Technologist - FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


You have a small firm. You want to be "connected" at all times. If an important client calls, you want to be able to answer that call, whether you are in the office, on the road, or making s'mores in the mountains (assuming you have cell service up there).

This is what Google Voice used to be good at: forwarding incoming calls from your Google Voice phone number to anywhere (landline, cell, computer). But, the app hadn't been updated in years for either iOS or Android. Plus, it was pretty much for incoming calls only -- dial out on your phone and you've just given that client your cell number. (There was a workaround for Android that spoofed your Google Voice number, but thanks to the core app's stagnation, it was a pain to use.)

Well, Google just fixed everything. Kinda. Google Voice is now (mostly) integrated in its Hangouts app, which means a free business phone number, free VoIP services to the U.S. and Canada, free texting, and only a slight headache, though we'll try to simplify it a bit.

When It Comes to Tech, Size Matters

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Big, small or in-between? When dealing with tech, it seems that there are preferences, and fortunately there options currently.

Long, long ago and far away, back in the disco days of the 1970s, the only available computer to me was a massive, computer punchcard-eating behemoth that appeared to take up the entire basement of my college library. While it was a floor-to-ceiling piece of junk by today's standards, size was not an issue -- because if you wanted to work on a computer, that was the only game in town. I declined.

On Thursday, Yahoo announced it would disclose more than 1,500 pages of documents relating to 2007-08 litigation surrounding government attempts to access Yahoo user accounts without a warrant.

Yahoo said on its Global Public Policy Tumblr (yes, Yahoo uses a Tumblr to disseminate global public policy information) that it will take time to disseminate so much material, but other news outlets have apparently gotten access to some of the documents and reported on them. So, here's what happened:

Ah, those crafty Germans. The fine folks at Winfuture.de (h/t to Ars Technica) are who we have to thank for the latest leaks, videos, and pictures of a developer build of Windows 9.

Windows 9, aka "Threshold," is the upcoming "fix Windows 8" version of the operating system, set for public beta later this month.

What have we learned from the latest leaks? As expected, the Start Menu is back with a ton of customizability -- from bare-bones menu to full-on Windows 8 Start screen. Windows 9 will also pick up a couple of features off of its Apple counterpart: virtual desktops and a notifications center.

Unless you've been in the mountains of Tora Bora all week, you've probably heard that Apple is releasing a new iPhone. By now, the phone has already been made available for pre-order. This one will be shinier, faster (and strangely, larger in size). "Well," you say, "I don't need a new phone. Mine is working just fine."

Is it? Are you sure? Even if you're not interested in upgrading right now, there are some other things you might want to take into account before you count yourself out.

While Google has created a concept driverless car, Cadillac has decided that 2017 will be the year that we surrender to our robot overlords. That's when it will release to the general public a car with "limited automated driving capabilities." Details are very slim, but it probably won't be as terrifying as Skynet or as awesome as KITT.

With increased automation, though, comes the question: When there's an accident in a driverless car, who will be responsible? The manufacturer? The driver? What if the driver wasn't driving; should he have been? It's a thought experiment that's coming closer and closer to reality.

Yesterday, Apple revealed its long-awaited, and much-leaked iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Were there any real suprises? No. But the two phones, at 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, are way bigger and wider than Apple's previous models.

But, phablet or no phablet, maybe you're not an Apple person. Though these Android and BlackBerry phones didn't get quite the obsessive spectacle that Apple's events do, at least on paper, they stand up to (and maybe trump) Cupertino's latest offerings.

Here are five alternatives, set for release this quarter:

No surprises here, though there is a whole lot of new Apple crack for all you fanatics out there.

Today, the company announced its long-awaited and much-rumored iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the Apple Watch. With the two new phone models, Apple's smartphone lineup expands to four options -- 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus -- and with the Apple Watch, the company will get in on the growing wearables category, challenging notable Android Wear entries from Motorola, Samsung, and LG.

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Since the beginning of time, unfortunately, some people have been intent on causing harm to others for their own benefit. This, of course, has been true with respect to Internet conduct. Indeed, we now live in a world in which the "black hats" are actively hacking and causing other problems in cyberspace, while the "white hats" are trying to combat these efforts.

Cybercrime is not confined within the borders of sovereign states. What happens on the Internet goes beyond national borders. After all, we are dealing with the World Wide Web. Accordingly, cybercrime has international implications.

Back in February, the D.C. Circuit Court struck down the FCC's net neutrality rules, necessitating new regulations.

Earlier this year, the FCC opened its proposed regulations for public comment. The comment period was set to close on Wednesday, September 10, but has been extended to September 15.

To honor the end of the comment period, the activist group Battle for the Net announced that September 10 will be "Internet Slowdown Day." To show your support for net neutrality, go to the website, then use whatever method you'd like to change your website or Twitter avatar to a spinning gear icon, which represents the slowdown that would result if net neutrality were abolished. (Of course, websites won't actually be slowing down.)