It's not news that our society is divided into technological haves and have-nots. Much has been written about the advantages lost or gained - education, professional, and social - based upon the primacy and recency of one's technology. Recently, I've become increasingly attuned to another place where technological caste matters -- legal standards.
It's been clear to me for quite some time that the lawyer who resonates with technology can do more successful and faster legal research; propound vastly superior discovery requests; and produce substantially more incisive disclosures. It's now becoming increasingly clear to me that the law itself is being skewed by those of us who live to keep up with the next big thing in technology. Debates among lawyers rage in my email inbox about the differences in things like encryption technologies and metadata standards, with lots of cool techie references to things like ISO, NIST, Diffie, OASIS, and XACML.
In the meantime, I was on the the Social Security Administration website the other day and they wanted me to use an eight digit alphanumeric password (case insensitive, no special characters) to upload W2 and other sensitive tax information. My bank's brokerage affiliate is using the same outdated and readily hackable password technology I still see commercial and bar association websites seeking personal and financial information without indicating that they're using SSL or some other baseline method of securing the information. I still get requests from security professionals to email my Social Security Number. If you're not particularly technical, trust me, none of these are good things.
The distance between these two realities has got me thinking about all the places that these two technological castes will be competing to set legal standards. For example, does a "time is of the essence clause" apply the perception of time of a blackberry owner or a person without a laptop?
As the new administration provides the first coordinated national focus on technology, I'd like to add this to the list. Perhaps the new national CTO (yet to be appointed) could work with the American Bar Association and other leaders to identify a rational strategy for standards setting in such a technologically bifurcated society.