Message from the Chair Lucy L. Thomson

Vol. 9 Special Edition

Billions of mobile devices throughout the world are transforming our economy, our culture, and our legal systems.

This issue of The SciTech Lawyer represents a key contribution to the year-long exploration by the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law (SciTech) into the legal implications of the explosion of mobile technologies and their uses around the world. The Winter/Spring and Summer issues of The SciTech Lawyer delve into the mobile transformation and focus in-depth on the opportunities and challenges as well as the associated risks.

Concerns about the privacy and security of data and communications are increasing as institutions forge ahead to adopt sweeping changes using mobile technologies. For lawyers charged with understanding the benefits and risks of technology under the ABA Model Ethics Rules,1 the articles in this Summer issue provide critical insights into the security and related data privacy risks throughout the “mobile device ecosystem,” which consists of mobile devices, their operating systems, and providers (apps, telephone companies, and business executives and IT managers).

As mobile devices become essential for and integral to individual communication and global e-commerce, sensitive data must be protected. Only by understanding the root causes of data breaches and security failures involving mobile devices, and the multiplicity of breakdowns in data protection ranging from data theft to privacy violations and spying, can lawyers, judges, and IT experts make thoughtful decisions about how to address these critical problems.

Many thanks to The SciTech Lawyer issue editors of this, our flagship magazine, who put together such an outstanding exploration of these complex issues that are unfolding at warp speed: Ruth Hill Bro and Thomas J. Smedinghoff, editors of this issue, and George L. Paul and Lisa Von Biela, editors of the Winter/Spring 2013 issue.

 

Expanding Our Horizons—Extending Our Reach

As this year’s SciTech Chair, it has been a great privilege to lead such a distinguished group of lawyers and judges, scientists, and technology experts. SciTech is well-known for its collaborative environment in which lawyers and judges from all practice settings join forces with many of the leading scientists and technologists to address the legal implications of, and develop practical solutions for, the complex science and technology issues that are continually emerging around the globe. This year has provided numerous opportunities for SciTech to take on many challenges and expand its horizons both within and outside the ABA, all while having great fun doing so.

Last summer, when we established SciTech’s new Security, Privacy, and Information Law Division, cybersecurity and privacy were on center stage in the ABA. We are proud to support ABA President Laurel Bellows’ cybersecurity initiatives. The Division hosted an impressive array of programs and an ABA National Institute on E-Discovery. The three new committees of the Life and Physical Sciences Division (Medical Devices; Food, Cosmetics, and Nutraceuticals; and International Life Sciences) had a banner year. The E-Commerce and IT Division and the Interdisciplinary Division have continued to explore critical developments in space, health care technology, virtual worlds, museums and the arts, cleantech, robotics and artificial intelligence, telecommunications, and mobile payments, and have conducted important standards and policy work. SciTech remains the place where issues involving the many emerging technologies that mark the future of our world are addressed.

 

Mobile Theme for the Year

Our year-long initiative on the Mobile Transformation has explored how billions of mobile devices are changing the way individuals and organizations communicate and do business, while having a profound effect on legal practice. SciTech described this trend close to its inception and identified key legal issues that are just now emerging. Technology developments in this area will continue to require our focused attention.

 

Law Tracks at Global Conferences

Drawing on the expertise of SciTech leaders across the Section and building on our long tradition of hosting the Law Track of go-to programs at RSA in San Francisco, the largest security conference in the world, SciTech has developed and will be hosting new law tracks at global conferences in areas as diverse as mobile health care, cloud computing, and museums and the arts. These programs are designed to provide the tools that executives and experts need to develop the legal infrastructure essential for the successful implementation of technology and scientific initiatives.

 

An Impressive Array of New Books

Following SciTech’s long tradition of publishing authoritative books on cutting-edge subjects, we are proud of the authors and editors who have produced SciTech’s most recent books, including the legal aspects of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in A Legal Guide to Enterprise Mobile Device Management (Steve Wu); Bioinformatics Law: Legal Issues for Computational Biology in the Post-Genome Era (Jorge Contreras and Jamie Cuticchia); Health Care IT: An Essential Guide (Arthur Peabody, Jr.); Botnet Research and Cybersecurity Research (Jody Westby); and Scientific Evidence Review No. 9: Admissibility and Use of Expert Evidence in the Courtroom (Cynthia Cwik, Jules Epstein, and Carol Henderson). In addition, The Laws of Spaceflight: A Guidebook for New Space Lawyers (Matt Kleiman), launched at last year’s Annual Meeting, has become an ABA best seller.

 

Looking to the Future

As my time as SciTech Chair comes to a close, I want to thank everyone for their continuing support, adventurous spirit, and commitment to excellence. In particular, on behalf of SciTech and the ABA, I applaud our fabulous staff—Caryn Cross Hawk, Julia Passamani, and Barbara Mitchell—who worked tirelessly, provided exceedingly wise counsel, and made our achievements this year possible.

SciTech has a bold and ambitious mission—to be the authoritative source of information on science and technology law. Accordingly, its members look to the future. SciTech is proud to continue its legacy of “being there first.” Section members endeavor to make sense of the profound technology and scientific changes that are unfolding around us—so that business and government executives, judges, and members of the legal community will have the knowledge and insights they need to make sound legal and business decisions on the issues that are shaping and changing the practice of law. With these changes unfolding daily, SciTech has a bright future.

 

Endnotes

1. The Model Ethics 20/20 rules adopted by the American Bar Association (2012) explicitly require that lawyers provide “competent representation” by keeping abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the “benefits and risks associated with relevant technology” (Rule 1.1). To protect the confidentiality of information, a lawyer also shall make “reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client” (Rule 1.6).

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