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Archive for ‘Technology’

Reminder: Mandatory Training on the New Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Quebec Lawyers

On March 26, 2015, the new Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (nouveau Code de déontologie des avocats) for Quebec lawyers came into force. All lawyer members of the Quebec Bar are required to complete a three-hour training session by December 31, 2015. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Is the Goal of the Future to Catch Up With the Past?

Yes. Sort of. But only if by “the past”, we mean some idealized period when things were easier, cheaper, simpler and better. Apply those same adjectives to the future, and you will forever be chasing the horizon or the end of the rainbow.

In discussions of access to justice issues or legal service markets, the present is the problem and the future looks even worse. For lawyers and the public we serve, everything is already too complex, too time or labour intensive, too expensive, too unjust, or just too hard. Accordingly, process improvement proposals or tech-driven solutions are not offered . . . [more]

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

The Smartwatch Era Is Here

If you are an Apple fan, April 24 2015 marks the beginning of the smartwatch era – the date the Apple Watch is available. (Preorders start Apr 10th.) Smartwatches have been around for a while, but given the Apple reality distortion field, they will initially sell in large numbers, even though they are the most expensive ones available. The basic Apple watch is functionally the same as the most expensive gold watch edition that starts at $10,000. (Someone said that if you can afford a $10,000 watch, you probably don’t need to know what time it is.)

But there . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Is Your Logo Favicon Friendly?

A favicon is the small image that you see beside a web address in a browser tab. Similar images are sometimes used with social media names. Slaw, for example, uses as a favicon “Sl” in a particular font, Harrison Pensa uses its “HP” design (which, by the way, is a registered trademark), and my own blog uses my initials.

Because they are so small, they must be simple. If someone has a simple logo to begin with, it might be usable as is. But more complex logos won’t work. They need to be simplified, or edited so only a portion . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

UK – “Serious Crimes” to Cybersecurity

The United Kingdom has recently passed the Serious Crimes Act, 2015.

Part 2 of the Act makes several amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (“CMA”), including:

………..

– a new offence of unauthorised acts in relation to a computer that result either directly, or indirectly, in serious damage in any country to the economy, environment, national security or human welfare, or create a significant risk of such things. The offence will carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for some categories of cyberattack. A person is guilty of the offence if they, at the time of commission, are aware . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Should Search Engines Index Court Decisions?

In the days of electronic access, judicial decisions (and sometimes other court records that have always been public in principle) no longer benefit from practical obscurity. Court have had to wrestle with the consequences of this, including tailoring the way decisions are written to reduce the amount of personal information they contain.

The Canadian Judicial Council has published material on this, as have the federal and state courts in the US.

Recently a US lawyer proposed that databases of court decisions should block search engines from indexing the decisions – a block that is very easy to implement, with a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

.sucks TLD Sunrise Period Starts March 30

New TLDs (top level domains) continue to become live. There are hundreds to choose from. Gone is the day that there were only a handful, and a business could tie them all up for their corporate name and brands.

Also gone is the day that they are all inexpensive. Some of the new TLDs command a premium price. A .lawyer TLD, for example, costs US$6500. A .guru domain is a bargain at US$29.

This Yahoo article talks about the .sucks TLD, which will be in the sunrise period on March 30, and generally available 60 days later. Some think . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Of German Email Encryption Tool Tutanota and Other PETs

I’ve written updates before on encryption for communications and why the legal profession should be interested in tools and trends like encrypted ephemeral messaging, Edward Snowden’s warnings for legal professionals, and the upcoming Chrome extension for end-to-end email encryption.

Much of the whys and wherefores around encryption and Privacy Enhancing Technologies (“PETs”) and their place in legal practice are part of a broader conversation around lawyers’ digital competency — such as what Amy Salyzyn often writes about here on Slaw. This in turn engages the larger topic of internet security (and for a general background see this . . . [more]

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

Lex Machina: Bringing Analytics to Law

Peter Neufield is a J.D. student at the Osgoode Hall Law School and the current features editor of the IPOsgoode blog IPilogue. He’s posted a short interview with Owen Byrd, Chief Evangelist & General Counsel at Lex Machina. Lex Machina started life in 2010 as a partnership between Stanford University’s Computer Science Department and the Law School with some great support from a number of “tech companies and law firms.”

During the interview Byrd describes Lex Machina’s approach as similar to the story told in the Michael Lewis book Moneyball. This is the . . . [more]

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

Thinking About Developing a “Technology Road Map” for Your Library?

I somehow managed to miss the release of “The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know” when it came out last May. This Library Information Technology Association (LITA) guide was edited by Kenneth J. Varnum, Web Systems Manager at the University of Michigan Library. Varnum also contributed one of the papers and was responsible for gathering together the guide’s contributors.

He provides some context for the collection in his introductory remarks:

In a landscape where tools and trends change in a heartbeat, how can a library technologist know what has staying power and might well

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

Canadians Create New Searchable Database of Edward Snowden Documents

George Raine, a recent graduate of the Faculty of Information’s Master of Information program at the University of Toronto, has created the Snowden Surveillance Archive, a searchable database of all the publicly released classified documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The leaks reveal the widespread surveillance practices by security and espionage agencies in the US and allied countries.

Archive project partners are Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Politics of Surveillance Project at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Funding came from The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting, a seven-year Major Collaborative . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

Is a Typed Name on an Email a Valid Signature?

Both Canadian law and American law, through their uniform e-transactions statutes, give a wide definition to ‘electronic signature’ – being essentially any information in electronic form in or associated with a document with an intention to sign the document.

The ‘intention to sign’ requirement aimed to ensure that the same mental element was required for an e-signature as for a handwritten signature.

A recent California Court of Appeal case, J.B.B. Investment Partners v Fair, held that a person who typed his name at the bottom of an email saying ‘ I agree’ to settlement agreement sent to him by . . . [more]

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