September Business Meeting – Daniel Scanlan

The September meeting was attended by about 44 people via Zoom,  56 people had registered.

President Scott Vanderlin opened the first business meeting of the season by reminding everyone that this year is the 75th anniversary of CALL. The initial 75th anniversary celebration at the Columbia Yacht Club was well attended and there will be more activities throughout the year to memorialize the occasion.

Online meetings will continue throughout the year but CALL will also be meeting more in person this year to support professional social relationships and networking. The November meeting, to be held November 17, 2022, will be in person and members are encouraged to do what they can to attend.

Opening Business

Scott Vanderlin extended a heartfelt thank you to the incoming committee chairs and volunteers. He reminded everyone that CALL only functions through the giving of time and talent by the members. An additional thank you was extended to Lexis Nexis for their continued sponsorship of meeting door prizes.

Screenshot of Daniel Scanlan speaking at CALL Business Meeting

Featured Speaker: Daniel Scanlan

Mandy Lee, vice president/president elect, introduced our speaker Daniel Scanlan, a Canadian barrister, lawyer specializing in cybercrime, digital evidence, wiretap, smuggling, and money laundering, as well as being a new novelist.

Scanlan has written non-fiction textbooks including Digital Evidence in Criminal Law and contributed to The Lawyer’s Guide to the Forensic Sciences. He lives on Vancouver Island and enjoys ocean kayaking and hiking. When not outdoors, he is reading and will read almost anything, expect books about lawyers (he later clarifies this is a joke.) His debut novel, The Hacker, was released September 2022. He can be found online at @DanielMScanlan.

[The sound quality of the presentation was inconsistent so some details were not recorded]

Daniel Scanlan began by letting us know he would start with prepared remarks before taking questions. The theme of the talk, as described by Scanlan, was a discussion of the changes in jurisdiction and international cooperation of law brought about by the digital evidence revolution and the challenges to figuring out the law.

Scanlan then summarized and compared the Canadian and U.S. legal systems. He stressed the most significant difference is that Canadian criminal law is federal and cannot be regulated by the providences.

Where U.S. law and Canadian law most often meet and where Scanlan found his niche in law practice, is internet law and commerce. A significant portion of commerce is now online including cryptocurrency, often taken advantage of by criminals various criminal activities including drug smuggling.

This digital crime revolution has created issues in the legal field especially where jurisdiction is concerned. Jurisdiction is inherently a physical border and the internet transcends physicality and crosses borders. Litigators therefore must juggle the laws in multiple jurisdictions and across countries to handle digital crime cases.

Older methods of jurisdiction dispute and cooperation do not work in a digital world, as they are slow and difficult to implement. Mutual legal assistance requires one department to request information from another, which is then passed through the embassy, and back to the requesting department.

There have been some moves towards streamlining the sharing of information across jurisdiction, including Rule 41 in the United States. Canada has expanded digital cases through the precedence of Supreme Court cases such as Pourshian v Walt Disney Company, which dealt with copyright infringement but has had influence on digital criminal investigation.

Now, Canadian investigations do not necessarily have to invoke the cumbersome older methods of mutual legal assistance between jurisdictions.

Scanlan then described a few memorable cases in which unencumbered access to data was vital for solving criminal cases. First, he described a case in Vancouver involving a child molester in which access to geolocational phone data allowed them to extract DNA and match it to previous cases. Had the geolocational data been withheld, the investigators would not have been able to act quickly enough to find the the DNA of the criminal, who is now serving a life sentence.

The second described case involved a southern U.S. women whose body had been found in a river. Through data from the woman’s fitness watch they were able to determine when her heart stopped and that nearly an hour later she was moved to the deepest part of the river. This data was compared to her husband’s car’s geolocational data, which showed he had driven to the same spot at the same time.

Finally, Scanlan again reiterated that the traditional understanding of jurisdiction is increasingly irrelevant to the society it serves. He then described some attempts at reciprocal issuing of warrants across borders including the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act between the U.S. and Canada.

Scanlan then opened the presentation for questions, outlined below is a summary not exact quotations.


Mandy Lee (ML): How do you handle stress involved with these cases on a daily level?
Daniel Scanlan (DS): It takes its toll, same statistics across U.S. and Canada: 70% of prosecutors on antidepressants, and enormous go off on medical leave.

Court hearings during pandemic were basically 100 virtual, and mostly still virtual.
DS: Legal research in Canada: Lexis Nexis and Quick Law, mostly use Canlii, which has periodicals, papers, textbooks

ML: What do you see as a best solution to improve the process?
DS: CLOUD act: forget border is there, unify laws to some extent, makes necessary speed available to speed
DS: EU has done similar things and leads the way in a lot of ways in rapid information sharing, can disregard borders in purpose of investigation
DS: Volume of date through internet increases exponentially

Mike McMillan (MM): CanaLII is free?
DS: Yes, publicly available

ML: It is part of legal information institute, provided link (above)
DS: Used to use clunky Boolean, but much improved

MM: Is that the only one you use now?
DS: It is the only one I use now, the librarians are not producing anything further.
Use librarians for laws in other countries and states

Pat Sayre McCoy (PSM): The need for cross border quick access to data makes some sense but I am concerned about privacy issues with use of phone to track someone down and tracking phones in that way, how do you draw the line?
DS: Lawful access, privacy takes back seat when there is a probable cause, Google, Apple and the rest are tracking that is more of a privacy issue. Any investigation with wiretap or whatever has privacy issues, but there are safeguards. The companies are hoovering data and no one has any idea what they are doing. The EU is trying to put in place safe guards, have not seen moves in the US

ML: most memorable case?
DS: Using data to shut down a serial child rapist, he was extraordinarily dangerous. An indeterminate life sentence. Getting him off the street memorable
DS: Another, at the start of using digital evidence, Mother and child murdered, dad tried suicide with a note that seemed written to avoid first degree murder charge, it was written on computer and it took a week showing it was premediated
DS: British Columbian men arranging for sex shows and such that have been
shut down

ML: Not much time left, can you talk about your writing process?
DS: Took tech from hackers put person who is a complete psychopath and had him do his worst on the dark web, an FBI agent because they have the
jurisdiction and she is compilation of all the women in this career I have admired, the story is a pursuit across the dark web, and when he finally emerges under the data
DS: The writing was easy and funny
DS: The publishing and agenting and revising was the hard part
DS: Great fun, didn’t use own cases but deconstructed cases and things heard about to create story
DS: A couple of copies of the book sent to be raffled off – hope you enjoy
DS: Textbook writing completely different, can’t even reread to rewrite

Jack Dorr (JD): You stated you read anything but law, what made you choose to write a legal thriller?
DS: Not really a legal thriller, only one lawyer character. 98% of law movies books shows it is not accurate and that is irritating when it is accurate it is like being at work. Mostly a joke I do read lawyer stuff.

JD: How long has this been in the works?
DS: Have always wanted to write, started this one in 2019, getting on in years and better get it written, took about 3 years and publishing delay

Mandy Lee then expressed thanks towards Daniel Scanlan for giving his talk and answering our questions. She let everyone know that the novels had not yet been received, but we would draw names today for the 2 copies. Scott Vanderlin then gave his thanks and introduced the Committees for their announcements.

Committee Announcements:

Community Service
Lisa Winkler – This Business Meeting we are giving to Sit Stay Read, a local organization which uses trained dogs to help develop early childhood literacy. To donate or buy the books they publish, the proceeds of which go directly to the organization, check their website.

Community Service Committee is also in the midst of planning community service day at Montrose Beach. Please ear mark Sat Oct 22, 1 – 3 PM, more details to come; working with Great Lakes Alliance .

Mike MacMillan: There will be a happy hour at Revival Food Hall today around 4:30 PM, everyone is welcome to come chat.
Clair Gaynor Willis: We will have an in person meeting for November. We are looking forward to that and hoping to add in more opportunities for virtual and in person networking on smaller scale. We will continue our Media Club and trivia.

Door prizes:
Mike MacMillan executed the door prize drawings. He shared his screen with wheel of names which amused most people. Bridget MacMillan could not make it due to knee surgery but she offered up the Lexis gift cards, so thank you to Lexis Nexis.

$25 Amazon gift Card Lexis Winners: Phillip Johnson, Sally Wise
The Hackers by Daniel Scanlan Book Winners: Matthew Timko, Joanne Kiley

Scott Vanderlin, president of CALL, again thanked everyone who attended, spoke, or assisted in the meeting. He also reiterated it is going to be a great year for CALL. A reminder about happy hour at Revival Food Hall was given and people were invited to stick around for informal Zoom networking. The meeting was officially adjourned at 12:52 PM.

Joanne Kiley and Matt Timko won the two copies of Mr. Scanlan’s first novel, cybercrime thriller The Hacker, that he had donated as raffle prizes.

Vice-President Mandy Lee presenting Joanne Kiley with her copy of The Hacker.
Vice-President Mandy Lee presenting Joanne Kiley with her copy of The Hacker.