Friend or Foe? Technology In Our Everyday Lives: Facing the New Year with Your Face

Welcome to the New Year! As you kick off 2018 with a host of new-found, far-flung, and/or recycled resolutions -- eating less, exercising more, nurturing forgotten friendships, de-cluttering your closet -- don’t forget about your cyber self. What technology-related areas deserve your attention in the New Year?

For practicing attorneys and law firms, it would be strategically valuable to ask what emerging areas of law could expand your perceived expertise and book of business? Are you sure your firm’s privacy protocols are protecting digital data? What steps are you taking to enhance your corporate clients’ cybersecurity preparedness and incident responsiveness? What pieces do you need to put in place to educate your clients about the looming May 2018 GDPR compliance deadline? Are you building an appropriate digital competence for your practice in the face of emerging disruptive technologies?

For law students, are you considering new growth areas such as electronic discovery, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and data privacy as you select your courses? Engagement with or establishment of student groups that expose you to new legal issues within technological innovations may advance your career in unexpected ways. And of course, it’s fairly common knowledge that the questionable content of some social media posts can hinder your gaining employment or career advancement.  Do yourself a favor in the New Year: sweep unflattering material from your social media accounts and protect your personal brand.

While technology has many advantages, it also can create unexpected consequences. Take facial recognition. For years, it was just fodder for another fanciful sci-fi storyline in Hollywood. Now, it’s staring us in the face. Literally.

On the iPhone X, your face unlocks convenient tools such as Apple Pay, iTunes and third-party apps like banking. Who knew a face could do so much? But the privacy concerns of facial recognition are real and worth weighing heavily. For example, what if the police pull you over for suspected texting while driving and force a search of your phone by pointing it at your face to unlock it? How about the notion that Face ID could be a robber’s best friend: instead of demanding your wallet, a would-be-thief could demand your face to unlock your banking app to assess how much money you really have. Additionally, the security of using facial recognition as a security measure might fall flat if you have a child or other family member that looks like you. In one recent case, a 10 year-old unlocked his mother’s phone with his own face. So much for security. Yikes! Embrace new technology but be aware of its pitfalls.

So, for the New Year, seek new knowledge, explore new contours of your career, and look for new ways to get up to speed on new and emerging technologies. And as you compile your “cyber self-improvement” list for 2018, here are two recommended readings:

1. Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World

(Author: Marc Goodman)

Why I recommend:

A cybercrime expert presents a comprehensive view of “the story of the society we are building with our technological tools and how these very same implements can be used against us.” 

2. Blockchain Revolution: How The Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing

Money, Business, and the World.

(Authors: Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott)

Why I recommend:

The transformative impact of blockchain technology on many aspects of everyday activities includes cryptocurrencies, privacy protection, payment settlements, property access, and identity verification. Particularly interesting is the discussion of blockchain technology’s potential impact on 21st century democracy.




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