Ghostdrop: Snapchat for documents wins legal hackathon - Brooklyn


Feb. 20, 2014 11:49 am

Ghostdrop: Snapchat for documents wins legal hackathon

Legal Hackathon brings attorneys and developers together to find software solutions to legal problems.

ClickSlide team sets up there presentation of CookieJar at the Legal Hackathon NY.

From a Tweet by @legaltechSEA

If you want to send a document to, say, a prospective investor for just a short period of time, you have a solution now.

Attorneys could share evidence during the discovery process without worrying about the evidence getting leaked. This is the promise of Ghostdrop, proposed as a sort of Snapchat for documents.

A user can upload a document to its servers, send it to a recipient and it will be deleted at the end of a pre-designated length of time. Not only that, but the document will also be deleted if the recipient tries to make a copy in some way. Tong Xiang presented this project at the Legal Hackers hackathon in New York, at the IFP Made In New York Media Center last wek.

Interestingly, at the February Brooklyn Tech Meetup, a similar idea got pitched during the open forum at the end, which goes to show it’s not the idea but the execution.

Legal Hackers is a nonprofit organization founded in Brooklyn working to bring lawyers and technologists together to find technological solutions to legal problems before legislators have to. Similar hackathons were held in London and San Francisco the same weekend.

Ghostdrop won the New York hackathon. See all the projects posted online here. Here are three of the five other projects that made it to the end of the end of Brooklyn’s hackathon and presented to the judges:

Cookie Jar

  • Webserver that stores all your cookies in the cloud. Keeps them off your computer.
  • You will soon be able to rename your cookies so you know what they are.
  • Works as a Chrome Extension
  • You can block offsite cookies for good, so Facebook won’t be able to track you off Facebook.
  • 256 bit encrypted
  • Would like to crossreference cookies eventually, to help users name them in ways that make sense.

Using Copyright to Remove Revenge Pornography Selfies


  • Revenge porn happen when selfies sent privately are posted maliciously by former intimate partners (or there partners new partners).
  • Draws on law in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [DMCA].
  • If you take a photo yourself, you 100% own the copyright, so you can do a DMCA takedown order with a website publisher.
  • The team built a website that facilitates a DMCA takedown order. It’s basically a form that offers proof that it’s your photo and sends a legal notice to the website owner with a copy to your email.

Terms of Service Helper 

  • Users never read Terms of Service [TOS]. They may find they have really strange clauses built in, such as a “Non-Disparagement clause.” Such clauses may even be added after a user first agrees, yet they could still be held to it.
  • TOS can change over time with no notice. So they are contracts, but contracts that morph.
  • Docracy and the Electronic Frontier Foundation enable TOS monitor extensions for Firefox and Chrome, according to the presenters.
  • The team built the beginnings of an add-on that draws attention for a user when a TOS changes and exactly what has changed.
  • The add-on is completely passive for users (though looking over TOS the first time would be good).

See all the presentations here:



Brady Dale

Brady Dale is a tech reporter, comedian and storyteller. In July 2015 he joined the New York Observer. Brady was Brooklyn's lead reporter from August 2013 till June 2015. A native of Pittsburg, Kansas, he went to Cornell and worked as a progressive community organizer for over a decade before quitting his job to pursue writing.


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