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Technology Is Quickly Reshaping Workers' Compensation Claims

When Jarrod Magan writes about the future of worker's compensation, he sounds more like a science-fiction writer: Software robots will respond to claimant's calls. Virtual assistants will process paperwork. Doctors, advocates, and patients will meet using personal avatars.

It's not like Magan is inventing the future; it's more like he's already been there. He says that current technologies are evolving and completely changing the administration of worker's compensation.

"Once thought to be cold and impersonal, technology is re-defining our expectations and how we view a quality customer experience," he says. "It is no surprise that new technologies are also reshaping workers' compensation as we know it."

Road Rage in the Age of Self-Driving Cars

What happens if a self-driving car cuts you off?

It's not like you can flip-off the driver. Yelling won't do any good either, except perhaps to release some road rage.

It's a question that lawyers broached at the American Bar Association's midyear meeting in Florida. The program, broadcast through Legal Talk Network, focused on the challenge of road rage in the age of self-driving cars.

According to panelists, driverless cars are not the problem. They are part of the solution.

Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart' tells the tale of a man, so wracked with guilt and paranoia after a well crafted murder that he begins to hear the beating of his victim's heart from under his floorboards and (spoiler alert) confesses to the crime.

Now, Poe's classic tale seems to have come to life in Middletown, Ohio. Well, almost. There's no murder, just alleged arson and insurance fraud. And it's not a dead man's heart that matters here, but the supposed arsonist's. That would be Ross Compton's heart. Police arrested the Ohio man two weeks ago, after examining data they subpoenaed from his pacemaker, data which they believe shows he burnt down his own home.

'We'll see you in court' the American Civil Liberties Union declared shortly after Trump's election in November. Then, with last Friday's executive order halting the resettlement of refugees and banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations, the battle really began. All the while, the donations were rolling in -- so quickly that the ACLU's website crashed. The group received roughly 120,000 donations in the first five days after the election. On the weekend of Trump's immigration ban, that number almost tripled. The group took in $24 million from over 350,000 donations -- six times what it usually raises online in a full year. That's enough cash to fund a whole army of public interest lawyers.

Now, following the unprecedented explosion in donations, the ACLU is teaming up with an unexpected partner, Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley startup accelerator.

It was supposed to be over, the fight for net neutrality. Net neutrality is the idea that web users should have equal access to all internet content, without paid fast lanes for some websites, throttled speeds for others. And that idea triumphed when the Federal Communications Commission declared that the internet could be regulated like a public utility and subsequently issued its controversial Open Internet rules.

But the net neutrality fight is back. On Sunday, President Trump appointed Ajit Pai as chairman of the FCC. Pai, as an FCC commissioner, was a leading opponent of net neutrality and a rollback could be on the horizon. Here's some background, from the FindLaw archives, on why the net neutrality debate matters and what legal professionals need to know about it.

President-elect Donald Trump announced that Rudy Giuliani would be serving the new administration as a cybersecurity advisor last week. As "cyberczar" the former mayor of New York will lead a government cybersecurity task force and conduct meetings "from time to time" with corporate leaders.

The post, which comes with no official title, is considered a consolation prize for Giuliani, long one of Trump's main backers. But the choice has also been criticized by many who view Giuliani as unprepared to advise the government on important technological issues, particularly in light of Russian hacking during the past election.

FTC Offers $25,000 Reward for IoT Security

If this were the Wild West, a $25,000 reward might have caught the attention of a lawman like Wyatt Earp.

Earp, a special marshal and gunslinger, was most famous for the Gunfight at the OK Corral in 1881. In a town called Tombstone, the shootout left three outlaws dead and two lawmen wounded.

But this is not the Wild West, Earp is long gone, and $25,000 isn't exactly an enormous sum of cash these days.

In any case, the Federal Trade Commission has offered $25,000 to anyone who can solve security on the Internet of Everything. Any volunteers?

The legal industry isn't winning many awards for diversity. The industry as a whole is severely lacking in racial diversity and gender parity, for example, while there are long-running and well-documented disparities in criminal outcomes across racial lines. What's worse, those disparities are growing. The racial gap in sentencing has expanded between 2005 and 2013, according to federal reports.

But some think that technology might be able to solve, or at least mitigate, some of the legal practice's most stubborn biases. In a recent article in the Observer, diversity consultant Monique Tallon looked at how the legal tech industry is confronting bias in the law. Here are some of the highlights.

5 Top Tech Scandals From 2016

The past year has been good for technology and its fans. The tech industry has let us find Pokemon on our front porch, brought artificial intelligence into law firms, even given us smart speakers that know not to snitch.

But it's not all happy unicorns, robots, and black turtlenecks in the tech world. The past year has seen its fair share of failure, scandal, and schadenfreude. Here are our top five for the year.

2016 may be the Worst Year Ever, but there are plenty of lessons scattered throughout this year's rubble. And no, we're not talking about learning from dead celebrities, international political espionage, or Olympic doping scandals.

We're talking about learning how to be a better, or at least a better-informed, attorney. Here are some lessons we're taking away from the past year.