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Archive for ‘ulc_ecomm_list’

Utah Decision on Electronic Signatures and Elections

The Utah Supreme Court this week held that electronic signatures gathered through a web site were valid signatures for the purpose of nominating a person to run for elected office: Anderson v Bell 2010 UT 47 June 22, 2010.

To run for governor in Utah, one needs a nomination document signed by one thousand people. The would-be candidate submitted a nomination form with a combination of hand-written and electronic signatures, the latter appearing on the form only as a list of typewritten names. The state election authority refused to accept the electronic signatures, thus reducing the number of signatures to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Digital Locks?

Bill C-32, the Act to amend the Copyright Act, has a lot of provisions, mostly aimed at balancing the interests of creators of copyrightable content with those who consume (or work with) that content.

Probably the most controversial provision involves ‘digital locks’, i.e. technical protection measures that are designed to prevent people from using the works in ways that the owner does not want. The Act makes it an offence to ‘break’ those locks for any purpose at all.

Some of the attacks on the locks rule have been a bit exaggerated, claiming that there should be no protection — . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

Any Case Law on E-Signatures in Canada?

One of the big issues that Canada’s e-commerce / e-transactions / etc. legislation in the past decade was intended to resolve was the legal status of electronic signatures. At least that was the popular impression. A lot of people (not necessarily lawyers) referred to the legislation as ‘the e-signature bill’. (The Law Commission of England and Wales concluded that no legislation was needed to make e-signature valid in that country / those countries, however, and I suspect that conclusion was valid here too.)

Have there been any cases in any jurisdiction in Canada on the legal status of electronic signatures . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Anonymous Speech

The Ontario Divisional Court is going to hear an appeal of the Warman v Wilkins-Fournier case, in which the issue is whether an internet intermediary (here a blog site) must disclose the names of people alleged to have defamed someone.

The Ottawa Citizen has the story.

The trial decision requiring disclosure is at 2009 CanLII 14054 (ON S.C.)

Both sides are suitably apocalyptic in their predictions of disaster if they lose. (Canadian Civil Liberties Association and CIPPIC intervened against disclosure.)

Those opposing disclosure (on court order) say that whistleblowing and populist activism will be chilled or will dry up if . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Defamation – Liability for Linking

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal to the plaintiff in the British Columbia case of Crookes v Newton 2009 BCCA 392.

The Court blog has a summary of the facts and of the appeal judgment.

Basically, the question is whether someone who posts a link to a defamatory publication has him/her/itself published a defamation. The BCCA held 2:1 that in some circumstances the link could be defamatory — but only if in context the poster of the link called particular attention to it and indicated agreement. The majority held (as had the trial court) that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Implementing the E-Communications Convention in Canada – Some Issues

The Uniform Law Conference has asked for model legislation to implement the UNCITRAL Convention on the use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (the E-Communications Convention, or the ECC). In order to prepare this legislation, one needs to answer a number of policy questions — and then some drafting questions.

I have done an issues paper outlining the questions that have occurred to me. I would very much like your views on the right answers.


Here are the questions, to pique your interest:

1. Should Canada accede to the Convention?

My proposed answer is Yes. Each province and territory can . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Is Use of Computers for Ticket-Buying Criminal?

Internet Law News today reports on the arrest of four people in the US for fraud and unauthorized access to computers — at least I think that’s what’s going on. Here’s the story:

Four Men Charged In Computerized Online Ticket Scam
Four men accused of using a network of computers and automated software to buy up online tickets to concerts and sporting events and selling them at a profit were indicted on fraud, conspiracy, and computer hacking charges, federal prosecutors said on Monday. They allegedly made more than $25 million by re-selling more than 1.5 million of the “most coveted

. . . [more]
Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Online Voting in Alberta or Elsewhere

According to a report by Richard Liebrecht of the QMI Agency:

Alberta Musing Online Election Voting
New election rules have cleared the way for Internet and electronic voting, which could come to Alberta as early as 2013. “Obviously that online voting is something that’s on the forefront of people’s minds … people say, ‘I can do my banking online, but I can’t do my voting online’,” said Brian Fjeldheim, Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer.

The Chief Electoral Officer went on to say “Once it has been proven to be effective, that the votes can be certified, all that security stuff can . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Spying on Students Through Their Computers

Apparently, according to Boing Boing, a high school in Pennsylvania supplied students with laptop computers … with the unusual and unannounced feature that the school could remotely turn on the webcams installed in the computers and watch the students away from the school, such as at home, without the students knowing about it.

A lot of people find this very offensive – but what is the offence, exactly, as a matter of law?

Is it the unauthorized use of the computer? It’s the school’s computer. Does that make a difference? Does it make a difference if the terms of . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Identifying Lawyers — and Others

Stephen Mason and Nicholas Bohm have an interesting article, “Identity and its verification”, published in Computer Law & Security Review, Volume 26, Number 1, January 2010, 43 – 51. (Professor Stephen Mason has written a book on electronic signatures and runs a journal on similar topics. Nicholas Bohm is a security expert.)

It’s available on Science Direct [PDF] and also . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

UK Web Jurisdiction Case Over Hate Literature

Out-law.com reports a recent decision of the Court of Appeal for England and Wales, R. v. Sheppard and Whittle, upholding a conviction for publishing hate literature though the material was stored on servers in California.

The connecting factor was that a “substantial measure of the activities” of the accused took place in England.

This is consistent with the Canadian decision in Citron v Zundel (Canada Human Rights Commission), where the material was also on a California server.

The English (and Welsh) Court held that the material could be held to be published without evidence that anyone actually read it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Privacy Expectations Despite Weak Passwords and File Sharing?

If one has a weak password for one’s web-based personal information, is it reasonable to conclude that one has a reduced expectation of privacy with respect to that information?

(Here’s an English list (from 2006) of the 10 most common password and a list of the 500 worst ones, from the point of view of security.)

If someone uses “password” as his or her password, should he or she really be able to claim some privacy interest in the information behind it?

What about file sharing? If one has files or folders or most of one’s computer accessible to . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Practice of Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list