Canada’s online legal magazine.
CPAC Beyond Politics
Osgoode Professional LLM

Archive for ‘Technology’

Why Checks and Balances Must Come First

In my last post, I posed a question to readers: Do we need a global digital bill of rights? It was also the topic of a fascinating panel discussion I moderated in at the CBA’s CLC in St. John’s last week. Perhaps predictably, there were no definitive conclusions, but there appeared to be agreement that as the World Wide Web celebrates its 25th anniversary, internet users of all stripes are struggling with a dilemma: If private internet companies are watching us, shouldn’t someone be watching them? Presumably the “someone” in question would be the government. But that’s an idea . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology: Internet

Rethinking the Way a Court Formats and Publishes Its Judgments

If you could change the way a court formatted or published its judgments, what changes would you recommend? XML? Typography? Are there any courts whose judgments you think are better (looking) than the rest? Or are there any ongoing initiatives or helpful products/sources in this area you’d like to point out? I would be grateful for your comments, tips, etc. Thanks! . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Habits and Shortcuts

My Dad, a big old gruff softie farmer from central Alberta hates (is terribly afraid of) mice. Squeeks like one when he sees them indoors, the sweetheart. I dislike the mouse that is attached to my computer when I have to take my hands off of the keyboard to use it to engage functions in software. This personality quirk is so well known in my firm that people will send me keyboard shortcuts, bless them.

Josette McEachern, Field Law’s Library Manager sent me this MS Excel tip today:

To insert a row Cntrl Shft =
To delete a row

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Right to Be Forgotten – the EU Justice Commissioner Chimes In

Martine Reicherts, the Justice Commissioner for the EU, has little patience with those who express concern about the ‘right to be forgotten’ as imposed by the EU Court of Justice in May of this year (without actually using the expression itself). Here is her speech and a short but very direct summary at the outset.

As you probably know, the UK House of Lords recently issued a report describing the right as ‘misguided in principle and unworkable in practice’:

Who’s right? Will the EU hurt itself by insisting on putting internet intermediaries, especially those that do not organize content, to . . . [more]

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

Structured Data for Libraries: RDFa … Eh?

It’s been about two months now since the American Library Association held its annual meeting, this year in Las Vegas. Unfortunately I had to miss this event, which was disappointing because there was a fantastic looking pre-conference on linked data presented by the Library Linked Data Interest Group. Theodore Gerontakos provides a wonderful summary of what happened and I direct you there to read his overview.

What I wanted to focus in on today is the opening pre-conference presentation delivered by Dan Scott: “Structured Data for Libraries: RDFa and schema.org“. Scott is a self-professed . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Of Snowden’s Call to Encrypt and the Role of Our Law Societies

Slaw Columnist Simon Chester recently tipped us off about another fascinating interview with Edward Snowden. Building on earlier interviews with the enigmatic NSA and CIA rogue, the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, and its intelligence correspondent, Ewen MacAskill, talked to Snowden a little over a year since his defection. The earnest 29 year-old is now an earnest 30 year-old, only seemingly much older and seemingly aging at an accelerated rate. A partway time-lapse to Noam Chomsky.

I’d watch the interview if for no other reason than to hear Snowden’s caution about the challenges facing the legal profession in this era that . . . [more]

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

Ontario Beta-Tests New Legislation Web Site

The Ontario government is harmonizing the look and feel of all its websites. One of the sites being renovated is the e-Laws site, home of Ontario’s official statutes and regulations.

The Ministry of the AG has just tweeted a general invitation to try out the new site in beta, and to comment.

Here is the English language law site

Here is the French language law site

There is a ‘contact us’ button in the text at the top of the page. Please use it to comment on the beta version (though you may feel free as well to say what . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information, Technology

Wipe Your Car Before You Sell It

I’m in the process of buying a new car, and realized that when we get rid of a car we should think about more than just cleaning out the glove box and taking the snowbrush out of the trunk. A list of data to clear is at the end of this post.

At one time, cars stored no personal information other than the odometer reading and radio presets.

Cars are laden with computers that control and monitor things like the engine, brakes, climate control, entertainment, tire pressure, and safety features. With this comes more data, and with more data comes . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Russian Hackers Amass 1.2 Billion Username/password Combinations

A New York Times story says that: “A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses…”. This was discovered by a company called Hold Security, that so far has not named the sites. I’m a bit skeptical of the news, however, when Hold Security has a paid service to find out if your site is affected by this.

This emphasizes yet again the importance of using proper passwords and taking advantage of multi-factor authentication wherever it is offered.

Since the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Linked Data Platform: Upcoming Webinar

The Linked Data Platform (LPD) is a thing now. It was recently given “Candidate Recommendation” status by the W3C. That means that it has moved up from a “Working Draft” (mentioned in an earlier post) and the developers are satisfied that the standard does what is meant to do.

And what it is meant to do is this:

Provide a set of best practices and a simple approach for a read-write Linked Data architecture, based on HTTP access to web resources that describe their state using the RDF data model.

The LPD is described in . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Do We Need a Global Digital Bill of Rights?

Back in March, Tim Berners-Lee — who invented the world wide web, no less — issued a call to citizens in different countries to pressure their governments to produce a bill of rights to ensure net neutrality and protect the rights of web users worldwide.

It’s a far cry from the heady days, not so long ago, of cyber-libertarians rallying around A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. But then again, we live in different times. The growing evidence of abuses committed by intelligence services (south of the border obviously, but here at home as well) are . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology, Technology: Internet

Can a Tablet Replace Your Work PC?

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said that 80-90% of his computer time is spent on an iPad.

This comment lead tech journalist Mike Elgan to wonder: “Could 80 percent of the corporate workforce do 100 percent of their work on a tablet?”

His article sets out arguments for and against, but basically concludes that tablets would be sufficient for many.

For me personally, for what I need it for, while you would have to pry my tablet out of my hands, it is not adequate to replace my PC. For too many things it is just not quite good . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology