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Archive for ‘Technology: Internet’

Browsewraps – Why Bother?

Here’s a comment by Eric Goldman of Santa Clara law school on a California court of appeals case, refusing to validate an arbitration clause in a ‘browsewrap’ format – i.e. a link to ‘terms of use’ with no requirement of the contracting party to acknowledge them.

Are such clauses enforced in Canada, except to prevent obvious dishonest behaviour as in Sutton Realty in Quebec or the similar BC case, Century 21 v Rogers Communications, about scraping real estate listings off an MLS site? (See par 92ff of that decision). Why should they be?

The ULCC published a study of them . . . [more]

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

Don’t Take the Bait on a Spear Phishing Scam

By now, most lawyers are familiar with phishing attacks. For those who are not, phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an email. They take the form of a message, allegedly from your bank or an online retailer you deal with, that suggests your account has been compromised or that payment is overdue. Phishing scams are usually bulk emails sent to large numbers of people.

Even if only two or three per cent of recipients fall for them, hundreds or even thousands of people . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Danger: When a Hacker Emails You Instructions in the Name of Your Client

The determination and energy of hackers knows no bounds. They show remarkable imagination and ingenuity in coming up with ever more devious ways to steal trust funds by duping lawyers.

As an example of this, we have recently seen several instances where a fraudster hacked into a client’s email with the intent to divert funds coming out of a lawyer’s trust account. After gaining access to the client’s email account, the hacker surreptitiously monitors emails going back and forth between the lawyer and the client.

At the opportune time, usually just before a real estate deal is closing or the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Of Cryptoviruses and Hope for a Cure From Malwarebytes

If you’re in a rush, skip on over to the official security blog at Malwarebytes for the original post on this possible anti-ransomware breakthrough. It’s early news about a beta release tool at this point, and not ready for prime time, but it could be a ray of hope for law firms who live in fear of infection by the most dreaded of malware variants: the cryptovirus.

I feel like this may particularly be a good sign for small firms who cannot afford active threat protection services from premier providers. If average users can rely on standard anti-virus tools, it  . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Consent in the Online World

Online consent is a mirage. Every day we are asked to click yes “I agree” to download the latest software or to use Wi-Fi connections. However, rarely do people read the license agreements or terms and conditions attached to the service. For all we know, we could be agreeing to the sale of our first-born child, as shown in this experiment.

Online contracts remain unread because consumers lack any meaningful incentive for reading the agreement. Before hitting “I agree”, people cannot call up Apple or any other provider and negotiate a different license agreement. We either accede to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Using Hypothes.is With Legislation

At the same time as Simon Fodden was publishing Hypothes.is and Annotation, a group of colleagues and I were in the middle of a series of invited comments to U.S. Federal Communications Commission, about their rulemaking for home Wi-Fi routers. We were using Google docs for mutual editing already, so Hypothes.is looked like something worth trying for mutual markup.

To make a long story short, it was excellent. I’m now running permanently with a “Launch Hypothesis” button in my bookmarks bar.

Over and above Simon’s description, the things that stood out for me were:

  • Links to particular annotations as
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

AODA New January 2017 Compliance Deadlines

Large and small organizations in the private and non-profit sectors have a new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance deadline coming up on January 1, 2017.

1) Large organizations (50+ employees)

Starting January 1, 2016, provincially regulated organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must work to comply with the design for public spaces standards under the built-environment to address barriers impeding access to outdoor public spaces by persons with disabilities, but not those barriers inside buildings. This task must be completed by January 1, 2017.

This standard covers a variety of public spaces such as exterior . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Update to Internet Explorer 11 Now for Security

Microsoft has just ended support for Internet Explorer versions 10 and earlier. That means Microsoft will no longer provide security patches, which makes them risky to use from a security perspective.

Anyone still using those versions should update to IE 11 immediately. Those using Windows 10 can use the Edge browser instead. Edge works well, but unfortunately does not yet support add ons like password managers. Another option is of course to use Chrome.

If there is a need to use an earlier version of IE because of legacy internet applications that are not up to current standards, IE 11 . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

The Year of the Hybrid Cloud

Last year I indicated that there were changes in Ontario which suggested that cloud computing had been implicitly authorized for lawyers. There was no other practical way to implement the new services rules under the amended Rules of Civil Procedure.

Despite these changes, there is still resistance to adopting cloud computing in practice, and sometimes with good reason. Security breaches of online databases have illustrated the enormous risk and problems created in a digital world.

The Ashley Madison hacks had many scurrying in embarrassment, and others concerned because their names had been used by the website without their permission. . . . [more]

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

Of BCLaws.ca Buzz and One Less Pay Wall With Sensational Spelling

Fellow Slaw contributor Kim Nayer wrote about QPLegalEze’s imminent dismantlement back in April 2014. Her post, titled “Goodbye QPLegalEze; Welcome Open Law“, heralded an end to an era of embargoed legal information, and hinted at the promise of a more democratic trend—one where the government lets the law become knowable even in the absence of our wallets.

Some goodbyes take longer than others. 20-odd months later, however, it really does feel like the house has cleared out. The repository of BC’s laws (various enactments, historical tables, ministerial orders archives, and that sort of thing) which was once kept  . . . [more]

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

Permanent Trolling Injunctions Still a Temporary Solution

Trolls lurk in many dark recesses of the Internet. They make online browsing hurtful, defamatory, and sometimes, outright dangerous. These trolls are rarely slayed forever, and often raise their heads once again when given enough time.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently reviewed an injunction granted in 2014 against a couple operating a website from publishing “in any manner” statement found to be defamatory towards an Ottawa lawyer, Richard Warman.

Among other grounds, the defendants sought a review of the permanent nature of the injunction as being overly broad. The very nature of the website in question was a . . . [more]

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

Of Family Law Flowcharts and Guided Pathways

It’s the hap-happiest season of all.

And for some—family law practitioners in particular—the crackling warmth of hearth and home will be interrupted by the rustling sound of short leave applications, affidavits of unspeakable length and one or two clients’ Ghosts of Marriages Past. I have heard of counsel that dislike dealing with last minute Christmas custody conflicts so vigorously that they write office closure hours for the month of December directly into the retainer agreement. This is all said by way of making the point that family law and mid-December have a long history together. We should be reminded on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet