Archive for May 25th, 2007

Electronic discovery – Of bytes and briefs

May 17th 2007
From The Economist

The courts are struggling to cope with information technology

A CHICAGO law firm recently put up a billboard with the slogan “Life’s short. Get a divorce.” Also on the billboard were pictures of a hot babe in her underwear and a hot hunk in a towel–a sample of the delights that await the newly single. This is the kind of lawyer story that makes the evening news. Deeper, broader problems with America’s legal system tend to be ignored. Electronic discovery is one.

What’s that? Well, let’s say you follow that Chicago law firm’s advice and sue for divorce. And let’s say your soon-to-be ex-spouse gets angry. His or her lawyers might then demand to inspect your hard drive so that they can, for example, acquaint the court with your love of porn before it decides who keeps the children.

As technology changes the way people communicate, the legal system is stumbling to keep up. The “discovery” process, whereby both parties to a lawsuit share relevant documents with each other, used to involve physically handing over a few boxes of papers. But now that most documents are created and stored electronically, it is mostly about retrieving files from computers. This has two important consequences.

First, e-discovery is more intrusive than the traditional sort. Catty or salacious gossip, the kind that was once swapped at the water cooler, is now often committed to e-mail. This is easy to subpoena and virtually impossible to erase. There is always a back-up somewhere, so even if you delete the e-mail privately denigrating a stock you are publicly urging your clients to buy, it will still be read out in court. If your firm is sued for sexual discrimination, expect the plaintiff to demand all the lewd e-mails your male executives have ever swapped with each other. Read the rest of this entry »


MPs Bung Mokhtar/Mohd Said – the “Ugly Malaysians”

The Barisan Nasional (BN) Member of Parliament for Kinabatangan Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin is trying to jump out of the burning quagmire which he found himself in together with the BN MP for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof as a result of their unrepentant and recalcitrant sexism in Parliament more than a fortnight ago.

He thinks that he has found a very smart exit strategy for his predicament by challenging me to contest against him in his Kinabatangan constituency in the next general election and even offering 1,000 votes free — which was given front-page treatment in Sabah newspapers yesterday.

He cannot be more wrong or naive to think that he could distract or deflect national and international attention from his unrepentant and unpunished male chauvinism in Parliament on May 9, 2007.

Clearly, Bung Mohtar just don’t get it — that there is no way he could extricate himself from the quagmire and the furore he and Mohd Said had created would go away by just turning it into a cheap farce, such as challenging me to contest against him in Kinabatangan.

The issue at stake has nothing to do with him and me, and that is why my answer is a definitive negative when a reporter asked whether I would counter-challenge Bung Mokhtar to contest against me in Ipoh Timur parliamentary constituency.

The question is solely about Bung Mohktar himself Bung Mohtar’s greatest enemy is not any third party but his own self and he must wrestle with his own soul and devil as well as his own sense of decency, as he and Mohd Said have become the worst examples of “Ugly Malaysians” on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary, bringing shame and dishonour to Parliament, the nation and women in Malaysia, ASEAN and the world. Read the rest of this entry »


“No more govt inefficiencies, no more IPCMC sabotage, no more mirages”

One of my first reactions when I received news in Tokyo on Monday of the Prime Minister’s announcement of pay rise and doubling of cost of living allowances for the civil service – and in particular the 18% to 42% in the basic salary increase for the police – is whether the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill will at last be presented to Parliament next month for passage to demonstrate government commitment to have a world-class police service, whether in reducing crime, professionalism, accountability or integrity.

I had given my full support both in Parliament and outside for a generous increase in police pay as Malaysians want to have a world-class police service which is professional, accountable, incorruptible and efficient in reducing crime to restore to Malaysians their fundamental citizenship right to be free from crime and the fear of crime in the streets, public places and the privacy of their homes.

The reaction of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to the “generous pay increase” has been quite euphoric, as illustrated by the headlines: “IGP: No more bribes, no more excuses” (The Sun), “IGP: No excuse for cops to take bribes now” (The Star) and “Musa: No leeway for corrupt cops” (New Straits Times).

Although the expression of Musa’s euphoric reaction is quite deplorable, as it is self-exculpatory in justifying the erstwhile police notoriety as one of the most corrupt government departments, let’s not quibble over the past but look forward to a clean, new and corruption-free future for the police service from now.

Malaysians have heard of many past announcements of “new dawns” for a professional world-class police service to keep crime low but they have all proved to be mirages. Examples of such past illusions include: Read the rest of this entry »