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2007 Annual Report of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, tabled her 2007 Annual Report in Parliament yesterday:

“The year 2007 will no doubt be remembered in the privacy world as the year of the data breach.”

“The size of some of the data spills reported around the globe was staggering: An estimated 94 million credit and debit cards were exposed when hackers broke into the system at TJX Companies Inc., the U.S. retail giant which owns Winners and HomeSense stores in Canada. In the United Kingdom, two computer discs holding the personal details of some 25 million child benefit recipients vanished. ”

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Ontario Targets Criminal Justice Court Delays

The Attorney General of Ontario Chris Bentley announced yesterday that his department is setting targets to reduce court delays and appearances by 30 per cent in routine criminal cases over the next four years.

“To ensure transparency and accountability, the province is also making available criminal court statistics to the public for the first time.”

To meet the targets, the province will be expanding 2 initiatives:

  • Dedicated Prosecution: “Under Dedicated Prosecution, small tight-knit teams of Crown prosecutors and support staff are given ownership of cases from the beginning of the court process until the case is resolved, or until
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Goosh

Those of you who, like me, were born… less recently than others, might enjoy playing with a new interface to Google developed by Stefan Grothkopp that mimics Unix command line functionality, and which takes me back to MS-DOS, Pine, Basic and beyond.

Goosh (Google shell) starts you out with a simple command line:

Put in your search terms (I used “recission”), and you are given back:

There is a help function (type h and return) that lists the various commands this front end will accept. You can search Google’s videos, images, news, maps etc, type m to get more results, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

The Semantic Web

Some time ago in his column, Joel Alleyne wrote about Law and the Semantic Web. He borrowed a definition of the semantic web that described it as “… an evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which web content can be expressed not only in natural language, but also in a form that can be understood, interpreted and used by software agents, thus permitting them to find, share and integrate information more easily”.

For those of us just getting up to speed on the potential of this way of organizing and discovering the internet, here is a great . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

University of Ottawa Law Students and CIPPIC File Privacy Complaint Against Facebook

The Precedent Blog reports that four University of Ottawa law students have filed a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada over alleged poor privacy practices by social networking site Facebook. The students are working with The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa. On May 30th CIPPIC filed a 35-page complaint under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) against Facebook, alleging 22 separate violations of the Act.

According to the Press Release from CIPPIC:

A team of law students, some of whom are dedicated Facebook users,

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

Link Saving Tools

Ted Tjaden sparked a good discussion here on whether lists of links are useful on a firm’s intranet. But whether or not your useful links live in such a corporate location, there has to be a way to record URLs that interest you. Of course, each browser has a bookmarks feature, replete with the ability to create folders and to organize them according to your own sense of order. But, as the post on ReadWriteWeb says, you don’t always want to clutter up your more-or-less permanent list with ephemera — those sites that you think might be interesting to look . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

FMC on Border Crossing

There’s a good little piece from Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP on the legal state of play when it comes to taking your laptops and PDAs across the U.S.-Canada border. “Electronic Devices and Borders – A Privacy-Free Zone?” by Edmonton Associate Dana Bissoondatt cites chapter and verse and mentions as well that Canada has taken up the practice of peeping, it seems.

We’ve broached this topic before on Slaw in
Laptops and Cross-Border Security, and
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Resources. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Acrobat.com Debuts

Adobe has done what was clearly on the cards: it’s bundled a number of the web apps it’s been gathering over the past months and is calling the unified collection Acrobat.com.

There you’ll find: the beautiful word processor, Buzzword; Adobe ConnectNow — which ZDNet esteems to be the killer app in the bunch — which lets you collaborate online, sharing your screen, etc.; Share, which enables just that; My Files, the storage place; and PDF Converter, the only disappointing aspect, which gives you the right to convert a grand total of 5 (five) files to PDFs. Clearly Adobe is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Open Text to Provide a Foundation for Government 2.0

Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson point out in the May 29th FIR Cut of their public relations and technology podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report that the Canadian government has a contract with Open Text to develop social networking tools for its quarter of a million employees.

The May 27, 2008 news release on the Open Text website indicates this a renewal of their enterprise content management (ECM) system currently used by 58 federal government departments and agencies. What is new are the implementation of Web 2.0 capabilities:

The contract will also enable the Canadian Federal Government

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

The Friday Fillip

Information overload. Yeah, yeah. But infogreed at the same time, right? The Globe didn’t arrive outside my hotel room this morning and that stressed me; the wireless connection I was using in the room decided to lock me out, adding another stress. But when I managed to get online I had three hundred and change new posts in my RSS reader and an annoying number of emails…

What is a datafella to do? Well, filter is one pretty good answer. Filter and aggregate. This is what Steve “StemLegal” Matthews always advises. But I never seem to have/take the time to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Why Librarianship?

I was chatting recently with a friend and fellow librarian, and mentioned that my 16-year-old niece is considering librarianship as a career alternative. “Really?” my friend replied “I don’t know that I would encourage that –- in fact, I’m not sure I would go into it myself now. Is librarianship still relevant?”

That conversation, coupled with the invitation to contribute to SLAW, has given me a chance to really think about the relevance of librarianship. Is there a future for the profession?

According to the New York Times, librarians have never been cooler. Friends in the know at UWO . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information