Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Technology’

Of Cyberbullying, Digital Citizenship… and Technological Competence?

OK, Canada may be somewhat behind our neighbours when it comes to adopting rules around technological competence for lawyers, but at least “Digital Citizenship” is getting some traction—or at least with respect to standards for children and parents.

On Friday November 13, 2015, while two more states adopted a duty of technology competence into their codes—and while Canadian law societies maintained unanimous silence on such requirements for lawyers—British Columbia’s Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner and Representative for Children and Youth, released Cyberbullying: Empowering Children and Youth To Be Safe Online and Responsible Digital Citizens. The Privacy . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Will Facebook Overprotect Privacy?

According to the English media, Facebook is thinking of generating an automatic warning to a member who posts a picture of a child to a publicly-accessible page on Facebook.

Is this a serious over-reaction to the threat that the kid – or the parents – face from such a posting? How many people are actually affected by predators of any kind using online pictures? What proportion are those victims of the numbers of people whose pics are on FB?

Is this a tactic by FB to appear to be concerned about privacy when its entire lucrative business model is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

How to Prove That a Computer Uploaded Documents to the Cloud

In R. v Cusick, the Ontario Superior Court upheld a search warrant of a computer where that computer was suspected of having been used to upload child pornography to a cloud storage service.

What one searches for, apparently, are ‘artifacts’ – digital traces of the child porn files that passed through the computer on the way to the cloud. The case notes the difference between uploading from the computer’s hard drive (in which case the files may also still be on the computer) and uploading from a USB drive or mobile device (in which case they may not be, . . . [more]

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

The Future of Automation in Litigation: Plotting Obsolescence to Survive

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates

I predict that the first components of a litigation file to be completely automated are the drafting of:

  • Common Pleadings (e.g. Statement of Claim for “slip and fall”);
  • Affidavit of Documents; and
  • Discovery Plans for common actions.


These documents are rule based, and computer programs love rules. I envision a computer program asking questions at the beginning of the file . . . [more]

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

A Duty to Be Tech-Savvy?

Bob Ambrogi blogged this morning that two more U.S. states have adopted amendments to their legal profession rules of conduct that include technological competence as part of a lawyer’s overall duty of competence, bringing the total number of states having adopted this duty to 17. The duty first appeared in the ABA Model Rules in 2012, as Comment 8 to Rule 1.1, as follows:

To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and

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

Problems With Bitcoins as Money?

As you know, the Canadian Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce published earlier this year a report on Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Bradley Crawford, author of the leading banking law treatise in Canada, has recently written a commentary on that report and on digital currencies generally. That comment – quite critical of the Senate’s report – will be added to his treatise later this month.

He raises one issue that seems to me particularly important to those who promote the use of digital currencies in commercial exchanges: the transfer of control of units of Bitcoin (or equivalent) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

What Does It Really Mean to “Free the Law”? Part 2

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”


Attributed to Nelson Mandela, that quote fits the experience of groups around the world that sought over much of the past 20 years to make the law freely accessible on the internet. Beginning today (November 9th), dozens of members of the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM), along with other supporters, are meeting in Sydney, Australia where AustLII is hosting the 2015 Law via the Internet conference. Some countries attending are currently at the “impossible” stage and look to achievements in Canada and elsewhere for inspiration of what is possible. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

What Does It Really Mean to “Free the Law”? Part 1

A fantastic development out of the United States last week – Harvard Law School and Ravel Law plan to make access to the school’s entire library of reported U.S. case law available for free on Ravel’s website. In a multi-year effort and at a cost said to be in the millions (exact details not known), some “40,000 books containing approximately forty million pages of court decisions” are being digitized and uploaded to Ravel’s platform, where anybody will be able to search, read and use the material at no cost. This is an incredible advance in open access to law and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Cutting Edge Is Great – but Sometimes Not Easy

I got a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 last week – the plan being to replace my main computer and my tablet. It’s a great machine – essentially a tablet that works like a laptop. Its noticeably faster than the desktop it replaces. Using it as a tablet takes some getting used to – because it seems weird to have a tablet that is a full featured computer. For example, I have apps on my Android tablet that my first inclination is to get for the Surface – but then I realize that the app isn’t needed when you are using . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

Digital Files Are Property in New Zealand

The Supreme Court of New Zealand has held that digital files in a CCTV system are property and could be stolen. Thus someone who accessed the system and uploaded the files to YouTube was convicted under the NZ criminal code for accessing a computer system without colour of right to obtain property.

The Court of Appeal had held that the digital files were not property, but the accused could be convicted of accessing the system to obtain a benefit, since he tried to sell the files before uploading them (not having found a buyer).

This seems like quite a change . . . [more]

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

Of Wikibooks and the Impossible Trinity of Information

Poo-pooing Wikipedia’s citeworthiness has a rich and honoured tradition, and not just among academics. The authoritative quality of crowd-sourced wisdom is a well-flogged heel for those in legal circles too, often trotted out in judgments like some Karl Von Hess to be beaten up by proper prudent legal authority. Wikipedia was first knocked about in Canadian jurisprudence in Bajraktaraj v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 FC 261, a decision of the Federal Court which set the tone for dealing with the pariah:

… the quality of the sources relied upon by the applicant, including an article

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

Some Law Firm Security Statistics From the 2015 ABA Legal Tech Survey

The 2015 ABA Technology Survey has been released, and Frank Strong at Business of Law blog has reviewed the 900-plus pages to see what it had to say about the state of law firm security.

Here are some of the findings that stood out:

  • the number of firms reporting a security breach has remained consistent (about 15%), but at the same time 23% of firms say they ‘don’t know’
  • there was a small increase in the firms reporting that security breaches “created downtime or loss of billable hours” (30%)
  • only 10% to 13% of firms have cyber liability insurance coverage
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology