That was the Month that Was: December 2019

2 December  

BC Civil Resolution Tribunal reports monthly figures with continued high satisfaction ratings – 84 per cent would recommend it to others.

3 December 

Project Callisto, developed for sexual harassment campus university reporting, announces that it will be growing from 12 to 25 campuses in 2020.

7 December

New York Times reports that a bone marrow transplant changed a recipient’s DNA and, in particular, ‘all of the DNA in his semen belonged to his donor’. The recipient, an American working in a sheriff’s office, remarked, ‘“I thought that it was pretty incredible that I can disappear and someone else can appear”’. The case would seem to have major implications for DNA identification.

9 December

Law Society of England and Wales issues report entitled Lawtech: a comparative analysis of legal technology in the UK and in other jurisdictions. This is discussed at

10 December

UK Academics Jack Maxwell and Joe Tomlinson publish an interesting blog reflecting on issues raised by algorithmic justice, in particular in a lecture by Lord Sales: ‘There are points of contention that may be had but public lawyers ought to take heed of Lord Sales’ key message: there is a need to start ‘engaging with the debates about the digital world now, and as a matter of urgency.’

11 December

The English and Welsh Ministry of Justice lost record numbers of digital devices in 2018-9. ‘The figures show the ministry lost 354 mobile phones, PCs, laptops and tablets over the year, compared with 229 during 2017-18. The number of lost laptops alone increased from 45 in 2016-17 to 201 in 2018-19,’ reports UKAuthority.

11 December

The Law Foundation of Ontario announces investment of $Can400,000 (£236,000) to examine technology’s role in providing legal services. The grants are discussed at

12 December 

Ballyfermot library in Dublin opens two Creative Studios where you can record a podcast for free if you have a library card.

18 December

UK Competition and Markets Authority publishes interim report on how online platforms like Google and Facebook operate. It found that ‘the digital advertising sector has grown massively and is now worth around £13 billion – much larger than any other form of advertising.’

20 December

The New South Wales Law and Justice Foundation publishes research on uptake of self help resources, discussed at

26 December

Fastly reported on improvements to the international infrastructure for the internet in the last year. ‘In May of this year, SpaceX launched 60 low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites to provide high-speed, broadband internet to parts of the world that never had access to it. And they plan to launch another 40,000 in the coming years. OneWeb, Telesat, Amazon, and Facebook have also thrown their hats into the LEO satellite ring, with some already requesting permission to launch their own fleets. While new satellites took to the sky, 27 new, fiber-optic submarine cables, totaling 39,094.5 kilometers* in length, were installed on the ocean floor this year.’

29 December

Three London councils announce project ‘to create an open platform of accessible tools, designed to meet the needs of social workers, partner agencies and families that would allow social workers to spend more time collaborating with families. We’ve now designed and developed an alpha version of FamilyStory using an agile approach to continuously test, learn and iterate designs based on feedback from families and social workers.’

29 December

The Surveillance Camera Commissioner for the UK is reported by The Guardian as saying “‘Lack of guidance leaves public services in limbo on AI’”. This is, in fact, a regular theme of the commissioner who wrote a blog about it earlier in the year. He supports one consolidated regulator of surveillance: ‘I simply posit the view that some overt surveillance camera applications whether in themselves or combined with other technologies are so progressively intrusive in their capabilities that they can be the equal of some covert surveillance activities in terms of the intrusion caused.’


Image by smarko from Pixabay

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