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Archive for ‘Technology’

Pandemic Emphasizes Paperless Roadblocks

I’ve been a fan of paperless and virtual documents and signatures for a long time. Despite the advantages, many steadfastly stick to paper. Many are moving online, but are only part way there.

The transition to paperless and electronic signatures is not always easy, and there are roadblocks that can get in the way. Too often there are one or more steps in a process that require paper or a wet signature that bring things to a halt.

For example, in Ontario we can get articles to create new corporations online, but to amend or amalgamate, we need 2 original . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Using Apps for Contact Tracing: Can We Protect Privacy?

Governments in Canada have yet to officially use phone data to track and trace people who may be infected with COVID-19. However, there has been discussion around using a system in Canada similar to Singapore.

In Singapore, the app being used to track and trace people who may have contracted COVID-19 is “TraceTogether”. TraceTogether uses bluetooth technology to track nearby phones. People can then opt-in to have their information provided to the Ministry of Health if they test positive for COVID-19. Once the Ministry has the information, it alerts people who came across the infected person.

In Canada, a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom… Videoconferencing in the Room

Love it or hate it, everyone is on Zoom these days, including lawyers.

The company notes that daily use went up from 10 million users a day in December 2019, to over 200 million daily users in March 2020. On March 23, 2020 alone, the app was downloaded 2.13 million times globally.

Social distancing during COVID-19 has in no insignificant way pushed the use of this platform to new levels, with share prices going from $70 in January to $150 by the the end of March 2020. Yet, the platform was never designed with this type of use in mind. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Changes to Our Courts: How COVID-19 Is Changing the Landscape

“How will COVID-19 change the legal industry and what will it look like After Coronavirus? Short answer: the coronavirus will turbocharge legal industry transformation. It will propel law into the digital age and reshape its landscape. The entire legal ecosystem will be affected—consumers, providers, the Academy, and the judicial system.” – Marc Cohen in the article “COVID-19 Will Turbocharge Legal Industry Transformation

Marc Cohen explains that the timeline for digital transformation has been truncated. We will not see a permanent return to the old ways. “The coronavirus has turbocharged law’s move to a virtual workforce and distance learning. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

Commissioning Affidavits: The LSO Is Only Part of the Picture

To many people’s delight, the Law Society of Ontario has stated that it is interpreting section 9 of the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act to include virtual commissioning. Reponses to a Slaw post by Pulat Yunusov from last November, in support of the LSO’s then position against virtual commissioning were dismissive of his concerns about virtual commissioning; they also illustrate the eagerness with which people are keen to throw off the bonds of in-person commissioning. (Yunusov stressed the importance of the ritual, as well as the inability of meeting some requirements through technology.)

However, the LSO is not the only . . . [more]

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

Houston, We Have a Problem With Your Termination

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

In modern times, employers and investigators alike must be increasingly technologically savvy. Evidence can take on many forms, including texts, emails and information posted to social media accounts. Many employers provide phones to their employees which are password-protected and rely on virtual storage of data in the “cloud.” As the workplace becomes further digitized, and as more offices become mobile or virtual, workplace investigations will increasingly target such elusive electronic data. As illustrated in the recent British Columbia labour arbitration decision District of Houston v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Covid-19 Tech and Security Resources

For every good deed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic (such as telcos not charging for long distance or data overages) there is someone trying to take advantage of it.

It’s not just people buying all the hand sanitizer they can get and reselling it online for a profit. Bad actors have been sending malware and phishing attempts disguised as Covid-19 emails.

At the same time, more people than ever before are working remotely. IT departments are scrambling to set people up who have not worked remotely before, and to scale up to support larger numbers. Some businesses are revisiting . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

The LSO Technology Guideline: Considering the Ethics of It All

In the fall of 2019, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada amended their Model Code of Professional Conduct to incorporate reference to the use of technology in section 3.1-2 of the Model Code, which addresses competence. The Law Society of Ontario has provided the profession with a “guideline” in the use of technology, which in some cases refers to the Rules of Professional Conduct, but it is not itself a rule of professional conduct. It constitutes, in effect, desirable behaviour but, with some exceptions, not required conduct. As does legal practice generally, however, the use of technology requires ethical . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

A Tale of Two Legal Services Entities

The Atrium debacle has now moved out of the legal innovation news cycle having been mostly savaged (and rightly so) for its lack of understanding of the market it purported to serve, its inability to learn from the past, and a seemingly waste of investor money. It remains a sad example of how an entity built solely around hype is able to gain huge profile and raise massive amounts of money with no reasonable ROI, while entities doing really good work impacting far more people (on a shoestring!) are largely ignored.

One of the claims made on Twitter during the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Encryption Backdoors – a Very Bad Idea

Encrypting our data and devices keeps our information safe. It keeps thieves out of our banking information, protects our personal health info from prying eyes, prevents fraud, lets us have candid private conversations, and helps keep the surveillance state at bay. 

But far too often law enforcement and governments view encryption as a hindrance, and call for backdoors to encryption so they can circumvent encryption when they want access. 

Security experts are adamant that backdoors to encryption would cause far more harm than good. It’s like a team of people with sledgehammers trying to kill a fly in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

#Clawbies2019 Are Here!

As it does every year, December 1st has snuck up us. The date arrives just as the holiday busy season is heating up, and folks are packing their days and evenings with holiday shopping, parties, card-writing and travel plans. In the midst of all this, we ask the Canadian legal community to add one more thing to their plate: participating in the Canadian Law Blog Awards, fondly known as the Clawbies, now in its 14th year.

Thankfully, no one ever complains about this “one more thing”. In fact, many folks say they are grateful for the opportunity to reflect on . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information, Technology: Internet

Digital Assets Revisited

A recent news story, on CBC and elsewhere, told of a woman whose son went missing for two years. When she found his body (in a morgue), she did not know why he died. She has been trying to get information about his social media accounts, in order to see if there was something particular on his mind that might explain his death.

She has not been very successful, especially with the US social media giants like Yahoo and Google. (She did get an order from a Canadian court that got her some information from Canadian sources.)

Question: should the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list