Archive for February 4, 2020

New Survey Highlights Growing Responsibilities For Legal Operations

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2020 by itnerd
OpenText today announced findings from a new report launched at Legaltech 2020 in conjunction with Ari Kaplan Advisors. The report highlights the need to take control of eDiscovery costs, with AI, cloud and security all listed as top priorities for enterprise legal departments.

Key findings from the OpenText 4th Annual Survey of Legal Operations Professionals include:

  • Controlling eDiscovery costs is the ultimate goal: Legal operations teams are focused on controlling eDiscovery costs by gaining transparency from law firms on discovery budgets and review efficiency, centralizing eDiscovery management, benchmarking success and partnering with managed review providers. Corporate legal teams are standardizing their internal process for eDiscovery, and even providing mandates to external counsel. 77 per cent contract directly with eDiscovery vendors, 74 per cent control which eDiscovery vendors their outside counsel uses, and 71 per cent have adopted a centralized approach to managing eDiscovery data. A full 42 per cent have adopted a single vendor model.
  • Increasing use and spend on AI tools: The drive to improve eDiscovery efficiency, spend and outcomes is fueling AI spending and usage. 83 per cent of respondents plan to increase spend in this area and 49 per cent reported using predictive coding (also known as technology-assisted review) in the past year (+18 YoY).
  • Moving to the cloud is a key initiative to optimize operations: 69 per cent of legal operations professionals saying their law departments are standardizing in the cloud.
  • Data security is top-of-mind: 94 per cent (+3% YoY) of respondents reported they have data security concerns around distributing electronically stored information to multiple discovery vendors and law firms.
For the full survey of legal operations professionals, click here.

The OpenText team will also present highlights from the latest OpenText’ Release 16 Enterprise Pack 7 (EP7) during the conference. EP7 introduces powerful new features and enhancements to OpenText products in the Legal Tech portfolio, including automation, machine learning, and AI that make it easier than ever for lawyers and legal professionals to find, review, and assess information.

The OpenText Services Team will be on-site to discuss OpenText High-Efficiency Managed Review. OpenText Managed Review provides upfront budget certainty for eDiscovery and investigations document review with fixed fee pricing, reduces costs up to 80 per cent and mitigates risk with measurably higher accuracy than alternatives. Specific innovations showcased this week will include:

  • The integration of OpenText Magellan text analytics into OpenText Axcelerate for eDiscovery, investigations, and regulatory response.
  • A new platform integration between OpenText Axcelerate and Veritone to automate machine translation on-the-fly, helping to reduce costs associated with manual translation and expedite the review of multi-language documents.
  • New enhanced templates for OpenText EnCase eDiscovery to help legal teams standardize methodology and reduce the time to create a new project by 75 per cent or more.
  • The integration of OpenText eDOCS with OpenText MindServer, an AI-powered search engine add-on, to provide quick and automatic search models.
  • A completely new UI for OpenText Decisiv reinvents the user experience and provides a mobile-responsive layout with an intuitive single search bar and robust smart filters.
For more information on the latest OpenText releases for legal technology, visit the OpenText blog.

Paranoid Inc. Introduces Paranoid Home: An Add-on Device That Stops Your Smart Speaker From Constantly Eavesdropping

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2020 by itnerd

It’s great being able to get tomorrow’s weather forecast, to set a laundry timer, or to discover a new recipe—simply by asking aloud. But, in exchange for that convenience, tech companies expect us to sacrifice our privacy. They expect us to invite always-on microphones into our living rooms, our kitchens, and even our bedrooms. They store our recordings indefinitely, hire human subcontractors to listen in, and sell our data to third parties. That’s a deal that some are not willing to take. Some demand control over when they’re listening and what they hear.

That’s when Paranoid comes in.

At the heart of Paranoid is a small circuit board that blocks all audio input to a smart speaker, and allows it only after hearing the wake word: “Paranoid”. The circuit board is entirely self-contained, with no WiFi or Bluetooth connection to the internet (and, therefore, no access to potential hackers). When its on-board processor hears the wake word, Paranoid temporarily enables the smart speaker’s microphone— allowing it to function normally.

Although most current smart speakers include mute buttons, these effectively disable their main feature: hands-free convenience. As a result, most users completely ignore the mute switch. Instead, they leave their smart speakers constantly on—and constantly listening. Paranoid offers a convenient alternative.

Paranoid will be available in three separate configurations, each meeting differing needs and designed to suit different smart speaker models.

  • Paranoid Home Button – Paranoid activates a USB-powered button-pusher that physically turns off a smart speaker’s mute button, and then re-engages it after you have finished your voice command. The smart speaker requires a physical mute button and either does not say anything when mute is pressed or can be configured to say nothing (as opposed to saying “mute has been turned on/off” each time). As examples, Amazon Echo and Echo Dot (2nd and 3rd Gen) are supported.
  • Paranoid Home Wave – Paranoid discreetly generates noise and interference in close proximity to the smart speaker’s microphones to jam them. When the Paranoid device detects the wake word, it temporarily stops the jamming to allow the smart speaker to hear and respond to voice commands. (Note: the noise generated by Paranoid Home Wave will not be perceptible to the human ear or cause any sort of disruption or distraction.). As examples, Google Home and Google Home Mini are supported.
  • Paranoid Home Max – If your device lacks a mute button, or if you don’t trust the mute button, we recommend our internal configuration. The user takes or ships their smart speaker to service centers, where technicians physically cut the microphone and bypass the signal to go through the Paranoid circuitry. The device is then returned with Paranoid privacy built in.


  • At the push of the physical button, Paranoid Home will say what percent of the time it has blocked eavesdropping. For example, “99.2% of listening was blocked this week”.
  • A little LED light turns on anytime Paranoid Home is allowing the smart speaker to listen.
  • Conversation mode is supported.
  • Paranoid Home not only listens for the “Paranoid” wake word, but it also watches the behaviour of the smart speaker and cuts off listening if the smart speaker does not indicate to the user that it is listening (for example, with the smart speaker lights).

Initially they are supporting several models of Amazon Echo and Google Home. Specific models will be available to fit different speakers. The device does not connect to the cloud, WiFi, Bluetooth or the internet. The user does not input any WiFi credentials. In fact, it lacks an antenna and other components that would enable wireless connectivity. It uses only on-board processing to detect the keyword. It cannot be remotely accessed by potential hackers, and will not transmit any data to the cloud. The initial model will be available for $49 USD. A pack of 3 will be $129 USD. There will be a special introductory offer for a select number of initial customers. Paranoid will initially be sold only in the U.S. and Canada, with international sales expected later in 2020.

Google Might Have Shared Your Videos With Strangers Last Year…. Yikes!

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2020 by itnerd

If you used Google Takeout to download an archive of your Google Photos content, there’s a chance that someone else may have ended up with your videos. Details via Betanews:

The company has admitted that for a few days in November last year, “some videos in Google Photos were exported to unrelated users’ archives.” This means that not only could your videos have ended up on a stranger’s computer, but also that you may have received random videos belonging to someone else. Google is not making much of the “technical issue” which it says has now been resolved. But the company apologizes for the “inconvenience” that may have been caused for people downloading their Google Photos archive between November 21 and 25, 2019.

I guess that this is a case study of the following maxim. It is safe to assume that if something is stored via a third party, especially if it is a free service, that there is a considerable risk that it becomes pubic at some point. You might want to bear that in mind if you choose to use one of these services.


Companies Responsible For Securing Your Data Don’t Know Who’s In Charge: Percona

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2020 by itnerd

According to a new poll, leaders and decision-makers at some of the world’s largest companies and institutions have seemingly no idea who is ultimately in charge of securing sensitive customer and consumer information housed in their databases.

Percona, the leader in open source database solutions, conducted the online survey and found that responses to the very simple question of “Who is responsible for your database security?” ranged from “I don’t know” (7%) and the security team (12%) to system administrators (16%), developers (21%), and DBA’s (42%).

Perhaps even more troubling is that companies that have suffered data breaches and inadvertently leaked billions of records failed to institute relatively simple security measures to protect valuable user information, such as password protections, security systems, and adequate user training.

These numbers are further supported by key findings from Percona’s Open Source Data Management Software Survey, which found that:

  • 92% of survey respondents said their workplace uses more than one database service, compounding the issue of database security
  • A majority of companies rely on self-support for their databases, underscoring the importance of knowing who is ultimately in charge of database security

You can have a look at the survey here [WARNING: PDF].

Samsung & Salesforce Invest In Blockchain Company Digital Asset

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2020 by itnerd

Digital Asset, the creators of the open source DAML smart contract language, announced today that Salesforce Ventures and Samsung Venture Investment Corp (Samsung) participated in the second closing of the company’s Series C financing round. The initial $35 million closing was announced last December.

Salesforce Ventures and Samsung join other leading technology companies in the latest round of financing. Funds will be used to accelerate the adoption of the DAML smart contract language across multiple industries, expand the number and variety of DAML-enabled partner products and fund new products designed to enhance the DAML developer experience.

The company also announced that Susan Hauser, a 28-year Microsoft veteran and advisor to Digital Asset, has been appointed to the company’s board of directors. Hauser served as Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Enterprise & Partner Group where she was responsible for the commercial sector, government sector and enterprise partnerships globally, including key vertical industries such as healthcare, education, retail, manufacturing, and financial services.

DAML is a next-generation smart contract language that Digital Asset open-sourced in 2019. It is used to create smart contracts, or computer programs that automate business processes and digitally verify and enforce agreements between two or more entities. Digital Asset provides commercial integrations of DAML with partner platforms so that a variety of organizations — from the largest enterprises to technology start-ups — can develop secure, sophisticated, compliant, and operationally solid applications faster.

Digital Asset’s business model is to partner with technology providers and embed the DAML smart contract runtime within their product offerings. In April 2019, the company announced a partnership with VMware to integrate DAML with VMware Blockchain. Subsequently, further integrations with Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, Amazon’s QLDB and cloud-native Aurora database have been announced, many of which are commercially supported through Blockchain Technology Partners’ Sextant for DAML platform.

Samsung Venture Investment Corp invests in future-oriented businesses based on new and innovative technologies that are expected to serve as new growth engines. As of last March, SVIC had over USD 2.2 billion in assets under management. “We strongly believe that Digital Asset’s model to embed DAML in partner platforms fundamentally changes the entire blockchain market,” said a spokesperson from Samsung Venture Investment Corp. “Digital Asset has positioned itself for success in the blockchain space and we are pleased to help it achieve its vision.”

Salesforce Ventures, the global investment arm of Salesforce, invests in the next generation of enterprise technology that extends the power of the Salesforce Platform. Salesforce Ventures has helped accelerate the growth of more than 375 companies since 2009.




Review: 2020 Mazda CX-30 GT – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on February 4, 2020 by itnerd


This is the Mazda Skyactive-G 2.5l engine that puts out 186 HP and 186 pound feet of torque to all four wheels via Mazda’s i-Activ AWD system. This engine is used in a number of Mazda products. But in the CX-30, this engine comes into its own. It has a lot of power off the line and more than enough to allow you to blow by vehicles on the highway and merge onto the highway with ease. There’s zero need to put this into sport mode. But if you do, watch out. It amps things up to a level that where you can go from zero to jail if you are not careful.

The six speed transmission that’s mated to this engine is well sorted and always seems to be in the right gear to power all four wheels. And this car is incredibly nimble. On the day I returned the CX-30 to Mazda Canada, I had to make an emergency lane change when the car in front of me panic stopped and didn’t leave me with any other option such as braking. I executed the maneuver just like I was one with the car. I put that down to features like G-Vectoring Control Plus and the AWD system along with the CX-30 feels solid and inspires confidence.

So are there any gripes? There was one which was the go pedal sometimes was sometimes “jerky”. As in it would sometimes cause the CX-30 to lurch forward. As the week went along, I got used to it and the “jerky” behavior would happen less. I assume that if I had it for a longer period of time, I would just get used to it.

Fuel economy is 7.4 l/100 KM in mostly highway driving. So I expect this number to increase over the week.

Tomorrow, I will look at the interior in detail. And the CX-30 has very impressive interior even by Mazda standards. Tune in tomorrow to find out why I say that.