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Archive for ‘Technology’

May Lawyers Accept Payment in Bitcoin?

A U.S. colleague with a technology practice was recently asked to take payment for her legal services in Bitcoin. She is not sure she has the right to do so.

What about in Canada? Would any law society here slow such payment? Do payments have to be more subject to regulation via known financial institutions? Certainly the rules about trust accounts demand traditional accounting. Why would a general payment with a digital currency be a problem, though? . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

LSBC Seeks Protection of Lawyers’ Electronic Devices Against Border Search

Not long ago, the US Supreme Court opined in Riley v. California:

Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life.

Riley involved evidence of serious criminal activity (gang shootings, drugs, firearms, etc.).

Notwithstanding this, SCOTUS decried warrantless cell phone searches and laid the groundwork for its conclusion that, in laypersons’ terms, snooping through someone’s cell phone is not just rude… it has become an extraordinarily intrusive act. The Court underscores that these devices contain a “digital record of nearly every . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

Internet Archive Wins Webby Lifetime Achievement Award

The Internet Archive, a non-profit that has harvested and preserved billions of web pages and made them available for free, has been awarded a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

One of the Archive’s most well-known and coolest products is the Wayback Machine that lets users see what a web page looked like at various times in the past. The Wayback Machine is the librarian’s best friend.

The Award was given to the Internet Archive in recognition of:

” … its unflagging commitment to making the world’s knowledge available online, and preserving

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

Phase 1 of E-Filing Has Arrived

This week the Ontario government has rolled out phase 1 for e-filing. Phase 1 of the e-filing project enables documents that initiate a civil proceeding in the Superior Court of Justice to be issued online and to be paid online.

The pilot project has been launched in five cities: Brampton, Ottawa, London, Newmarket and Sudbury. A province-wide rollout of Phase 1 is planned for later this year. Phase 2 of the project will allow for additional documents to be filed online.

This is fantastic news. By incrementally addressing problems we can begin to modernize our courts. Our courts need to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Google’s Dominance Doesn’t Require Anti-Competition

Google permeates everything we do. Our society could be described as a “Google generation,” for better or worse.

Some suggest that Google undermines our democracy, specifically by fostering greater inequality and eroding our notions of privacy. Others point to Google’s potential role in fighting back against “fake news,” and the crucial role that flows of information and media play in a democracy.

Google’s market share in search engines in Canada is estimated between 60% to over 90%. It’s Google’s dominance in the market that has some concerned about the centralization of power and information flows.

The broader practices of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Privacy Lessons From the Intimate of Things

The Internet is already everywhere, but we expect it to penetrate our lives even further, interacting with all of the devices, infrastructure, and environment around us. This phenomenon is known as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), described in 2014 by Jacob Morgan in Forbes as follows,

Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology

Is a Docusign E-Signature an Original for the Purpose of a Court Rule?

If a court or regulator allows e-filing but requires the filer to retain an original signed document, can that original itself be electronic?

A bankruptcy court in California recently issued sanctions against an attorney who filed electronic documents without retaining an “original” of the documents as required by the Rules – because the documents held by the attorney were signed using Docusign, and they did not qualify as originals for that purpose. Here is an article about the decision.

Here is the rule in the Court Manual:

Court Manual section 3.4(1)(4): Retention of Original Signatures. The registered CM/ECF User

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Crossing the Border With Your Devices — as a Lawyer

I’ve been kindly invited to be a regular/irregular contributor to Slaw, and I’m delighted to take them up on this offer.

Even before the change in government in the United States, I’m often asked — by other lawyers, the media and other folks — about whether you can be required to surrender your electronic devices and passcodes to unlock them on demand by border agents. This question has become a bit more acute as the media is increasingly reporting about individuals being not only required to surrender their devices and their passcodes, but also their social media credentials to border . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Researchers Play Along With “Tech Support” Scam Calls

Have you ever been tempted to play along with scammers that phone just to see where it goes and to give them some grief? Researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook did that and more.

They sought out scammers who claim to be from Microsoft or some sort of official tech support, and followed it through to see what happened. They set up virtual machines that looked like normal PC’s to the scammers who remote on, and let the scam play out.

This Wired article has more detail, including the paper that the researchers wrote, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

What if Your Personal Digital Assistant Defames Somebody?

We recently had a discussion about police access to the recordings made by in-home digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and its (her?) ilk.

Now our focus turns to the actions of these devices if they do bad things themselves. This story reports that Siri, Apple’s version, routinely answered requests in Toronto for prostitutes by referring the inquired to an “eSports bar” – one where clients play electronic sports games. Apparently the word may be too close to “escorts” for Siri’s sense of discrimination. It is clear – take it as established for the present discussion – that the bar is . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

EFF Publishes New Guide to Mitigating Digital Privacy Risks at US Border

If you care about solicitor-client privilege, travel to the US and use computing technology, then read this:

By its own admission, US border protection conducted five-times as many electronic media searches in a single year—4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016.

Yup. That’s 500% more cause for anyone travelling to the US to be concerned. Should Canadian lawyers be cautious too? Yes.

America’s digital rights sentinel, Electronic Frontier Foundation, just released its 2017 reboot to its guide for mitigating risks to digital privacy when travelling to the US. The newly minted guide (last revised in 2011) is titled “Digital . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Office Technology

Can Algorithms Help the Courts?

Algorithms are behind the most sophisticated kidney exchange programs in the world. In Canada, the Canadian Blood Services has built a national Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry. The Registry helps incompatible living donors receive a kidney transplant.

Pairs are matched by comparing the medical information from all pairs in the database and by identifying pairs that might be able to exchange donors. The Registry may also identify a series of pairs that could exchange kidneys in a chain like fashion. For example, your mother is willing to donate a kidney to you but you are incompatible with her. But another  . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology