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Daily Archives: October 30, 2019

Software As a Profession

Choi, Bryan H., Software As a Profession (2019). Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 33, 2020, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: – “When software kills, what is the legal responsibility of the software engineer? Discussions of software liability have avoided assessing the duties of “reasonable care” of those who write software for a living. Instead, courts and legal commentators have sought out other workarounds—like immunity, strict liability, or cyber insurance—that avoid the need to unpack the complexities of the software development process. As software harms grow more severe and attract greater scrutiny, prominent voices have called for software developers to be held to heightened duties of “professional care”—like doctors or lawyers. Yet, courts have long rejected those claims, denying software developers the title of “professional.” This discord points to a larger confusion within tort theory regarding the proper role of “professional care” relative to “reasonable care.”

This Article offers a reconceptualized theory of malpractice law that treats the professional designation as a standard of deference, not a standard of heightened duty. This new theoretical framework rests not on the virtues of the practitioner, but on the hazards of the practice. Despite best efforts, doctors will lose patients; lawyers will lose trials. Accordingly, the propriety of the practitioner’s efforts cannot be judged fairly under an ordinary negligence standard, which generates too many occasions to second-guess the practitioner’s performance. Instead, the professional malpractice doctrine substitutes a customary care standard for the reasonable care standard, and thereby allows the profession to rely on its own code of conduct as the measure of legal responsibility…”

Reimagining the Legal Function

Artificial Lawyer – “If you’re in any doubt that legal functions are facing a need for radical change, then consider these three statistics from our recent study of 1,000 in-house legal departments worldwide.  First, 87% of respondents say their legal function has seen either a large or moderate rise in demand over the past five years. Second, against the background of this… Continue Reading

DNA database used to find Golden State Killer national security leak waiting to happen

MIT Technology Review: “A private DNA ancestry database that’s been used by police to catch criminals is a security risk from which a nation-state could steal DNA data on a million Americans, according to security researchers. Security flaws in the service, called GEDmatch, not only risk exposing people’s genetic health information but could let an… Continue Reading

The Complicated Role of the Modern Public Library

Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities: “There aren’t many truly public places left in America. Most of our shared spaces require money or a certain social status to access. Malls exist to sell people things. Museums discourage loiterers. Coffee shops expect patrons to purchase a drink or snack if they want to enjoy the… Continue Reading

Lumber Salvaged from Baltimore’s Row Houses and City Trees Creates Jobs and Cuts Wood Waste

TheCityFix: “Baltimore, like many post-industrial cities, confronts novel challenges. Once the sixth largest city in the U.S., Baltimore’s population has contracted by more than a third, resulting from a complex suite of factors including job loss, economic decline, and discriminatory policies or housing and lending practices. It’s estimated that at least 16,000 buildings in Baltimore are boarded up; most are slated for demolition. But… Continue Reading

We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally

Via @Jack – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey –  “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should… Continue Reading

D.C. Nonlawyer Partner Rule Spurs Interest as States Mull Change

Via Mary Whisner – Sam Skolnik, D.C. Nonlawyer Partner Rule Spurs Interest as States Mull Change, Bloomberg Law News: “Some law firms in the nation’s capital have incorporated non-legal experts as co-owners, capitalizing on a unique District of Columbia Bar rule modification that could be instructive as changes to the same rule are considered elsewhere.… Continue Reading