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Archive for ‘Technology: Office Technology’

RIM: Is Amateur Hour Over?

Last week the most severe outage in RIM’s history crippled BlackBerry users’ abilities to use e-mail, BBM, and the Internet in general for over three days.

The outage highlighted two deeply concerning issues with RIM. First, it is almost beyond comprehension how a single point of failure could bring RIM’s global network down for this period of time. In the face of fierce competition from Apple and Google, RIM had been able to depend on real-time and reliable e-mail delivery as one of its key competitive differentiators. Not any more.

Worse, the company’s response has come across as arrogant, aloof, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

BC Privacy Commissioner Releases Guidelines for Social Media Background Checks

The OIPC BC released Guidelines for Social Media Background Checks yesterday. The Guidelines were developed “to help organizations and public bodies navigate social media background checks and privacy laws.”

The Guidelines outline the privacy risks associated with the use of social media to screen and monitor current and prospective employees, volunteers and candidates, including:

The collection of potentially inaccurate personal information;

The collection of too much or irrelevant personal information;

The inadvertent collection of third-party personal information; and

The overreliance on consent for the collection of personal information that may not be reasonable in the circumstances.

The Guidelines also provide . . . [more]

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

Screening & Confidentiality v. Knowledge Sharing

This morning’s Intapp Law Firm Risk Management Blog features a piece I recently published in Managing Partner Magazine in London entitled: “Managing Screens,” which explores the tension between tightly controlling access to sensitive client (and firm) information and fostering internal sharing, which I characterize as: “the potential of exploiting collective professional knowledge.”

“What has changed is that, in the past decade, so-called ethical screens have proliferated within law firms. Ethical screens are what used to be called Chinese walls: institutional mechanisms combined with technological safeguards and personal undertakings which ensure that confidential information is tightly protected.”

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

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

We mourn the passing of Steve Jobs, whose singular achievements are recounted by the HuffPost, MTV on his impact on music, Washington Post , Wired and the Daily Telegraph.

For the legal community, the perspective is slightly different. Jobs contributed to a host of patents reviewed here. Law firms toyed with Apple computers for a while in the 1980s, but currently the only firms that are using that platform tend to be IP and media law firms who are following their clients – the creative community has always loved Apple machines. And of course there are . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Computing in the Cloud

I’m new to the cloud, just having opened a Dropbox account a couple of weeks ago. Still even to a newbie like me its clear that cloud computing on a larger scale can raise many legal issues about privacy and security. As it turns out the potential new law and policy issues are many. To address these issues the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law is hosting an all-day conference on Friday October 14 entitled Cloudlaw: Law and Policy in the Cloud. The conference will consider the issues that may arise . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Is Your Data Safer in the Cloud?

Medical data is one of the most sensitive types of data and, like lawyers, some doctors have reservations about storing confidential client data “in the cloud.” The security of storing Electronic Health Records and related data on-premise is perceived by many doctors to be more secure than cloud-based alternatives.

This thinking is challenged by a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study that assesses the root cause of significant data breaches involving health information. The study finds the top causes of breaches of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to be:

  • Physical theft of devices /
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

AeroFS: A Viable Dropbox Alternative for Lawyers?

While Dropbox continues to lead the way in easy-to-use cloud-based file synchronization, recent security- and privacy-related lapses have left many Dropbox-loving lawyers looking for alternatives. To date there has been a lack of viable options, but AeroFS, a new startup, is looking to become the Dropbox for security-conscious users.

AeroFS offers the same ease-of-use that characterizes Dropbox, but adds a new spin to how file synchronization works: rather than storing your files in the “cloud”, as is the case with Dropbox, AeroFS synchronizes files directly between your devices via an encrypted channel. This “peer-to-peer” synchronization technique means your data never . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Consumerization – Some Tips for IT

Back in May, David Whelan wrote an excellent column on the pressures law firms experience because of consumer technology products titled The Core of Legal Technology. This month, the Law Society Gazette (UK) contained an article titled Technology in law firms transformed by ‘consumerisation’. Today I found a clever way to get the alternate spelling into the keywords of this article. Clever keyword content is not what I want to write about though.

I want to share three ideas to help law firm technology departments cope with the issue of consumer (and by this I mean Partner) demand . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

Are E-Mail’s Days Numbered?

E-mail’s days as a communication medium that offers a “reasonable expectation of privacy” may be numbered.

The ABA’s newly issued Formal Opinion 11-459 revisits the topic of e-mail security, and offers the following concluding paragraph:

A lawyer sending or receiving substantive communications with a client via e-mail or other electronic means ordinarily must warn the client about the risk of sending or receiving electronic communications using a computer or other device, or e-mail account, to which a third party may gain access. The risk may vary. Whenever a lawyer communicates with a client by e-mail, the lawyer must first consider

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Do You Still Fax?

Paul Venezia of InfoWorld asks why the fax machine refuses to die. In what is a bit of a rant rather than a reasoned analysis, Venezia advises:

Consider what a fax machine actually is: a little device with a sheet feeder, a terrible scanning element, and an ancient modem. Most faxes run at 14,400bps. That’s just over 1KB per second — and people are still using faxes to send 52 poorly scanned pages of some contract to one another. Over analog phone lines. Sometimes while paying long-distance charges! The mind boggles.

A few reasons come to mind as to . . . [more]

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

The Significance of the BNA Purchase

Bloomberg announced this morning that it was acquiring the legal publisher, BNA for $990,000,000.

Bloomberg will acquire all 25,116,830 outstanding shares of BNA for $39.50 per share in cash for a total purchase price of approximately $990 million.

It is a key development in Bloomberg’s strategy to challenge Thomson West and Reed Elsevier in the lucrative legal information market.

In Bloomberg’s history, this is only the third acquisition – they bought Businessweek and New Energy Finance in 2009. Bloomberg’s growth has all been internal and organic to date.

Normally, prices aren’t given so this one is revealing – the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Office Technology