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Archive for ‘Technology’

What Happens to Cryptocurrencies When You Die?

Blockchain removes intermediaries from transactions. For the most part that’s a good thing – but it can also have unintended consequences. For example, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin flow between people much like paper money would be handed over. No financial institution is involved in the transaction. The same is true for other assets being tracked by blockchain technology, such as corporate shares.

When someone dies or becomes incapacitated, trustees or attorneys typically get control of that person’s assets through the intermediary. For example, if a trustee knows that the person has a bank account at bank X, they merely contact the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Introducing Insta-Service

Service of court documents on a party evading service has always been challenging. Canadian Lawyer Magazine reported a recent case in Ontario where a judge granted effective service by Instagram,

When Toronto lawyer Tara Vasdani could not track down a defendant she was looking to serve, she turned to Instagram…

She first attempted to serve the defendant on Sept. 1, 2017, using a physical address, and her process servers were told the defendant had moved away. She then tried using email, with a read receipt, but her messages were either ignored or never read.

The order Vasdani obtained appears to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Videos With Fake Faces – What Legal Remedy?

Professor Eric Goldman of UC Santa Clara writes about new technology that allows adept editors to put someone’s face on a video of someone else. That can produce comic results, but it can also be a kind of revenge porn, or just nasty porn, if one puts a well-known face on a body doing pornographic things.

Prof. Goldman says it is hard to conceive of a legal remedy guaranteed to be effective for the person whose face is used. He discusses copyright and defamation and finds them limited.

He does not pay much attention to privacy, since U.S. privacy laws . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Challenges Around the Right to Be Forgotten in Canada

This past Friday, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released a draft position on online reputation which includes a call for several measures that help protect Canadians, including the right to ask search engines to de-index web pages and removing information at the source.

In the accompanying press release, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien stated,

There is little more precious than our reputation. But protecting reputation is increasingly difficult in the digital age, where so much about us is systematically indexed, accessed and shared with just a few keystrokes. Online information about us can easily be distorted or

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Cloud Data Should Stay Grounded in Border Searches

Crossing the American border with electronic devices has long been a concern for both the public and lawyers in Canada. Border officials have always had more power to inspect or search electronic devices than domestic police, but this has also raised some concerns for American citizens as well.

While the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), does not apply to data stored on a personal device, this information is still protected in the U.S. under the Fourth Amendment. The notable exceptions to this include search incident to arrest and border searches. The Supreme Court of the United States has justified this . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

An Algorithm’s Charter Rights

Everywhere I go during the holidays I seem to be surrounded by Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant. While these computers don’t yet talk the way do, it did have me thinking about the expression rights that might be protected by the Charter.

In 1996, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in Daniel J. Bernstein et al., v. United States Department of State et al. that software source could be protected under the American First Amendment,

…the particular language one chooses change the nature of language for First Amendment purposes. This court can

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

8 Legal/Tech Issues for 2018

Blockchain (the technology behind Bitcoin) is in a hype phase. It has been touted as the solution to many issues around trust. To some extent blockchain is still a solution in search of a problem. Blockchain will, however, become an important technology, and perhaps during 2018 we will begin to see some practical uses.

CASL, Canada’s anti-spam legislation, has been under review. It is a horrible law where the cost / benefit ratio is way off. Most small businesses simply don’t have the resources to comply. And no matter how hard they try, larger businesses have a difficult time complying . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Robot Citizen?

I’m sure you’ve noticed the fairly substantial increase in the buzz around artificial intelligence (AI) these days. And, generally speaking, I am at once intrigued and honestly sometimes a little frightened by what seems to be on our horizon.

Case in point. You’ve probably seen the recent Sophia sensation, the humanoid robot built by Hanson Robotics. Sophia is engaging, seems intelligent, has a sense of humour and made history in October when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia granted “her” citizenship.

Hanson Robotics founder and CEO David Hanson’s approach to artificial intelligence is to create human-like robots that . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

I Was a Messenger Spoof Victim

 

A few days ago I returned to my office after a meeting to find emails and voicemails telling me that someone was sending facebook messenger messages pretending they were from me. The first message sent was an innocuous “Hello, how are you doing?” But if the recipient engaged it quickly turned into how I got a $300,000 government grant to pay off my bills, and tried to convince the recipient to send an email to “the agent in charge” to see if they were eligible. I suspect if followed through it would either ask for payment of a loan . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Banning Laptops in Law School Classes?

Should laptops be banned in law school classrooms? Probably

In “Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting“, Susan Dynarski writes that research shows that: “college students learn less when they use computers during lectures. They also tend to earn worse grades. The research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them.”

Dynarski explains that when using a laptop students are focused on transcribing the lesson. They are not focussed on processing information. However, when they are using paper and pen students are focused on processing information. They have . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Beyond the Bitcoin Crash: Ontario Law Lays a Foundation for Enforceable Smart Contracts

The not-so-smart money has pushed the price of a Bitcoin well above US$6,000. The crash is inevitable. The first-mover “cryptocurrency” is based on an inefficient proof of work model designed for anonymous transactions on a public network. The next generation of blockhain developers, like those working on the Ethereum platform, are less interested in the ideology of anonymous transactions than the practicality of efficient business applications. Corporate adopters like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance have already noted the pace of migration from anonymous public blockchain networks to a combination of public and permissioned private networks. Since “altcoin” currencies are not . . . [more]

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

Should Police Use Your Face to ID Smartphone Evidence?

The new iPhoneX is hot. So hot that in Hong Kong, where I’m currently located, they are selling them out of suitcases on the sidewalk for approximately CDN$2,000 and up (depending on the size).

One of the phone’s hottest features is that it allows for it to be unlocked, simply by looking at it. Here’s what Apple has to say about Face ID:

 

Much of our digital lives are stored on iPhone and it’s important to protect that information. In the same way that Touch ID revolutionized authentication using a fingerprint, Face ID revolutionizes authentication using facial recognition.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology