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Privacy? Forget about it

Insofar as we still measure column inches on the web, many yards in the last month have been devoted to commentary and analysis of the Google Spain decision, or the "right to be forgotten" as it is popularly but inaccurately known.

As ever, Laurence Eastham provides some refreshing comment and useful pointers on Computers and Law.

One of the key questions is how practicable it would be for Google and other search engines to remove specific links from their indexes. Neil Cameron (on his blog) pictures "an army of de-Googlers, frantically and manually removing links for every claimant with a past they would rather forget" (simply not practicable). Laurence is filled with dread at either "Google making a judgment based on an algorithm" (leading to inappropriate deletions) or "some sort of tribunal" (unaffordable).

But thinking, rather, of a "right to be disassociated", it is easier to see how this might be effectively implemented. Google should not be put in the position of making legal judgements (certainly not without an e), but I can think of no organisation better able to come up with an elegant solution to interpreting accurately a direction from a judicial authority to disassociate person A from event B in context C.

So I say, if we must have this right, then leave the onus on the ICO to provide the right quality input to Google. GIGO and all that.

Laurence is seeking short sharp impact assessments of the case. Let him have yours.

Google says it is "working to finalise our implementation of removal requests under European data protection law as soon as possible". In the meantime, it's initial effort is this removal request form.

Image by Jason Eppink on Flickr.

Google's Panda 4.0 – small business friendly

Google’s Panda algorithm has been around since 2011. It's designed to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results.

Update 4.0 is a major update which rolled out on 20 May and  is designed to help small businesses do better. Your guess is as good as mine as to what small means.

Delia’s legal web picks

Follow Delia Venables on Twitter @deliavenables.

The following items have been selected from Delia’s “New” page.

Check your entry on Delia's site

Delia has particularly asked for you to check your entry on her free listings of UK firms at http://www.venables.co.uk/firms.htm or chambers at http://www.venables.co.uk/bar.htm. It is very hard to keep these lists up to date and she would welcome your assistance! Just email her at delia@venables.co.uk with any changes that you would like.

Managing content across multiple sites

Managing content across multiple sites, with a great variety of content, needed in many formats (for different devices) and for different purposes (including social media) is one of the big headaches of modern web site development. A new system from Joe Reevy of Words4Business fame offers a solution. MyInfoNet provides for easy management of content across multiple websites and creates mobile sites, e-newsletters, news streams and social media updates. The system, which runs as a cloud based application, does not require a new website from the user, and can be implemented in minutes, greatly increasing the marketing facilities of the firm. Cost is £39 + VAT per week (no forward contract required) and a 3 month trial is just £82.50+VAT.

Voice recognition, smart phones and case management come together – at last

LOASys (Legal Office Automation Systems) specialise in digital dictation, speech recognition, documents assembly and management.

DPS Software are one of the leading independent legal case management software and hosted IT solutions providers in the UK, catering to over 600 practices and 15,000 individual users. These two companies have worked together to provide the integrated dictation system which everyone has been wanting for some time (even if they did not realise that they wanted it). Dictation from a smart phone is automatically transcribed by the LOASys voice recognition solution and saved as fully formatted Microsoft Word documents against the required case or matter in DPS’s case management system. Bingo.

The right practice and case management software can make all the difference…

Lance Mason, a firm of solicitors in Blackburn, Lancashire, started up as a 3 person firm in 2011, specialising in personal injury work as well as general commercial work. It adopted Proclaim Practice Management & Accounts Software from Eclipse Legal Systems. Now the firm is 80 strong and is planning further expansion and development.

A departing cashier can be a trigger to new methods of running the firm's accounts

Legal cashiers of the reliable and traditional variety are hard to find, these days. However, a retiring cashier can be a trigger to new methods and in particular to the use of an outsourced cashiering service like Pinpoint, from legal software and services supplier Quill. A named member of the Quill team handles the firm's accounts – and payroll as well, if desired. See the story of how this process works for Solicitors Rosemary Smith & Co here.

Hotdocs wins International Business of the Year 2014 at Scottish awards

Hotdocs has won this important award against fierce competition from six other global companies based in Scotland. HotDocs has grown significantly overseas since 2009 and its automated document generation software is a market leader in 42 countries. Shortlisted for its particular strength in the US marketplace, HotDocs’ software is used by 80% of America’s leading law firms and one fifth of Fortune 500 companies. The event, which took place at Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre on Monday 12th May, was the largest business gala dinner ever held in Scotland, with almost 2,000 guests. Full details here.

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