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Archive for ‘ulc_ecomm_list’

Are Social Media Posts by Politicians Official Documents?

The US Department of Justice has declared that President Trump’s tweets are official statements of the President – at least in one case. In another, mentioned in the same ABA story, it is saying that they are not, at least to the point that the President can block people from his Twitter account.

What is your view? Are the posts subject to freedom of information laws and official records laws, so that they have to be preserved, they have to be accessible on request, they have to respect privacy rights?

There is a difference between politicians in government with official . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

“Internet Separation” – the Wave of the (Secure) Future?

To reduce the risk of hackers coming into government database through the Internet, the Government of SIngapore has required all public service computers to be cut off from the Internet. Public servants are allowed to use the net from separate computers that are not connected to their government data.

Yes, that means that a lot of people will have two unconnected computers on the go at the same time.

This article explains the process and the reasons, in the words of the Prime Minister. who called the move “absolutely necessary.” He does admit in the article that if a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Crossing Borders With Digital Devices

Lots of lawyers have been worried about having their digital devices inspected at the U.S. border in recent years, and more so under the current administration – but there are other countries that are not generally trusted either.

The New York City Bar Association has issued an ethics opinion telling lawyers they need to take special steps to protect confidential and privileged client information in such circumstances – possibly including using ‘burner’ phones or laptops (ones with no confidential info, and that the owner can burn or otherwise just throw away after coming back from the country in question).

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

UNCITRAL Adopts Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records

UNCITRAL has now adopted a model law on electronic transferable records. See the press release below. The full text will be available online shortly at the URL shown at the end of the document.

Canadians showed little interest in this project while it was being developed, so Canada’s attendance at the working group meetings was intermittent.

Does it sound more interesting now that it is final? Would your clients benefit from an internationally accepted law on the topic? This UNCITRAL text is the best that will be available in the foreseeable future.

Should steps be taken to implement it here? . . . [more]

Posted in: International law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Texting at the Wheel: Should Police Be Able to Examine Your Phone?

New York State is considering legislation to require drivers involved in auto accidents to allow the police to inspect their mobile phones for signs of recent activity. Presumably signs of such activity would be grounds for charges for driving while distracted, and might lead to evidence to support civil liability as well.

It’s interesting that the technology for detecting such recent activity does not currently exist, but it is being developed as the legislation is working its way through the process.

The developers, the legislators and the police all say that the technology will not permit any review of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

May Lawyers Accept Payment in Bitcoin?

A U.S. colleague with a technology practice was recently asked to take payment for her legal services in Bitcoin. She is not sure she has the right to do so.

What about in Canada? Would any law society here slow such payment? Do payments have to be more subject to regulation via known financial institutions? Certainly the rules about trust accounts demand traditional accounting. Why would a general payment with a digital currency be a problem, though? . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Is a Docusign E-Signature an Original for the Purpose of a Court Rule?

If a court or regulator allows e-filing but requires the filer to retain an original signed document, can that original itself be electronic?

A bankruptcy court in California recently issued sanctions against an attorney who filed electronic documents without retaining an “original” of the documents as required by the Rules – because the documents held by the attorney were signed using Docusign, and they did not qualify as originals for that purpose. Here is an article about the decision.

Here is the rule in the Court Manual:

Court Manual section 3.4(1)(4): Retention of Original Signatures. The registered CM/ECF User

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

What if Your Personal Digital Assistant Defames Somebody?

We recently had a discussion about police access to the recordings made by in-home digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and its (her?) ilk.

Now our focus turns to the actions of these devices if they do bad things themselves. This story reports that Siri, Apple’s version, routinely answered requests in Toronto for prostitutes by referring the inquired to an “eSports bar” – one where clients play electronic sports games. Apparently the word may be too close to “escorts” for Siri’s sense of discrimination. It is clear – take it as established for the present discussion – that the bar is . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Data From Pacemaker Used in Prosecution

A man in Ohio was charged with arson and insurance fraud after data from his pacemaker did not support his story about how his house burned down.

The evidence from the pacemaker was taken on a warrant.

A lawyer from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is quoted in the ABA story at the link as saying that privacy interests in one’s health information were “eroded” by the decision. The statement suggests that privacy should override the state’s interest in prosecution.

Do you agree? Or is the need for a warrant enough protection for privacy relating to medical devices, as it is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Ending the Signature Fetish?

A man was injured driving a go-kart at a track in Saskatchewan. He sued the owners of the track. The owners moved to dismiss the action because the plaintiff had waived their liability on an electronic form. The plaintiff argued that it was not clear that he had signed the waiver. Held: for the owners.

Quilichini v Wilson’s Greenhouse, 2017 SKQB 10 (CanLII)

The court considered SK’s Electronic Documents and Information Act, which implements the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act. The court properly (in my view) looked at s. 18 of the Act (s. 20 of the Uniform Act) . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, ulc_ecomm_list

May a Plaintiff Compel a Defendant’s Lawyer to Identify His/her Client?

A U.S. court has ordered a lawyer for a defendant in a defamation action to identify his client. Could this be done in Canada? Is it routine? I know that there is Canadian case law on requiring Internet intermediaries to identify users, for both civil and criminal proceedings. I am not aware that lawyers can be required to do so – but maybe that is just because i am no barrister.

The lawyer claimed attorney-client privilege in refusing to answer. If a lawyer shows up in a court proceeding on behalf of a ‘John Doe’ client, is the identity of . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Police Access to Recordings of in-Home Computer “assistants”

A lot of people now have computers they can talk to and get answers from – Siri, Alexa, Cortona, etc – not to mention interactive talking dolls.

A man in Arkansas was recently charged with murdering another man in his home. The accused person had a number of such devices in his home, including an Echo device made by Amazon. While the device is set up to activate itself when addressed in a particular way, or by name, sometimes they record in other circumstances.

The police have asked Amazon to turn over any recording made during the relevant period. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list