CLCT Director Frederic Lederer Speaks to the Wisconsin State Bar Association

Chancellor Professor of Law and CLCT Director Frederic Lederer recently spoke to the Wisconsin Bar Association’s at its annual recognition dinner. In an interview, Lederer said: “Our courtroom tools are changing, and the people we work with are changing. Lawyers must adapt if we are to continue doing our jobs as well as we should.”

Speaking about the importance of incorporating technology into legal practice and courtrooms, Lederer noted that—when used judiciously—technology can not only save costs but also enable participation in the legal process by individuals who might otherwise have difficulty doing so, such as the elderly or disabled. Acknowledging that many state courts are facing significant financial constraints, Lederer suggested that courts consider moving in small increments: starting with a single, inexpensive projection unit, for example, and then adding new elements over time.

The full video of Professor Lederer’s interview with the Wisconsin State Bar association is available below.

Does Using Cloud-Based Storage Compromise an Attorney’s Ethical Duties?

With the recent boom of cloud storage services like Dropbox, attorneys are being asked some tough questions. Cloud storage undeniably provides a cheaper alternative to backing up data on hard drives, or an additional layer of security for data already backed up on hard drives.  The cost saving is being lauded by small firms and solo practioners. However, storing data on a cloud requires turning confidential information over to a third-party and its employees. Attorneys are now being forced to consider what client information may safely be stored on a remote, internet-accessible server and whether the firm’s savings come at too high a cost to the client’s right to privacy. For more information see the original article at Lawyer Tech Review.

Image: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Gary Hayes

Microsoft’s OmniTouch Improves Interactive Interface Projector Technology

Interactive interface projectors can turn almost any hard surface into a touchscreen. The highly mobile devices project an image onto any nearby surface, turning hands, walls, books, tables, and almost any other flat surface into a keyboard or keypad. This impressive mobile technology is not a new development. However, kinks with the technology have kept the devices from being practical. Some early models could only clearly display images on or near the user’s body, making it difficult for multiple users to see the device or for a single user to work on a surface larger than her hand or arm. Other early models corrected this problem but required the users to wear sensors on their fingers. The sensors though, could not accurately determine whether a finger was actually touching the keypad or was merely hovering over the keypad.

Microsoft’s new prototype, the OmniTouch system may have solved many of the problems with earlier models. The OmniTouch system utilizes a projector and camera combination which are worn on the user’s shoulder. The camera is used to create a depth map, which can be projected clearly onto a surface, regardless of the surface’s distance from the projector. The depth map allows the system to determine the position of the user’s fingers in relation to the surface, eliminating the difficulty with sensors placed near, but not on, the screen itself. The OmniTouch system was presented last month at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, in Santa Barbara, California. As of yet, Microsoft has not made any announcements about whether the OmniTouch will be made commercially available.

For more information visit: Gizmag: OmniTouch turns any surface into a touchscreen interface.

Does the Use of a Fake Cell Phone Tower Constitute a Search?

Wired has posted an article on a case where the FBI nabbed a suspected identity thief using by using a fake cell phone tower to pinpoint the suspect’s wireless card. The FBI has claimed that the fake tower, known as a “stingray,” is a pen register/trap and trace device that can only capture routing and header information, and hence doesn’t require a warrant to use. Although the device captures information from all cell phone use in the vicinity, the FBI claims that it deletes all information from the stingray other than the suspect’s. In this case, the defendant argued that, because the stingray was used to find the specific location of a wireless aircard inside his apartment, the police were required to have a valid warrant. After the judge indicated that he wanted to know more about how the device works before making a ruling, the government amended its argument, conceding that a warrant might be necessary to use the device in this case, but claiming that the use was covered by an existing warrant.

Image: CC BY 2.0 / Richard Smith