Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns

Locky: The New Ransomware – and the Three Principles of Fighting Ransomware

According to Security Magazine, the number of ransomware attacks is predicted to increase in 2016. For the second quarter of 2015, more than 4 million samples of ransomware infections were identified as compared to 1.5 million in the third quarter of 2013. That’s a pretty big increase.

Ransomware

So what is ransomware? Ransomware is a piece of malware that encrypts your data and holds it hostage until you pay a ransom. The idea is that after you pay the ransom, you receive the decryption key in order to decrypt your data and make it accessible again. The payment is made . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Evaluating Legal Technology – a Checklist

After successfully putting it off for a decade after every other industry, it seems like the legal world is finally – FINALLY – poised on the edge of a technology revolution. Walk the exhibit halls of any legal conference nowadays and you’ll see dozens of companies ready to sell you all sorts of solutions that will make your practice life easier and save you money. But will they? How can you tell?

To that end, I developed a check list to go through whenever you are thinking of adopting or purchasing a technology product or service.

  1. Know thyself. Before you
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology

Enhancing Old With New

It is timely that Vanderbilt Law School is hosting what is billed as the first legal conference on the topic: “Watson, Esq.: Will Your Next Lawyer Be a Machine.” The legal system, and the legal profession will need to dramatically lift it’s game if it is to keep up with client expectations as mankind prepares to take another big step. It led me back to an abstract of a Rees Morrison article I did almost 30 years ago:

Artificial intelligence and law: A conference report

The First International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law was held in Boston . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Macros and Micro Automation

Law practice technology comes in a variety of sizes. Either the lawyer adapts to the technology or adapts it to her needs. We often look at the systems that lawyers use to improve client service and productivity. This time, let’s flip the hood on law practice technology and look at some of the micro tools you can use.

Automated Tasks with Macros

Technology use is filled with those small things we do over and over, seemingly because we have no option. We log on to Windows, and as it loads, we grab a cup of coffee. We sit down and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Pretty Face of the Internet of Things

We have been looking at the implications of the interconnection of multitudes of devices – for security, for privacy, for property. What happens when the things connected with you and each other on the Internet can recognize your voice, and talk back to you? Voice recognition technology has made rapid progress, and it is already becoming normal that one can ask questions out loud to a computer (generally a “device”, a phone) and have it answer.

Thus Siri, Google Now and Cortana. Not only do they have access to a universe of information, but they learn about . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Judging Twitter

“Treated” is not quite the right word, but for purposes of this article I’ll say avid Twitter users were treated in early February to innumerable passionate pleas tagged #RIPTwitter that Twitter not change its algorithm and containing warnings that if Twitter dare mess with reverse chronological tweet delivery, the company would have drawn on its last measure of goodwill.

Before continuing, let me first acknowledge that the preceding statement likely sounded like nonsense to most of you. Not many Canadians have Twitter accounts (~25%), and only a tiny fraction of subscribers engage with sufficient frequency to notice small changes . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology

Podcasting as Commentary

Up to a few months ago, I didn’t know much about WWI. I did certainly know more than the characters in Friends, but, like most, I knew considerably less on this conflict than on the other world war. To be fair to me, I had a reasonable idea of the convoluted causes of the conflict from reading Margaret MacMillan’s “The War That Ended Peace” (still, that was only a couple of years ago), but not much about the actual fighting. Then I listened, over the summer, to a 20+ hour series of podcasts by Dan Carlin entitled “Blueprint . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Year-End Roundup: Trends in Legal Technology

The end of one year and the beginning of another is the usual time for commentators to review what happened during the year and discern the trends. What follows is my synthesis of the recent year-end roundups and what they seem to me to say.

Here are the most pertinent articles:

Among the trends identified are the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Recent Egregious Data Breaches: How They Happened

We should be grateful for other peoples’ data breaches – they help us to improve our own security. In our breach-a-day world, we seem to have more data breaches than ever. They come fast and furious – rare is the day when we don’t hear of one or more breaches on the evening news or through online media. Attack vectors change constantly – those of us in information security have a deep sense of humility in the face of constant changes in threats as well as technology, policies and training to defend against those threats.

Herewith, a few of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Smartphone Evidence: R. v. Avanes Et Al.

The Ontario Court of Justice recently had the occasion to consider the admissibility of evidence taken from smartphones in a drug smuggling case. Admission of the evidence was challenged on a number of grounds, mainly involving the application of sections 31.1 through 31.8 of the Canada Evidence Act (CEA) on evidence from computers. The Court held that the evidence was admissible. In my view, the Court got it right.

The three accused men in R. v. Avanes et al., 2015 ONCJ 606 (CanLII), had communicated with each other by Blackberry. The evidence sought to be admitted included (para 8) . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

A Mildly Embarrassed Philistine

A while ago I found myself basking in the sun beside a swimming pool, with not a great deal troubling me. The anxiety-free break had allowed me with pleasure to work my way through an interesting and informative biography and the moment was right quickly to find another book to read. Scouring through the available literature my attention was captured immediately by a highly regarded legal/crime novel by a well-known author and I immediately settled down for a relaxing read. Not the fault of the book or its author, I am convinced, but several pages in I began to become . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Move Your Firm to Web Encryption

Law firm Web sites can be more secure and offer clients a greater degree of comfort that their interactions are protected. Security and encryption are hot topics as the scales fall from digital eyes (and sometimes are put back again). Some recent developments in the way Web sites can secure their interactions make it even easier for law firms to have secure Web sites.

HTTPS

I’ve touched on using https yourself when sending or receiving client information, or banking, or engaging in other online activities. This slight change in a Web site’s URL – from http:// to https:// – means . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology