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Archive for ‘Administration of Slaw’

Can Skype Be Used for Testimony in Court?

The Indian Supreme Court is to deal with a challenge to evidence of the complainant in a rape case that was taken by Skype. The complainant is Irish and is now in Ireland, and does not want to return to India for the trial.

The accused submits that the quality of the recording is not good enough to admit the evidence.

Does anything about the use of Skype in this case, or in general, make you uncomfortable?

Can there be a firm rule about the admissibility of private (or quasi-public) systems of video evidence, or should it depend on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Voice Messages Compromised as Electronic Documents?

New technology is apparently capable of reproducing human speech very accurately – i.e. the speech of particular people.

Researchers have found automated and human verification for voice-based user authentication vulnerable, and explore how an attacker in possession of voice audio samples could compromise a victim’s security, safety and privacy.

It seems pretty clear to me that an electronic recording of a voice (as in a voice-mail message) is an electronic document within the meaning of all provincial e-commerce/transactions legislation. We (the folks who wrote the uniform law) considered the voice as a kind of biometric and saw no reason in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, ulc_ecomm_list

Ontario Court Takes Jurisdiction in Internet Defamation Case – Ho Hum?

The Superior Court of Ontario has recently held that an Israeli newspaper should face a defamation action in Ontario on behalf of an Ontario resident, since the newpaper’s website was read in Ontario. Goldhar v

The Court made short work of the ‘jurisdiction simpliciter’ argument, based on SCC decisions, and not much longer work, it would appear, of the forum conveniens arguments. It did order that the costs to bring the Israeli witnesses to Canada should be paid by the plaintiff.

Are these cases now routine? Is there any realistic chance for a defendant to avoid a trial . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Do You Have a BYOF Policy?

Here’s a cute but telling article on the privacy and security threats posed by wearable technology – things like smart watches and personal health monitors.

It’s a useful reminder that interconnected devices (Internet of Things stuff) are often lacking basic security or have only basic security, and they are often not updatable either. So they may be infected by security attacks that then get walked into an otherwise protected work environment and spring loose behind the firewalls.

Thus the suggestion of a Bring Your Own Fitbit policy. It’s not just the phones any more.

Views? Do you deal with such . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Enforceability of Do-Not-Link Provisions

The PanAm games currently being held in Toronto had until very recently a ‘do not link’ term on its web page.

I do not understand why such a term would be enforceable. What legal right is asserted? Linking does not imply endorsement, as we know from defamation cases. Nor – so far as I know – does it constitute use of any trade mark in the URL linked to, by the person making the link. So – what?

The Toronto IP firm Bereskin and Parr sets out an analysis of this issue. It mentions some of the difficulties . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Standing to Bring a Class Action for Data Breach

It appears as if there is a major difference between Canadian and US law on standing to sue, at least in class actions.

Most US class actions by people whose personal information has been compromised in some way by a data breach have been stopped by a motion to dismiss. The essence of the argument is that the prospective plaintiffs have not suffered any demonstrable damage, and the US Constitution that authorizes the court system requires that there be a real dispute, which requires real damages.

On the other hand, the Federal Court of Appeal has just decided, in Condon . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Digital Currency – the Senate Reports

Are you keeping track of the law on digital currency such as Bitcoin? Are your clients using it, or wanting to? Are you?

The Senate of Canada has issued a report supporting its use. Here’s a story on the report (in case you don’t subscribe to Crypto Coin News…).

Objects in the future are closer than they appear (sometimes). . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Do Real Names Lead to Civility?

It has long been thought that using real names in Internet comments increases the civility of the comments. Here is a large-scale study purporting to demonstrate that this is true.

Anonymity and Online Commenting: The Broken Windows Effect and the End of Drive-by Commenting

The abstract:

In this study we ask how regulations about commenter identity affect the quantity and quality of discussion on commenting fora. In December 2013, the Huffington Post changed the rules for its comment forums to require participants to authenticate their accounts through Facebook. This enabled a large-scale ‘before and after’ analysis. We collected over 42m

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, ulc_ecomm_list

Web Site Accessibility Standards in Ontario

The Regulation on Integrated Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) provides, in s. 14, that ‘large organizations’

‘shall meet the requirements of this section in accordance with the following schedule:
1. By January 1, 2014, new internet websites and web content on those sites must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level A.’

Are your clients or other large organizations you know of complying with this obligation? Have they sought your advice on how to comply?

I ask not in order to send in the forces of order (‘not my department’, as we say in government), but . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

UK – “Serious Crimes” to Cybersecurity

The United Kingdom has recently passed the Serious Crimes Act, 2015.

Part 2 of the Act makes several amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (“CMA”), including:


– a new offence of unauthorised acts in relation to a computer that result either directly, or indirectly, in serious damage in any country to the economy, environment, national security or human welfare, or create a significant risk of such things. The offence will carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for some categories of cyberattack. A person is guilty of the offence if they, at the time of commission, are aware . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

English Court of Appeal Expands Privacy Rights

The Court of Appeal in England has upheld a 2014 decision against Google about its scraping of information from users of the Safari browser. It classified a privacy action as a tort that will support a class action (called a ‘group action’ there) and also service out of the jurisdiction. The Court allowed the action to proceed without proof of pecuniary damages. It also held that ‘browser generated information’ (BGI) was personally identifiable information to which the Data Protection Act applied, though it did not contain the name of the person using the browser.

Google v Vidal-Hall : [2015] EWCA . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Should Search Engines Index Court Decisions?

In the days of electronic access, judicial decisions (and sometimes other court records that have always been public in principle) no longer benefit from practical obscurity. Court have had to wrestle with the consequences of this, including tailoring the way decisions are written to reduce the amount of personal information they contain.

The Canadian Judicial Council has published material on this, as have the federal and state courts in the US.

Recently a US lawyer proposed that databases of court decisions should block search engines from indexing the decisions – a block that is very easy to implement, with a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list