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Archive for ‘ulc_ecomm_list’

Legal Claims and Third-Party Privacy

Recently I published here a case comment on a Quebec tribunal decision involving the admissibility of social media evidence.

One particular element of the argument surprised me, and I would be interested in your views.

In the case, an employee brought a complaint before a labour tribunal against her employer, claimed that the employer had created, or allowed to continue, an atmosphere of harassment. As evidence, she brought printouts of comments made by her work colleagues on the Facebook page of another colleague who was also (for a while) a Facebook friend of the complainant.

The employer objected to this . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Voice Signatures

Has anyone had any experience with the use of the voice as a legal signature (presumably by way of a recording)? Is there any case law on the topic, one way or the other?

When we did the UECA in 1999, we had in mind that a voice mail message might be an electronic document and the association of the content with the speaker could well constitute a signature.

There is some law that a signature must be an intentional act, and whether just saying ‘Hello, it’s John, I accept your offer to sell me your house’ would constitute an . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Must the Internet Be Accessible to People With Disabilities?

A court in Massachusetts last month refused to dismiss a case brought by the National Association of the Deaf against Netflix, claiming that Netflix is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide closed-captioning on all its products, including streaming of broadcasts. Netflix was held to be a place of public accommodation within the meaning of the Act.

Does this strike you as a reasonable result? What would happen in Canada, under our various access statutes, one of the most extensive of which is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act? Governments tend to have standards about . . . [more]

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

Banks and Their Commercial Customers

A recent US Court of Appeals decision has caused some concern in banking circles. Here is a blog description with a link to the case, Patco Construction v People’s Bank. Essentially the court held that the business customer’s losses from online fraud had been caused by negligent security practices at the bank, so the bank was liable for them.

As the blog entry (by a noted electronic security expert) points out, while consumers have traditionally been protected in dealings with their banks (so the banks have devised a number of security measures to protect against loss), business clients have . . . [more]

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

Commissioning Affidavits by Video or Skype

There has been a bit of discussion on a couple of Canadian lists lately of the appropriateness of commissioning an affidavit (or declaration or affirmation) by video link or by Skype (which is just another form of video, at least for the purposes of this question, is it not?).

Ontario law, and most other Canadian common law at least, requires that the person making the affidavit must be “in the presence of” the person commissioning it (notary, lawyer, commissioner for taking affidavits). See Commissioner for Taking Affidavits Act (Ontario) s. 9.

Question: Is one sufficiently “in the presence” of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Domain Name Is Property in … All of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused leave to appeal the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Tucows.com v Lojas Renner 2011 ONCA 548

That decision had held that Tucows.com could bring an action for a declaration of its rights to a domain name in an Ontario court, on the ground that the dispute involved “real or personal property located in Ontario”. In this case, Tucows.com was the registrar and the owner of the domain name Renner. com. The other party was a Brazilian company that owned the trade mark ‘Renner’ (though not apparently in Canada.)

The Court . . . [more]

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

Ontario Bill to Amend the Electronic Commerce Act

A private member’s bill, Bill 96, the Electronic Commerce Amendment Act, 2012, was introduced on May 17, 2012, to amend Ontario’s Electronic Commerce Act.

The bill does three things:

i) It repeals the exclusion of land transfers from the E-Commerce Act (paragraph 31(1)(d) of the Act, s. 2 of the Bill).

ii) It requires for a land transfer that is electronically signed, that

in light of all the circumstances, including any relevant agreement, the purpose for which the document is created and the time the electronic signature is made,

(a) the electronic signature is reliable for the

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

Seizing Social Media Information in a Criminal Case

We have discussed on Slaw the mandatory disclosure of information from Facebook pages in civil litigation, and the disclosure of FB passwords to prospective employers. I do not believe that we have discussed the disclosure of information from FB in the course of a criminal investigation.

A German court has recently ordered disclosure of the content of private messages and pictures from a suspect’s FB pages. A write-up of the case appears in International Law Office.

Is this just another search warrant for a computer? Would courts where you are have any difficulty with an application for such a warrant? . . . [more]

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

Are Retweets Endorsements?

Should you put a disclaimer on your re-tweets (or on your Twitter profile) that your retweeting does not necessarily mean your endorsement of the content of the message so distributed?

Here is an article suggesting that disclaimers are not a bad idea. Associated Press has recently warned its journalists about this, and suggested that a mere disclaimer may not be enough. The article goes into blogger endorsements under the recent FTC policy on that topic too.

Can readers of your retweet figure out when your ‘no comment’ is an ironic dismissal of the content, rather than a neutral retransmission? Would . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Enforcing Facebook’s Click-Through Contract

Here’s a good review of the law on shrink-wrap, click-through and ‘browse-wrap’ contracts . I expect the law of New York is much like the law in at least common law Canada on the topic. The comment is inspired by a recent dispute about Facebook’s ability to enforce its forum-selection clause. The author says that most lawyers would have thought that FB’s sign-up process was ‘bullet-proof’, but the court still made a thorough analysis of it.

The process required the person signing up to click on the terms of service to see them, In other words, the assent to those . . . [more]

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

Can a Google Search Suggestion Be Defamatory?

The Paris court of appeals has decided that a suggested search query generated by the Google Suggest function defamed the company whose name was first entered into the search box. This feature works by displaying the most popular searches performed by other Google searchers associated with the text typed into the search box. So Google doesn’t decide what is displayed; its machines just count and show.

Turns out that one of the most popular associations with the name of the plaintiff company was ‘escroc’, which in French means crook or swindler.

Is this a kind of ‘crowd-sourced’ defamation? What can . . . [more]

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

Privacy and the Receipt of Personal Information From EU Countries

The EU privacy directive (1995 version – I gather that it is being revised, though I don’t know on what timetable) provides that member countries may not release personal information outside the EU unless the recipients are bound by equivalent safeguards for privacy.

While the US has a ‘safe harbor’ agreement with the EU about criteria for judging when the protections are equivalent, Canada does not. On the other hand, we have a generally applicable privacy law (PIPEDA) and some provincial equivalents, plus personal health information laws in most provinces. Are they enough to permit the personal information to come . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list