Daily List

For those of you with an iPhone (and who practise in the Victorian courts) a free app with the daily court listings:

The Daily List

Lid dip: James McDougall.

Now, if only there were one that covered the Federal Court and the Federal Magistrates Court! (Yes, I know you can get them emailed automatically.)

The mobile (iPhone) confidentiality agreement

iPhone J.D. reviews an intriguing development: a standard from Non-disclosure Agreement “app” for your iPhone – iNDA.

The developer told iPhone J.D.:

“People often have informal meeting where they would like to discuss ideas with colleagues, friends, or prospective employees. We want to promote these meetings by giving people legal protection available to them at all times.”

STOP LAUGHING, this is fascinating:

The discloser actually signs the document with his or her finger on the iPhone and the signed document is emailed to both parties. Read the review and watch the demo.

A couple of  points about this (1) enforceability and (2) ramifications.

First, although it is available in the Australian iTunes store ($5.99) and the developer’s website says the agreement has been drafted by “a leading contract law firm”, the developer’s conversation with the iPhone J.D. suggests the app was drafted in line with US laws. Whether or not it would be enforceable in Australia may well be another matter. One can’t tell from the screen shots what the wording is. Also, it doesn’t look like you can add details like what the information claimed to be confidential is. On the other hand, we have electronic signature laws too and a relationship of confidentiality can arise where the confidential nature of the circumstances is apparent from the circumstances. Signing up to such a document might, just might, lead to such an inference. You should form your own views.

Secondly and in many respects far more intriguingly, think about the ramifications.

We already go along to mediations toting our laptops and maybe a printer, type up the terms and print them out for signature.

With this product people can have in their pockets – well in their iPhones – and with them at (pretty much) all times a document which is intended to create binding legal relations with some other party and actually get them signed up on the spot.

OK, this particular document is pretty rudimentary and I personally don’t often find myself suddenly desperate to sign the person I’m talking to up to an NDA. How much longer will it be though before the number of fields in the document that can be customised is increased and you can actually start tailoring some form or other to the particular circumstances?

3 helpful iPhone apps for Australians

AroundMe

Metro Public Transport (Melbourne, Sydney and Perth) a free and paid version for Melbourne

Pocket Weather AU (like the great widget, but you have to pay)

Another 5 another lawyer likes.

The three I mention can be (are) Australian specific information services.  These work well because they relate to location specific things which the iPhone can retrieve.  Most of the other apps I find useful really need to sync with my computer; first, because it’s easier to enter the data on the computer and, secondly, because you don’t want to be entering things twice or three times or ….

Unfortunately, the way the iPhone is designed to work means that most of these apps – sugarsync, Evernote etc. – work “in the cloud” (Our ABC here). They must be stored on the internet or pass through an internet host. That has potential security and privacy concerns (assuming the technology works).

That feeds into a different concern raised by Jonathan Zittrain in The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it. We are being present with a range of proprietary offerings that are acting a bit like gated communities in which you only get what the provider is willing to offer. Prof. Zittrain contrasts that to his view of the way the Web has worked till now: someone provided the underlying technology and hosts of people came along with hosts of customised solutions that you could choose to use.

Android? Well, it seems potentially to be much more open than the iPhone. Hopefully, it will force a lot more open-ness through competition but, of course, Google has its own “cloud”.