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Archive for ‘Technology’

When Is Software Regulated as a Medical Device?

Fitness software for phones, watches and other wearable devices is common. So when does software cross a line and need to comply with medical device legislation?  

Medical devices used for health purposes are regulated and must meet certain standards or approvals depending on a risk profile. In Canada medical devices are rated from class 1 through 4, class 4 requiring the most scrutiny. 

Health Canada recently published draft guidelines on when software has a medical purpose that requires it to follow the medical device standards.  

For example: 

Software intended for maintaining or encouraging a healthy lifestyle, such as general wellness . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Creating the AI in Our Own Image

Human being, as a self-absorbed species, tend to perceive ourselves as the most superior organism on the planet. The apex predator among apex predators.

This trope is is found throughout our popular culture, and often explains our relationship with other animals and the environment around us. The notion of dominance can even be found in the Bible, with humans being created in the image of the creator, specifically so that they could rule (רְדּוּ֩) over the world (Gen 1:26). In contrast, many Indigenous cultures to North America perceive a more harmonious and interdependent relationship with the others around us.

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ontario Courts Finally Go Digital (Almost)

The process of digitizing the legal system in Ontario has been fraught with challenges and setbacks.

In 2011, Precedent Magazine detailed some of the efforts to modernize legal records, with the Integrated Justice Project dating as far back to 1996, intending to create a centralized online electronic filing and case management system. These unsuccessful efforts cost taxpayers an untold millions of dollars, without anything significant achieved.

For anyone working in the legal system in Ontario, the lack of technology has added additional cost to the public through unnecessary use of paper and countless delays due to an archaic system. It’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

AI Requires a Different Lens Than Human Decisions

There has been a lot of consternation over artificial intelligence, and rightly so. The technology will be disruptive in many ways, and there are ethical issues to be solved. Embedded bias for example. The form of AI called machine learning learns by looking at large data sets of information. That could be how to play a game, who to hire, or even who to convict.

If the data set has bias in it, the AI will learn and propagate that bias. This problem has led to unexpected results which may or may not be obvious.

In some ways this is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Turducken of Services Challenge

Traditionally, most businesses used software installed on their own systems that was documented by a software license. 

It is becoming more common to use cloud based software or SAAS that is documented by a services agreement.  

One difference is that there can be multiple layers. The services agreement may be subject to or intertwined with a software license, a cloud platform provider, and a reseller. Those can all be different parties with different terms. Each layer may impose the terms of underlying providers.  

The business using the services can be stuck with the terms of the agreements and parties underneath  . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Smart Contracts and the Oracle Problem

Smart contracts are simple in concept but often misunderstood. It’s not about creating a contract, it’s about fulfilling a contract without human intervention. When a specified thing happens, the smart contract executes by taking the action it has been programmed to do. For example, you could have a smart contract that orders and pays for a cold drink to be delivered from a nearby restaurant when the temperature goes above 25 degrees on a weekday afternoon.

Blockchain is good for creating smart contracts. That’s because blockchain is designed to be resistant to change from human intervention. Rather than putting an . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

New Web App on What You Can Find in Ontario Courthouse Libraries

Colleagues from the Ontario Courthouse Libraries Association have developed a wonderful web app to help lawyers plan their visit to the courthouses and courthouse libraries around the province.

Information includes details such as :

  • location of the library in the court building
  • contact info
  • hours of service
  • wi-fi availability
  • electronic resources & databases lawyers can use
  • printing and copying costs
  • robing room
  • after hour access
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology

The 2018 Clawbies Are Officially On!

Depending on who you are, what you celebrate, and your personal tolerance for holiday cheer, December 1st is a big day for many folks.

It can be seen as the officially acceptable date to begin various activities: listening to Christmas music, putting up your lights and decorations, or adding a little Bailey’s to your morning coffee.

It is also Inauguration Day in Mexico (every six years), Bette Midler’s birthday, World AIDS Day, and the day in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

Here in our little . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

The Importance of Privacy by Design for Motor Vehicles

As the technology within cars advance, so do their capabilities of tracking and sharing your data. Data mining has become a new lucrative revenue stream for car companies.

In recent days, Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced that: “We have 100 million people in vehicles today that are sitting in Ford blue-oval vehicles. That’s the case for monetizing opportunity versus an upstart who maybe has, I don’t know, what, they got 120, or 200,000 vehicles in place now. And so just compare the two stacks: Which one would you like to have the data from?”

Ford has also been gathering data . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

CRTC Releases Onerous CASL Intermediary Bulletin

The CRTC just released a bulletin that goes to surprising lengths to impose liability on third parties for CASL violations. Lengths that may not be supported by the legislation.

It basically tries to turn intermediaries into enforcers. An approach this aggressive is surprising in light of the INDU committee report on CASL released in December 2017 that concluded in part: “The Act and its regulations require clarifications to reduce the cost of compliance and better focus enforcement.”

The bulletin is Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2018-415 Guidelines on the Commission’s approach to section 9 of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) . . . [more]

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

Women in Legal Tech

Women are underrepresented in legal technology companies. In the article Making the Future of Legal Tech Female: How We Can Promote Women Founders, Kristen Sonday discusses the dangers of the underrepresentation of women in legal technology companies. “Women currently account for less than 15% of legal tech founders overall.” This is problematic.

As we move from a print-based society to an Internet-based society, technology will change the way legal information is provided and created. If algorithms and AI systems are created by homogenous groups, then the law and legal services will be skewed. Homogenous groups that build the algorithms . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ten Things About Bitcoin That Lawyers Should Know (On Bitcoin’s Tenth Anniversary)

On October 31, 2008, someone posted a PDF to an encryption newsgroup. The post came from an account named Satoshi Nakamoto.

The PDF contained a text called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” and described what we know today as Bitcoin—the biggest cryptocurrency in the word by market capitalization (about USD$110 billion as of today).

Here are ten things that lawyers should know about Bitcoin.

1. There are no physical Bitcoin coins or banknotes.

Bitcoin is modelled after physical coins and banknotes but it is purely digital. But! Most people still use a physical medium for accessing their bitcoin . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology