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New WPA3 WiFi Standard Released

Well, it’s finally here. In the fall of 2017, a vulnerability in WPA2 wireless encryption was discovered. Known as the Krack Attack, the flaw impacts every implementation of WPA2. The manufacturers needed to provide a patch update to fix the flaw. The Wi-Fi Alliance has now announced the availability of the WPA3 standard (to be implemented in certified devices starting later this year), vastly improving security over WPA2, which has been around for over 15 years and should be the current WiFi encryption of choice. WPA3 provides a new security protocol that contains improvements in terms of configuration, authentication and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Electronic Wills – Update

In January of this year, I canvassed developments on electronic wills in Australia, New Zealand, England & Wales, the U.S. and Canada. Since that time, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC)’s drafting committee in the U.S. has been moving the file forward. I am not aware of any law reform action Down Under, and the Law Commission of England & Wales is still thinking about it. Canada is discussed later in this column.

UNITED STATES

In late July, the ULC will give first reading to an Electronic Wills Act. The “Annual Meeting Draft” is quite compact yet covers the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Old School Thinking About Modern Technology

Tinker Toys have been around for over 100 years. I loved them as a kid. Maybe you did too.

Over the past few weeks I’ve encouraged audiences at a couple events to look at them as the fundamental building blocks of their professional aspirations and opportunities, as well as the ideal gateway to understanding the potential of innovative technologies. More than merely a collection of spools, connectors and dowels, Tinker Toys provide limitless ways of imagining how to take on challenges and get things done.

Look at this picture, and think of the tinker toys as the fundamental elements of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

CanLII’s Recent Announcements: Putting It All Together

Following CanLII’s multiple announcements in the last weeks and months, we wouldn’t blame anybody for failing to see the big picture from these individual pieces. I thought I would use this column to recapitulate and give some perspective.

Individually, the steps we took in the last few years can be seen as merely incremental, but the overall result is that CanLII became a radically different beast, for the better of course. This post strings together these individual announcements with the objective of presenting a clearer picture of what CanLII has become, and to show its the increased potential.

Let’s start . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing, Legal Technology

Lawyer Personas and How to Work With Them

My last column gave a few tips on preparing for and responding to lawyers’ resistance to new technology. This time around, I’ll write about common lawyer personas – archetypes, if you will – and how to identify and interact with them.

The Brain. “Introverted” is an understatement for these lawyers. They’re rare and highly unique, completely happy to dive face and eyes into the law every day. They rarely interact with, well, anyone, really, preferring to stay in their offices among their books, papers, and databases. They are highly valuable, as their brains are ever-expanding databases of legal knowledge, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

A View From Virginia: Is It Ethical for Lawyers to Accept Bitcoins and Other Cryptocurrencies?

Bitcoins are digital currency – and yes, lawyers are beginning to accept them from clients. They are also known as virtual currency or cryptocurrency since cryptography is used to control the creation and transfer of bitcoins. They use peer-to-peer technology with no central authority or banks. The issuance of bitcoins and the managing of transactions are carried out collectively by the network

Cryptocurrencies are created by a process called mining – by becoming a miner of cryptocurrencies, you make money (not much unless you are a major league miner). We won’t go into all of the technology that is used . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Need for Blockchain Evidence Legislation

Nobody wanted to die. The life extension project raised millions with names of famous scientists and promises of ground-breaking research. Trustees earmarked the bulk of the money as a prize to the first researcher who solved the telomerase enzyme problem.

On the morning of January 2, 2020, two independent groups announced successful telomerase enhancement formulas. One was from Atlanta, and the other one from Singapore. The group that proved it was the first to record the formula would get $50 million to continue its research. Peer-reviewed publication was not relevant as both completed it at the same time. The only . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

Devices Gone Wild

These days all sorts of things are connected to the Internet, even if they are not traditionally thought of as communications devices. We have looked at “devices” such as cars, pacemakers and dolls. We have looked at legal issues such as privacy, defamation and evidence.

The Internet of Things is a gift that keeps on giving … legal questions. Here are a few more examples of what can, and thus will, go wrong.

I. Alexa and the parrot:

Alexa is Amazon.com’s digital assistant. It responds to voice commands and voice inquiries. It will find out information, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Working With Lawyers – Tech Adoption

You can’t talk about legal technology without talking about, and to, lawyers. Also vodka. Kidding.

Anyone who has spent more than an hour trying to get lawyers to use pretty much anything other than Word and Outlook will know that adoption is a Sisyphean task. Lawyers have a general negative reaction to anything you show them. They expect perfection and ease of use, and hate any disruption to their normal (though admittedly imperfect) workflow.

I don’t pretend I’m a change expert (except on my resume, obviously), but I have had some success in (1) convincing lawyers to just try the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Looking at Women’s Contribution to Computing to Learn How to Fix the Internet

As you may be aware, something was brewing at CanLII in recent weeks (and months) so I skipped my last turn as columnist. This means my last post here was the one I wrote before the holidays.

When I write something and (finally) ship it, the mere fact of reading it “in production” makes me see new flaws that I didn’t even come close to seeing while I was in the thick of drafting. I’m sure many of us are like that. The flaw I saw with my last post when live on Slaw was that while the multiplication . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Dark Side of Cloud Computing

We have said for many years that the cloud will generally protect a law firm’s data better than the law firm would itself. As more and more law firms adopt Microsoft Office 365, thereby moving to the cloud, we have come to the conclusion that a few words of caution are in order when law firms entrust their data to the cloud.

With huge volumes of law firm confidential data (and data from other verticals) moving to the cloud, it is no wonder that the bad guys are taking aim at the clouds. And there seems to be a shift . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Is the Blockchain Too Expensive?

For at least a year now, the magic word in technology circles has been “blockchain” – the accretive cryptographic system behind Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

A distributed ledger

A blockchain serves as a distributed ledger, a record of transactions or other information that is secure from alteration and that operates without any central authority. Its security derives from the digital signatures required to affect the record. It foregoes a central authority by residing simultaneously on very large numbers of computers on its network (which is what “distributed” means in this context, in contrast with “centralized”.) Each such computer contains . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology