Editorial: Special Feature -
ICT in Legal Education
Julie Moreton BSc (Hons), Dip.IT
Web Journal Developer, ELJ
University of Warwick
1. Introduction - Issue 2001 (3)
We welcome readers to the final issue for 2001, which is dedicated to the memory of Nicola Clare (see below).
As usual we have a diverse range of papers covering topics such as cryptography, databases and data protection, domain name disputes, financial regulations for e-commerce, Microsoft and spam law to name but a few.
However, the main focus of this edition is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), in legal education, and we have four very interesting and detailed papers offering quite distinct perspectives on how ICT has been used to enhance the teaching of law, as well as an editorial comment from Professor Paliwala, which brings them all together.
This issue includes nine refereed articles, two commentaries and a Work in Progress piece, from authors based in Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Puerto Rico and the US and the UK.
2. Dedication to Nicola Clare
We would like to dedicate this issue to the memory of Nicola Clare who passed away recently from cancer quite tragically and suddenly, at an early age.
Nicola, based at the University of Strathclyde, was very important to the journal and provided much of the early web input and support over the period 1995-1998. We are extremely grateful for her contribution.
Professor Ian Lloyd, Nicola's Head of Department at Strathclyde, described her as 'such a lively and enthusiastic person' and we are all very saddened and shocked by her loss. Please see Professor Lloyd's special tribute to her.
3. Special Feature - ICT in Legal Education
Our special feature comprises four very different but highly topical perspectives on what can and cannot be achieved with the use of ICT in legal teaching, and an editorial comment.
Robert Woods from St Thomas University School of Law in the US, provides an excellent and thorough overview of the virtual law school.
This is complemented by the work of William Byrnes, from Regent University, who reviews the development of the first Internet delivered LL.M program of International Tax and Offshore Financial Centers in the US, and David Poyton, from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth who researches the use of ICT in two post-graduate law modules.
Marlene Le Brun offers an interesting overview of the development of a CD-ROM for legal teaching and the struggle to get it financed.
Finally Abdul Paliwala provides an editorial comment on all of the papers.
4. The Data Protection Battle
As more and more personal data becomes digitalised and consequently more freely available and transferable across electronic networks, data protection issues become ever more significant.
Catherine Colston, from the University of Strathclyde examines the new sui generis right for databases under the new Directive on the Legal Protection of Databases and questions how effective this is in guarding against illegal copying or duplicating of information.
The collecting and maintaining of information in databases forms an essential part of companies' marketing strategies, but where does the divide lie between useful marketing for the company and purely 'junk mail' for the customer? Wye Keen Khong, from the Cyberlaw Centre at the Multimedia University of Malaysia, reviews the movement to regulate 'spam' or unsolicited commercial emails on the Internet and the legislative efforts in the EU and the US to control it.
A very unusual angle on data protection is offered by James Miller and Lixin Gao from the University of Massachusetts. They have designed an ingenious but quite simple encryption technique which allows personal diaries to be encrypted in a way that no-one, not even the author, is able to read until a specified period of time has elapsed. The reasoning behind this is that many high ranking government officials are currently afraid to keep a diary because of the possibility it may be subpoenaed. This system would prevent the diary being subpoenaed by contemporary political adversaries, whilst allowing future historians access to what could become quite important historical accounts of their time.
Andrés Guadamuz also provides an update to his Habeas Data article that first appeared in June 2000. There have been many new developments since regarding the implementation of Habeas Data in Latin America, as well as some other interesting developments in the EU that required some of the original conclusions be revisited and amended.
5. E-commerce: A Meeting of Legal and Financial Regulations
E-commerce provides, in theory, a certain fluidity between companies, the movement of their goods and services, and their customers, and as a result the legal and financial implications of conducting business on the internet are becoming more tightly bound together.
Tracy Manly and Lori Leonard, from the University of Tulsa, examine the new financial reporting regulations for e-Commerce companies. In response to the diversity of accounting practices currently being used by e-commerce firms, regulators have issued new guidelines that will directly impact on the firms future financial performance. The paper looks at some problematic accounting practices of some Internet companies and what accounting regulators in the US and UK have done in response. Although the paper has perhaps more of a financial or accounting bent to it, it is quite fascinating and would interest a Law and IT audience even with no direct experience of the accounting procedures described.
6. Where There's a Domain Name, There's Always Controversy
Douglas Hancock, a lawyer from Canada, and a recent LLM graduate from the University of Strathclyde, provides an assessment of ICANN's mandatory Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for resolving disputes over domain names.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit California corporation established in October 1998, adopted the UDRP on December 1, 1999, following a report issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The UDRP constitutes a major step forward in Internet governance, and although not without its shortcomings, Hancock believes the policy has been fairly successful and with a little fine-tuning, the UDRP could serve as a model for future initiatives to regulate conduct on the Internet.
7. And Where There's Controversy, There's always Bill
Yes, Bill Gates that is. Never one to be too far away from the latest controversy, is our Bill. John Hogan critically reviews the latest Microsoft offering - Windows XP, and what this means for the IT industry.
Windows XP is said to be highly commendable product but it has already proved massively controversial. With the development of this product, it is clear that Microsoft is attempting to define new markets for online computing, which could put them in direct competition with their rivals Sun Microsystems and AOL Time Warner. Hogan states:
'Microsoft is competing with Sun for the de facto programming language of the Internet, and with AOL for the online consumer. This is not competition within markets, but competition across markets and for markets'.
8. On a Final Note
We hope you enjoy this diverse and interesting edition, and of course we welcome any comments you may have on any of the articles.
The next issue, 2002 (2), will be published in full at the end of February 2002. As ever we are keen to highlight new and important areas of research, so please contact us if you have a paper you would like to be considered for publication, be it an academic paper, commentary, information paper, a work in progress or book or IT review. In this issue we also be doing a special feature on human rights and cyber-liberties, in light of the events of 11 September 2001, and the subsequent tightening of national security arrangements.
Please contact the Production Manager if you would like to discuss anything further or see the Submission Standards for further information. Papers for the February 2002 issue should be submitted by mid January 2002.
This Editorial was published on 7 November 2001.
Citation: 'Editorial', 2001 (3) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/01-3/editorial.html>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2001_3/editorial/>.