Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Technology’

A Supercomputer on Your Wrist

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the specs and quirks of our current technology that we forget how far we have come.

To put it in perspective, consider a smartwatch. There are many ways to measure computer performance – CPU speed, amount of ram, amount of storage memory, network speed, etc. A common way to compare basic performance, though, is by FLOPS, or floating operations per second.

A smartwatch can do somewhere in the range of 3 to 9 gigaflops. To put that in perspective, the Cray-2 supercomputer in 1985 could do about 1.9 gigaflops. You could buy . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

5 Gotta-Have Apps and Websites for Lawyers

By Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

It’s gift-giving season. Here are 5 gotta-have apps and websites for lawyers. The principle behind each of these is the same: they are easy to use, affordable, and produce immediate gains. Best of all, many of them are free or low cost.

1.WordRake (wordrake.com – starting at $129/yr)

Wouldn’t it be great to have another lawyer at your fingertips, ready to proofread your letters, memos, emails, and factums with a click of a button? . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Can a Self-Driving, Autonomous Car Really React in an Accident?

I’ve touched on this topic in an earlier post called, “Robots, Law, Regulation: “‘Unfortunately It’s Not a Conversation That’s Happening Anywhere …’” In that post I briefly highlighted an observation that Ed Walters* made when talking about the law of robotics, namely: Who makes or monitors the algorithmic decisions embedded in autonomous systems?

Patrick Lin, associate professor of ethics at California Polytechnic State University, posted a very nice “thought experiment” on Ted-Ed a couple of weeks ago that “isolates and stress tests our intuitions” and contributes to this conversation.

It’s a short animated video that . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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

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

From the King’s Court to Online Dispute Resolution

On such an afternoon some score of members of the High Court of Chancery bar ought to be … engaged in one of the ten thousand stages of an endless cause, tripping one another up on slippery precedents, groping knee-deep in technicalities, running their goat-hair and horse-hair warded heads against walls of words and making a pretence of equity with serious faces, as players might…between the registrar’s red table and the silk gowns, with bills, cross-bills, answers, rejoinders, injunctions, affidavits, issues, references to masters, masters’ reports, mountains of costly nonsense, piled before them… This is the Court of Chancery, which

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

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

International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems

JURIX 2015 takes place next week at the University of Minho, Law School, Campus of Gualtar, Braga, Portugal. This is the 28th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems providing a “forum for academics and practitioners for the advancement of cutting edge research in the interface between law and computer technology.”

This event begins with a day of workshops followed by two days of papers corresponding to the following agenda:

  • Evidence and Facts in Law
  • Case Law and Citation Networks
  • Law for Legal Concepts
  • Linked Data
  • Data Retrieval and Analysis
  • Deontic Logic
  • Argumetation, Legal Decision-making
  • Legal
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Lawyers, Boards and Cybersecurity

A lot of attention is being paid these days to cyberthreats and cybersecurity. It seems widely accepted that such threats and security questions cannot be confined to the IT department any more, but they involve sufficiently critical threats to organizations that boards of directors have to get involved. When boards get involved, they turn to their counsel.

Some enterprising law firms in the US have published books on the topic. The blurb for this one strikes me as a bit over the top – and the threats they sketch have been real for years (off-the-shelf attack software available for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Cyber Security Report Card

Cybersecurity was a major topic at the recent Canadian IT Law Association conference. It can be a daunting subject to ponder when dealing with various types of services, cloud providers, and the methods, standards and assurances available to lower the risk of a security breach. Cyber insurance to cover some of these risks is a growing field.

This Cyber Security Report Card (pdf) is a good high level summary of the things that businesses should think about when considering security issues for their organization. It was provided by one of the luncheon speakers, John Millar of Digital Boundary Group, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology