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Archive for ‘Technology’

Happy Data Privacy Day

From the Privacy Commissioner of Canada: “On January 28, Canada, along with many countries around the world, will celebrate Data Privacy Day. Recognized by privacy professionals, corporations, government officials, academics and students around the world, Data Privacy Day highlights the impact that technology is having on our privacy rights and underlines the importance of valuing and protecting personal information.”

Privacy becomes increasingly challenging with new tech such as big data, the internet of things, wearable computers, drones, and government agencies recording massive amounts of data in the name of security. Sober thought needs to go into balancing the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Eternal Sunshine of the Legal Mind

Many years ago, when I was still early in my career as a nuclear medicine technologist, I had a co-worker named “Jackie” (not her real name), who I still think of to this day.

“Jackie” was an incredible person. She was a breast cancer survivor. She had a quirky, yet fascinating personality. And she happened to be cross-trained in both nuclear medicine and other modalities. I did everything I could to learn from Jackie, and she was always kind, patient, and understanding – basically all of the qualities we wish we encountered when we were articling, but never would because . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Windows 10 Revealed

Microsoft gave details today about the Microsoft 10 OS. (Yes, they are skipping 9). For those still on Win 7 because you were not thrilled by the Win 8 interface, you will likely go direct to Win 10, as it attempts to address the interface issues that people did not like. (If you are still using Win XP – you are in dangerous territory, and should probably disconnect from the internet given that it is not being updated.) Win 8 works really well on a tablet (the surface pro 3, for example), but the touch design interface did not translate . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Of Digital Authoritativeness and the Age of Steam

Late last week fellow Slaw contributor John Gregory brought up some idiosyncrasies in his post about how web-sourced versions of laws stack up against more official looking books with laws printed in them. You know, the ones that only the law library has?

This brings up a pet peeve of mine—something that Ontario has solved, but which BC practitioners are technically still exposed to. The fact is that if you’re not producing photocopies of the official books with BC laws in them, you’re technically not doing your job for the court in BC. That’s ridiculous, right? Well, yeah. It is. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

U of T Watson Team 2nd in University Competition

Congratulations to the team from the University of Toronto for their second place finish in the first IBM Watson Cognitive Computing Competition. Their legal research application Ross “allows users to ask Watson legal questions related to their case work, speeding research and guiding lawyers to pertinent information to help their case.” You can get a feel for Ross in this short video demo from the competition.

First place, and the winners of $100,000 in seed funding, went to the University of Texas at Austin for CallScout which aims to provide easy access to information about social . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Evidence of Official Documents Online: A Problem?

Governments increasingly are putting official documents online without any paper ‘original’ or equivalent. Does that present challenges in practice for proving those documents?

What is your experience producing in court or generally under the evidence statutes official government documents that appear only online?

There is good statutory support for producing documents ‘printed’ by government, sometimes by class of document but sometimes as broad as ‘other public document’.

Will courts accept a printout of a web page (or, I suppose, a live in-court online presentation of a web page) showing a government URL as being ‘published by the Queen’s Printer’, at . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Search Engine Results as Evidence

Can you / should you / do you rely on the product of search engines as evidence in civil or criminal matters? Do you base legal advice on what you find on search engines, or on the use made of them?

A recent article in Canadian Lawyer canvasses some of the possibilities.

The Ontario Superior Court held that one could not establish facts by showing how often certain terms were used in Google searches. That was for the purpose of the certification of a class action.

However, showing previous use or actual use of trade marks can be done . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Data Visualization With CartoDB

No matter where you live in Vancouver, odds are pretty good there’s a dog nearby with the name Charlie.

How do I know this random tidbit? It’s thanks to CartoDB, a (mostly) free cloud-based mapping tool. While browsing their online gallery, I came across a user-generated map of popular dog names in Vancouver, created using open source data.

The product concept is pretty simple: CartoDB will take geo-location data, along with other connected contextual data, from an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file; and then turn those pieces into an professional-looking, interactive map.

We recently used CartoDB for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

British Columbia Law Firm’s Computer Network Hacked by Cyber-Extortionist

The Law Society of BC recently issued a warning to its members to be vigilant about their firm’s cyber security after a BC firm’s files were held captive by a hacker who encrypted them and tried to extort payment in return for restoring access. There have been similar cases in Ontario in the last year.

…the firm found that its computer system was hacked and paralyzed by a computer virus known as the Cryptowall Virus when the staff showed up for work on Monday, December 29, 2014. Notices appeared on some of the firm’s computer monitors stating “Your files were

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

LII-in-Your-Pocket?

When I first learned about “LII-in-a-Box,” a new legal information service developed by the African Legal Information Institute, I thought it might provide a stand-alone information system that could operate independent of the internet. I thought it might be something that would alleviate poor and intermittent internet connections that make access to online information difficult in under-served communities and countries. Honestly though, what really came to mind was the LibraryBox Project that Jason Griffey has been championing for a number of years now. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology: Internet

CES 2015

The Annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is under way in Las Vegas. Its a mecca for those into the latest and greatest and biggest and fastest and most innovative consumer tech.

For example, the latest in TV’s are 4K (4 times the resolution of HD) that are impossibly thin with tiny bezels. While the high end models are unaffordable, the improvements eventually become mainstream.

Trends include wearables (fitness still dominates) and the smart home (aka internet of things). Everything seems to be connected somehow – even teakettles. (Some might say that an internet connected teakettle belongs to the internet . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Hackers and Legal Information

In late 2014, during a meeting of my firm’s technology advisory group, I recall skeptically saying something like: “What hacker is actually going to target a law firm. We don’t store client credit card data, there are multiple layers of security on our servers, on our files and for employee personal information, I mean really, we are not Target or Home Depot.” Other members of our group did not agree with me.

Boy, was I mistaken. On December 31, 2014 the Law Society of BC issued a Fraud Alert titled BC law firm’s computer system hacked by extortionist.

Notices

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Technology