Jason Atchley : Legal Tech 2014 : The Dark Side of Tech

Jason Atchley : Legal Tech 2014 : The Dark Side of Tech

Jason Atchley

Jason Thomas Highlights the Dark Side of Tech in LegalTech 2014 Keynote

Thomas challenges all of us who utilize technology to understand its full impact on the world and our lives.

Judy Selby, Law Technology News

February 04, 2014, 01:06 PM    |1 Comments

Jason Thomas
Jason Thomas, Chief Innovator, Thomson Reuters
Photo: Monica Bay
LegalTech 2014 got off to a fascinating start with a compelling keynote address by Jason Thomas of Thompson Reuters entitled, “TOR, Bitcoin and the Anonymous Web: Drugs, Bombs and Murder-for-Hire.”  Thomas provided a chilling overview of the dark underbelly of technology today and issued a challenge to everyone who utilizes technology in their everyday lives.
Adapting a Winston Churchill expression to today’s tech environment, Thomas said, “we build tech and tech builds us,” but in ways we don’t realize.  Aside from allowing us to spy on our friends and present “curated profiles of ourselves” on social media, technology has created challenges and opportunities that even the average device-addicted person doesn’t understand.
Thomas provided a glimpse into TOR, an app that was created to allow users to be anonymous online.  TOR lets a website exist without the location being known or knowable.  Browsing habits are also untraceable.  Although it was originally created to permit people living in restrictive countries to use the internet freely and safely, it was become the home to “hidden marketplaces” where people can, among other things, trade in illegal guns and drugs, buy stolen passports, hire hit men and hackers, and sell illegal erotica.  Silk Road is a prominent example of a hidden marketplace, and Thomas displayed real-time offers of drugs currently for sale on the site.  The “currency of the realm” is Bitcoin, an anonymous (although not completely private) currency that allows for the untraceable and unregulated transmission of even large sums of money. Thomas described these developments as “incredibly dangerous” because of the anonymity of the participants and the utter lack of regulation.  Thomas described how quickly and easily a Bitcoin global money transfer can take place, even from a smart phone.
The tech developments Thomas described are made possible by the impact of “Moore’s Law,” which posits that the power of information technology will double every 24 (but really every 18) months.  This makes better, more powerful devices cheaper than ever imagined. Crowdsourcing, which Thomas defined as “getting people to do something for you with little or no incentive,” also has contributed to today’s tech phenomena by allowing for the aggregation of tremendous amounts of personal data.  Even a “simple” device like an Xbox allows for the detection and gathering of information on its users, such as their photographs, facial expressions, the user’s pulse and other biometric measures.  Thomas noted, however, that most people are willing to give up some privacy for the conveniences that utilization of personal data can provide, such as getting a push notification on your smart phone when you step off an airplane that your favorite band is in town.
Thomas closed his remarks by issuing a challenge to everyone in attendance.  He said that as users of technology, we all have an obligation to be aware of and understand the uses of modern technology and the affect it has on our world, our businesses and our children. 
Judy Selby is a partner in BakerHostetler’s New York Office and can be reached at jselby@bakerlaw.com and @judy_selby.

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202641460170/Jason-Thomas-Highlights-the-Dark-Side-of-Tech-in-LegalTech-2014-Keynote#ixzz2sSb8IAcn

Posted by at 9:06 AM 

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