The internet has been blowing up since it was revealed on Monday that Craig Wright is the creator of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a new currency that was created in 2009 by a phantom developer that went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency is unique because it allows its users to make transactions without a bank, and has grown popular enough to allow Bitcoins to be used to buy items from pizza to websites.  Nakamoto’s identity has always been shrouded in mystery, and added to the allure of the culture around Bitcoin. As of Monday, it was revealed to the world that Nakamoto is really an Australian businessman with 9 degrees. But everyone is not convinced.

This isn’t the first time the the creator of Bitcoin was said to be revealed. Just last year Wired and Gizmodo magazines claimed that Wright was Nakamoto. The reports were immediately criticized, with Wired reporting that claims of Wright as the creator of Bitcoin was a hoax. This time, Wright wrote his own blog post staking the claim as Nakamoto himself. This post was backed up by Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andresen, who showed support by writing a blog post of his own.

So how can we tell if Wright is really the creator of Bitcoin? It all comes down to signed cryptographic keys. Wright claims to be in possession of cryptographic keys that only the real Satoshi Nakamoto would have access to. Encryption works by using two keys, a private and public key to move data safely over the internet. Wright is claiming to have a private key that shows that he is the real Nakamoto. But even the existence of a private key has been contested. Having a private key doesn’t prove identity, it just proves that the person that is signing has access to the private key.

While Wright has taken steps to prove that with his private key, he can link to a bitcoin address mined by Satoshi Nakamoto, it makes you wonder how much it matters. Satoshi Nakamoto left the Bitcoin project. Although his work is the backbone of Bitcoin, it isn’t necessarily important to know who the real creator of Bitcoin is as far as Bitcoin’s future is concerned. But at least for now, there will still be a hint of mystery attached to Bitcoin’s creator.

Article via Mashable, 2 May 2016

Photo Vires In Numeris by Zach Copley [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

MIRLN (Miscellaneous IT-Related Legal News) is a free e-newsletter that began in 1997. It is delivered every 3 weeks to members of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section via Business Law Today and to other members. MIRLN has about 2,000 individual subscribers; 2 of which were former Attorney Generals of the United States.

About Know Connect:

Vincent I. Polley acquired his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Harvard and his Law degree from the University of Michigan.

In 2006 and 2007, he co-chaired the Information Technology and Security Law practice group at the Dickinson Wright PLLC law firm. He helped clients prevent, plan, and effectively manage IT-related security and privacy problems. Since he was an expert in the area, he oversaw the firm’s specialized law IT assistance such as privacy and e-contracting.

Polley was co-chair of the ABA Commission on Second Season of Service, and served on the Advisory Commission for the ABA World Justice Project and the Council of the ABA’s Section of Business Law.  He’s a former member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security, former chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Technology & Information Systems, and the immediate past-chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on CLE. Polley currently chairs the ABA Content Convergence Working Group, and is the member of the Editorial Board for the ABA Journal.

Since 1997, Polley continuously publishes posts for the Internet Law blog, MIRLN.

Subscribe to MIRLN: Send email to Vince Polley with the word “MIRLN” in the subject line.

MIRLN is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

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Article via KnowConnect

Photo: Moo cards for blogging workshop via Steve Bridger [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]



On April 5, Fruition Technology Labs held the Social Impact Pitch at the Urban Co-Lab in Austin. The Social Impact Pitch is an event for organizations to pitch project and business ideas that are focused on a SOCIAL, CIVIC or life-changing benefit.

Panelists and investors like Bob Bridge from Southwest Angel Network, Charlie Jackson from Diversity Fund, Wesley Okeke from Fruition Tech Labs, and Belinda Matingou from Texas Association of Business, Luemara Wagner of the Texas Family Justice Institute, and Preston James, and Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at the University of Texas at Austin, helped judge and organize the event.

Among the contestants was former Tech For Justice Hackathon+ Austin winner, Michael Curran, who left the event with the winning title.

Michael is a lawyer with experience in the field of legal technology, and he is currently focused on solving the growing problem of financial exploitation. Michael is also an officer with the State Bar of Texas Computer and Technology Section.

Michael’s pitch was based on his Guide Change business that started one year ago at the Tech for Justice hackathon sponsored by the Internet Bar Organization and others. Michael created the Guide Change platform to help institutions and administrators who seek to protect the financial estates of seniors and others who may be the targets of financial exploitation and abuse.

For the homeless it is a luxury to have glasses to see properly. Usually they are burdened with more immediate needs such as food, shelter, and personal hygiene. But not having glasses can mean not being able to see, which is a large problem, especially when you depend on shelters to survive. Just ask Clay Ferguson. The twenty-three year old recently got jumped in a New York City coffee shop. In addition to taking his identification, and cell phone, they also broke his glasses.

“I can’t see the street signs. I can’t barely see nothin,” Clay recounts.

But, there is a program that is trying to change that. ChildSight is a program of Helen Keller International that provides free glasses to underserved youth in need, like Clay. This initiative is not new. ChildSight has historically served children from low-income public schools. But last July it branched out to help another underserved community, the Ali Forney Center. The center is a Harlem-based LGBTQ youth homeless shelter that served 1,200 young people last year and directly housed 440 of them — including Clay Ferguson.

Homelessness is an epidemic within the LGBTQ youth community.  Estimations of homeless youth find as many as 40 percent identifying as part of the queer community. Compare that statistic to the 4 percent of the general population, which includes more than just youth, that identify as LGBTQ. One reason for the increased rate of homelessness is that about 40% of the young people the Ali Forney Center are kicked out of their home after coming out.

As a result, the majority of youth from the Ali Forney Center that are referred to ChildSight have had blurry vision for  years.

“We’re really interested in finding other populations that are vulnerable and have difficulties accessing health services,” Nick Kourgialis, VP of Eye Health at Helen Keller International. “Certainly this is a population that faces these challenges…When you are young, you see the world the way you see it and assume everyone else sees it the same way,” Kourgialis says. “But when someone puts lenses before their eyes, the look on these kids’ faces is like, ‘What the hell?’

ChildSight has been working with the Ali Forney Center for less than a year, through a grant from New York Community Trust. The group has examined 122 young people and their program has delivered 88 pairs of free eyeglasses to those who otherwise wouldn’t have access to improved sight.

Article via Mashable, 25 April 2016

Photo Glasses by Kate Brady [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

The FBI has no plans to reveal how they hacked the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, not even to Apple.

In March, the FBI announced that they would be dropping their case with Apple after having purchased a hacking tool from a third party to aid in breaking into the phone. Apple had cooperated with the FBI, but would not create new firmware to break their own encryption. The high profile nature of this case brought the debate about privacy and security to the national stage. Although there was a judge assigned to rule on the case, the FBI’s purchasing of a hacking tool put the need for a ruling to bed.

Since then, the FBI has been mum on how this hacking tool was able to be successful and how it works. Prior to purchasing the tool, the FBI insisted that it needed Apple to update the firmware in order for them to do a hack on the shooter’s iPhone. The security on iPhone only allows 10 consecutive attempts to break the passcode before all data is erased on the phone.

Apple has a vested interest in understanding the hack, because the tech company would want to patch any vulnerabilities that allowed the FBI to use this tool to access the iPhone.  Hacking into this iPhone will make all iPhones vulnerable to the same sort of attack, which ultimately puts many iPhones around the world at risk.

An Apple attorney has stated that the company has no plans to sue the government to reveal how the San Bernardino iPhone was unlocked.

The government already has policies in place, called theVulnerabilities Equities Process, which governs disclosure of security problems to companies. This policy is notoriously shrouded in secrecy, but the government is generally supportive of vulnerability disclosure in order to ensure that vulnerabilities are not exploited by malicious hackers.

The FBI has found success with this tool, but it doesn’t mean that they are in a place to support vulnerability disclosure. The agency has already made plans to argue that it does not know enough about the hacking tool that it purchased to substantively explain how it works. FBI director James Comey has revealed that his agency spent more than $1 million to obtain the tool.

Article via TechCrunch, 26 April 2016

Photo El FBI no necesita a Apple para desbloquear un iPhone by iphonedigital [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


As the ODR industry prepares to gather for its fifteenth annual meeting of the minds in the Hague, Netherlands, we do so at a time when the future of technology-enabled dispute resolution appears very bright.  Governments are embracing (and in some cases mandating) ODR as an effective tool; ODR-specific business are emerging and growing faster than ever; and better and more powerful tools are becoming available for individuals, consumers, businesses, and the courts.  But during these halcyon days, it is more important not to forget where we have come from, and, perhaps more importantly, where it is we want to go.

As I recently wrote with several colleagues, “[t]he problem for the legal community is that these changes will happen whether we help shape them or not.  All users of the Internet acting together will begin to define organic norms for online interaction as they continue to communicate, trade and sign agreements.  The justice layer will form on its own.  If we want to do more than witness the process unfold, we must consciously and actively build the justice layer of the Internet.”  In other words, we need to be the change we envision.  And, in our time together at the Peace Palace as we embrace the potential for a peaceful world and a future embodied by relationships that foster a more mindful and empathetic civilization, we must rise to the challenge not only for ourselves, and our industry, but for the world as a whole.

Mindfulness, or the practice of being aware of the present moment, has been all the rage in Silicon Valley for a few years now, with many of the largest tech companies integrating its practices into their workplace cultures.  As I approach ODR 2016, here are a few of the mindfulness moments on my mind:

1We are not alone in this journey – but know the intentions of your partner.  The ODR community has grown significantly, and although many of the same faces from the first conferences will be in attendance at the Hague, there are many who have never attended, but nevertheless are doing work which directly correlates with our own.

One of the most obvious connections is with the artificial intelligence field, with an example being Facebook’s recent implementation of chatbots onto its Messenger platform.  Although chatbots are not a new phenomenon, the technology is quite significant for the ODR field, and its application to a platform as ubiquitous as Facebook has vast implications.  The technology, which takes your personal information as well as all of the knowledge of the internet and applies natural language processing, AI, and human assistance as necessary, has the potential to be, as Facebook hopes, a personal shopper or customer service representative for one of its many advertisers.  For many of us, however, ceding the territory of personal choice as to what we see and experience to corporate developers, is something that should be a choice, not a given. Will we continue to use new technologies without thinking about anything more than the convenience their use brings to our lives?

At  the last year’s  ODR 2015 at Pace University Law School, I had the chance to meet Doc and Joyce Searls, and start a conversation about shifting the balance of power from corporations who presently have the power to shape and decide what technologies we use, to all of us.  I teach a course in Global Cyberlaw, and, the first lesson of my class is that the “Terms of Service” that corporations ask us to “click” and “accept” shift our power of choice from all of us to them.  We do this intentionally, because it is convenient, and we want to use their technology.  But it certainly isn’t a “mindful” choice.  Because we are the same population who complain about the invasions of privacy and surveillance that accompany “mindless” clicks and accepts that result in the aggregation of huge data mine stores about us attract hackers from all corners of the earth.

For the ODR field, we could work to shape this new technology.  It could be our opportunity to make the new technologies such as “chatbots” our personal advocates.  Chatbots, and related technologies could provide every citizen with information relevant to their dispute, advising  them of  their rights, and suggesting potential opportunities for compromise.  The developers of these sorts of tools may not know about the work of ODR2016, but they should, and we should strive to work with them in the future.

2. We must learn from the failings of the old.  Replicating systems of yonder years into the digital world is not changing the system.  It is saving trees.  One example that is mind boggling is the almost 20 years it has taken for e-filing to make its way to the courts.   And yet, e-filing is still a relatively new phenomenon in many US state courts.  Far from transformational, e-filing is just connecting a fast electronic pipe to the brick and mortar courthouse.  Though the filing has been digitized, access to the courthouse itself has not changed.   In the US, the World Justice Project rankings have dropped the US down to 21st in world rankings for access to justice.  And, this ranking only reflects access to formal justice systems such as courts and other government institutions.  Most people don’t think of ‘justice’ in this way.  In fact, the American Bar Foundation points out in a recent research study that 75% of Americans with justiciable concerns don’t even reach out to lawyers, courts, and government as the first stop to address their concerns.

This is our opportunity to think creatively to solve the problems that have plagued our courts for years and have deprived those most in need of assistance in finding what is fair.  This is also an opportunity to change the culture and outside perceptions of lawyers, judges, and the courts.  For too long, the law has been perceived, both rightly and wrongly, as a tool of the haves, and a means of subjugation of the have nots.

To change this perception will require very difficult choices, most notably with regards to sourcing resources for further research and development.  If ODR systems are developed (or paid for) by the very entities which have a stake in the outcomes, how will the public perceive these systems?  Or in a worst case scenario, will we be merely creating modern contracts of adhesion or rigged binding arbitration clauses with digital procedures added for good measure?  But if the resources of interested parties are not used, will these systems ever be built to scale?  I suspect that a middle ground will be necessary, one which emphasizes the importance of established best practices and standards, independent neutrals and regulators, and transparency in design and outcomes.

3. Technology alone is not the answer.  Rule of Law is not an algorithm.  The efficiencies and economies of scale of technology are undeniable, but the human touch is irreplaceable.  For all the bots and lines of code, there is no comparison to an empathetic ear, the patience of reassuring counsel, or the tone of a reproaching or sympathetic judge.  I am not so naive to think that if large-scale dispute resolution systems are to be implemented, less direct human interaction will be required, but to the degree that we do not accept this as a given, and that we constantly strive to deliver tools and resources that cater to our humanity and uniqueness, the better off, and more successful, this industry will be. Institute, Inc.  19 April 2016
Photo: World Wide Web  by Ai.Comput’In [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]