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Archive for ‘ulc_ecomm_list’

Authentication of Electronic Records – Some Recent Developments

Canadian and American courts (and others) have been making pronouncements about the reliability of electronic documents for various purposes, not all of them equally persuasive, and the Canadian ones more sceptical than the American courts — perhaps only because of the facts before them.

Comments welcome on any of these cases: were they rightly decided? Do they suggest gaps in legislation? . . . [more]

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

Is an Auto-Pen Signature a Signature at Law?

A group of US politicians are concerned that the President has not properly signed a law, a step described in the US Constitution, if his signature is applied to the relevant piece of paper by an auto-pen — whether or not the President authorized the application of the pen (being out of the country when the bill came up for signature, and things being rather urgent.)

Do you think this is right? I think it’s ludicrous, myself. My signature can be made by anyone I authorize to make it — or by a machine. Signatures made for me by other . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Wireless Security and Crime Prevention

One of the interesting elements of Google’s StreetView program was that its camera crews picked up and recorded the location of wireless hotspots that were not secured. This information was not, so far as I recall, published by Google, but its collection made some news. It seems to me, however, that one hears less often about ‘war-driving’ and other forms of cruising about looking for unsecured wireless signals in order to piggyback onto the Internet with them. Is that because there are so many public wireless access spots available nowadays, or because broadband access has become so cheap that one . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Domain Names – How to Get Them Back

The Ontario Superior Court recently released a judgment about recovering domain names, South Simcoe Railway Heritage Corporation v. Wakeford 2011 ONSC 1234, in this case a .com name rather than .ca domain name.

Someone who had been active in a voluntary organization registered a domain name for the organization and later transferred it into his own name. He also changed all the registration information settings to private so no one, including the organization, could track who was responsible for the site.

The plaintiff organization brought actions in ‘detinue sur trover’ (a new cause of action for me after all . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Draft Procedural Rules for Online Dispute Resolution

As mentioned earlier this month on Slaw, the UNCITRAL Secretariat has published WP.107 for its meeting next month, setting out the first draft of a set of rules for procedure in online dispute resolution (ODR). That document is available online. With the same link you will find the report of the first meeting of the Working Group on ODR, from December 2010, to see how the group got to where it is now.

The principle of the draft rules is that they should apply readily to low-cost, high-volume disputes, so they should be simple and accessible and allow . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Class Action Against Facebook Dismissed in Quebec

A number of Facebook users in Quebec tried to begin a class action against FB for alleged infringements on their privacy. A Quebec court has now refused certification as a class action and dismissed the case: St Arnaud c. Facebook Inc. 2011 QCCS 1506.

One ground for dismissal was that FB users sign an agreement that all disputes must be adjudicated in Santa Clara County, California.

A more interesting element of the decision was that the ‘contract’ with FB was not a consumer contract within the meaning of Quebec law, since there was no payment and no obligation on . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Work on E-Com and Online Dispute Resolution

We have mentioned before the recent work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on online dispute resolution (ODR) and a colloquium held to review the potential future work of UNCITRAL on e-commerce issues.


The UNCITRAL Secretariat has produced a working paper for the meeting next month of the ODR Working Group. Working Paper 107 is a draft set of procedural rules that might apply to ODR processes. Along with it, you’ll find WP.106, the provisional agenda for that meeting.

Will this work? Is it likely to be useful? Or is it too high-level to provide real . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

EU Launches Public Consulltation on E-Signatures

The European Union has begun a public consultation on online authentication in the context of its review of its Electronic Signature Directive of 1999.

An early assertion in the press release is this: “difficulties in verifying people’s identities and signatures are a significant factor holding back the development of the EU’s online economy.”

Is this true, in your view or in your experience? How often is identification of the other party to a transaction, or authentication of an identity one already knows, a concern, compared to, for example, the solvency of the party, the quality of the goods offered, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list

A ‘common’ Law of Consumer Contracts for Online Dispute Resolution?

The European Union has been thinking about the disharmony of its consumer laws and the disincentive that this can pose to cross-border commerce, particularly e-commerce. This disincentive may be greater because the Rome Treaty requires that consumer disputes be resolved in the courts of the consumer’s residence according to the law of that place. B2C e-commerce among EU countries is not expanding along with domestic B2C e-commerce.

The EU has come up with a proposal to have a ‘28th law’ (in addition to the law of the 27 member states), being a common consumer law that could be opted into . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Email Evidence—Worth the Search?

Bruni v. Bruni, 2010 ONSC 6568 (CanLII), a recent decision of the Superior Court of Justice in a family matter, noted (literally, in a footnote (23)):

In recent years, the evidence in family trials typically includes reams of text messages between the parties, helpfully laying bare their true characters. Assessing credibility is not nearly as difficult as it was before the use of e-mails and text messages became prolific. Parties are not shy about splattering their spleens throughout cyberspace.

Is that your experience? Does a multiplicity of informal electronic communications help or hurt assessment of credibility? Is . . . [more]

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

Social Media – a Good Source of Data About Insurability?

People have expressed concern about behavioural advertising, in which advertisers watch what one does online in order to send out ads that are likely to appeal to the person watched. A number of big online services are now developing a ‘do not track’ command to allow their users to prevent their information from being collected for that purpose.

A more interesting, and more intrusive, usage of behavioural information collected online is by insurance companies that may decide whether someone is a good risk to insure based on that information. Fans of XXX’s double-cheese-and-bacon deep-dish pizzas may find themselves having a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Future International Work on E-Commerce

What are the pressing topics on which international law should be developed regarding electronic commerce? Are your clients running into difficulties, or areas of uncertainty, that could be resolved by a harmonized approach among our trading partners?

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is asking these questions. UNCITRAL has been the source of much innovation in e-com law over the years, notably with its Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996) [PDF] that is the basis of Canadian, American and much other law on that topic.

UNCITRAL is holding a colloquium in New York next month (Feb 14 . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list