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Archive for ‘Technology’

Physics and the Strategic Reinvention of the Legal Profession

F=ma. Sir Isaac Newton, in his second law of motion, tells us why it is so hard to get the legal profession to adopt new technology.

Newton’s second law says that for any force you apply to an object, the amount of acceleration you get is inversely proportional to the mass of that object. That means that the larger the object is, the smaller the acceleration you will get (for a given force). This is called “inertia”.

Lawyers have a lot of mass. I don’t mean that they are physically massive people; rather I mean that, as a body of . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Volkswagen, Proprietary Software and Getting Caught

Last week there was an interesting post by Xeni Jardin on Boing-Boing concerning the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Jardin cites a New York Times article by Jim Dywer called, “Volkswagen’s Diesel Fraud Makes Critic of Secret Code a Prophet” published earlier in the week.

This is the bit that caught immediately my attention at Boing-Boing:

“Proprietary software is an unsafe building material. You can’t inspect it.”

That quote comes from a talk Columbia Law School professor Eben Moglen gave to the Scottish Society for Computers and Law about 5 years ago, “When Software is in Everything: Future . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology


I am happily attending excellent educational sessions at Legaltech Toronto. Follow the hashtag #IN_LegaltechTO to see the collective notes.

Four sessions in and I am very glad to be here even with the red eye flight with a 10 month old baby on the next seat.

Three screen shots of slides illustrate why:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Technology

Rethinking Risk Management

Most risk management advice is based on how to avoid bad things through taking proactive and preventative steps. For example, use checklists on every file to avoid missing crucial steps. Document the advice you’ve given, particularly if your client isn’t likely to follow it. Use retainer letters to set clear expectations for your clients.

Other advice is based on avoiding risk through knowing when to leave well enough alone. The best is example is the axiom that a lawyer should never sue for fees because that’s a frequent trigger for a legal malpractice claim or law society misconduct complaint.

But . . . [more]

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

Of Social Media Privacy Through Obscurity

Prof. Woodrow Hartzog is an interesting voice on privacy law and technology. He has written about his own research and interviewed others on the role that obscurity plays in our modern conceptions of privacy. Technologies like encrypted communication applications and device encryption tools can be privacy-enhancing technologies, while obscurity — the condition of being unknown or not entirely comprehensible to others — is a privacy-enhancing state.

Obscurity, it appears, is a state that many of us seek out when it comes to social media, even if we don’t realize it. And if you’re reading this thinking, “I don’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Citizen’s Lab Receives 2015 Internet Pioneer Award

I heard Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab speaking with Matt Galloway this morning on Metro Morning. The Citizen Lab team, working out of the Munk School of Global Affairs, will be one of the recipients of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Internet Pioneer Award.

The Citizen Lab is “an interdisciplinary laboratory … focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), human rights, and global security.”

Deibert posted this comment about winning the award on their website:

It is a huge honour and a tribute to all Citizen

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

Ontario Court Takes Jurisdiction in Internet Defamation Case – Ho Hum?

The Superior Court of Ontario has recently held that an Israeli newspaper should face a defamation action in Ontario on behalf of an Ontario resident, since the newpaper’s website was read in Ontario. Goldhar v

The Court made short work of the ‘jurisdiction simpliciter’ argument, based on SCC decisions, and not much longer work, it would appear, of the forum conveniens arguments. It did order that the costs to bring the Israeli witnesses to Canada should be paid by the plaintiff.

Are these cases now routine? Is there any realistic chance for a defendant to avoid a trial . . . [more]

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

Privacy Panic Cycle

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has released their analysis of how privacy advocates trigger waves of public fear about new technologies in a recurring “privacy panic cycle.”

The report is an interesting read and makes some valid points. In general, people fear new things more so than things we are familiar with. Like the person who doesn’t fly much being nervous about the flight when statistically the most dangerous part of the journey is the drive to the airport.

While a privacy panic for emerging tech is indeed common, we can’t summarily dismiss that panic as having no basis. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

The 2015 Pacific Legal Technology Conference

On Friday Oct 2, 2015 in Vancouver, BC, the ninth Pacific Legal Technology Conference will take place. But it can also take place right in your office. This year 13 sessions will be real-time webcast (the keynote will be recorded and made available for viewing after the conference due to logistical issues) allowing both in person and webinar attendees to fully participate in the conference.

28 speakers from Toronto, New York City, Salt Lake City, Alaska and all across BC will speak on such sessions as “Blending Technology with Strong Advocacy Skills”, “Practice Management Tools: There has never been a . . . [more]

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

When Are Witnesses Allowed to Testify via Video-Conference?

A recent Superior Court decision canvassed the existing law pertaining to permitting witnesses to testify via telephone or video as opposed to in person, and appears to have set out a template of the procedure by which such requests should be made and, if granted, carried out.

A few days before the commencement of trial, the defendants requested that five of their witnesses be permitted to testify via video-conference at the trial. Four of these witnesses live in the U.K. and the other witness lives in the United States. The plaintiff opposed the request which led to argument. The court . . . [more]

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

Of Late Summer Updates: Lavaboom Deadpools as Tutanota Rises

As the end to our summer doldrums draws close, I’m dusting off my RSS feeds and finding some updates on a topic that I touched on earlier this year: the webmail encryption services coming out of Germany.

Back in March I wrote Of German Email Encryption Tool Tutanota and Other PETs, which mentioned a number of new players in the Privacy Enhancing Technologies space that seemingly could make lawyers better at client confidentiality. Not a bad thing, eh?

In a breach-a-day world even lawyers without a particular passion for technology issues are beginning to take note of email encryption. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

Computing Opportunities

One of the things that drives me crazy is the sure knowledge that there are things that would benefit me that I don’t take advantage of. An expiry date on a fuel discount coupon, a limited time offer that I decide to late to accept, seat sales that I miss the deadline for.

Sometimes we miss efficiency opportunities because we don’t think hard enough about how something that we are doing will be re-done or repeated. For example, some not too old precedents that I recently unearthed had *** rather than a programmed form field wherever text needed to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology