UNCITRAL Resolution

Cloud based transactions are the new e-commerce. But whether you have a dispute with an e-commerce provider, or  the intermediaries in the cloud that you have depended upon to support your transaction failed, you may run into problems online.

At the UN’s UNCITRAL meetings, policy makers have finally recognized that transactions that occur online will likely induce people to stay online to resolve disputes. That brings us to the whole purpose of ODR.  If you have a problem online and are forced to find a physical court to fix the problem, you will not return online again to that service provider.  ODR solutions are the natural solutions for the cloud.It’s finally time for the UN to get it.

Download (PDF, 575KB)

Identification for the Stateless Refugees: Wrap Up

The Internet Identity Workshop has been finding, probing and solving identity issues twice every year since 2005. They meet at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Every IIW moves topics, code, and projects downfield. Name an identity topic, and it’s likely that more substantial discussion and work has been done at IIW than any other conference.

Jeffrey Aresty, Larry Bridgesmith, Jonathan Holt, and Kristina Yasuda convened the program on “Identification for the Stateless Refugees” focusing on the Rohingya refugees on April 3rd.

They kicked off the session with a screening of “Is the Lady listening?”, a music video the PeaceTones project recorded in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh with Rohingya refugees, which was produced by international human rights lawyer David Levy in January 2018.

It was a great privilege to collaborate with musicians in the Rohingya Refugee Camp. They will not be silent in the face of genocide, and neither should you.#TheWorldUnitedinSong Musicians from around the world promoting human rights and social justice.Special thanks to the Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities in Cox's Bizar for their support. Written by Sayedul Islam, Rahamatullah, and David Levy. Translated by Muhammad MX Cox. Bass: Etson Caminha. Backing vocals: Abhisek, Ifti Chowdhury and Kelsey Shaw. Videographer: Noyon. Video editing by Malkriado Cinema: Thomas Henning, Mariano Goncalves, Jonas Rusumalay Diaz II, and Allone Madeira J. Additional editing by Eric Carden. A PeaceTones production.

Posted by David Levy on Tuesday, April 10, 2018

By providing the musicians the opportunity to tell their story to the world, we believe that the refugee population has taken the first step to regaining its identity. This sets the foundation for more digital identity work. See The Invisibles project.

Towards the end of the session, an open question was directed at the participants: What possible obstacles remain?

Their answers:

  • Refugees lack formal credentials that can be put into a digital wallet.
    • The last thing refugees want to do is to give out their real name.
    • SSI does not necessarily solve refugees’ problems.
  • At which point of the refugees’ journey are we addressing: those who just crossed the border or those already in the camp?
    • Identification and a method to match supply and demand in the camps are different things. People are not looking at the UN IDs as identities, but as means to get food.
  • Do these solutions require State actors and a top-down approach?
    • There is low trust towards State institutions in parts of the developing world.

Additional feedback focused on the need for solutions to context specific. One participant mentioned the need to consider providing identification for marginalized populations in the developed world such as homeless people, in addition to refugees and global south communities. And finally, political questions remain, but we can and have to start acting.


Call to Action

Support Rohingya Musicians who are making a difference in their communities through giving a voice to the voiceless. By supporting PeaceTones, you will raise awareness about the Rohingya Refugee Crisis, assist local human rights activists and their communities, and broaden the market for local artists. Visit peacetones.org/call-to-action for more information.

2018 Computational Law & Blockchain Festival: Houston Edition Wrap Up

 

The first annual Computational Law & Blockchain Festival brought together coders, designers, lawyers, policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and students to co-create the future of law, legal practice, and policymaking. In the spirit of decentralization, the entire event was hosted by independent, self-organized nodes around the world.

 

IBO seeks to achieve justice for all through leveraging technology and global community collaboration and are proud supporters of Legal Hackers and their projects. Join IBO today to receive more opportunities to build the justice layer of the internet.

Through a combination of educational sessions, hackathons, and policy discussions, our event highlighted what Houston has to offer in this space.

With the support of The Accord Project, Legal.io, OpenLaw, Monax, MIT Media Lab (law.mit.edu), Legal Hackers, Station Houston, and many more, we were able to focus on the innovation the blockchain could bring to law and the justice system, not just it’s entrepreneurial advantages.

(Available videos and presentations can be found within this report. Certain speakers have sections allocated to them; the videos start automatically at the appropriate time.)

While Houston did not have a hackathon track, our sister node in New York, with support from IBO, submitted a project for the Dispute Resolution Challenge.

The Copyright Protection for All project background:

PeaceTones® enables musicians to develop and disseminate their art by bringing crucial legal, technology, and business skills to historically unheard musicians. Traditionally, in a developing country, refugee camp, or anywhere in the world (really), to initiate the music creation process, a producer relies on intermediaries for introductions and connections to identify musicians and verify the identity of the artists and the originality of their work. The secure, scalable trust-based RelateID blockchain simplifies and digitally enhances this process.


We held two educational workshops:

“Blockchain 101 Workshop”, which was presented by Jeffrey Aresty, President of IBO, and Jack A. Najarian, business and real estate lawyer.


Tanveer Chaudhary, the founder of the Design Thinking & Innovation (DT&I) community, taught the “Design Thinking Workshop,” which explored the utilization of Human Centered Design concepts to design BlockChain solutions and related best practices.

Download (PPTX, 12.56MB)


Our policy discussion track dominated the event, with a variety of blockchain experts examining identity to the U.S government to the oil and gas industry’s role in the field:

“Identity for All” was presented by Jeffrey Aresty, during which he discussed verifiable identity that is secure and portable and the key to opportunity, which is one component of access to justice.

Download (PPTX, 6MB)


“Can the Analog Blockchain Go Digital? The Potential Impacts of Blockchain Technology on Oil and Gas E&P” was presented by Jack A. Najarian.

Download (PDF, 5.28MB)


Darrell Malone, co-founder of cryptocurrency distributor CoinVault ATM, presented “Blockchain.gov”. (His section starts at 42:26.)

https://prezi.com/view/IxsVYlAULAjn1QpDZLXS/


“Cryptocurrency & the Sustainable Development Goals” was co-presented by Ryan Brown, entrepreneur, and radio host, and Azam Zarif, founder of Investofy. (Their section starts at 1:59:10.)

Download (PPTX, 2.11MB)

Download (PPTX, 5.8MB)


“Open Discussion: Crypto, Blockchain, and Opportunity” was presented by Sheldon Weisfeld, CEO of CoinVault ATM. (His section starts at 2:56:32.)


Larry Shi, an Associate Professor of the Computer Science Department at University of Houston, presented “Blockchain for Good: Use Cases, Enabling Technologies, and Challenges”, which examined a wide range of DLT use cases for social good, in particular, usage of blockchain and DLT for financial inclusion, democratic process, fair trade, environment.

Download (PDF, 3.09MB)


During “Blockchain Basics & Legal Issues,” Sharon Yin, cryptocurrency and blockchain lawyer, discussed blockchain basics, smart contracts and how blockchain relates to cryptocurrencies as well as past precedents and current legal issues facing the industry.

Download (PPTX, 1.08MB)

Here is a complete list of our speaker bios.

What’s Next?

For Legal Hackers and IBO Members based in Houston: We’re 500 members strong and counting, and are amazed by the sheer amount of people willing to create the change and innovation they want to see.

Next week, we are organizing an impromptu leadership meeting, open to anyone who wishes to attend. We’ll be discussing:

  • Monthly Speaker Nominations
  • Improvements for next year’s blockchain festival
  • 2018 calendar
  • Potential projects

For our non-Houstonian friends: we invite you to attend remotely and discuss your ideas and projects as well.

Access to justice isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s a movement, and we invite you to be the change you want to see.

Using Block Chain Technology to Return Control of Personal Information from Corporations to the Individual

For the past several years, the number of corporations that offer pro bono services has been on the rise. Pro bono refers to services offered by corporations free of charge to communities, using the time and skills of employees. Kristina Yasuda, who is being interviewed in this article, is a pro bono worker and joined Accenture in August 2017 upon graduation. While performing her normal work in Accenture Strategy, Kristina participates in an international public-private social contribution project called “The Invisibles,” which helps develop digital identities for the socially vulnerable populations. We interviewed Kristina about the relationship between technology and human rights, as well as the significance of the project.

[ HBR also spoke with Hiroshi Makioka, the Senior Managing Director at Accenture Strategy Japan. This translated article was originally published on Harvard Business Review Japan.]

Refugees without personal identifications are not legally recognized as people

Ms. Yasuda, what sparked your interest in humanitarian uses of technology?

During my student days, I attended an international conference held by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the use of technology. My colleagues and I discussed how technology should be used to benefit humanity, and I became excited about the possibilities. While my major (at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, or Science Po) was International Relations, I was also interested in technology and spent one year studying abroad in Silicon Valley and learned about programming, etc.

At the time, I directly faced the challenge of “the fragmentation of personal identification systems in developed nations.” For example, the most recent security breach of the credit reporting service Equifax resulted in large-scale leakage of personal information belonging to some 140 million Americans (almost half the population).

Additionally, everyone’s personal information is siloed and kept in databases, such as the case in Equifax.  Every company that makes you sign in keeps personal information data in a database that is supposedly secure.  With so much data being kept by numbers of companies, it makes us all wonder what kind of information is used for what purposes and by whom. As a result, groups such as Customercommons.org take a new position:  everyone should be able to control access to his or her own personal information. However, fixing already established identification systems in developed nations is very challenging.

While studying in France and traveling over Europe, I witnessed arriving refugees and how they are treated. These refugees were without personal identification (ID), and were thus not legally recognized as persons, and deprived of human rights. If they had IDs, they would be recognized as persons and receive public services. As I spoke with people from NGOs and international organizations, the concept soon solidified into my mind, that if governments were unable to act for political reasons, then civil society needed to act. We needed to find a way to create a new mechanism for granting public IDs to the 1.1 billion persons around the world with such a need.

Without an ID, a person cannot build a foundation for living in the modern world, including access to healthcare and education, opening a bank account, or concluding a service contract for a mobile phone. Even if an individual had an ID in his or her home country, when the person flees the country due to conflict or political turmoil, he or she has no means for identifying himself or herself upon arrival in the new country, resulting in obstacles to achieving even a minimum standard of living.

Using Blockchain Technology to Issue Digital IDs

So, specifically, what kind of system was constructed?

We came up with the idea of issuing a “digital ID” using Blockchain technology, which was first used for virtual currency transactions. The NGO Internetbar.org Institute, where I work, decided to combine the Blockchain technology of the Sovrin Foundation with the biometrics authentication technology of an NGO iRespond. In other words, we organized a private group of non-profits to organize the idea and initial project, and then reached out to larger organizations and government to get on board.

This system allows personal information to be securely managed on a personal device, and after personal information is verified (proofed) under a developing international standard, it can be placed on the Blockchain. The details are more technical to assure that only verified information is part of a person’s ID, but this is the basic idea.

Until now, the administrative agencies and credit card companies of each country have taken the lead and determined the success or failure of a transaction at their own discretion. This new mechanism avoids situations where accumulated personal ID information is proprietary to an administration or a company, and allows individuals to access their own personal information from various locations when needed to give on a limited basis to a third party.

In sum, the system allows an individual to control access to his or her personal information, giving the person the right to specify and approve the disclosed range of his or her information in response to individual inquiries and requests, not allowing information access without the individual’s permission. This is what we call Self-Sovereign Identity.

Proof of concept is already underway, I heard.

Yes. As a project that provides digital identities for those who are socially vulnerable, iRespond issued digital identification certificates that allows tens of thousands of undocumented workers on the border of Thailand and Myanmar to be identified by retina certification using biometrics technology.

As a result, medical treatment can now be given with reference to records such as the refugee’s medical history. Additionally, while the system to date cannot verify whether a person who used a certain ID was indeed that person, resulting in problems such as falsification, the new mechanism offers a solution. Still, some undocumented workers are mistrustful of this new system, a problem that needs to be addressed.

In the future, we hope to combine retina certification and Blockchain technology, and expand the application of digital ID certificates to technologies such as FinTech and EdTech.

Possibility for Global Reverse Innovation

What are the advantages of this mechanism?

As I just mentioned, this system decreases risks such as the misuse that results when a person cannot control access to his or her own digitized personal information. Currently, credit card companies and companies such as major electronic commerce sites have all of our personal information and we have no choice but to approve access of our personal information by others. We believe we can turn such a structure upside down.

The region that is one of the first to test such a concept is the European Union (EU). In May 2018, the EU will enforce the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new personal information protection rule.

The GDPR is a law that allows an individual to request a company for a change in or erasure of personal data related to him or her on any one of a number of grounds including non-compliance with the method of information retention and personal data use. The law prohibits data transmission outside the EU and, as the latest and strictest global standard, puts pressure on companies across the globe to respond.

Will such personal information protection become firmly established in a global context?

I believe so. As technology continues to advance and the possibilities in personal information management and protection become increasingly possible, global practical use will certainly accelerate. Companies will also change their awareness toward personal information and start listening to those who wonder whether the risks and costs of retaining mass amounts of personal information are worth the advantages received. Governments also spend quite a bit of money holding and managing the IDs of its citizens. There is increasing awareness that the management and protection of personal information that forms an individual is a basic human right.

What should be the purpose of technology?

What is the reason behind Accenture Strategy’s active involvement in community-based activities that contribute to society?

Hiroshi Makioka: At the foundation of its involvement is the belief that technology, irrespective of the times, must be used to improve our lives as well as the communities in which we work and live. Accenture continually accumulates deep technology knowledge and insight in an effort to remain unrivaled in the support we offer our clients in the current digital revolution and, based on the above belief, cannot help but feel that our value lies in contributing to the community in concrete ways and ensuring tangible results.

In this sense, the activities that we offer to the community are not plus-alpha type activities, but rather core activities that maximize our contribution to the world.

Stance toward Solving Problems in Our Communities

How will Accenture Strategy accelerate such initiatives in the future?

Hiroshi Makioka:  The concept that technology is for people, which I mentioned at the start, must take root in the DNA of all employees. For example, while we are proud to be the leading company that provides consulting support in areas such as “Connectivity, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric” (CASE) advocated by Daimler in the auto industry, we must consider what such a world brings or must bring to the level of richness of human lives.

In terms of the extremely large problem of the protection of rights of the socially vulnerable, we must, before we solve the problem of personal identity described by Kristina, consider conventional protection aspects as well as incorporate a new perspective: how to make such a person shine. How can we utilize technology at this time? For example, even in a world of increasing indifference, how can we make it possible for people to learn and experience what the “socially vulnerable” want to do, what they never had a chance to do, or what they felt having survived such turmoil? It is important to think about such things.

At Accenture, pro bono activities are the result of an individual’s will and effort. An experience outside of Accenture such as Kristina’s is an extremely valuable asset, and is sure to help make that DNA mentioned above take root deep within. ■

Profiles:

  • Kristina Yasuda, Accenture Strategy, Accenture

Graduated top of the class from International Relations Department, Paris Institute of Political Studies. Worked as a Japan Youth Representative in numerous international conferences held by UNESCO, UNFCCC, ASEAN, and the EU while a student. Established and spearheaded a digital identity certificate service at Internetbar.org Institute (NGO) in the US based on the theme of supporting developing countries. Joined Accenture in 2017.

  • Hiroshi Makioka, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Strategy Japan

He worked at Marubeni Corporation and Bain & Company and joined Accenture in 2014.

 

Pro Bono For Veterans

Welcome to the 2nd Internetbar.org Institute Podcast! I’m Christy Leos and with me today is Jeffrey Aresty, President and Founder of IBO, and Retired Master Sgt. Jeffrey L. Thompson. Our mission: to build the Justice Layer of the Internet as a community of equals.

Today we’re examining the origins of Starbucks’s Military Mondays and the development of local pro bono initiatives to benefit those with military service.

Photo: Starbucks by Bill Lile [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

JusticeHub.Tools Veterans: How do we help veterans now?

Welcome to the first Internetbar.org Institute Podcast! I am Christy Leos and with me today is Jeffrey Aresty, President and Founder of IBO. Our mission: to build the Justice Layer of the Internet as a community of equals.

Today we are going to kick off the JusticeHub.tools Veterans Awareness Campaign and talk about Stateside Legal, Veterans Legal Checkup, Veteran’s Will Center, and finish with thoughts on what 2018 could hold for veteran access to justice technology.

Photo: 170527-A-MQ748-013 by West Point – The U.S. Military Academy [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

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PeaceTones

OUR VISION: A world where music takes an active role in reducing political, social and ethnic conflict.

OUR WORK: PeaceTones® recognizes that musicians play a powerful role in local community building, which in turn contributes to global peacemaking. We enable musicians to develop and disseminate their art by bringing crucial legal, technology, and business skills to historically unheard musicians, empowering them as leaders and shapers of positive social change.

OUR MODEL: Implementing a social entrepreneurship model, PeaceTones® also operates as a nonprofit record label for musicians that exemplify positive voices for social justice and demonstrate distinguished musical talent as determined by PeaceTones® fans via a worldwide online competition. With these musicians, we create fair trade business relationships coupled with mentor relationships to amplify their voices and talent. With the far majority of profits going directly to the musician and a community development project of their choosing, PeaceTones® is reducing poverty and injustice and creating an arts-led movement for peace, social change and economic development.

Jeff Aresty on Shaping the Rule of Law Online, via Huffington Post

I was recently published on The Huffington Post examining the concept of trusted online communities, online identity and the shaping a global democracy online. The chance to establish norms for justice over the Internet that transcend international boundaries is something the world, and the legal community in particular, can drive to secure rights both on and offline:

Shaping the Rule of Law, Trust And Resolution in The Online Justice System

Jeff Aresty, President, Internet Bar Organization

The changes resulting from the rise of the Internet are taking hold, and the legal community has yet to catch up to the way the world is now interacting. As our modes of business and daily interactions take place increasingly over the Web, the world is beginning to define the ways in which those exchanges will be characterized. This presents a new range of challenges for us in the legal field and as a global community, but it also presents an opportunity. Bringing the rule of law online will be an essential part of determining how we shape the future of global normative behavior and present an opportunity to redefine what we believe to be the right way to act, based not only on the multiplicity of laws as they stand, but rather based on a new organic democracy that will define itself in an harmonized way. The ability to negotiate, reach consensus, and resolve disputes online will be an essential set of skills for all who participate. But why does this new system of norms need to be defined in an haphazard fashion as countries everywhere come up with their own sets of laws to govern online behavior, leading to conflict and confusion?

Individuals from the online dispute resolution community have met regularly to examine the newest technologies and issues that are affecting justice in online interactions, and come this year to the United States to discuss topics like the role of privacy, identity and trust on the internet, and how they relate to justice.

This is where the role of trusted online communities comes into play. And one of the biggest factors in trust in online interactions is verification of and trust in identity. Just as a democracy depends upon the right of each citizen to their vote, access to justice for each individual in a globally based justice system depends upon being able to verify who is accessing the system, and making sure that the system is trustworthy in all respects, from the users to the design itself. Many individuals have spoken on the need to develop an “identity” layer of the internet that verifies user identity on top of the interactive web as a step toward solidifying trust in exchange and communication online. I believe this is the case, and that it will go hand in hand with the creation of what I call a “justice” layer — a new definition of normative behavior for how we relate to one another, including trust in identity. This will be supported not only by the legal complex, but also by global consensus and collective action toward what we define as justice. The resolution of disputes online will become a knowledge set that the legal community and others will need to understand.

But for every answer, there appear to be many more questions, particularly when dealing with the cultural technicolor fabric of our planet. For example, how do we balance the necessity of democracy through digital identification with, as the European Commission has defined, the right to be forgotten? How much control can and should we have over the information compiled online about our person? How much control should our government have?

Innovation has been helping to address some of these questions. Start-ups like Qredoand Wickr are taking steps to develop technology that will allow users access to secure platforms and close to complete control over their online identity and information. Checks and balances, peer review and transparency will also play a part in any viable system.

The creation of a technology-enabled system of effective democracy will require all segments of society to participate. Industry has the opportunity to play a leading role in helping shape a “justice layer” of internet communication on top of the internet communication protocol it helped to build over 20 years ago. It will also require the participation of academia, a non-fearing legal system, and the global community as a whole to create a truly “we the people” system of online governance.