June 2020: stories you might have missed

1 June

Algorithmic Injustice: a flawed automated system led Michigan to charge 40,000 people with unemployment fraud. 93 per cent of the cases were wrong. 

1 June

App: Chicago Tribune covers the Rentervention app, promoted as ‘a Chicago Tenant’s best friend’.

2 June

Covid 19: US Legal Services Corporation promotes youtube briefing on the Covid 19 health crisis, civil legal aid and state courts (actually filmed In April).

2 June

Internet economy: after Crowdfunding, we have Crowdfarming: ‘The oil mills are full of oil. Farmers struggle to sell their Extra Virgin Olive Oil amid the closure of restaurants & hotels. These signature oils are not found in supermarkets, which is why we launched this campaign: from the olive grove to your home.’

3 June

Education: Harvard to hold all fall term classes online.

3 June

ODR: British Columbia’s Civil Resolution Tribunal releases statistics for May.

Innovation: HiiL publishes its 2019 annual report.

4 June

Internet rights: Tim Berners-Lee advocates free access as a universal right to internet for all in the Guardian.

4 June

Online Courts and Physical Court closures: BBC reports that combination felt to be ‘horribly cruel’.

4 June

Resources: London Legal Support Trust and Access to Justice Foundation announce £400,000 raised in two months for Emergency Advice Appeal.

4 June

Online Courts: Law Gazette covers evidence from Professor Richard Susskind to House of Lords Constitution Committee headlining it ‘Let’s be modest with change’.

4 June

Civil Justice: Litigation Futures reports record civil justice delays before Covid 19 struck with small claims taking 39.7 weeks to come to trial and fast track claims 59.6 – both longer than a year previously: ‘meanwhile, the MoJ announced that it is investing up to £6m in new software to bring scheduling and listing activity into a single tool. The contract with McGirr Technologies is initially for £3.2m over two years, with the option to extend for a further two years, bringing the total up £6m. It forms part of the £1bn court modernisation programme.’

9 June

Guided Pathways: MyLawBC promotes its online will drafting provision.

Innovation: Reimagining Justice podcast, run by Australian Andrea Perry Peterson, interviews US Law Help Interactive’s Claudia Johnson.

ODR: Sarah Ewart posts online presentation on BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal given virtually to US Law and Society conference that should have been held in Denver. 

Facial recognition: The Verge reports that IBM has written to the US Congress saying it will cease work on facial recognition: ‘“IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any [facial recognition] technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms …’ Similar decisions followed from Microsoft and Amazon. Digital Trends reported: ‘Fight for the Future, the digital rights group who initially called for a ban on government use of facial recognition last year, said that moves from these tech companies were “essentially a public relations stunt,” but added the bans could spur Congress to act. “It’s also a sign that facial recognition is increasingly politically toxic, which is a result of the incredible organizing happening on the ground right now,” Fight for the Future Deputy Director Evan Greer said in a statement. “Amazon and Microsoft know that facial recognition software is dangerous. They know it’s the perfect tool for tyranny. They know it’s racist — and that in the hands of police it will simply exacerbate systemic discrimination in our criminal justice system.”

11 June

Internet-enabled Gig economy: Bloomberg Law reports that California regulators class Uber and Lyft drivers as employees.

11 June

AI: Macropolo, ‘in-house think tank of the Paulson Institute’ dedicating to decoding ‘China’s economic arrival in various forms’, creates summary of ‘the global balance and flow of top AI scientists’ which includes a digital representation of the flow of talent around the world.

16 June

Covid 19 apps: Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC technology correspondent, discusses: ‘Germany has its Covid-19 app, so where’s the UK’s?’

16 June

Remote working: Law Society of England and Wales publishes guidance on dealing with Covid 19 – including whether employers are obliged to fund a home-working office set up and health and safety obligations.

17 June

AtJ tech: US SLRN releases panel interview with ‘AtJ entrepreneurs in the time of Covid-19’.

17 June

Online advice:  LawHelpNY reports: ’The newly created COVID-19 resource page has quickly become one of the top accessed pages on LawHelpNY. Chats on LiveHelp have increased by 50% following the state of emergency declared in mid-March.

22 June

Global Legal Hackathon announces its 2020 finalists: ‘AccessLegal from Brazil Fortaleza, B.R.A.V.E from UK Manchester, easyGRATION from Poland Warsaw, IdeaFlight from St. Louis USA, jufund from Germany Cologne, Law Libras from Brazil Belo Horizonte.’

23 June

Pro bono online: Australia’s JusticeConnect announces the licensing of its pro bono portal – including to LawWorks in England and Wales. This follows in the footsteps of HiiL’s international licensing of its Rechtwijzer programme.

23 June

Chatbots: The irrepressible Joshua Browder raises $12m for development of DoNotPay: ‘Bowder says that DoNotPay hit its millionth filed case last month, the number of subscribers is in the high five figures, and the company is break even. It operates in the United States and the United Kingdom, with 90% of the users located in the U.S.’ Forbes reported.

24 June

Facial recognition: US National Public Radio reports ‘“The Computer Got It Wrong”: How Facial Recognition Led To False Arrest Of Black Man’.

24 June

AI: Nathalie Applewhaite reports in Medium on the data processing capacity of AI in combatting Covid-19: ‘On Monday, December 30th, 2019, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform spotted an abnormal trend. Bluedot, a Toronto-based AI and digital health firm, detected a cluster of “unusual pneumonia” infections in Wuhan, China. It alerted various governments, as well as medical, business, and public health officials to an outbreak, signifying the first COVID-19-related warning on New Year’s Eve.’

26 June

BBC reports that Northern Ireland is to release its own contact tracing app: ‘It is designed to be compatible with an app due to be released soon in the Republic of Ireland’. Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones comments: ‘If Northern Ireland does manage to release a functioning contact tracing app within weeks that will be a major embarrassment to the UK government.

26 June

Open Justice: ACLU reports litigation against Kern County ‘where proceedings — including jury trials — are being held out of public view’ because of no video or audio feeds to counteract the impact of Covid 19 restrictions.

27 June

Facebook: loses a reported $7bn in ads boycott according to Bloomberg.

29 June

BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones reports that those who downloaded the NHS Covid 19 app should now uninstall it.

29 June

Digital planning tools: the UN announces a computer simulation (Policy Priority Interference) to improve tracking of progress towards attainment of its Sustainable Development Goals.

             

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