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Archive for ‘Administration of Slaw’

Electronic Designation of Beneficiaries

From time to time the question of electronic wills is raised for discussion. This Uniform Law Conference has visited the topic a couple of times.

I have a related question today: should people be able to use electronic means to designate beneficiaries of savings plans (pension plans, RRSPs, TFSAs etc.) or insurance policies? If so, how? And if not, why not?

Usually such designations have be in writing and signed. The Uniform Electronic Commerce Act permits both e-documents and e-signatures. However, the UECA excludes wills and codicils. Most if not all provinces and territories have adopted this exclusion.

It is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Spare 5 Minutes for Slaw?

Dear Slaw reader,

As you may have noticed from the banner at the top of our homepage, we’ve just launched our first-ever reader survey (hard to believe Slaw has been up and running for over 10 years now, and we’ve never formally sought reader feedback)!

We’d really appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete the survey. It won’t take long (promise!) as it’s mostly multiple-choice questions (the easy kind to answer, though we’d be grateful if you’d share your answers to a couple open-ended questions, too).

Slaw’s readership has multiplied over the years, with close to 700K unique . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Cybersecurity – Role of the Board of Directors

Legislation recently introduced in the US Congress would compel publicly-traded companies to disclose in their filings with securities regulators whether any member of their board of directors was a ‘cybersecurity expert’.

Does this make sense to you? It does not to this commentator from the law firm Jones, Day. He says the role of the board is not to *be* the expert but to ensure that expertise is sought and its advice considered properly.

The comment notes that the SEC “has already made it clear that companies must disclose material cybersecurity risks and incidents to investors in their public filings.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Mistakes in Website Prices – Consumer Items

A Quebec court has recently held that Costco was not bound to sell a computer to a consumer for $2.00, as advertised on its web site. Although the Consumer Protection Act says that an ad to a consumer is an offer, the court (Cour du Québec) held that online sales are different.

Here’s an article about the decision.

I presume the decision would be similar in common-law Canada. Is it not general law that an ad on a website is considered an invitation to treat, rather than an offer that can be accepted by anyone in the world? Certainly the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Nova Scotia’s Cyberbullying Law Struck Down

Nova Scotia’s Cyber-Safety Act has been struck down as unconstitutional, with immediate effect.

The law clearly intended to restrict expression. The way it did so was held so vague as not to constitute a restriction “prescribed by law” as required by section 1 of the Charter. It was also disproportionate to the harms it sought to remedy. The court declined to suspend application of the ruling, as the Crown had requested.

Further details are in the blog of the successful counsel, David Fraser of Halifax.

Tragic circumstances do not justify a hasty or overbroad legislative response. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Lawyers, Boards and Cybersecurity

A lot of attention is being paid these days to cyberthreats and cybersecurity. It seems widely accepted that such threats and security questions cannot be confined to the IT department any more, but they involve sufficiently critical threats to organizations that boards of directors have to get involved. When boards get involved, they turn to their counsel.

Some enterprising law firms in the US have published books on the topic. The blurb for this one strikes me as a bit over the top – and the threats they sketch have been real for years (off-the-shelf attack software available for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Welcome to Our New Slaw Tips Contributors

You may have noticed that there have been a few new faces (well, names, really) over on our companion site, Slaw Tips. For the unfamiliar, Slaw Tips is where a few select members of our contributor team share short and to-the-point weekly tips directed toward practicing lawyers and those working within the legal field.

We’ve been very lucky, by the way, that our three founding Editors — Dave Bilinsky, Dan Pinnington and Shaunna Mireau, are all still contributing to the site. Not to mention Dave B.’s partner in law practice musings, Garry Wise.

It was actually Dave and Garry’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Will Facebook Overprotect Privacy?

According to the English media, Facebook is thinking of generating an automatic warning to a member who posts a picture of a child to a publicly-accessible page on Facebook.

Is this a serious over-reaction to the threat that the kid – or the parents – face from such a posting? How many people are actually affected by predators of any kind using online pictures? What proportion are those victims of the numbers of people whose pics are on FB?

Is this a tactic by FB to appear to be concerned about privacy when its entire lucrative business model is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

How to Prove That a Computer Uploaded Documents to the Cloud

In R. v Cusick, the Ontario Superior Court upheld a search warrant of a computer where that computer was suspected of having been used to upload child pornography to a cloud storage service.

What one searches for, apparently, are ‘artifacts’ – digital traces of the child porn files that passed through the computer on the way to the cloud. The case notes the difference between uploading from the computer’s hard drive (in which case the files may also still be on the computer) and uploading from a USB drive or mobile device (in which case they may not be, . . . [more]

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

James Bond, Spectre, and the Surveillance Society

I don’t normally do movie reviews, but Spectre, the latest James Bond movie, has a cautionary tale about the surveillance society that is worth commenting on. It deals with the undemocratic / totalitarian / dystopian aspects of ubiquitous surveillance.

Some reviewers have been critical about the movie, but my view of Bond movies is that they are more about entertainment than plot and character development.

Some elements of the movie are uncomfortably real – like its spin on the five eyes network . After I saw it I wondered what Ed Snowden would think. This is what Wikipedia has to . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Miscellaneous

Problems With Bitcoins as Money?

As you know, the Canadian Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce published earlier this year a report on Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Bradley Crawford, author of the leading banking law treatise in Canada, has recently written a commentary on that report and on digital currencies generally. That comment – quite critical of the Senate’s report – will be added to his treatise later this month.

He raises one issue that seems to me particularly important to those who promote the use of digital currencies in commercial exchanges: the transfer of control of units of Bitcoin (or equivalent) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Digital Files Are Property in New Zealand

The Supreme Court of New Zealand has held that digital files in a CCTV system are property and could be stolen. Thus someone who accessed the system and uploaded the files to YouTube was convicted under the NZ criminal code for accessing a computer system without colour of right to obtain property.

The Court of Appeal had held that the digital files were not property, but the accused could be convicted of accessing the system to obtain a benefit, since he tried to sell the files before uploading them (not having found a buyer).

This seems like quite a change . . . [more]

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