Technology Helping Divorced Families

Many divorced individuals would like to avoid the emotional face-to-face communication with their former spouses, especially when children are involved. An app, Our Friendly Wizard, can help divorced parents communicate with their former spouses. Emails between parents can be time-dated and tracked, expenses can be noted in a shared log, and former spouses are able to receive automated notice concerning their obligations. To find out more information about helpful divorce technology, please go to http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/app_helps_warring_ex-spouses_work_out_custody_differences_even_email_and_te/.

 

Is Cloud Computing Actually Keeping Your Data Safe?

One of the basic tenets behind large-scale cloud computing data storage is the idea that your company or personal data is stored separately from other data, thereby keeping it secure. However, research conducted in a joint effort by the University of Wisconsin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the computer security company RSA suggests that data stored on cloud servers may not be as safe as everybody imagines. To read more about the research and how it will affect cloud-based data storage, go to: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506976/how-to-steal-data-from-your-neighbor-in-the-cloud/.

Passwords Can’t Protect Us

In his article, “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore,” Wired senior writer Mat Honan tells the story of how computer hackers were able to compromise a number of his personal internet accounts. This virtual robbery led Honan to conduct his own research on the security of personal internet accounts.In Honan’s investigation, he discovers that it is relatively easy to gain access into a stranger’s personal internet account. Honan recounts spending as little as $4.00 to purchase personal information via websites, and using that information to exploit the security weaknesses within the common “forgot my password” process of an account, granting access to personal internet accounts such as Amazon, Best Buy, Hulu, Microsoft, and Netflix. “The common weakness in these hacks,” contends Honan, “is the password.”

Honan’s states that the concept of the password is outdated in our technologically advanced society. However, with no true successor to the online password, Honan gives out tips for protecting personal online accounts, such as never reuse passwords across multiple accounts; never use a dictionary word as a password; and never use a short password, no matter how unique its characters are. Instead, he suggests using two-factor authentication, “bogus” but memorable answers to security questions, and a unique email address for password recoveries. In addition, Honan  outlines how hackers are able to compromise accounts by random guessing, phishing, cracking through brute force, using keyloggers, or even posing as the accounts true holder when speaking to a website customer service representative. Therfore, the internet password is obsolete and needs to be replaced with a “multifaceted process” system in confirming our true identities.

 To read more about the status of the online password, visit Mat Honan’s full article at http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/11/ff-mat-honan-password-hacker/all/.

E-Textbook to Tell Professors Students’ Reading Habits

CourseSmart, an e-textbook publisher, has created a tool called CourseSmart Analytics that will track students’ reading habits. The tool will determine how many pages students read, how much time it took them to read those pages, how many notes they took, and through all that it will determine students’ engagement level. Teachers will be able to modify their teaching habits accordingly. Villanova University, Rasmussen College, and Texas A&M University will be utilizing the tool. To find out more information, please go to http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-11/new-e-textbooks-will-tattle-professors-about-students-reading-habits.

Feinberg Visit

Ken Feinberg's topic: "Reflection on Mass Torts"During a recent trip to William & Mary Law School, attorney Ken Feinberg spoke to dozens of students about his work negotiating settlements for the victims of 9/11, the BP oil spill and other high profile cases.

Feinberg drew a packed audience to his lecture, “Reflections on Mass Torts,” where he described the challenges of providing justice in the wake of mass tragedies.  For torts students, the lecture provided an opportunity to apply the concepts they had been learning all semester.

“Engaging is a massive understatement,” said Tony Glosson, 1L, after Feinberg’s lecture. “He really just drew us in because he really is a master of this topic.”

In recent years, Feinberg has made regular trips to William & Mary Law School to mentor students and deliver lectures to the wider community. In 2011, he received the law school’s Marshall-Wythe Medallion, the highest honor conferred by the faculty, for his exceptional leadership and legal accomplishments.

During last week’s lecture, Feinberg explained that events like 9/11 can give rise to thousands of lawsuits, making it difficult to provide justice in an efficient and timely manner.

“The existing tort system doesn’t cope with the problem of mass torts,” he said.

Feinberg has been on the cutting edge of addressing this problem.  As Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, for example, Feinberg worked pro bono to distribute $7 billion in public money to victims and their families.  Feinberg explained that the 9/11 fund allowed victims to circumvent the court system and receive more immediate compensation.

Earlier in the day, Feinberg met with a group of about 30 students to dispense career advice, drawing on lessons from his own career.

In addition to his 9/11 work, Feinberg served as Fund Administrator for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the Virginia Tech shootings. He also oversaw the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which is administering $20 billion in claims from victims of the BP oil spill.  Currently, Feinberg is leading the effort to compensate the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting and the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State.

Feinberg, who travelled to William & Mary at his own expense, encouraged students to focus on their immediate goals, rather than worrying about what their career will look like in five or ten years.  He explained that unexpected events can have a big impact on shaping careers, and counseled students to remain flexible to new opportunities.

“I’m the best example of a lawyer who never thought it important or imperative to think too far ahead,” he said.

–Liz Barry, Fellow at the Center for Legal & Court Technology

Credit Card with a Keyboard?

This coming January, MasterCard Worldwide will introduce it’s newest credit card into circulation in Singapore. What’s different about this card? It has an LCD display and keyboard. The card was designed to serve as a credit/ATM card as well as a security “token” to prevent identity theft during complex bank transactions. To learn more about the technology and how it prevents fraud and theft, go to

http://www.gizmag.com/mastercard-display-card-singapore/24932/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=65a96bd8b0-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

Reconnaissance Ball For First Responders

Bounce Imaging, a Boston-based tech company has created a new product that allows first responders, such as firefighters and police officers, to gauge potentially hazardous situations before rushing into action. The new product, a durable “smart ball,” is fitted with LED lights, a gyroscope, and a multitude of cameras that all take two pictures per second as the ball rolls along the floor. To learn more about the new technology and how it can help save the lives of first responders, go to:  http://www.gizmag.com/bounce-imaging-reconnaissance-ball/24851/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=b1f222afdd-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

2012 Fractured Fairy Tale

Student Jury at Fractured Fairy Tale Tria

Elementary school students from across Williamsburg packed William & Mary Law School’s high-tech courtroom Nov. 2 to watch fairy tale characters pursue justice in a trial between Prince Charming and Don Pieman.

Fourth and fifth graders from five local schools attended the fractured fairy tale trial, and served as jury members.  The one-hour trial introduced the students to fundamental legal concepts, such as liability, the burden of proof, and the roles of counsel, jury and judge.

The event was organized by the Center for Legal & Courtroom Technology (CLCT), a public service organization at William & Mary.  This is the second consecutive year that CLCT has performed a fairy tale trial with local students serving as the jury.

“A large part of CLCT’s mission involves education,” said Christine Williams, CLCT’s Associate Director for Research, Entrepreneurship & Professional Education. “We view this exercise as an entertaining and informative way to assist local schools with civics instruction.”

The case involves Prince Charming, a handsome beast, and Don Pieman, the owner of a magical factory that allegedly polluted the kingdom’s drinking water.  Charming sued Pieman, claiming that contaminated water caused him to turn from a beast back into a normal man.  Charming argued that the transformation led to his break-up with fiancee Princess Catherine and the loss of a reality show contract.

Cast of Charming v. Pieman

The students had to decide whether Pieman’s factory polluted the drinking water, and was therefore liable for damages.
After weighing the evidence, the students delivered their verdict. A slim majority of students held that Pieman was not liable for damages to Charming.

CLCT chose the fairy tale format because it is an entertaining way to introduce elementary student to complex legal ideas.

“They’re learning without realizing it because they’re being entertained. And who doesn’t love a fairy tale?” said W&M law student and CLCT fellow Greg Marinelli, who played Rumpelstiltkin.

Though showcasing courtroom technology was not the trial’s focus, CLCT exposed the students to digital evidence and other high-tech features of the McGlothlin Courtroom.

For example, during Prince Charming’s testimony, the plaintiff’s attorney submitted electronic evidence of what Charming looked like when he was still a beast.  The students erupted into giggles when a snapshot of a furry, yet handsome beast, was displayed on flat-screen monitors across the courtroom.

During a discussion after the trial, many students said they came down in favor of Pieman because they believed Pieman’s employee, Rumpelstiltkin, actually polluted the water.

The attorney for Prince Charming said that Charming plans to appeal on the grounds the judge delivered faulty jury instructions when he failed to tell the jury that an employer can be liable for the actions of its employees.

Meanwhile, teachers plan to use the fractured fairy tale trial to teach their students real world lessons about the court system.

Due to high interest from local schools, CLCT is putting on an encore performance for fifth and sixth graders from Providence Classical School on Nov. 14.

–Liz Barry, Fellow for the Center for Legal and Courtroom Technology

 

Prince Charming Listening to Evidence

Footwear Forensics

Forensic labs are evolving beyond common fingerprint matching techniques and extending into the realm of footwear forensics. A new computer algorithm, devolved by a team at the University of Buffalo, New York, is able to analyze partial and distorted footprints left at crime scenes, allowing investigators to quickly narrow down the number of suspects. To learn more about the software and its current implementation at crime scenes, go to:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/ip-ff102612.php