January 2018

Lollipop is coming by Guiseppe Milo

It’s already past the season for annual predictions which have become a staple of the legal tech media. Generally these predictions rely heavily on the direction taken by technologies in the last year, so I thought it would be more fruitful to look at what we collectively learned in 2017, without any added crystal ball-gazing. I asked several Newsletter contributors for their main takeaways from 2017. What particularly engaged them?

It has been apparent for some time that the biggest tech companies, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, have grown too large for our collective good. 2017 was the year we finally started trying to figure out how to do something about that. We look here at the huge “platforms” in particular. AI and court reform were other big issues of the day.

Our 2017 review continues with AI, social media, machine learning, algorithms and robots taking jobs.

Our 2017 review continues with developments in the courts.

To date, the main legacy of the Brexit referendum of 2016 appears to be a country split in half: some badly wish the UK would continue to be a member of the EU and some are equally keen on making a move. Yet, there seems to be at least one thing on which Remainers and Leavers will agree: nobody knows exactly what is going to happen. The same is true of the effect of Brexit on UK data protection. However, as Brexit day approaches, it is becoming imperative for those with responsibility for data protection compliance to make some crucial strategic decisions. To help with that process, here are some pointers about what we know and what we don’t know.

Voice recognition by Dion Gillard

With contributions from Gordon Healiss, Norma Laming and Greig Duncan

When I set up my web page on Transcription www.venables.co.uk/transcription.htm several years ago, it all seemed rather straightforward. I described the methods of input and output, the speed of the transcription, the security of the process and the cost.

Now, the concept of transcription has developed many new strands, in which the original concept of a transcription service from an external company is still present, albeit with great improvements in the input and output process, but with alternative options now also available, including voice recognition as the method of input and a process of automatic document generation, now merging with concepts of artificial intelligence.

In this article, I present three key strands of this topic.

Links by Balrog Daemon

Links are fundamental to the web; without them it would literally not exist. So, it is surprising that legal advice on linking usually starts by counselling the linker that they should first obtain permission. See, for example, Linking and Framing on Out-Law.com (admittedly, that was 2008) and Think before you link on Pitmans’ Insights (2017).

Not only is this impractical, but also most sites are in fact keen for others to link to them for the attendant “eyeballs” and the “Google juice”. So, whilst strictly in law permission is needed, in practice we can assume permission if we link responsibly.

This short article is based on my web page www.venables.co.uk/softwareireland.htm which provides links to the software companies websites.

The “problem” for Ireland, as for any smaller country, has been that the potential market for the sale of legal software is much smaller than for countries with larger numbers of law firms. A few years ago, this often meant that Irish legal software suppliers were in fact subsidiaries of larger UK software companies and others were genuinely small firms, possibly without a very large financial backing.

Data security breach by Blogtrepreneur

Cybercrime has dominated the global headlines over recent years, with the NHS suffering a huge ransomware attack, allegations of Russian hacking affecting the American elections and the confidential data of 143 million people being breached after credit ratings company Equifax was hacked. According to Lloyd’s of London a “serious” cyberattack could cost the global economy almost £100 billion.

With the spectre of GDPR looming, law firms will be increasingly called upon by their clients to help them grapple with data protection compliance and understand their obligations surrounding cybersecurity. But legal practices will also need to ensure their own IT infrastructure is secure; as they often hold valuable and sensitive client data, firms can pose a target for cybercriminals. So what are the main types of cyberattack for which firms should be prepared, and how can these be prevented?