Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"We the People" Software is now Open Source

The software that powers "We the People"  https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions  -- the epetition platform for the U.S. Presidency -- has been made free and open source and is now available on GitHub  https://github.com/WhiteHouse/petitionHere is background information from Andrew Webster at The Verge:  http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/24/3265491/white-house-we-the-people-open-source  (shortlink:  http://vrge.co/QBgO80  )

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New AfricLaw Blog for African Rule of Law Issues

AfricLaw, launched in April 2012, is a blog which provides a platform for discussion for those interested in the rule and role of law in Africa. The AfricLaw blog is a joint venture of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) and the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) of the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.

All areas of law applicable to Africa are covered, both international (global and continental) and national. Legal academics and students, researchers, international and national civil servants, legislators and politicians, legal practitioners and judges, as well as those who are not lawyers but have an interest in law are among those who are welcome to participate in the discussions. 

AfricLaw provides a space for the discussion of issues of substance, forming of opinions and information sharing among people living on the continent, those from Africa who are in the diaspora, and anyone else who is interested in participating. AfricLaw will also serve as a vehicle for comments from Africa on legal developments in the rest of the world. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

ABA Event: "Exploring Trends in Promoting the Rule of Law"

The American Bar Association (ABA) is presenting a workshop on "Exploring Trends in Promoting the Rule of Law".
March 28, 2012, 12:30–7:00 p.m.
Venue Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center
3800 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, D.C.
Register online 

What is most interesting to me is that Technology and Access to Justice is one of the topics of discussion, which is the niche that BarefootLawyers fell into some years ago by accident, and it is so nice to know that the field is expanding and being promoted by the usual suspects such as the ABA. Their topic description:
Technology and Access to Justice
Technology holds significant potential for increasing access to justice. This panel will share examples of the ways in which technology has already contributed in this area, and, if better utilized, how technology can produce further gains. Does the democracy and governance community have realistic expectations about the potential of technology to increase access to justice and, more generally, to propel justice sector reform?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Berkman Series: Unexpected Development: Decolonial Media Aesthetics and Women’s ICT4D Video

Tuesday, April 17, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, Cambridge, MA. This event will be webcast live.

ICT4D (Information Communication Technology for Development) powerfully frames women's grassroots video production in the Global South, much of which is distributed widely through YouTube. Often, these videos reproduce racialized and gendered discourses - legacies of colonialism - in their narratives of economic, social, and technological progress. However, there are also videos by women's groups that defy both the historical linearity and spatial fragmentation of the ICT4D framework. These videos instead remix, reclassify, and globally reconnect women's experiences in the contemporary moment. Culled from hundreds of online videos produced by ICT4D programs, including those in countries classified as having "Low Human Development" according to the Gender Inequality Index of the United Nations Development Program, these media represent powerful instances of a decolonial aesthetics, an altogether unexpected development. These ICT4D videos make compelling claims for other historical narratives and visions for women's future lives, identities, and uses of information communication technologies. 

Dalida MarĂ­a Benfield's research addresses artists' and activists' creative uses of video and other networked digital media towards social justice projects. Her work is focused on the transformational capacities of media art across different scales. As an artist and activist, she has developed production, education, exhibition, and distribution initiatives focused on youth, women, people of color in the U.S., and local and transnational social movements, including co-founding the media collective Video Machete. She received her Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of California-Berkeley in Comparative Ethnic Studies with Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. RSVP Required. more information on Berkman's website>

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Top 5 Legal IT technologies of 2012

Following my last post on review of 2010/11 Legal Tech, here is what Jason from No Option for Law Firm thinks are the top legal technologies for 2012 ie emerging technology for Legal in 2012 or that will be technology that will feature heavily in Legal in 2012. (And bear in mind, this is the US he is talking about, it will be a while before Africa gets that kind of broadband, even for law firms)
  • Speech Recognition
  • Windows Phone/Android/iPhone : Or more to the point, the death of the blackberry in Legal.
  • SharePoint (Jason's on the fence about this, although I think that Law Firms will not be leaning toward Google Apps)
  • The return of the laptop/netbook : not that they ever really went away.
  • A new vendor emerging as a major Legal IT player : Jason thinks that the market is ripe for a new Legal focussed player to emerge. "I’m not sure where, but there seem to be plenty of opportunities for technology focus in Legal that aren’t being addressed or existing technology that is perhaps being forgotten as the traditional players diversify into other verticals."
  • There are things from the last few years that will continue in 2012, Office 2010 becoming the default platform and IM continuing to proliferate around Legal. But these feel more business as usual now. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top 5 Legal IT technologies for 2010 and 2011 in Review

This list from Jason Plant’s Blog (who is an IT expert who works in a law firm, who will post the 2012 list tomorrow) :
My 2010 list was as follows:
  • Mobile Applications
  • Search
  • Office 2010/Windows 7
  • Instant Messaging
  • Speech Recognition
And then in 2011 was:
  • Glue Tech
  • Microsoft Lync
  • YouTube
  • Mobile Applications
  • Office 2010 and Windows 7
And I love what he said about the pace of legal tech, which underscores the overall pace of change, adaptability and innovation in the industry:
"...it’s clear that things don’t move at a fast pace across the whole of Legal."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Legal Opinion delivered via Poetry

I read about this recent piece of brilliant poetry aka legal opinion on Martin Gramatikov's Access to Justice blog, and just had to share. This is an awesome twist to innovation in justice- using not new technology like cell phones or the internet (which we often blog about on this site), but old fashioned poetry. Admittedly, this judgement so much easier to read and understand than a typical legal document. Gives some food for thought about the dissemination of legal knowledge for legal empowerment- maybe we can have legal information in poetry via SMS!

(reproduced partially from the legal opinion of Commonwealth v. Goodson here):
In January, 2001, appellant’s car was in a collision.
His insurer totaled the aging New Yorker, then made a just division
of the value of the insurance claim, sending $6,289 to the lender;
the balance of $135, to appellant they made tender.

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