Nigeria and Online Dispute Resolution

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One of the earliest letters I received from Nigeria (before the Internet – postage/envelope/letter inside/a “real” signature) invited me to help out an individual there who was a relative of a prince and had a very substantial bank account in New York, but they could not access the funds there (millions of dollars) without my help. Hmmm….

Nigeria has had a reputation for scammers for a long time. The Internet gave these scammers new fuel and new ways to catch people in their lair. These scammers are sophisticated and the reason they don’t give up is because it works. Nevertheless, the reputation that has befallen Nigeria is not one that should be allowed to perpetuate. I remember the first time I met my good friend from Lagos, attorney Ayo Kusamotu, on a phone call and we talked about a legal problem regarding trademarks and online dispute resolution for a long time. He suddenly interrupted me to say “thank you.” I asked him “for what?” And he said “for not bringing up the Nigerian scammers.”

It never occurred to me to bring up scamming – it is everywhere and it shouldn’t be attributed to one country or another. Ijeoma Ononogbu, another Nigerian colleague of mine, began her recent presentation on the state of justice in the African Union during Cyberweek, and she pointed out that Nigeria has adopted a broad based cybersecurity initiative designed to increase trust for online commerce; an absolute prerequisite for its growth. And last week, yet another colleague from Lagos, Morenike Obi-Farinde LL.M, FCIArb (UK), (founder of www.e-consumersolve.com), organized a first ever training program between InternetBar.org Institute and the Nigerian Bar Association on the use of practical technology techniques for online dispute resolution. Led by IBO board member Dan Rainey, there were 41 attendees.

Scamming may be endemic to the Internet – but building the foundation of trust to overcome it is in the genes of my Nigerian attorney friends. Transformation is in their hands, and they are doing great works.

23
Nov 2015
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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Waking Up

Two weeks off, and a trip to visit Machupicchu is coming up. It’s a time to stop and take stock. After all, it’s been ten years since I started IBO and at times it has seemed almost mind numbing.

Like usual, I gathered some reading materials before leaving Houston.  THE INNOVATORS by Walter Isaacson, STARTING WITH WHY by Simon Sinek  and the April issue of WIRED with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un gracing the cover.  It seems like the theme of my reading would become clear once I started turning the pages!

It didn’t take long. Sinek’s book is about how great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Isaacson’s focus was more on how great teams have innovated to change the world.  The WIRED story by Greenberg, was about the plot to take down a tyrant.  My own story is hidden in all of this.  The idea that we can empower global citizens to  govern their relationships in an emerging global order has global precedent going back to the times of merchants selling their wares across civilizations on the silk road.  But how do we inspire the great action it will take to do this?

Awakening to the notion that this work is less about law, and more about the art of inspiring change is straightforward for sure.  But most inspiration that seems to come from the emotions which rise up from inside that change is beautiful.  Law seems to be more about a power which governs using fear as a motivator.  Though N. Korea’s Kim is an extreme example of power gone wild, the story of revolutionary change in that country is being written by activists introducing art and music surreptitiously into the country on USB sticks.  Then, the power of fear is attacked frontally by the inspired action of freedom fighters bringing movies that tell stories, music that sings joy, and documentaries that teach potential.

We’ll see! IBO has the arts on the front line.  Our top people and our leading projects are inspired by the arts.  We aim to inspire in the days ahead.

22
Apr 2015
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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Why We Founded the ABA TECHSHOW – Technology and the Transformation of Law

aba techshow logo bringing lawyers and technology together

When I first worked with Don Hagans and Bruce Jaster from Texas and several others in 1986 to help develop the inaugural ABA TECHSHOW, the idea of using computers in the practice of law was at its complete inception.

At the time, I had already started the Computer College in Massachusetts as chair of the Law Practice Section of the Mass Bar Association – generously funded by Digital Equipment Corporation (remember when DEC and WANG battled for the legal market…). Running educational programs all across the state of Massachusetts, by 1986, we had trained hundreds of lawyers across the state on how to automate their legal practice. Essentially, it was document assembly training, but it was the first Bar training ever of that kind. As I was also vice-chair of the ABA’s Economics of Law Practice Section’s computer division, I had caught wind of the idea for an ABA TECHSHOW (inspired by a computer retail building in Dallas, called, funnily enough – InfoMart). As Boston was opening its version of the Infomart at about the same time (called the World Trade Center in Boston), I approached Don and Bruce about doing two TECHSHOWs each year – after some friendly Texas/Massachusetts negotiations, we agreed. And, that’s how we got started – two ABA TECHSHOWs a year – one in Dallas, the other in Boston – which happened for two years, and, then the ABA staff asked us to move the show to Chicago and run it once annually.

The TECHSHOW always had a strong mix of the “geeky” lawyers in the beginning, who could just as easily have been brilliant experts in computer science, driving the show. So the TECHSHOW was truly started by and got its legs from people with an intense passion for technology. After a period of time, when computers became more prevalent in law offices and the learning curb was bridged, TECHSHOW attracted many consultants to law firms – those who wanted to help lawyers select the best technology for their needs. In the early days of TECHSHOW, we had ‘shoot outs’ (yes, a Texas theme) over the word processing software, the best timekeeping and billing software, PC vs dedicated Word Processor, Apple vs PC – lots of impassioned debates!! There were multiple software options all vying for top placement, and the conversation centered on which brand was best.

Over the years, there have been many changes to technology and TECHSHOW has been at the cutting edge each time, helping lawyers adapt. With the 2015 TECHSHOW underway, it’s fascinating to see that this year and in previous years, it is no longer only the technology lawyers at the table nor solely product evangelists – lawyers, computer scientists, academics and more are all beginning to gather together through commercial events and events like the Appathon and other legal hackathons, to improve the practice of law. It’s a great movement for the profession, and I’m glad to see TECHSHOW is in the middle of it.

As one of the founding co-chairs of ABA’s TECHSHOW, it’s a privilege to be associated with an event that is now approaching its 30th year. As some of you know, 10 years ago, I founded Internet Bar Organization (www.internetbar.org) to increase access to justice through technology for the most vulnerable in our society. We took our inspiration from the early days of ABA’s TECHSHOW and the Computer Division which was the watering hole for so many of the ‘early adopters’ of the personal computer within law. The justice system is undergoing changes that will change and improve access to justice in so many ways and we look forward to continuing to work together with the ABA, where we have so many ties, to realize through technology our shared vision of “Justice for All”.

15
Apr 2015
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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Shaping the Rule of Law, Trust And Resolution in The Online Justice System

huff post

I was recently published on The Huffington Post examining the concept of trusted online communities, online identity and the shaping a global democracy online. The chance to establish norms for justice over the Internet that transcend international boundaries is something the world, and the legal community in particular, can drive to secure rights both on and offline:

The changes resulting from the rise of the Internet are taking hold, and the legal community has yet to catch up to the way the world is now interacting. As our modes of business and daily interactions take place increasingly over the Web, the world is beginning to define the ways in which those exchanges will be characterized. This presents a new range of challenges for us in the legal field and as a global community, but it also presents an opportunity. Bringing the rule of law online will be an essential part of determining how we shape the future of global normative behavior and present an opportunity to redefine what we believe to be the right way to act, based not only on the multiplicity of laws as they stand, but rather based on a new organic democracy that will define itself in an harmonized way…

Please feel free to check out the article here.

24
Jun 2014
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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Two of My Colleagues Explore New Concepts in Data Security at ODR 2014

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This year Internet Bar Organization is co-organizing the international ODR2014 Conference, which will take place from June 25-27 at UC Hastings and Stanford Law. I am excited about the agenda we have put together, which includes many of my closest colleagues. Here is a preview I wrote about a data security presentation by one of my board members Demetrios Eleftheriou, along with the brilliant Anjli Garg:

At the Stanford Law program at ODR2014 (June 26-27), two of the world’s leading thinkers on protecting private information, Anjli Garg and Demetrios Eleftheriou, will explore the disputes that can arise when companies handle personal data (PD) and how to avoid them. In their recent article on the subject for Corporate Counsel, entitled “The Rethinking of Data Security: Are You Ready?,” they ask us to “(t)hink of PD as an organism that evolves during its corporate lifecycle (i.e., from the point of collection to the point of deletion/disposal)…As data evolves during the corporate life-cycle, new or different data protection requirements could be triggered.” Since many different laws could apply to that data, Garg and Eleftheriou insist that companies must ensure that they understand their obligations with respect to the PD that they collect, and, when a breach occurs, take appropriate action.

As breaches from hackers are occurring routinely from attacks initiated all over the globe, victims are looking for new means of redress. At ODR2014 you will learn how to investigate, analyze and advise your clients on addressing PD both before breaches occur, and, in the unfortunate event of one happening.

Additionally, as this is a conference on online dispute resolution, our panelists will look at the potential of a new field of dispute resolution developing online to support the resolution of these disputes.

This session alone is worth the price of admission.

17
Jun 2014
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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Street Law, Inc.

Street Law

When it comes to legal education at a grassroots level, I am drawn to strong initiatives that provide access to justice training, both in the U.S. and beyond. A key player in these efforts is Street Law, Inc, a nonprofit Washington, DC organization dedicated to educating students and communities across the world about their legal rights, about global human rights, and about democracy at the local and international level.

Finding established change agents like Street Law which have been working at the grassroots level for years is a gift. The need for global communities to learn to empower themselves in terms of legal education, human rights activism, and connection to global e-commerce systems will be paramount as cyberlaw continues to develop in the future.

Visit StreetLaw.org to learn more about their efforts to provide worldwide legal education to communities that need it most.

16
Dec 2013
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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RAMON MULLERAT – A Visionary and Inspirational Leader in the Law Leaves us too soon.

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The lawyer, jurist and specialist in international arbitration Ramón Mullerat Balmaña passed away on the morning of May 31, 2013. Ramón was President of the Council of the European lawyers (CCBE) in 1996 and a great promoter of the internationalization of law.

After a fifty year professional career, Ramón was recognized internationally as an arbitrator. He was a lawyer in schools in Barcelona and Madrid, in the Court of Paris, Honorary Member of the Law Society of England and Wales, and ex-co president of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, among other positions.

Ramón graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Barcelona (1957-1961) and throughout his career he received awards as outstanding as the Medal of Honor of the Col·legi D’advocats de Barcelona, in 1999, the award ‘Dr. Ivo Politeo’, of the College of lawyers of Croatia, in 2005; and the Cruz de San Raimundo de Peñafort, in 2006.

He was also a member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and member of the Spanish Arbitration Club; author of the Report for the Review of the Code of Ethics of the Council of Bar Associations of the EC; and Member and Rapporteur of the Committee for the Revision of the Code of Ethics of the International Bar Association (IBA).

The news has caused great impact in the legal sector and the arbitration world. Bernardo Cremades, of the Spanish Arbitration Court, said Ramón “had been a key professional in the relations of the Spanish legal profession with foreign institutions. As all who were devoted for years to international service, we are talking about a lawyer ahead of his time”.

Ramón was an active member of the American Bar Association International Law Section and supported its many projects, especially those related to the promotion of human rights. Jim Silkenat, president -elect of the American Bar Association, commented that Ramón was a leader in promoting the rule of law around the world and making sure that justice was a reality rather than just a goal.

Ramón was a member of the board of the World Justice Forum. The immediate past executive director of the WJF, Hongxia Liu, noted that Ramón and his family welcomed the World Justice Forum into Barcelona and his lovely home in 2011. At the Barcelona forum, she remembered his message to lawyers everywhere that their first role in the challenging environment of the 21st century was to promote world peace across all cultures.
One of Ramón’s last appointments was as a founding board member of the Internet Bar Organization. Jeff Aresty, president of IBO, noted that Ramon took great joy in working with the young leaders of IBO who were reinventing new ways to make and practice law in cyberspace, especially to promote world peace. He was working on a global set of ethical values for IBO to promote online justice at the time of his passing.

05
Jul 2013
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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PeaceTones – Our Time has come – Here’s how you can help

future of justice logo

After having completed several projects in Africa, Brazil and Haiti – PeaceTones is poised to go to Kenya and begin scaling its scope by offering more services to musicians everywhere.  To get there, we need your help.

First, to see what we are doing – take a look at this link which tells our story – in a contest  Q and A format – https://www.vnistories.com/Page/ViewIdea?ideaid=213&foolIE6=1#comment_674

So it’s pretty exciting to see how we’ve grown from a simple idea of empowering musicians to developing a fair trade music model that features “Songs of Justice” !!

Please vote for PeaceTones to win the Cisco contest and help us get to Kenya –  One way to help out is to go to this link –  https://www.vnistories.com/Page/ViewIdeas – and, if you haven’t registered you will have to do that first – you can tell by scrolling to the top of the page and if you see log-in and register at the top right, then click on register, and it only takes a few seconds to complete.  Then, you’ll be able to go back to this link and be able to click the thumbs up icon next to the “Songs of Justice” entry.  thank you!!!

 

14
May 2013
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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Blog, Cyberlaw

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Cyberwarfare

This story about a global cybercriminal network is an example of how challenging it is for cops to get the robbers.  They did in this case, congrats to the cops!! Laws don’t stop cybercriminals from crossing borders with increasingly sophisticated schemes.  If you read to the end of the article, the quiet mention of who will  bear the loss (the cops didn’t recover anywhere near all that was stolen) is unresolved.  That’s a fault of the global legal system.  And there is no solution in site.

Eight Charged in 45-million Global Cyber Bank TheftsNew York Times.

11
May 2013
AUTHOR Jeff Aresty
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SOPA

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http://ning.it/zL1634

The False Ideals of the Web – op ed piece by Jaron Lanier

“The proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, which is being considered in the House while the Senate looks at a similar bill, is deemed the worst thing ever. Popular sites like Wikipedia staged a blackout on Wednesday to protest the bills. Google put a black banner over its name. Nothing quite like that has ever happened before. This is extraordinary, because it shows that belief in the priority of fighting SOPA is so absolute as to trump the stated nonpartisan missions of these sites.”

Absolute positions are not the foundation for healthy discourse. Web vigilantism does a disservice to the need to fight the politics of SOPA. Rising above the political discourse is what’s needed; SOPA demonstrates a lack of understanding of the ideals of the web; we need to express these ideals in ways that promote freedom of expression and define new, and fairly negotiated roles, for intermediaries who provide value to the creators of intellectual property.

26
Sep 2012
AUTHOR admin
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