Canada’s online legal magazine.

Don’t Give Away Your Key…

♫ Don’t go breaking my heart
You take the weight off me
Honey when you knock on my door
I gave you my key…♫

Lyrics and music by Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, recorded by Sir Elton John and Kiki Dee.

There is a disturbing post today to the IT Blog entitled: Computer Breaking and Entering is a Business.

Aside from the statement that 80% of the PC hack attacks come about thru vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat’s Reader (based on a report from ScanSafe, a Cisco company), the acknowledgment that there is an elephant in the room . . . [more]

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

The Future of the Internet IV

From the PEW Internet and American Life Project: The Future of the Internet IV.

From the website:

A survey of nearly 900 Internet stakeholders reveals fascinating new perspectives on the way the Internet is affecting human intelligence and the ways that information is being shared and rendered.

The web-based survey gathered opinions from prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers and technology developers. It is the fourth in a series of Internet expert studies conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. In this report, we cover experts’

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Spying on Students Through Their Computers

Apparently, according to Boing Boing, a high school in Pennsylvania supplied students with laptop computers … with the unusual and unannounced feature that the school could remotely turn on the webcams installed in the computers and watch the students away from the school, such as at home, without the students knowing about it.

A lot of people find this very offensive – but what is the offence, exactly, as a matter of law?

Is it the unauthorized use of the computer? It’s the school’s computer. Does that make a difference? Does it make a difference if the terms of . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

The Speech That Justice Charron Didn’t Give

There’s a fascinating piece on Monday’s Law Times about a speech that Supreme Court Justice Charron had planned to give to the Women Lawyers’ Symposium in Ottawa. Although Justice Charron’s address was never delivered, the text of her speech, penned by a former clerk, was nonetheless circulated with the rest of the material for the symposium. The part of the text that’s caught the attention of the Law Times is as follows:

The ‘priority of profit’ represents a significant barrier to institutional change in the private practice environment. . . . Many law firms are so focused on profit

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

The Friday Fillip

Cartooning is an art, and caricature is art with a cutting edge. No one was better at it than David Levine (1926-2009). His inked, crosshatched marvels graced the pages of the New York Review of Books for over forty years, during which Levine captured the essence-in-time of three-and-a-half thousand subjects. The New York Review has put all of these online, a brilliant gallery of the second half of the last century. Here’s Nixon, Updike, Albee, and Scalia. And here, too, are greats from history, such as Chaplain, Velásquez, Einstein . . .

But let me get out of the way . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

IBM’s CoScripter Reusable History

This one comes under the conflicted heading of “fairly nifty / kind of creepy.” IBM’s Research Labs have come up with a Firefox plugin called CoScripter Reusable History that records every single click and entry you make in the browser — and then lets you search, replay, and share that history, hence the “reusable.” This graphic (click to enlarge) will give you a quick sense of what’s on offer here. (There’s also a video and a further explanation here, that should clear up any confusion.)

I can see some uses for this — and, of course, some dangers for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

A Few Challenges for Reed Elsevier

London’s business press is reporting on the challenging results that Reed Elsevier posted for 2009 and the strategies that the new CEO Erik Engstrom will have to consider to turn the company around. Erik Engstrom is the third CEO within the last twelve months (To lose one CEO is a misfortune; to lose two seems like carelessness).

Reed reported a 36 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £487 million, and flat revenues for 2009. It expected the first half of 2010 to remain challenging and described last year’s performance as “relatively robust given the depth of the global recession”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Big Changes in Legal Outsourcing

I know this is Gavin’s beat, but the press this week has had a lot of activity in the outsourcing arena.

First news is Microsoft’s announcement today that it’s following Rio Tinto’s lead and route a fair amount of routine legal work to Gurgaon. Microsoft has been outsourcing basic intellectual property and patent maintenance to CPA Global since the mid-Noughties with around 70 CPA staff. However, this is a separate new arrangement for general legal work.

Second development goes in the other direction. CPA is inspecting sites in Northern England for its own outsourcing centre to take on 10-20 . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Are Juries Fair? UK Study Says Yes

A study commissioned by the U.K. Ministry of Justice, “Are Juries Fair” [PDF] by Cheryl Thomas, examined the following issues:

  • Do all-White juries discriminate against BME defendants?
  • Do jurors racially stereotype defendants?
  • Do juries at certain courts rarely convict?
  • Do juries rarely convict on certain offences?
  • Do jurors understand legal directions?
  • Do jurors know what to do about improper conduct in the jury room?
  • Are jurors aware of media coverage of their cases?
  • How is the internet affecting jury trials?

concluding that there was “little evidence that juries are not fair” and that “research from other jurisdictions should . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Identifying Lawyers — and Others

Stephen Mason and Nicholas Bohm have an interesting article, “Identity and its verification”, published in Computer Law & Security Review, Volume 26, Number 1, January 2010, 43 – 51. (Professor Stephen Mason has written a book on electronic signatures and runs a journal on similar topics. Nicholas Bohm is a security expert.)

It’s available on Science Direct [PDF] and also . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Translating a Legal Document With Goggles

A post today from Andrew Gomez on the Google Blog:

Imagine being in a foreign country staring at a restaurant menu you can’t understand, a waiter impatiently tapping his foot at your tableside. You, a vegetarian, have no idea whether you’re about to order spaghetti with meatballs or veggie pesto. What would you do? Well, eventually you might be able to take out your mobile phone, snap a photo with Google Goggles, and instantly view that menu translated into your language. Of course, that’s not possible today — but yesterday at the Mobile World Congress we demonstrated a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet