Canada’s online legal magazine.

Google Squared Launches

The semantic web is coming, the semantic web is coming!

Simon Chester alerted us a while ago to Google Lab’s new project: Stub Posting on Google Squared. It has now launched: Simon C asked in his post what Slaw readers might make of this, and I’d like to repeat his question now that you can take it out for a spin and kick its tires. I can see how the basic organization into fundamental facets that shift depending on the nature of your search terms would be useful to school students; but I’m not sure whether it . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology, Technology: Internet

Canada’s Big Neighbour…

… to the north west is Greenland. We moan about how folks in the U.S. know precious little about Canada, even though we’re camped right on their doorstep (well, I do, certainly). But what do we know about Greenland, with whom we share a long boundary? Do we even know that it goes by the name of Kalaallit Nunaat (i.e. land of the Kalaallit, who are the people of Western Greenland)? Or that yesterday its citizens elected the left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit (Community of the People, IA) over the Social Democratic Siumut Party that governed Greenland Kalaallit Nunaat for three decades? . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Great Firewall of China Descends on Tiananmen Square

As the rest of the world prepares to observe the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, the Chinese government is taking its usual steps to prevent citizens from talking about it. According to various reports, TV broadcasts have gone black when the issue is brought up and articles have been censored and pages ripped out of foreign- and Hong Kong-based newspapers.

In addition, draconian restrictions on internet traffic have been put in place, including keyword-based censoring and active monitoring. The censors have also blocked websites such as Twitter, Flickr (in case the illegal photo gets . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Anti-Spam Bill Merits Close Attention

John Gregory recently mentioned the new anti-spam bill, the Electronic commerce Protection Act, Bill C-27.

My take on the bill is in my Free Press article for this week. It can be found on my blog, the Free Press site, and the Canoe tech pages.

In a nutshell, while the goal is laudible, the wording needs to be looked at very carefully before it is passed, as it has the potential to affect more than what we would typically consider spam. Indeed, it might be interpreted to prohibit things that business and consumers alike would consider normal.

It also . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Online Federal Legislation Authoritative

Library Boy noted yesterday that as a consequence of the Legislation Revision and Consolidation Act federal consolidated statutes and regulations are ‘official’ and can be used for “evidentiary purposes.” The government press release is here.

The federal Laws Site also now offers a side-by-side bilingual version of legislation in PDF. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation

Open Medicine Wiki

Open Medicine, the Canadian, open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal that launched two years ago as a consequence of some concerns about the independence of medical publishing, has pushed the boundaries yet again. They’ve placed a published article on a wiki and have invited readers to edit the piece in order to improve it. As their blog says simply:

This project explores the use of a wiki as an online collaborative tool for improving and updating peer-reviewed systematic reviews.

The article in question is “Asynchronous telehealth: a scoping review of analytic studies,” by Amol Deshpande, Shariq Khoja, Julio Lorca, Ann McKibbon, Carlos . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Technology

A Highway Code for Data Handling

There’s much practical advice in the British Computing Society and the Information Security Awareness Forum’s new publication Personal Data Guardianship Code released today.

If you don’t think there’s a need, a recent 2009 Data Breach Investigations Report from IT provider Verizon Business suggested that 285 million records were compromised in 2008.

Of course, the lawyers got to it: “This code is not intended to be legal advice and where the reader is unsure about any aspect of the Data Protection Act or other Acts and regulations they should seek legal advice or visit the Information Commissioner’s web site.”

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law, Technology

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Maybe it’s because of the Spring weather, but love was in the air this week. Even regulators were in sync.

The week started off with a study showing that married couples have more immunological diversity than random pairs, suggesting that opposites really do attract.

The Canadian government showed some love for tech companies this week too, with BDC committing $75 million to a new VC fund: the Tandem Expansion Fund, headed up by Charles Sirois and Brent Belzberg.

A love triangle with India’s Shantha Biotech at the centre turned to a more traditional M&A romance this week . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

GM Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Auto manufacturer General Motors has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York this morning. It is expected the U.S. government will take 60% ownership and the Canadian government will take 12.5%. 17.5% will be owned by the UAW and bond holders will hold 10%.

By filing for bankruptcy protection, GM automatically loses its spot on the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index. It is unclear yet whether Canadian plants will be closed.

According to Kent Kresa, GM Chairman:

Today marks a new beginning for General Motors. A court-supervised process and transfer of assets will enable a New

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Microsoft’s Bing Goes Live

Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, went live last night. I haven’t had a chance to run any tests comparing it to Google, but a simple search or two suggests that it will likely produce comparable results.

I’m certainly pleased that it knows that a search for “slaw” should cause our site to rise to the top of the results pack:

If you hover your cursor over a search result, a graphic appears to the right, and hovering over that brings up a popup with text from a (recent? latest indexed?) sample page — but not necessarily, it would seem, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Electronic Discovery and Electronic Decisions Highlight Privacy Issues in Litigation

E-discovery can and often does raise important privacy questions for counsel and clients. The Sedona Canada Principles Addressing Electronic Discovery [PDF] identify privacy as one of the non-monetary costs that should be considered in applying the concept of proportionality (Principle 2). The Sedona Canada Principles also suggest that parties should agree to or seek court direction to protect privacy during e-discovery (Principle 9).

In light of a number of recent court decisions on e-discovery, counsel and clients must consider, inter alia, the scope of what should be produced in discovery (e.g. whether entire hard drives or other devices need . . . [more]

Posted in: e-Discovery