a better job educating all drivers of the dangers of distracted driving, whether texting, internet access, eating, etc.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lincoln-Lancaster County Creates Food Establishment Inspection Webpage

By: Jeffrey Lapin (Attorney-Owner of Lapin Law Offices)

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department has created a food establishment inspection information web page, which provides information regarding establishment inspections, definitions and violations. 

On November 8, 2012, Lincoln, Nebraska, Mayor Chris Beutler announced two new initiatives to improve food safety in Lincoln-Lancaster County, Nebraska (New Food Safety Initiatives to Benefit Food Establishments and Public- issued November 8, 2012). These initiatives are:
  • The public now has online access to current food inspection reports for those local establishments that have been issued Food Enforcement Notices for high-risk violations.
  • The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) has received a five-year, $350,000 grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce foodborne illness originating from retail food establishments.
In his announcement, Mayor Beutler added:
The vast majority of our local food establishments do an outstanding job of serving our community, but when enforcement actions are necessary, it's important that the public have access to this information. This is an excellent use of technology to help protect the health of our residents and visitors.
The new webpage is live: Food Establishment Inspections. The site notes:
Only inspections that have resulted in the issuance of a Food Enforcement Notice (FEN) are listed. If you search for a food establishment and no inspection is listed, it has not been issued a Food Enforcement Notice in the past three years. 
An FEN may be issued as a warning, suspension, or closure depending on the severity of the risks posed to the public’s health. FENs may be appealed.
Please remember that any inspection report is a “snapshot” of the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, an establishment could have more or fewer violations than noted here. Thus, the inspection results may not be representative of the overall food safety of an establishment. Also, at the time of the inspection, violations are recorded but are often corrected on-the-spot prior to the inspector leaving the establishment.
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Lapin Law Offices represents injured, abused and disabled persons in Lincoln, Lancaster County and throughout Nebraska. Contact us at 402-421-8033 or through our website,, to learn more about us and what we can do for you. We offer a free initial consultation twenty-four hours a day seven days a week (24/7).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guard Your Debit Card and PIN

Since companies have increased their network security following breaches of debit card and other credit information data thieves have shifted their focus to "that moment in time debit card data remains unprotected in a public setting — during the swipe and PIN-entry process."

Debit card account numbers and PINs are highly sought because they can be converted quickly into cash. A device called a mag stripe encoder can be purchased legally on the Internet. For about $200, anyone can embed a stolen payment card number onto a blank magnetic striped card. With the associated PIN, free cash is only an ATM away. . . .
Cynthia Larose (who chairs the privacy and security practice at the 500-attorney firm, Mintz LevinLarose) says:
"Debit card users should be mindful of the heightened risks,  Financial institutions generally will act quickly to make a victim whole in cases of fraud involving use of a credit card or an ATM machine. However, banks are not obligated to work with a victim in fraud cases involving use of a debit card at a POS terminal.
"Other than avoiding the use of debit cards at POS terminals, there probably is little a consumer can do," 
A final piece of advice: "Use cash."
Excerpts from USA Today interview with Jeff Hall, who directs the information-security practice at tax and risk consultancy McGladrey:
Criminals are scouting vulnerable venues. . . . All electronic devices today run some sort of operating system. As such, they can all be misused if the right person can insert themselves into the process at the right point.
Debit cards are tied directly to someone's bank account. As a result, there is typically a high likelihood of tapping into a large amount of cash quickly. Mag stripe data is fairly easy to come by. If you have complete mag stripe data with a PIN, you can completely impersonate the real card.
Consumers should use credit cards and stop using debit cards. However, that means consumers will need to be diligent in paying off the balance of their cards every month. Debit cards are risky because the government has not put the same loss restrictions on them that they have for credit cards. Consumer groups have been lobbying for these types of restrictions for the last few years, but that is likely to come to an end in the next year or two as state governments and/or the federal government respond.