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Archive for July, 2011

Is It Just Me, or Is Gmail Down? – the Status of Web Services

It used to be that packet ships would carry the post across the ocean, always running the risk that they might founder and take messages — and lives — with them. Now we only have to worry about routers and servers, and rarely if ever are living beings harmed should one of these electronic packet pushers go down. But they do go down. And now, as then, it’s not always easy to figure out whether the break in communication is systemic or more personal.

Recently, for example, Netflix encountered serious problems with streaming that lasted, on and off, for a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Winkler on Labour Arbitration and Conflict Resolution

The Ontario Court of Appeal just uploaded a speech by Chief Justice Winkler on labour arbitration and conflict resolution, although it was initially presented at Queen’s University on November 30, 2010.

Justice Winkler’s views on labour law reform have been of considerable interest, especially considering his holding in Fraser v. Ontario, overturned this year by the Supreme Court of Canada.

In this speech, Justice Winkler provides four recommendations for labour law reform:

  1. Shorten grievance procedures
  2. Conduct discovery and productions within grievances, and not arbitration
  3. Select arbitrators who are more immediately available
  4. Conduct hearings with proportionality
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Who’s Reading You?

We’ve all heard about Web 3.0, the semantic web which will be machine-readable, meaning that the substance of our communications will be the ground of action for programs.

Well here’s a shocker for those of us who have not connected the dots. You will read the web, and your browser will also read the web, but in addition websites, browsers, and other software will read you. What they learn in the process will affect the sorts of content that is made available to you.

We already see this in rudimentary forms when Amazon make suggestions to you, or when a . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading

An SCC Christmas Present in July for Canadian Litigators

R v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., 2011 SCC 42 is necessary reading for all Canadian lawyers giving advice about any aspect of private law obligations.

This case fits very nicely into our discussion about the need to avoid ambiguity in statements about law. It also shows how often ambiguity in the language actually used is too often associated with the writer(s)’ apparent confusion relating to the meaning of the concepts discussed.

Maybe the Court meant to make some of the assertions that the text of the reasons literally makes. And maybe they “misspoke” themselves.

Time will tell. 

But, in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Friday Fillip: Mixtapes

We here in Canada hark with yearning for the likes of Pandora or Spotify. (I exaggerate slightly.) And we likely will for a while, because the Canadian arms of the big music copyright owners can’t seem to strike a deal with the internet. Which, some might think, only leads to circumnavigation.

One such music-purveying “wide sailor” has made available a bunch of Illustrated Mixtapes that you might enjoy. Gigawatt, a designer, has created sets of mixtape albumns designed to offer you listening pleasure throughout the various stages of your day. Thus, each of the five (soon to be six) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Phone Hacking and Regulation: Are We Better Than the UK?

Here’s a story pointing out that the phone ‘hacking’ that has caused so many headlines (and resignations) lately in the United Kingdom was possible because of a simple default setting on mobile phones sold in the UK, that no one took the trouble to fix and that no regulator was prepared to take responsibility for. It’s a fascinating sad story:

As I understand the story, all phones provided by particular providers had the same default password for checking messages, so that if you called somebody and they didn’t answer, you could use the standard password to access their messages . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

“Sites of Real Engagement”: Opens Up State Legislation is a new, free site providing online access to information about proposed legislation in U.S. states. Funded by the Sunlight Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation (PPF) and now covering six U.S. states, — which launched in January 2011 — enables citizens and organizations to learn about and track pending state legislation, the activities and votes of state legislators, issues that are the subject of proposed legislation, and campaign contributions to state legislators.

In July I spoke with David Moore and Carl Tashian — respectively PPF’s Executive Director and Director of Technology, and the developers of — . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

You Might Like…

This is a post in a series to appear occasionally, setting out some articles that contributors at Slaw are reading and that you might find interesting. These tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: You might like...

CCCA Tweets

With the Canadian Law Blogs List now surpassing 300 entries (100 in the past year), along with the continued growth of law firms and lawyers using Twitter, Canadian legal web-commentary is definitely on the rise. One segment that’s lacked exposure, however, is the number of in-house perspectives from north of the border.

Happily, that change has started, with the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (a Stem client) providing a foot in the Twittersphere door. Launched earlier this month to coincide with a website redesign, @CCCA_News will provide a mix of:

  • news stories relevant to corporate counsel from Canada, the United
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Colin Lachance: $34 Well Spent

[Colin Lachance is the President of CanLII.]

In his recent column on Slaw entitled Funding the LIIs, Sean Hocking wrote of the challenges faced by BAILII, the successes of AustLII and, to the extent information was available, the various funding models pursued by other legal information institutes. In referencing CanLII, he noted:

They don’t tell us much just that “CanLII is funded by the members of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, in other words, the law societies of Canada’s provinces and territories and the Chambre des notaires du Québec.”

It’s true, our site does . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law