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Archive for ‘Technology: Internet’

Encryption = Good : Backdoor = Bad

Every time there is a tragic attack on people or property, there is a cry from various authorities or politicians for law enforcement to get unfettered access to all kinds of communication tools.

But that would cause far more harm than good, and is a really bad idea.

The argument goes something like this:

These bad actors hide behind encrypted communications to plan their evil deeds. Therefore to stop them law enforcement needs to have access to all this. Therefore we need to have backdoors built into all encryption that law enforcement can use.

This is flawed in many ways. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

The Clawbies Turn 10

The 10th annual Canadian Law Blog Awards is now officially open for business! It’s hard to believe that ten years has passed since I first scribbled down a list of my favourite law blogs (probably on the back of a Christmas napkin) and then wrote up a post explaining what those blogs meant to me.

The spirit of the Clawbies hasn’t changed much over the past decade. We still tell bloggers not to nominate their own blog, and instead, to write a nomination post identifying three or more other blogs that made an impact on their professional lives. That . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Of CanLII Quirks and Hacks for Noting Up Supreme Court Family Rules in BC

Apologies to other Slaw readers in advance. This post is mostly for BC lawyers interested in using CanLII to note up specific Supreme Court Family Rules. I shared these tips recently in a paper for a CLE and thought the general principle or method might be helpful to a broader audience too.

I’ll preface this post to say that 95% of the time, CanLII is a simply phenomenal tool. Deeply customizable search operators and a clean interface/search template. It’s a killer app for lawyers and others seeking to know the law. It is, however, strangely ill-suited to note up specific . . . [more]

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

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

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

Interconnected Devices and Products Liability

We have occasionally discussed on this site (as recently as this week…) the implications of interconnected devices and the Internet of Things.

Here is an article that asks “should cyber-security vulnerabilities really be treated the same as design defects under traditional products liability law?”

The specific context is an infusion pump system that the Federal Drug Administration in the US thought was insecure and sent a warning about – a warning that sounded like a ‘defective product’ warning. The article raises a number of concerns about thinking about a security defect like another defect, including many complications about who . . . [more]

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

The Medium Is the Message

In “Legal Practice and Legal Delivery: An Important Distinction”, Mark Cohen argues that technology has transformed the delivery of legal services but not the practice of law. He defines delivery as “how services are rendered” and practice as “what lawyers do and how they do it”.

The delivery of legal services is a play with many actors…The days of law firms having a stranglehold over legal delivery have given way to the rise of in-house lawyers and departments, legal service companies, and technology companies “productizing” tasks that were once delivered as services. Again, it is not legal practice that

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

Tracking Supreme Court of Canada Cases

I’m sure many of you keep track of cases pending before the Supreme Court of Canada. What is your preferred method for doing so? I had been hoping to find an RSS feed (or something similar) on the SCC docket page. I suppose I could use a website tracking tool to track the particular docket page that I am interested in. But I was hoping there would be a nice easy-to-use tool already set up for me to do that! I tried QuickLaw and came up with a somewhat clunky work-around (I set up a scheduled search for the SCCA . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

Rethinking Risk Management

Most risk management advice is based on how to avoid bad things through taking proactive and preventative steps. For example, use checklists on every file to avoid missing crucial steps. Document the advice you’ve given, particularly if your client isn’t likely to follow it. Use retainer letters to set clear expectations for your clients.

Other advice is based on avoiding risk through knowing when to leave well enough alone. The best is example is the axiom that a lawyer should never sue for fees because that’s a frequent trigger for a legal malpractice claim or law society misconduct complaint.

But . . . [more]

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

Of Social Media Privacy Through Obscurity

Prof. Woodrow Hartzog is an interesting voice on privacy law and technology. He has written about his own research and interviewed others on the role that obscurity plays in our modern conceptions of privacy. Technologies like encrypted communication applications and device encryption tools can be privacy-enhancing technologies, while obscurity — the condition of being unknown or not entirely comprehensible to others — is a privacy-enhancing state.

Obscurity, it appears, is a state that many of us seek out when it comes to social media, even if we don’t realize it. And if you’re reading this thinking, “I don’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet