Posts Tagged ‘law’

Semantic Tech’s Growing Influence In The E-Discovery Market

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/srqpix

The e-discovery market is a growing one, with Gartner this year estimating electronic data discovery software sales will reach $2.9 billion by 2017. The same research firm just recently positioned where vendors fall in that space, with the release of its Magic Quadrant for E-Discovery software.

As recounted here, semantic technology is becoming an increasingly important part of the package; semantic inventory tools, for example, allow for better understanding the vocabulary of litigation and involve repetition in the process of looking for the relevant evidence.

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Proposal for “Aaron’s Law” Following Death of Aaron Swartz

Kim Zetter of Wired reports, “The suicide last month of coder and internet activist Aaron Swartz prompted an outcry about the manner in which a U.S. attorney used anti-hacking legislation to launch a heavy-handed prosecution for what many considered a minor infraction. Federal prosecutors in Boston defended their actions, saying they were only upholding the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, under which Swartz was charged. But two lawmakers are proposing long-overdue changes to the law that would help prevent prosecutors from overreaching in their use of the law, as has occurred in a number of cases in recent years.” Read more

Crowdsourcing the Law

David Meyer of GigaOM reports that Finland is going to use crowdsourcing to create new laws. He writes, “Who makes laws? In most of the democratic world, that’s the sole preserve of elected governments. But in Finland, technology is about to make democracy significantly more direct. Earlier this year, the Finnish government enabled something called a “citizens’ initiative”, through which registered voters can come up with new laws – if they can get 50,000 of their fellow citizens to back them up within six months, then the Eduskunta (the Finnish parliament) is forced to vote on the proposal.” Read more

Legally Linked: Linked Open Data Principles Applied To Code Of Federal Regulations

The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School is about making law accessible and understandable, for free. It’s been engaged in that mission since the early ’90s, and semantic web technology today plays a role in furthering that goal.

The organization this month published a new electronic edition of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which contains a bevy of rules across 50 titles that impact nearly all areas of American business. Work underway at LII, dubbed the Linked Legal Data project, seeks to apply Linked Open Data principles enhances access to the CFR, with capabilities such as  being able to search its Title 21 Food and Drugs database using brand names for drugs (such as Tylenol), and receiving the generic name for the drug (acetaminophen) as a suggested term. “You cannot look for regulatory information on Tylenol in the CFR because Tylenol will never be there,” says Dr. Núria Casellas, who is a visiting scholar at the LII spearheading work on the project. “That is a brand name. What you actually want to look for are components, such as acetaminophen.”

While the general citizenry might find reasons to leverage the fruits of this effort, businesses that must comply with these requirements are a more likely target – not just the lawyers and paralegals, but those responsible for tasks, for example, such as storing and caring for products their company exports or imports, including understanding the safety regulations that apply to it. The Tylenol-acetaminophen example, she says, is very interesting because it showcases how using the wrong word or the incorrect approach can hamper a company from being able to find the relevant regulatory or safety information it needs to take into consideration.

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Semantic Tech Can Take Pain Out Of eDiscovery

Last month Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, issued an opinion in a gender discrimination case that had this to say about computer-assisted review: “Computer-assisted review is an available tool and should be seriously considered for use in large-data-volume cases where it may save the producing party (or both parties) significant amounts of legal fees in document review.”

In doing so, he just also may have made a case for the legal profession to do some more investigation of semantic technology in order to cope with its own Big Data challenges. In the mid-2000s, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to take into account electronic discovery, so that both sides in a legal challenge would have to confer within sixty days of filing to disclose how they handled digital data. The beauty of the American legal system is that it requires each party to pony up information that is meaningful and responsive to the facts of the case. The dark side is that the proliferation of data inside businesses means employees are creating more and more data in lots of different ways, which means legal staff has to spend a lot more time sifting through digital realms of structured and unstructured information to discover what may have to do with a lawsuit or government investigation, what is responsive to the other party’s document request, and what is privileged information, too.

“It’s created a cottage industry in temp staffing – now there are temp lawyers, contract attorneys who work from $30 to $75 an hour,” says Jay Leib, Chief Strategy Officer at kCura, which makes the Relativity Assisted Review e-discovery text analytics software based on latent semantic indexing technology. “Just like we outsource factory workers, there are outsourced attorneys overseas doing document review to combat the amount of data that’s sprung up.” There is so much data out there that it’s entirely possible that a $3 million lawsuit could cost $6 million to litigate, he says.

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PureDiscovery Combines Forces with LexisNexis LAW PreDiscovery

PureDiscovery has announced “that it is combining the power of its semantic discovery technology with LexisNexis® LAW PreDiscovery™, the premier solution for electronic discovery processing and imaging. The integration between the two products will help litigation discovery professionals find the most relevant documents faster than ever before by integrating PureDiscovery’s LegalSuite product with LAW PreDiscovery. PureDiscovery’s semantic technology utilizes the company’s innovations in machine learning to produce highly relevant semantic matches.” Read more

Linked Data and US Law

Bob DuCharme recently discussed the value of linked data in US law. DuCharme notes, “At a recent W3C Government Linked Data Working Group working group meeting, I started thinking more about the role in linked data of laws that are published online. To summarize, you don’t want to publish the laws themselves as triples, because they’re a bad fit for the triples data model, but as online resources relevant to a lot of issues out there, they make an excellent set of resources to point to, although you may not always get the granularity you want.” Read more