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Archive for ‘Administration of Slaw’

Should Mandatory CLE Require Technology in Particular?

Some states in the US, notably now including North Carolina and Florida, require that part of one’s mandatory continuing legal education include education on techology. Florida’s rule requires three hours over three years – so an hour a year, but if one took a three-hour course (which might be a more useful format than three one-hour sessions), one could fulfill the duty. At least in NC, their annual requirement is 12 hours, same as in Ontario.

This is all in the context of the ABA’s Professional Conduct rules – adopted in many states – that expressly requires competence in matters . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Do You Need to Know You Are Speaking With a Robot?

You will probably have heard that Google has developed a system by which a machine can make phone calls to humans, notably to make reservations for hotels and restaurants (and what more human an activity is there?) – and the machine, using AI, can sound remarkably human. Apparently we have here a device that passes the Turing test with flying colours.

Question: should it have to tell people it deals with that it is essentially a robot? A lot of people claim to be unhappy with the idea that they may deal with the machine and not know it’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

When Does a Technical Standard Become a Legal Standard of Care?

The Guardian reports us that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is close to adopting a new authentication standard that can replace passwords. This would be some kind of “who you are” (biometric) or “what you have” (token, phone to receive code) method of authentication, rather than a “what you know” password. (I suppose a code sent to your phone is what you know, but you know it only case by case, because you have another communications channel.)

Some web services already work this way, as the article notes – or does in special cases, as when one is logging . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Simon Fodden (1944 – 2018)

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that our beloved Slaw founder, Simon Fodden, passed away on February 10th, 2018. Simon had been fighting cancer for the past four years, and died surrounded by his family at the Kensington Hospice in Toronto.

Simon’s accomplishments were many. From the family’s eulogy, he was beautifully described as “law professor and associate dean of law, author, blogger, founder/publisher of slaw.ca, lifelong learner, eclectic collector of interests and curiosities, aesthete, fashion plate, craft beer lover, foodie, charming conversationalist, music lover, technofile, web designer and all-around early adopter of innovation. Online . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, The Friday Fillip

Videos With Fake Faces – What Legal Remedy?

Professor Eric Goldman of UC Santa Clara writes about new technology that allows adept editors to put someone’s face on a video of someone else. That can produce comic results, but it can also be a kind of revenge porn, or just nasty porn, if one puts a well-known face on a body doing pornographic things.

Prof. Goldman says it is hard to conceive of a legal remedy guaranteed to be effective for the person whose face is used. He discusses copyright and defamation and finds them limited.

He does not pay much attention to privacy, since U.S. privacy laws . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Student Access to the Exams They Have Written

The Court of Justice of the EU has held that the “examination script” i.e. the answers to examination questions, constitutes the personal information of the student, and therefore it must be made available to the student on request under access to information and privacy laws. (This is the Nowak case out of Ireland, for those of you who follow such things.)

Would the same result be obtained in any Canadian jurisdiction? One understands the argument that the answers are connected to the student – they have to be, in order to serve their primary purpose. The student’s marks would be . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Are Social Media Posts by Politicians Official Documents?

The US Department of Justice has declared that President Trump’s tweets are official statements of the President – at least in one case. In another, mentioned in the same ABA story, it is saying that they are not, at least to the point that the President can block people from his Twitter account.

What is your view? Are the posts subject to freedom of information laws and official records laws, so that they have to be preserved, they have to be accessible on request, they have to respect privacy rights?

There is a difference between politicians in government with official . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

“Internet Separation” – the Wave of the (Secure) Future?

To reduce the risk of hackers coming into government database through the Internet, the Government of SIngapore has required all public service computers to be cut off from the Internet. Public servants are allowed to use the net from separate computers that are not connected to their government data.

Yes, that means that a lot of people will have two unconnected computers on the go at the same time.

This article explains the process and the reasons, in the words of the Prime Minister. who called the move “absolutely necessary.” He does admit in the article that if a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Crossing Borders With Digital Devices

Lots of lawyers have been worried about having their digital devices inspected at the U.S. border in recent years, and more so under the current administration – but there are other countries that are not generally trusted either.

The New York City Bar Association has issued an ethics opinion telling lawyers they need to take special steps to protect confidential and privileged client information in such circumstances – possibly including using ‘burner’ phones or laptops (ones with no confidential info, and that the owner can burn or otherwise just throw away after coming back from the country in question).

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

UNCITRAL Adopts Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records

UNCITRAL has now adopted a model law on electronic transferable records. See the press release below. The full text will be available online shortly at the URL shown at the end of the document.

Canadians showed little interest in this project while it was being developed, so Canada’s attendance at the working group meetings was intermittent.

Does it sound more interesting now that it is final? Would your clients benefit from an internationally accepted law on the topic? This UNCITRAL text is the best that will be available in the foreseeable future.

Should steps be taken to implement it here? . . . [more]

Posted in: International law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Texting at the Wheel: Should Police Be Able to Examine Your Phone?

New York State is considering legislation to require drivers involved in auto accidents to allow the police to inspect their mobile phones for signs of recent activity. Presumably signs of such activity would be grounds for charges for driving while distracted, and might lead to evidence to support civil liability as well.

It’s interesting that the technology for detecting such recent activity does not currently exist, but it is being developed as the legislation is working its way through the process.

The developers, the legislators and the police all say that the technology will not permit any review of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

May Lawyers Accept Payment in Bitcoin?

A U.S. colleague with a technology practice was recently asked to take payment for her legal services in Bitcoin. She is not sure she has the right to do so.

What about in Canada? Would any law society here allow such payment? Do payments have to be more subject to regulation via known financial institutions? Certainly the rules about trust accounts demand traditional accounting. Why would a general payment with a digital currency be a problem, though? . . . [more]

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