To catch a fish, head to the water. That simple idea motivated the University of Houston to adopt Snapchat, a smartphone application popular with teenagers, as a method of communication with prospective and current students. When it signed up for an account in January, the university was one of only a few experimenting with the social-media platform. Now more colleges are diving in, hoping to hook students’ attention.
“We like to bring our message to our audience instead of making them dig for it,” says Jessica Brand, the university’s social-media manager.
Snapchat allows users to send their friends photographs or short videos that disappear after one to 10 seconds. A newer feature allows the creation of a Snapchat Story, a series of images and videos that lasts for 24 hours.
Introduced in 2011, Snapchat quickly became popular with teens and young adults. College social-media managers took note earlier this year when a survey by a marketing company found that 77 percent of college-student respondents used Snapchat at least once a day.
Because content sent through the application is ephemeral, Snapchat initially had a reputation for facilitating unseemly communication. But the social-media managers reported no problems so far with risqué messages.
“The skepticism associated with it was, ‘Oh, you’re just going to get nude pictures,’” says Nikki Sunstrum, director of social media at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. “But it’s evolved beyond that. We have not gotten any inappropriate content” from students using the service, she says. “It speaks to the way in which they love to interact with our university.”
So far, universities have used Snapchat to reach three main groups:
On any given day, the University of Houston’s account may offer a Snapchat Story about preparations for a football game, an image advertising a study-abroad fair, or clues to a scavenger hunt.
“On Valentine’s Day, we created five different handmade valentines and hid them around campus and sent out snaps about where they’re located,” Ms. Brand explains.
The intimacy the application affords seems to appeal to students, who reply to university snaps with snaps of their own. Ms. Brand says she often receives photos from students wearing red on Fridays, a campus tradition. Tony Dobies, a senior writer at West Virginia University and manager of its Snapchat account, says Snapchat elicits more engagement than do Twitter and Instagram. He sometimes replies directly to snaps he receives from individuals.
“I will respond back to that specific person, to create that specific conversation,” he says. “I think that’s important when you have a university of 30,000, to find ways to create that personal connection.”
Snapchat also proves useful for communicating more-serious information.
“We also use it as a way to get some deadlines out there,” Mr. Dobies says. “If students need to pay in early August, it was an easy thing to post that out there. It’s obviously a more-serious take. But people see it. I think it’s sometimes a surprise, but that’s OK with me.”
Ms. Brand agrees. “We had two ice days in the spring semester, and on those occasions we did send out a snap saying that campus is closed,” she says.
It’s difficult to discern the demographics of the users who follow a university’s account. Usernames don’t necessarily reflect real names, gender, or geography. But colleges hope to reach prospective students using the platform, and social-media managers believe high schoolers are paying attention.
“The first day, we had a couple of high-school kids who said, ‘We really want to go here’ in a snap,” Mr. Dobies recalls. “That’s eventually who I want this to go to.”
Ms. Sunstrum reports having a good cross section of followers.
“We have a heavy amount of students, some prospective students,” she says.
After a great game, high-school athletes may want to check their Snapchat accounts for photos and videos from college recruiters. New NCAA Division I recruiting rules, adopted in January, allow coaches to send snaps to prospective players or their parents or guardians.
“That’s the best way we’ve got to relate to our prospective recruits,” says Hernando Planells, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for women’s basketball at Duke University. “Because there’s so many different avenues to communicate with them, you’re just hoping the one you’re using connects with them.”
While emails and phone calls are perceived as professional, formal methods of correspondence, Mr. Planells says, snaps allow players and coaches to quickly convey their personalities.
“People will do funny faces,” he says. “It’s building relationships. You get a chance to know coaches sooner, and get a feel for if they would help you improve as a student, as a player, and as a person over all.”
Not all prospective student-athletes feel comfortable exchanging snaps with coaches, he says, but so far it’s been well received.
“You have to be able to read who the person is,” he explains. “We usually start with emails, phone calls. Once you get that rapport, and if they have interest … we can move in that direction.”
The rule change applies to all Division I sports except football, cross country, track and field, and swimming and diving. Previously, Snapchat and text messaging were not permitted during the recruiting process (except in basketball and men’s ice hockey) until after a student signed a national letter of intent or a college’s written letter of admission or financial-aid offer.
According to Meghan Durham, the NCAA’s assistant director of public and media relations, the changes were made based on membership feedback and were intended to encompass all electronic communication similar to text messaging.
Like most successful legal professionals, I engage in a fair amount of networking. Much of my networking time is devoted to developing my own business, but sometimes I am on the “receiving end” of a networking exchange — someone is trying to develop their business through me. I am almost always happy to do this, even when there doesn’t seem to be much in it for me.
I do this because I take a long-term view towards networking. Networking is not just about making yourself more successful; is should be about making both parties more successful. If I can help someone become more successful today, maybe he or she will be able to return the favor in the future.
I also approach these seemingly one-sided networking events as a learning opportunity. I am always curious to see how effective other people are at networking for business development.
Recently, I had a networking coffee of this type with an individual who had created a software product for in-house counsel. He wanted my feedback. It did not go well.First Mistake: Not Being Inquisitive
This guy did not get a passing grade from me in networking. At an initial meeting like this between two people who do not know each other, an exchange of questions is expected. I certainly peppered him with questions about his background and product. To prepare, I had reviewed his LinkedIn profile and the product’s website before our meeting.
What did he ask me? Nothing.
When networking, you want a new acquaintance to walk away liking you. In this case, there was nothing to indicate this person was remotely interested in me beyond what I could do for him. His total lack of interest in me created no positive feelings in me, and I did not walk away liking him.
His performance did not improve over the course of our meeting. It was obvious to me why he wanted to meet me: although I wasn’t a potential customer, I could provide him with ideas for marketing his product to his target demographic. I market my services to lawyers and have learned much from my experiences. In addition, I suspect, he was hoping for some leads.Second Mistake: Being Pushy
I am more than happy to let others pick my brain about marketing ideas via networking, but I always warn them in advance that the advice may be worth only what they are paying. I am not nearly as generous when it comes to my leads. I am willing to leverage my relationships to help people I know well, but rarely for strangers. I certainly cannot make a sound judgment about someone after only 45 minutes, and I am not willing to risk offending or wasting the time of a close professional colleague if I guess wrong. I am especially wary when I know that the follow-up to any lead will be a sales pitch.
In any event, this individual didn’t hesitate to ask for names — several times during our meeting. I found his requests annoying, but also a bit naïve.Final Mistake: Forgetting to Say Thank You
Finally, it is fundamental to thank someone for taking the time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. I would like to think some of the information and ideas that I provided were helpful to this fellow. A thank you at the end of our time together would have gone a long way towards softening the above mistakes. But do you think I received any sort of acknowledgement? I did not. Hence the failing grade.
Whenever you meet with someone in a networking context, ask questions. Be interested in getting to know more about that person and their business. If you have to ask for leads, save it for a subsequent meeting or a follow-up conversation. And always say thank you.Updates
Looking for a quick entry point into the Canadian Bar Association‘s “Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada“? Or maybe you’re the type that prefers a visual approach to learning and digesting information. Either way you will surely appreciate Margaret Hagan‘s infographic recently posted at the Open Law Lab.
The Open Law Lab is “an initiative to design law: to make it more accessible, more usable, and more engaging.” And if you are interested in infographics the Open Law Lab has a wonderful collection in their Visual Law Library. You can also contribute to this library by submitting things you’ve made yourself or suggesting visual representations of law that you may have found. The images are organized into areas of law ranging from administrative law to evidence, intellectual property to torts.
Hagan‘s CBA futures infographic is available in both English and French: the ultimate executive summary.
Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.
Entertainment & Media Law Signal
The monkey is back! The dispute between Wikipedia and the British photographer David Slater recently reported in various news outlets is not new. It is actually the continuation of a dispute that began in July 2011 between the UK based Caters News Agency, who had hired Slater to do a nature shoot in Indonesia, and the blog Techdirt….
BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog
Two Sets of Costs Approrpriate When Two Actions Are Combined for Trial
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing what costs are payable when two actions, set for trial at the same time, settle prior to trial. In today’s case (Wang v. Dhaliwal) the Plaintiff was involved in two collisions and filed separate lawsuits both of which were set to be heard at the same time. The cases settled for trial for an agreed sum plus costs. The Plaintiff argued that two sets of costs were warranted while the Defendant suggested a single set of costs was appropriate given ‘the efficiencies achieved by having the cases joined“. …
Western Canada Business Litigation Blog
Commercial Arbitration May Not Be as Confidential as You Think
Choosing commercial arbitration over conventional litigation cannot guarantee confidentiality of the process, as a recent decision of the BC Supreme Court shows. The prospect of keeping a commercial dispute confidential has long been recognized as one of the main advantages of arbitration over litigation in the courts, along with the speed of the process, the ability to choose one’s decision-maker, and easier enforcement of awards internationally….
n Baier v Alberta, 2007 SCC 31 [Baier], Justice Rothstein of the Supreme Court of Canada articulated a test for whether an underinclusive statutory platform of expression infringes section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and thus whether a claimant has a positive entitlement to access that platform. He adopted the test from Dunmore v Ontario (Attorney General), 2001 SCC 94 [Dunmore]. Dunmore decided that Ontario had a positive obligation to include agricultural workers under provincial labour relations legislation because excluding the workers infringed their section 2(d) freedom of association….
Four law-themed movies at TIFF
It’s that time of year again, when the red carpets get rolled out, champagne flows like water and A-List celebrities fill the streets of Toronto. TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival, is back in town. This year’s festival is bigger than ever. And you know what that means: prime opportunities for celebrity stalking. (I’d recommend hitting up the Ritz Carlton or the Shangri-La lobby. You might have to shell out $18 for a cocktail, but that brief glimpse of Brad Pitt’s left sideburn will be totally worth it.)…
*Randomness here is created by Random.org and its list randomizing function.
Skeuomorphism is a word that describes when a digital object incorporates elements of the equivalent physical object even though it is not necessary to do so. For example the calculator on an iPhone is mimicking a physical calculator in its use of the “C” button. One advantage of skeuomorphism is that it gives users some kind of reference point when switching from a physical to a digital object.
eBooks and e-libraries frequently employ skeuomorphism. eBooks may incorporate elements of physical books such as layout, bookmarks, and page numbers, even though the page numbers may change based on the device used and the choice of font size.
One reason for having electronic products mimic their print equivalent is to make the research process easier. It allows users to research using electronic resources in the same way as they use print materials. In some legal research courses research using print products is taught first because this can be a good way of understanding why the electronic products are structured the way that they are. Another reason is practical: the less you have to do to convert a print text to an eBook, the cheaper it is to produce.
That said, when producing electronic versions of print materials, it is important to keep in mind that there are some basic physical differences with regards to research. With print materials you can have multiple texts and reporters open in front of you, making it easy to jump back and forth between resources (assuming, of course, you have them). To mimic this process with electronic resources you either need to have multiple windows open (and a large monitor) or multiple monitors, or both. Having this information in multiple tabs is not necessarily a solution, especially if an online resource is slow to load. According to “Short-Term Memory and Web Usability”:
[S]hort-term memory famously holds only about 7 chunks of information, and these fade from your brain in about 20 seconds. … Response times must be fast enough that users don’t forget what they’re in the middle of doing while waiting for the next page to load.
My personal experience is that, in the small time it takes me to move between tabs, I can easily forget what I am looking for.
On the other hand, the research process can be a great deal smoother on electronic products. Where a print product includes a reference to a different text or a judgment, an electronic product can directly link to it. Since not all materials will be on the same electronic resource, a seamless research experience will require publishers have their databases play nicely with each other. Some publishers do already link to external materials (CanLII is a popular choice). However, for publishers, linking to materials over which they have no control is a problem; content may change or vanish entirely. eBooks may also include one or more dictionaries, e.g. general, legal, or medical.
Other features of electronic resources that make life easier for the researcher relate to the end product of the research. It is far more efficient to cut and paste text into a memo or other document than having to retype it. Equally helpful is an feature that automatically includes the citation for any text pasted into a document from a database.
So assuming then that eBooks should not be slavish recreations of their physical equivalents, how should they be changed for the digital environment? User experience is obviously high on the list. While legal research, particularly more complicated questions, will never be straightforward, a well-designed interface can make the process more efficient and cost-effective.
There is also a larger question: do eBooks need to be “books” as we think of them? In legal research users rarely need to read the entire book; they are interested in specific segments, be it chapter or even a paragraph. So if a book is merely a container for information, do we still need that container? Or is the whole concept of an “eBook” simply one great skeuomorph?
The event Website is at: http://lawtechcamp.com/
The event’s schedule is at: http://lawtechcamp.com/schedule-2014/
The Twitter hashtag for the event was: #LTC14
The calendar lists primarily scholarly conferences that focus on legal information systems, legal communication, legal/forensic linguistics, or egovernment (as applied to legal information), or that are known to welcome papers on those topics. The calendar also lists legal hackathons and other legal hacking events.
Valentino Spataro’s enhanced version of the calendar is available at http://www.gloxa.it/rr/
If you know of events or other information that should be on the calendar but are not; or if you spot errors in the calendar, I’d be grateful if you would please share that information in the comments to this post.
The legal memos from 2004, over a decade ago, outlining the power of the President to use wiretapping, have been obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Privacy Information Center.
The project was called Stellar Wind, and allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect information, even when it was contained in the U.S., as long as one end of the communications was overseas and a party was believed to be connected to terrorism.
Jack Goldsmith, Assistant Attorney General at the time, wrote in a memo from May 2004,
…the President, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive, has legal authority to authorize the NSA to conduct [this surveillance]… and thus that the operation of the STELLAR WIND program as described above is lawful.
The memo does not dismiss Congressional authority, and infers from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and provisions under Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 allows for this use of power once Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) on Sept. 18, 2001.
Although FISA maintains certain controls and balances, FISA is ambiguous enough to infer from AUMF that such authorization can be provided. Even if FISA was construed narrowly to preclude Stellar Wind, the memo argues it would be unconstitutional as an impermissible infringement on the President’s constitutional powers as Commander-in-Chief,
Indeed, defense of the Nation is an aspect of the explicit oath of office that the Constitution prescribes for the President, which states that the President shall “‘to the best of [his] Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'” U.S. Const. art. 2. § 1. Here, we conclude that the content collection activities under STELLAR WIND are precisely a core exercise of Commander-in-Chief powers to detect and engage the enemy in protecting the Nation from attack in the midst of a war and that Congress may not by statute restrict the Commander in Chief’s decisions about such a matter involving the conduct of a campaign.
A second memo discusses this position on Stellar Wind in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, which reversed a dismissal of habeas corpus, and recognized the power to detain enemy combattants while retaining the right to due process,
As demonstrated, the interception of enemy communications for intelligence purposes is a fundamental and accepted incident of war, consistent with law-of-war principles and conducted throughout our Nation’s history. As such, the electronic surveillance of al Qaeda-related communications fits comfortably within the Hamdi plurality’s analysis of measures authorized by Congress after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Congressional Authorization allowing such surveillance must therefore trump FISA’s otherwise applicable prohibitions, just as it trumped the explicit prohibition of unauthorized detention in [statutes which state, No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.]
Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.
PÉNAL (DROIT) : Le fait que le requérant avait déjà été avisé de ses droits à la suite de son arrestation pour entrave ne libérait pas les policiers de l’aviser de nouveau lorsqu’ils ont eu des soupçons de conduite avec les facultés affaiblies et lui ont donné l’ordre de fournir un échantillon d’haleine.
Intitulé : R. c. Turcotte, 2014 QCCQ 6889
Juridiction : Cour du Québec, Chambre criminelle et pénale (C.Q.), Alma, 160-01-000561-134
Décision de : Juge Richard P. Daoust
Date : 29 juillet 2014
PÉNAL (DROIT) — preuve pénale — exclusion de la preuve — arrestation — entrave — refus d’établir son identité — ordre de fournir un échantillon d’haleine — délai écoulé avant de subir un test à l’aide d’un appareil de détection approuvé — délai raisonnable — autre infraction — droit d’être informé de ses droits constitutionnels de nouveau — droit au silence — droit à l’assistance d’un avocat — détention arbitraire — critères établis dans R. c. Grant (C.S. Can., 2009-07-17), 2009 CSC 32, SOQUIJ AZ-50566222, J.E. 2009-1379,  2 R.C.S. 353 — intérêt de la société à ce que l’affaire soit jugée au fond — antécédents judiciaires — élément non pertinent.
PÉNAL (DROIT) — garanties fondamentales du processus pénal — droit à l’assistance d’un avocat — droit au silence — entrave — refus d’établir son identité — ordre de fournir un échantillon d’haleine — délai écoulé avant de subir un test à l’aide d’un appareil de détection approuvé — délai raisonnable — autre infraction — droit d’être informé de ses droits constitutionnels de nouveau — détention arbitraire — critères établis dans R. c. Grant (C.S. Can., 2009-07-17), 2009 CSC 32, SOQUIJ AZ-50566222, J.E. 2009-1379,  2 R.C.S. 353 — intérêt de la société à ce que l’affaire soit jugée au fond — antécédents judiciaires — élément non pertinent — exclusion de la preuve.
DROITS ET LIBERTÉS — droits judiciaires — personne arrêtée ou détenue — droit à l’assistance d’un avocat — droit au silence — entrave — refus d’établir son identité — ordre de fournir un échantillon d’haleine — délai écoulé avant de subir un test à l’aide d’un appareil de détection approuvé — délai raisonnable — autre infraction — droit d’être informé de ses droits constitutionnels de nouveau — détention arbitraire — critères établis dans R. c. Grant (C.S. Can., 2009-07-17), 2009 CSC 32, SOQUIJ AZ-50566222, J.E. 2009-1379,  2 R.C.S. 353 — intérêt de la société à ce que l’affaire soit jugée au fond — antécédents judiciaires — élément non pertinent — exclusion de la preuve.
DROITS ET LIBERTÉS — réparation du préjudice — exclusion de la preuve — arrestation — entrave — ordre de fournir un échantillon d’haleine — autre infraction — droit d’être informé de ses droits constitutionnels de nouveau — droit au silence — droit à l’assistance d’un avocat — détention arbitraire — critères établis dans R. c. Grant (C.S. Can., 2009-07-17), 2009 CSC 32, SOQUIJ AZ-50566222, J.E. 2009-1379,  2 R.C.S. 353 — intérêt de la société à ce que l’affaire soit jugée au fond — antécédents judiciaires — élément non pertinent.
Requête en exclusion de la preuve. Accueillie.
Le requérant fait face à des accusations de conduite avec une alcoolémie supérieure à la limite permise et d’entrave au travail des policiers. Vers 1 h 45, des policiers qui manipulaient un cinémomètre ont vu passer le véhicule de l’accusé avec les phares éteints et ils ont décidé de le suivre. Après avoir exécuté quelques manoeuvres brusques, ce dernier a garé son véhicule au fond du stationnement puis a couru vers la porte d’entrée d’une maison pour y entrer. Les policiers ont bloqué la porte afin de discuter avec lui, mais ce dernier a refusé d’établir son identité et s’est réfugié dans une salle de bains. Finalement, l’accusé est sorti de la maison et il a alors été menotté. À 1 h 56, il a été arrêté pour entrave et informé de son droit au silence ainsi qu’à l’assistance d’un avocat. L’un des policiers a alors perçu que son haleine dégageait une odeur d’alcool. Vers 1 h 59, il a été emmené dans l’auto-patrouille. L’ordre lui a été donné de fournir un échantillon d’haleine dans un appareil de détection approuvé (ADA), mais les policiers ont dû attendre qu’on leur en livre un. Un premier test, subi à 2 h 20, n’a pas été concluant, mais le second, subi 2 minutes plus tard, s’est révélé un échec. Le requérant a alors été mis en état d’arrestation et informé de ses droits constitutionnels.
À partir de 1 h 56, le requérant était contraint par les policiers, qui avaient des motifs raisonnables de l’arrêter pour entrave et qui avaient également perçu l’odeur d’alcool. Le requérant ne pouvait plus partir étant donné que, selon le policier, il y avait nécessité d’éclaircir la situation. Il était donc détenu pour cette seconde infraction dès 1 h 56. Il s’est écoulé de 17 à 24 minutes entre le début de la détention et le premier test à l’aide d’un ADA. Or, même s’il est reconnu que l’accusé contraint à fournir un échantillon d’haleine voit son droit aux services d’un avocat suspendu malgré sa détention, il reste que, lorsque l’agent de la paix n’est pas en mesure d’administrer le test en raison du fait qu’il n’est pas en possession de l’ADA, il faut s’interroger si les circonstances permettaient d’accommoder l’accusé afin qu’il puisse exercer son droit à l’assistance d’un avocat. Le fait que le requérant avait déjà été avisé de ses droits à la suite de son arrestation pour entrave ne libérait pas les policiers de l’obligation de l’aviser de nouveau de ses droits. L’infraction d’entrave n’est pas une infraction en matière de conduite automobile, et les conséquences sont bien différentes. Le requérant pouvait refuser d’exercer son droit à l’assistance d’un avocat pour cette accusation sans nécessairement y voir de lien avec les conséquences d’une conduite avec les facultés affaiblies. Cette situation est distincte de celle où l’accusé est informé de ses droits parce qu’il a fui les policiers pour cacher ce qu’il croyait que les policiers soupçonnaient. Les liens entre les deux infractions ne sont donc pas suffisamment proches pour appliquer R. c. Schmautz (C.S. Can., 1990-03-15), SOQUIJ AZ-90111021, J.E. 90-484,  1 R.C.S. 398. Par conséquent, les policiers avaient l’obligation d’aviser de nouveau le requérant de ses droits lorsqu’ils ont eu des soupçons et lui ont donné l’ordre de souffler dans l’ADA. En effet, le délai écoulé entre l’ordre donné et le passage du test (17 à 24 minutes) se situe dans la fourchette supérieure de ce que la jurisprudence reconnaît à titre de délai raisonnable, et ce, d’autant plus que le requérant possédait un téléphone cellulaire. Il y a donc eu violation des droits garantis à l’article 10 b) de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés ainsi que du droit de ne pas être détenu de façon arbitraire en vertu de l’article 9. Cela dit, à la lumière des critères établis dans R. c. Grant (C.S. Can., 2009-07-17), 2009 CSC 32, SOQUIJ AZ-50566222, J.E. 2009-1379,  2 R.C.S. 353, il y a lieu d’exclure la preuve ainsi obtenue. À cet égard, le fait que le requérant ait plusieurs antécédents judiciaires de conduite avec les facultés affaiblies n’y change rien. Cela ne fait pas partie des éléments définis par la Cour suprême dans la recherche de la vérité qui est à la base du devoir du juge lorsqu’il étudie le troisième critère établi, à savoir l’importance pour la société que l’affaire soit jugée au fond. Quant à la gravité de la conduite attentatoire de l’État, malgré l’absence de mauvaise foi des policiers, il reste que ces derniers, compte tenu de la longueur des délais, de la présence d’un téléphone cellulaire et des informations qu’ils détenaient, auraient dû aviser le requérant de ses droits. Pour éviter que le public ne croie que les tribunaux cautionnent ce type de comportement, ce critère milite en faveur de l’exclusion. Il en va de même du critère de l’incidence de la violation sur les droits de l’accusé garantis par la charte. Le requérant a été forcé à se mobiliser contre lui-même. Seule la fiabilité des éléments recueillis milite en faveur de l’inclusion de la preuve. Toutefois, la mise en balance des facteurs commande l’exclusion de celle-ci.
Le texte intégral de la décision est disponible ici
David T. Lee, Ashish Goel, Tanja Aitamurto, and Hélène Landemore presented a paper entitled Crowdsourcing for Participatory Democracies: Efficient Elicitation of Social Choice Functions, at Collective Intelligence 2014, held 10-12 June 2014, at MIT.
Here is a summary from the introduction to the paper:
[...] In this paper, we present theoretical and empirical results indicating the usefulness of voting rules for participatory democracies. We first give algorithms which efficiently elicit ϵ-approximations to two prominent voting rules: the Borda rule and the Condorcet winner. [...] Essentially, we show that these voting rules, which scale inefficiently, can be easy to implement when the winner wins by a margin or an approximation suffices.
We demonstrate the approach in an experiment in Finland’s recent off-road traffic law reform [Aitamurto and Landemore 2013]. The Finnish experiment, as we will refer to it from this point on, engaged the Finnish people in 1) identifying problems, 2) proposing solutions, and 3) evaluating ideas for the offroad traffic law. In the evaluation stage, 308 participants took part in ranking ideas in 41 different topics, each of which had a number of ideas ranging from 2 to 15. For ϵ = 0.05 and 0.1, we show that the total number of comparisons needed for all participants is linear in the number of ideas and that the constant is not large. [...]
Finally, we note a few other experimental observations which support the use of voting rules for aggregation. First, we observe that rating, one of the common alternatives to ranking, manifested effects of bias in our data. Second, we show that very few of the topics lacked a Condorcet winner, one of the prominent negative results in voting. Finally, we show data hinting at a potential future direction: the use of partial rankings as opposed to pairwise comparisons to further decrease the elicitation time. [...]
Eduardo Vicente-López, Luis M. de Campos, Juan M. Fernández-Luna, and Juan F. Huete presented a paper entitled Personalization of Parliamentary Document Retrieval using different User Profiles, at PEGOV 2014: International Workshop on Personalization in eGovernment Services and Applications, held 7-11 July 2014 in Aalborg, Denmark.
Here is the abstract:
Owing to the information overload we are faced with nowadays, personalization approaches are becoming almost a must, in order to provide relevant information for users. These personalization techniques retrieve results closer to the user interests and preferences, by using the information stored in the user profile. We have carried out a comparative study between six different user profile representation approaches, based on the content of the documents of the Andalusian Parliament, obtaining quite good personalized performance results and some interesting conclusions about the [effectiveness] of these content-based approaches.
The submission deadline has been extended to 12 September 2014 for JURIX 2014: International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, being held 10-12 December 2014, at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.
For later dates please see the list of important dates.
Papers, workshops, workshop papers, posters, demos, and submissions to the doctoral consortium are invited, on the following topics:
We invite submission of original papers on the advanced management of legal information and knowledge, covering foundations, methods, tools, systems and applications. We welcome submissions belonging to one or more of the following categories:
I. Theory of AI & Law
Contributions to the theory and foundations of AI & Law. Papers should demonstrate (formal) validity, novelty and significance of the work.
II. Technology of AI & Law
Contributions to the technological advancement of AI & Law. Papers should demonstrate quality, novelty and significance of the work, and evaluate results.
III. Applications of AI & Law
Implementations of AI & Law technology in real world systems. Papers should demonstrate added value, novelty and significance of the work, and if possible, evaluate (potential) impact.
Any other topic related to the field of Artificial Intelligence and Law.
For more details, please see the call for papers.
The Australian Law Reform Commission released a report earlier this week on Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era .
The report proposes a new tort remedy for invasions of privacy that are serious, committed intentionally or recklessly and that cannot be justified as being in the public interest — for example, posting sexually explicit photos of someone on the Web without their permission, a topic much in the news recently because of the massive leak of nude photos of some of Hollywood’s biggest female celebrities.
The document also recommends a range of defences to protect free speech: these would include lawful authority, necessity (to protect life, for example), consent, absolute privilege (such as reporting court or parliamentary proceedings), the publication of public documents, etc.