The recent headlines dealing with Cambridge Analytica’s alleged use of data obtained through apps on social media including Facebook has caused quite a stir. Numerous stories about people and companies closing their Facebook accounts appear alongside articles about concerned government regulators and elected officials. Canada’s Privacy Commissioner announced on March 20 that it has opened an investigation into allegations made against Facebook.
This issue is not new, however. Privacy has been an emerging area of legal and social concern for decades. The aggregation of personal information for disparate sources to generate profiles of people has been going on for many years. Take, for example, what Kris Klein said back in 2012:
“Even when the information by itself is not sensitive, the vast proliferation of personal information found in distinct and separate locations on the Internet (or elsewhere) is fuel for data miners, who now have the technical ability of parsing through this information to piece it together and develop comprehensive profiles on individuals. Whereas in the past, the “needle in a haystack” theory afforded individuals anonymity even if their information was publicly available, today’s technology turns this idea on its head and renders publicly available information very accessible.”
“Canadian Privacy: Data Protection Law and Policy for the Practitioner”, (2012, IAPP), per Kris Klein, Managing Director, International Association of Privacy Professionals at p. 16.
When we search using most browsers, navigate web pages, make purchases, enroll in groups, or even “like” something online we share a little bit of personal information. Smart data scientists are able to gather seemingly innocuous digital artifacts and combine them together to create robust profiles.
It is more important than ever for businesses to take account of their information practices to protect people and to protect against breaches. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on May 25, 2018. Its application will extend beyond the borders of Europe and touch every business which controls or processes personal information of European residents.
Canada is currently designated by Europe as a jurisdiction that affords adequate protection to personal information through our Federal and Provincial privacy legislation, and we can expect that Privacy Commissioners, ombudspersons, courts and regulators will enforce our laws in a way that is consistent with the protections and rights extended under the GDPR.
Every company, and indeed, every person, needs to put in place effective systems and practices to manage and protect personal information.
The Information Governance Initiative (IGI) released “The State of Information Governance Report, Volume III on March 1, 2018 (SIGR-III). Based on a survey of approximately 100,000 people who work in Information Governance (IG) in their organization, it reveals some key insights about the importance of IG and also a (perhaps) surprising increase in adoption of IG projects. It seems an appropriate time to reflect on IG and how it can maximize value and reduce risk.
There is a growing recognition, reflected in the SIGR-III, that IG is one of the broadest categories of internal business activities. It is usually described as subsuming compliance, E-Discovery, and privacy, for example. IGI has developed a pinwheel infographic which depicts IG as touching upon all organizational activities and functions.
IG is not a product that an organization can simply purchase or install; it is a practice, similar to the risk-based approach that has emerged in compliance disciplines. It is an ongoing way of doing business that becomes easier over time but really has no end. Its lifecycle moves through many stages: evaluation, collection, measurement, analysis, development, implementation, evaluation, reporting, training and finally audit.
The goal of all this is to move away from an ad hoc system where individual users decide how information is to be generated, used, valued, shared, stored and deleted. The ad hoc approach is fraught with risk. By managing and optimizing an organization’s IG system we move to one that is designed to maximize value and minimize risk. In other words, “IG by Design”.
SIGR-III demonstrates that business has got the message. Some of the key findings include:
VAST INCREASE IN IG PROJECTS - the number of respondents who have never undertaken an IG project dropped by a whopping 90% in one year resulting in only 2% of respondents never having undertaken an IG project;
ORGANIZATIONS REALIZING VALUE - the number of organizations reporting that they are extracting business value from the information they hold has increased by 30% to 46%;
TONE FROM THE TOP – senior executives are getting more involved;
CYBERSECURITY CONNECTION – organizations are increasingly aware that IG is “essential to strong cybersecurity”.
SIGR-III describes a business world that is changing rapidly and starting to get a hold on the reality that effective information governance is no longer an option. It is a business necessity.
The 2017 American football season has begun but we have our sights set on another type of fantasy league: Fantasy SCOTUS!
Fantasy SCOTUS is the leading Supreme Court Fantasy League, whereby thousands of attorneys and law students make predictions about cases before the Supreme Court of The United States.
This data provides researchers with an ample source of information to predict SCOTUS outcomes.
There are three strategies Fantasy SCOTUS employed to predict legal outcomes:
1. Expert opinion;
2. Crowd-sourcing; and
But which is the most accurate?
Experts on the 2002 – 2003 Supreme Court Term predicted 58% of cases and 67.4% of Justice votes. The champion of predicting Supreme Court cases was Jacob Berlove, who correctly predicted cases more than 80% of the time.
LexPredict uses crowds to predict Supreme Court cases, although not all crowd-members are treated equally. LexPredict’s super crowd, dubbed the “Expert Crowd”, is composed of the most accurate predictors of SCOTUS cases. The Expert Crowd predicted…84.29% of cases and 84.18% of Justice votes.
Meanwhile, a team of researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and South Texas College of Law threw their hat into the ring by developing an algorithm that predicts SCOTUS cases. The algorithm correctly predicted 70.2% of the Supreme Court’s 28,000 decisions and 71.9% of the Justices’ 240,000 votes.
So which approach is best? At Wortzmans, we believe that Lawyers + Machines > Humans or Machines. The most accurate method is a combination of experts, crowds and algorithms, but the apportionment of weight is critical.
Experts argue that a combination of a “super crowd” and machine learning could assist lawyers in framing their arguments to be successful in the courtroom. Law firms, corporations and banks could use a combination of experts, crowds and algorithms to predict how courts will decide a commercial matter. In the criminal law sphere, an algorithm, a combination of experts, crowds and algorithms could predict the likely sentence of an accused according to a specific judge.
Our team at Wortzmans uses a combination of highly skilled experts, review lawyers, cutting edge e-Discovery technology and techniques to give our clients the best possible results.