Apple

LawKit: How Apple Can Engineer A Secure Legal Backdoor
LawKit: How Apple Can Engineer A Secure Legal Backdoor 1024 519 Raymond Blijd

In my previous post, I pleaded my case why creating a backdoor would be fair. I suggested a solution to Apple’s predicament: hire legal engineers to build ethic’s into the iOS platform. Here’s an explanation how legal engineers would approach creating a secure and fair system to handle requests for access.

Trias Politica

In 1748, Baron de Montesquieu published:  The Spirit of the Laws. He described the separation of political power among a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. The moral of the story: there needs to be a Separation of Powers to balance and create a fair society. Fast forward to now: in our current legal construct, the balancing of powers reside with the courts: a hopelessly archaic system where 18th-century laws can still rule.

From Courts to Code

The two most common types of judiciary systems are Judge or Jury. Both are extremely limited and thus flawed in the sense that they rely on just one or a few minds to determine justice. Now, with modern technology (and some ingenuity) this power can be separated and distributed to more minds and systems.

On slide 22 in the Future of Law deck, I provided the eBay example: 60 million disputes each year being settled by their built-in Online Dispute Resolution platform. If we count Alibaba, it would not surprise me if that number would triple. Google received over 100.000 requests for user data or accounts from governments last year. In addition, they also received 74 million copyrights removal request just last month as published in its Transparency report.

In order to manage these unprecedented numbers, most online service providers include arbitration clauses in their terms of service. The fairness is debatable but the principle remains: the digital realm is inconspicuously moving away from the traditional institutions and towards a more open distributed form of justice.

 

Apple

Now that Apple clashed with a judicial opinion from a single soul, it may want to consider how its products balance fairness. Here’s the main issue: Apple is perceived to be having the power to unlock an iPhone, whereas Apple has engineered the iPhone in such a way that it does NOT have that power. This perception should change and Apple needs to clearly separate that power. With a simple technical shift: when the User is incapacitated, a Crowd, not Apple, must have the power to decide to provide levels of access.

Apple has already provided levels of access to the iPhone that do not need the user’s fingerprint or passcode: Calendar, Reminders, and Notifications are accessible on your locked screen. You can even use it as a normal phone and make emergency calls.

By simply extending this design, Apple can provide emergency access to various levels of data.

Emergency Access

Here it gets tricky so stick with me: When tapping on the emergency button in lock screen mode, you could make a call or request emergency access. When you request Emergency Location Data you are presented with a choice:

  1. Missing Relative
  2. Law Enforcement

As a relative, you can retrieve location data from your loved ones if they have set you up as an emergency contact. Law enforcement request is handled differently. Requests are deposited in a distributed network of 20.000 randomly selected iOS users. They would then need to review your request and vote on giving access.

Why 20.000? Again, brighter minds must prevail but I’m assuming it is representative sample set which can make a fair judgement. It may prove to be statistically better than an experienced panel of judges or 12 random strangers.

The tricky part is how to relay your emergency request to 20.000 users in such a manner that they would be able to clearly and consciously judge a request?

The randomly selected users come from a pool of users that opt into the system just like jury duty. The vetting process would be similar to the way Uber drivers are vetted or how apps are approved in the App store.

The most difficult part is proving your request is legitimate but that is where technologies like Blockchain may assist. Touch ID, Family Sharing, Find my Friends also come to mind for assisting the validation process.

Law Kit

Is this system unique for Apple? Well actually, they already hired ‘Health Engineers’ to help set up a similar system called Health Kit: a platform where users can safely and securely donate sensitive and personal health metrics via iOS. It has been an unprecedented success and probably saved countless lives. Apple has all the ingredients and experience to create a similar framework on top of iOS. Law Kit would help Apple achieve 3 goals:

  • Separation
  • Transparency
  • FairnessLawKit-text

Separation + Transparency = Fairness

If Apple implements LawKit, it can separate the power to police from the core of iOS. It can, therefore, comply with any number of requests, at any scale and distribute these accordingly. By using its large user base as a judiciary system, Apple can provide a level of unprecedented transparency. It will need some getting used to and may even require some legislation to back it up. But in all fairness, no one conglomerate can wield this much power without it becoming maleficent.

Ultimately, it may prove to be good business if Apple helps me Find my Angel, not just their iPhone.

The Power of Privacy and The Value of Confidentiality
The Power of Privacy and The Value of Confidentiality 453 276 Raymond Blijd

Google’s Vint Cerf, who is recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet,” stated “Privacy May Be An Anomaly.” Historically, he is right in some context. We used to bathe in the open and wore less and more revealing clothes in the past. Some won’t mind going back to those days but ever since humans acquired the ability to communicate it always had the option to do it in private. Moreover, confidentiality is the corner-stone of several business sectors such as Health, Legal and Finance. So the question is: as a professional, who will you trust?

 

Privacy

Snapchat – a service that provides self destruct photo messaging – turned down a reported$3 billion offer from Facebook. Whatsapp claims to have more users than Twitter and handles more messages than Facebook. Bear in mind that Twitter and Facebook are free and Whatsapp is not*. In Asia, Wechat and QQ combined rule the messaging airwaves with more than a billion users. All these social messaging services enable users to communicate much in the same way we use email and SMS. Better yet, social messaging challenges the connections we make by phone, email or SMS. A recent study by industry-analysts Informa indicated that by the end of 2013 OTT (Over The Top) messaging traffic should be twice that of traditional SMS texts, topping out at around 41 billion messages sent every day (compared to 19.5 billion sent via SMS). More importantly: I believe services like Snapchat are popular because they simulate a sense of privacy traditional communication use to provide.

 

trust3Confidentiality

One might suspect that the push for more privacy is driven by an older more conservative demographic. Actually, it is quite the opposite. Recent studies revealed teens are fleeing social networks while elders, the only growing group, are encouraging them to stay on and broadcast. So if those who share scatter, but the spectators multiply, it is likely that privacy backlash will lead a ‘Trust Revolution’. This is already evident in the legal industry were legal tech experts predict ‘security awareness’ to be among the top priorities for law firms in 2014. To be specific: maintaining confidentiality of client information will be the top priority for law firms according to this article. This is especially more pertinent where professionals rush to the clouds out of convenience. Thus the question is: who can you trust?

Trust

In a previous post, I touched upon Apple’s fingerprint technology as a valuable breakthrough which might have far-reaching implications in how we communicate. Imagine securing not only your phone but all your documents with a fingerprint instead of passwords orproperly identify parties you communicate with and have them sign with their hands instead of a John Hancock. While I’m truly grateful I’m still hesitant to completely place my faith in any one company that either needs to lock me in or lure me to reveal information for ads. Free is very attractive but my soul is priceless and I value a whisper among the trees as much as shouting from the rooftop. As a legal professional, I can imagine doing business with a company that understands my needs. As a Wolters Kluwer employee, I will always strive to secure the trust our customers place in us.

 

*Whatsapp is a subscription service.

Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter?
Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter? 1024 653 Raymond Blijd

Recently Apple has been awarded a patent for the virtual book page turn. Now imagine such an event in the age of the printing press. How would we navigate books or other printed materials? The tools and the methods we used in the physical world are slowly coming to live in the digital world. Skeuomorph design has blazed the path to copy from the physical to the virtual world. Yet, without a better understanding of the real world, will it help or hurt?

Not Flipping
I do not despair the page flip patent. To the contrary, I salute the fact that we will one day seize to use remnants from an inexpedient paper past and replace it with more convenient digital methods. Although we measure the power of a vehicle by horses we do not use their techniques to advance engine technology. So while we slowly transition from tangible to digital with clever tricks that ease our reluctance and broaden our acceptance, we will also surely break with tradition at some stage.

Epiphany
This has triggered my venture to seek out those methods that will likely make us smarter in the future. I’ve looked at the techniques we’ve been using to capture, preserve and reuse information, the things that help us remember, navigate and connect the dots. Not only prepackaged tools such as table of contents or book indexes. But also whatever we create ourselves like highlights, annotations, linking and citing to help us (re)organize information and easily consume it. I’ve sought the deeper meaning of why we need to have these techniques and then…I completely abandon them.

Red Highlight or Blue Highlight?
I could not find a viable way to translate the paper methods we are accustom to using in an efficient manner to a digital screen. I will not substitute the hardship of thumbing through indexes references, going back and forth in pages with the ease of simple search boxes or hyperlinks. Or digitally flipping pages and waiting for each page flip animation while a simple swipe with a continuous scroll that ‘rubber-bands‘ naturally seems a lot more appealing. Even the fundamental purpose of highlights seems a bit archaic if your primary goal is to filter out the contextual noise and focus on a phrase. In my humble opinion, the truth does not lie in any particularly fancy visual design but rather designing the animation of the interaction. In short: the presentation of the animation.

Awards and Rewards
I’ve now embarked on a crazy quest to seek out and find or create the perfect animations and interaction designs for seemingly mundane tasks such as highlighting. I’m not aiming for any awards just for real life applications and usefulness. I belief the secret of our intelligence lies not in the amount of information we can access but rather in the manner we interact with it. What makes us smarter is not what we read but how we understand it and remember it.

Now if you follow the logic of D670,713, see if you can spot the concealed patent in the video below. First correct answer in the comments will be rewarded.


The video is an announcement of a future of digital research and the departure of paper.LegalComplex’s mission to explore different options and challenge the status quo through a belief that digital tools are here to enhance not facsimile our intelligence…everywhere.The path to profit was never a straight line yet it was a well marked road. Now, it’s more a adventurous journey towards an elusive place I call Convenience, where profit resides in a hi-res glass house.

Phantom Menace: 4 Signs of Disruptions in Legal Technology
Phantom Menace: 4 Signs of Disruptions in Legal Technology 1024 569 Raymond Blijd
I recently discovered HBS professor Clayton M. Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma. In it he explains the theory behind disruptions and why they are particularly menacing if you are not prepared. There are companies like IBM that have managed to survive numerous disruptions by shifting models early or like Apple orAmazon by creating disruptions themselves. Nevertheless, timing is crucial to either shift or create but the real challenge lies in where to shift to or how to disrupt. What are the signs?
Phantom Menace

Here is a illustration of how inconspicuously disruptions occur and their menacing effect if you don’t anticipate:

A 17 year old IT student in Suriname explained to me why he likes Twitter more than Facebook. I asked why he stills uses Facebook and his response was: homework assignments. Contrary to Twitter, all his classmates where on Facebook which enabled him to connect and collaborate on their homework. Google – the organizer of the world’s information – wasn’t mentioned during our conversation.

Google is still the omnipresent phantom competitor for all publishers and does that without a single piece of curated content. This was achieved purely on the basis of superior technology. Yet they are now driven into a tough spot by something they were lacking by their own admission and now they are hitting back to overcome this lack of understanding how technology benefits people.

Google understood that the Internet needed a filter, Facebook understands that people just want to connect and Apple bets they will want to do conveniently on stylish devices.

 

phantom2
Traits
Here are some traits to identify disruptions:

1. Empathy: Disruptions fly in the face of convention and sometime turn a proven and time-tested business model on its head. But even more precariously, they demonstrate a keen sense of empathy towards users and a knack to invert the value of goods. Example:Wikipedia or Skype

2. Visibility: They are notoriously hard to spot because they sometime hide in plain sight (Flipboard) or slowly grow to prominence through the internet grapevines. Example:Summify

3. Loyalty: Although it might look highly unconventional e.g. typing on a touchscreen, users are converts that adamantly and genuinely buy into the idea and want to change their existing habits.

4. Experience: Most disruptions share the same challenges in debunking the status quo. They sometimes lose these battles despite being superior in some cases. Most often they lose because people base their verdict on similar but not identical past events. Example:Open Source.

Signs
Now how to spot potential disruptions in legal technology:

Mobile: mobile is not a device, app or technology per se. I rather see it as an environment. It is about doing legal research behind a desk or during a meeting, in a court room but also your living room and even your car. One should be able to switch between these environments seamlessly. Key is adjusting a service to recognize, adapt and be simple enough to use in each settings. Example: Yahoo Axis

Social: In no others industry is ‘Partnering’ such a fundamental part of the business as in the legal market. Although the ‘Partners’ concept works a bit different in practice, the principle remains: to connect, exchange and collaborate to achieve a mutual goals more efficiently. Any service that leverages this principle exponentially will be disruptive.

Consumers: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Consumerization are current trends that actually reveal an underlining movement: Companies are forced to think and act more like regular consumers. Especially while pondering IT decisions. This also mimics the cultural shift in work-life division where the job moves outside the office and beyond the business days.

Value: While value was generally ruled by scarcity in the physical world it is now a moving target in the digital space. Business models based on physical rules have gradually made way for another models based on different rules. Now services are able to invert the value of commodities and when that happens they will most likely succeed to disrupt.

Future
Imagining a future disruption in the legal technology space could be as simple as looking at current disruptions in the consumer market. A legal technology disruption might not originate from a existing legal technology player. It may not be based on superior technology or better curated content. It just might be that the very basic problem legal tech is trying to solve is (inadvertently) solved in a different more efficient fashion by someone else.

In hindsight all evolutions seem self evident yet they are notoriously difficult to predict…or it may be just a matter of looking at it from another angle. So let’s stop looking for disruptions and create them by starting at the end and work our way to the beginning.

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Cannibalism and 5 Special FX of Evolution
Cannibalism and 5 Special FX of Evolution 300 317 Raymond Blijd
Most of what’s happening on the information super highway – at accelerating speeds – is just evolution as genuine as Darwin. Yet, most are still determined to call it cannibalism when a “new” service or product threatens the established business models. But as the saying goes: there’s so sense in beating a dead horse…better to trade it for a car while it’s still alive.

 

Cannibalism / Evolution = Timing

On one of the earnings calls for Apple, an analyst asked COO Tim Cook: do iPad sales cannibalize their PC market? His answer in short: No, on the contrary, but if it would eventually happen it would be for the better.

It did not dawn on me until seeing Steve Jobs presenting the iPad 2, that Apple has already given up on the PC market they have defined since its inception, and are moving on to next thing. Mr. Jobs kept making the reference to the “post-PC era” and I could hear Bill Gates echoing in the background.

Most may have forgotten, but the ex-Microsoft CEO was an early champion of tablets and voice recognition. Yet Microsoft’s business model (or thinking) did not permit them to go full blown for marrying the hardware and software to make tablets a success. If the Amazon Kindle had not proven to Apple that the timing was right we might still be waiting for the first real tablet. This is an example of why timing is everything and it does not always mean you have to be first.

The taste of 3D

In a PC market disruptions are common and adapting is crucial, but to publishers both are unsettling. A business that hasn’t drastically changed since the invention of the printing press needs some time to digest it all. However, it is still a gamble what will be the “next big thing.” For instance, the film industry took an enormous bet on 3D and it paid off. We all know 3D isn’t new (and gives headaches) yet the film industry posted record earnings partly due to this technology. Still, most can argue that 3D is still a huge gamble for TV manufactures and PC makers.

What is the Pay Off? 5 Special effects:

1. Halo effect: Tim Cook called the effect of the iPad “a Halo Effect from Apple product to Apple product.” Similarly, any digital version (web or app) of a paper product will initially boost its predecessor and not kill it.

2. 3D effect: Technology doesn’t have to be “new” or “innovative” to work. It just has to be done right with the purpose of adding value to utility and design.

3. Darwin effect: “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment” (Charles Darwin). Adapting to a digital environment is having a fundamental understanding of its strength (distribution) and weakness (usability) and using both to your advantage.

4. Pricing effect: In my opinion, the biggest challenge for publishers is their business model: pay for content. This will be increasingly more difficult to justify because of the abundance of (free) information. Just ask the newspapers.

Cannibalism legalcomplex

 

I foresee the following evolution in business models:

  • Content is paid: Original print model still in effect today;
  • Content is paid – Service is paid or value adds: Struggling to come to terms with the web, variations of this models are being tried;
  • Content is free – Service is paid: Due to the mixing of proprietary, free and user generated content and integration with software, this model might be forced upon publishers;
  • 4th Model: Due to the abundance of competing for cloud solutions, a model must arise that considers both the value of content and service and replace the ad-supported model as the predominant model for the web.

5. Goodwill effect: This a bonus effect due to all of the above effects. The marketing is in the product itself.