Legal firms remain concerned about cloud privacy

Lawyers are a conservative group when it comes to adopting new technology. This continue to hold true for the ever popular cloud technologies. Concerns about privacy and security related to data breaches are holding some firms back from transitioning over to cloud storage and services. In a 2015 Cloud Security Survey released Netwrix reveals the concerns around cloud adoption among lawyers include: security and privacy of data (26 percent), migration costs (22 percent) and loss of physical controls (17 percent). Moreover, security risks include unauthorized access (32 percent), insider misuse (18 percent) and account hijacking (18 percent.)

Alex Vovk, CEO and co-founder of Netwrix, told Legaltech News “Legal departments will be reluctant to entrust their valuable data and customers’ sensitive information, until they are absolutely sure that cloud providers can offer better security than the company can ensure on-premises.” Although data security is a privacy issue for all industries, legal departments are less likely to adopt technologies that do not guarantee full protection for their data.

Law firms may be cautious, but that doesn’t mean that they are uninterested in cloud technologies. According to the survey, 44 percent of the respondents indicated they their firms were in a stage of evaluation and discovery concerning cloud services. “This indicates that [law firms] are potentially ready to invest more in additional cloud security and consider various cloud options,” Vovk said. In fact, when it comes to hybrid cloud models, legal entities have the same interest in making the transition as private companies. In addtion, 37 percent of those surveyed favor a private cloud model.

Vovk summed up by stating that “… as soon as cloud providers are ready to provide additional security measures and to some extent ease the compliance burden …lawyers would become less skeptic[al] about cloud adoption.”

Article via Legaltech News, 3 December 2015

Photo: Cloud Solutions via NEC Corporation of America [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Coding is for everyone

Once thought to only be useful for engineers and computer geeks, coding is rapidly becoming not only commonplace but also necessary for many professions. This is even true for lawyers, as law firms are looking for lawyers who have experience with cybersecurity and patent lawyers aren’t knowledgeable enough about the software industry to fully understand potential lawsuits. Education focusing on computer science is even being implemented in grade schools, and for good reason. An article by the Huffington Post explains that if learning code is relegated to a small portion of the population, especially if that portion does not include individuals knowledgeable about the law, hackers will find it very easy to outmaneuver lawyers. It is becoming more imperative every day that people educate themselves about coding. Even if you don’t think you’ll be using your new coding skills in your day to day life, the logical reasoning and problem solving that coding requires can be applied to many situations.

Thankfully, one can learn to code at any age, and there are lots of resources available online. Coursera provides free online classes taught by computer science professors at well-known universities around the country such as Rice University and Stanford University. If “going back to school” isn’t your thing, Khan Academy features videos on a multitude of subjects including coding. Pamela Fox, one of the coding instructors for Khan Academy, describes the videos she creates as “five minutes that will work for pretty much everybody”. Codecademy, another great resource, lets you choose how you want to learn coding, whether that be through concentrating on projects or taking a course. Steve Schwartz, who praises Codecademy for allowing anyone to start with the very basics of computer science, also draws parallels between the logical reasoning required for the LSAT and for coding. Even if you’re years away from practicing law, learning to code can still be extremely useful.

I’ve highlighted just a few options for starting to learn code, but there are hundreds of resources online, with focuses ranging from women in coding to underrepresented groups in STEM. To see some great options, check out Free Coding Courses under the Courses tab.

Articles via The Center for Innovative Justice and Technology, August 24, 2015; The Atlantic, March 23, 2012; Huffington Post, August 25, 2015; Business Insider, November 5, 2014;  and LSAT Blog, December 19, 2013

Photo: Matrix Code via David.Asch [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Live Online Tech Course for Mediators and Arbitrators [CIJT LIVE]

CIJT is hosting Practical Technology Tools for Mediators and Online Dispute Professionals, taught by Dan Rainey and Larry Bridgesmith.

Register for a live course covering the best online mediation and client management tools and how to use them in your practice.

This course covers the methodologies and affordable technologies necessary to take a mediation, arbitration or legal practice online, streamlining and improving processes like client intake, client narrative, document review and storage, information sharing, brainstorming, and agreement development, drafting, and execution.

The course is taught by Dan Rainey and Larry Bridgesmith, two of the most recognized online dispute resolution experts in the world, who have used and designed these technologies for over 30 years.

Participants will engage in four real-time lectures and  discussions over a five-week period, share information and ask questions in forums, do independent exercises, and interact personally with both instructors. The course is designed to cover a variety of tested online platforms and tools that can elevate and streamline a legal or dispute resolution practice by taking them online.

 

Learn more about the course here or register.

Brainchild of the CIJT.


Free Online Course on Surveillance Law Offered by Stanford

Surveillance Law (Stanford MOOC, Fall 2014) – This website hosts content for Surveillance Law , a free online course offered by Stanford Law School . We encourage you to join the interactive course on Coursera. If you would like heightened privacy protection, you can view noninteractive material on this website. The server is configured to not log requests, and can be accessed using HTTPS ( details ) or as a Tor hidden service (7vrl523532rjjznj.onion ). It’s easy to be cynical about government surveillance. In recent years, a parade of Orwellian disclosures have been making headlines. The FBI, for example, is hacking into computers that run anonymizing software. The NSA is vacuuming up domestic phone records. Even local police departments are getting in on the act, tracking cellphone location history and intercepting signals in realtime. Perhaps 2014 is not quite 1984, though. This course explores how American law facilitates electronic surveillance-but also substantially constrains it. You will learn the legal procedures that police and intelligence agencies have at their disposal, as well as the security and privacy safeguards built into those procedures. The material also provides brief, not-too-geeky technical explanations of some common surveillance methods.

 

Provided by MIRLN.

 

Note from MIRLN founder Vince Polley:

Polley : I love how they’re using TOR, and giving out .onion addresses.

 

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stoonn


What Is Your Privacy Score?

It is common knowledge these days that you exist all over the internet.  Each site you view, app you use, and company you deal with tracks you in different ways, building databases of information which help them develop more effective (and profitable) services.  While this data is often protected by privacy policies, these policies generally allow data to be shared with anyone, given certain steps are taken to anonymize the data.  However, as we mentioned in a previous post, Harvard Researcher Latanya Sweeney has recently shown that data can never truly be anonymized, but can be pieced together using other publicly available information to “fill in the blanks”.

This is unfortunate since mining big data can be incredibly useful, not just for maximizing profits, but for measuring larger social trends and analyzing regional health concerns.  So how can we analyze data without sacrificing privacy, when traditional anonymization does not cut it? One solution is through harnessing differential privacy.  With differential privacy, whenever data is transferred between parties, it is randomly altered in ways which do not change how the database behaves statistically, but provides a mathematical limit on the probability of identifying any one entry.   That limit is the database’s privacy score.

Currently, differential privacy is facing a number of mathematical hurdles including developing more efficient algorithms which require less computing time and ensuring that the random alterations to the database cannot be sniffed out.  Given the fractured state of American privacy law, even once these technical hurdles are surmounted, it will be difficult to have differential privacy become the norm.  Were it to succeed, this tool would be invaluable to wide-scale social research, with very promising implications in the fields of medicine, sociology, economics, etc.


Foiling Facial Recognition

One of the many fronts in technology’s war against personal privacy comes from the refinement of facial recognition software.  Like the eye scanners in the movie “Minority Report”, these new programs are able to scan and identify people’s faces on the fly, and can be simply implemented into common security systems or personal devices.  While this tech has tons of useful and beneficial applications (such as blurring out the faces on the people captured in Google Maps’ “street view”) the privacy implications are terrifying.

What is worse is the efficiency with which these new programs can identify you.  Some of the more sophisticated of them can identify a face in profile, from many angles, even when partially obscured.  A trench coat and sunglasses will no longer be enough to keep you out of the spotlight, and in response a new movement has sprung up trying to develop ways of foiling facial recognition technology.  The website cvdazzle.com attempts to meld camouflage and fashion by developing provocative hair and makeup styles, to confuse computer (and human) onlookers.  The Japanese National Institute of Informatics disregards style entirely with its new anti-recognition goggles.  The goggles are covered in LEDs which blast infra-read light to wash out computer images but without blinding the people around them.  However, it is likely that further advances in the technology will be able to see through these disguises, leading to an arms-race of sorts between the hiders and seekers.  As this technology becomes more prevalent, it is likely that we will need a more legal solution to this surveillance problem.