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Archive for October, 2010

Privacy Commissioner Finds Google Street Contravened Privacy Laws

There has been a lot of press over the Privacy Commissioner’s decision that the Google Street View collection of information from unprotected wifi signals breached PIPEDA. See the press release, and the decision. See examples of press reports by the CBC and CTV. The CTV report says that Spanish regulators announced they were filing a lawsuit against Google for the incident, seeking millions in fines.

I know nothing more about this than I read in the press – but I think we need to put Google’s actions in perspective here. Yes, it should not have collected that . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet

A Student-Led Movement for a University Open Access Policy

Having been a supporter of open access to research and scholarship for a dozen years now, I sometimes think that I have seen it all, from brilliant strategies to collegial indifference. Thus my surprise and delight, when I recently had the chance to meet Goldis Chami and Gordana Panic at the University of British Columbia to talk about their efforts, as students, to bring about open access to the work published by faculty and graduate students at UBC. Goldis, a second-year medical student, and Gordana, a recent graduate in Biology and Psychology, explained to me that they were determined to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

LinkedIn Adds Martindale-Hubbell Ratings

LinkedIn has just announced that users can add new sections to their profiles. New boxes will be available for certifications, publications, and even patents, reflecting the broader types of users that LinkedIn has experienced beyond the business and IT communities. For example, I can now add my (American) nuclear medicine technology licenses, and my numerous speaking engagements, important to an aspiring litigator claiming some background in healthcare.

One new section might be of particular interest to lawyers. The Martindale-Hubbell Ratings, which provide scores based on client satisfaction and peer-reviews, are also available as a section feature. The two . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Disappointed Info Seeker

October 18, 2010 was election day for municipalites in Alberta. My husband made his choice in the afternoon at our polling station, with one person in line in front of him. I made my selection for a Division 1 Councillor for Lac Ste. Anne County around 6:10 p.m., on my way home, with no one in front of me in line to vote.

There were news reports for city election results, and some blog activity in larger centres, but in rural Alberta election news, and results, and even platforms were mostly silent. Especially on the web.

Prior to the election, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Quix—a Command Application for All Browsers

A couple of years ago I posted about Ubiquity, a Firefox add-on that let you summon up and execute a variety of useful browser commands with simple shortcuts. For various reasons I never did make the use of the feature that it deserved, and then I switched away from Firefox because I found it slow.

Now the idea is back again, this time in a cross-browser way that’s going to make it more useful. The application, if that’s what it is — perhaps “feature” or “set of commands” would be a better description — is called Quix, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Access to Justice on the Prairies

Access to justice is a hot topic, having been discussed on Slaw in the past few months here and here. Here in Winnipeg, the catalyst was the release of the 2008 United Nations Report, Making the Law Work for Everyone. Our response to this report is the Legal Help Centre.

Executive Director Karen Dyck envisions the Legal Help Centre as a place “… to assist disadvantaged members of our community to access and exercise their legal and social rights.” This agency will help people determine their next course of action in solving a problem, which may not even . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week was a week of small steps in biotech. And not the kind of small steps that are actually giant leaps, either.

Canadian VC funding saw a big leap for tech and cleantech funding, but only a marginal increase for biotech. This news roughly coincided with the purchase of the VenGrowth funds by Covington Capital this week, which seems like a big leap, but will probably end up only being a minor step in the reshaping of the industry in Ontario.

Both the United States and Europe took small steps toward increasing the availability of biosimilars (“generic” . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Bloomberg v. Lexis? Advantage Bloomberg

Despite the favourable piece in today’s Information Today Dayton is waking up to learn of the power of Michael Bloomberg’s cheque-book. The IT piece says that LexisNexis has learned from WestlawNext’s debacle of a launch—which “involved telling everyone at the same time about a new product while only providing it to one market and leaving other markets to the guesswork; not telling anyone the price; and generally irritating librarians by promoting the new but often unavailable service directly to patrons”.

Instead, LexisNexis is doing it differently. LexisNexis is targeting the solo and microfirms with the new Lexis Advance. These lawyers

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Clouded Thinking: Will Regulator Fear Turn Canada Into a Cloud Computing Ghetto?

Last week Nicole Garton Jones, a BC-based lawyer and fellow Slaw contributor, provided some thought-provoking commentary on the position of the Law Society of British Columbia on the topic of Virtual Law Firms, as discussed in the latest edition of the organization’s Bencher’s Bulletin. In the bulletin, and subsequent response to Ms. Garton-Jones’ post, the LSBC identifies several key concerns relating to cloud computing for BC-based law firms, namely:

  • LSBC trust accounting rules (specifically, Rule 3-68) require lawyers to store records at their chief place of practice in British Columbia.
  • The USA PATRIOT Act poses a data privacy
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Rebuilding an Academic Law Library, Part 2: Everything Old Is New Again

 [This is the second in a series of articles about the trends, theories, principles and realities that have influenced the redesign of the library of Osgoode Hall Law School — part of the renovation and rebuilding of the law school currently underway.]

The chief glory of the Osgoode Hall Law School Library is its world-class collection of early Anglo-American legal materials, including the largest collection of legal Canadiana anywhere. Despite pressures to recover space and plans to send some materials offsite (see my earlier column) when the Osgoode Library moves into its new facility in Summer 2011, we . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Feminist Blog From Osgoode

Take a look at the IFLS site. The Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode Hall Law School has been running a blog since the beginning of summer. All, or nearly all, posts are by the Director of the institute, Professor Sonia Lawrence, and they range across a wide spectrum of kinds — as should be the case in a good, general topic blog.

For example, the latest post is about a book by Professor John Kang called “The Man Question”, there’s a post about the state of feminism, a post about the recent court decision striking . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Reading: Recommended

Law and (In)humanity

In an earlier column I noted that we use the idea of justice in two different ways. According to the first, to call something just is to praise it morally and to call it unjust is to condemn it. This, the general sense of justice, does not signal any particular grounds for praise or condemnation: ‘just’ is little more than a thumbs-up, ‘unjust’ a thumbs-down. But we also use ‘justice’ in a second, more specific, way, to pick out a particular virtue that arrangements might have or lack. This is what Justinian’s Digest has in mind when it tells us . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues