NWLawyer Treks into Tech and the Law

Cover of NWLawyer

The first Model T rolled off the assembly lines in 1908 and, about 30 years later, a German civil engineer cobbled together the first modern computer in his parents’ living room. In the time since those two world-realigning developments, the car has for the most part stayed the same: four tires, a steering wheel, brakes, and a gas-powered engine. Yet in less than a century, the computer has transformed from a punch-card-driven piece of machinery into the most ubiquitous piece of modern life for much of the world.

Our computers are in our pockets, they’re in our fridges, they’re even in our cars. They know our voices, they know our faces, they talk to us, they listen to us. They help robots in Boston perform backflips, tell us where we are and how to get to where we’re going, and fuel increasingly complex algorithms that put the entirety of human knowledge at our fingertips in order that we can create funny GIFs and argue with strangers.

Technology is exciting and inspiring, but for legal professionals it’s also daunting. How does a modern lawyer navigate ethically sticky and existentially bizarre questions that new tech imposes on existing law?

The authors featured in the September issue of NWLawyer, the WSBA’s membership magazine, explore this type of question—where emerging technology and laws intersect. In our main feature, Riana Pfefferkorn explains why lawyers need to prepare for the possibility of a “deep fake” slipping into courtroom evidence.

Michael Cherry examines the privacy law implications of modern doorbells and personal assistants, virtually all things that record conversations and not always with strict two-party consent.

The issue also features such topics as how bias in software could make an employer liable for prejudice by proxy, and how a UW legal clinic is applying a historic lens to brand new technologies.