Recently Singapore, New Zealand and Chile signed an agreement on how they will run their trading relationships in the electronic age: the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). It spells out how the parties will carry on business electronically, including the basic legal framework (UNCITRAL Model Law on E-Commerce, Electronic Communication Convention (and parties ‘shall endeavour’ to adopt the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records), operation of a Single Window for customs and transit documents, and many other elements of trade in the modern era.
Archive for ‘ulc_ecomm_list’
This morning I had by email a long-wished-for letter (laid out like a typical business letter, with letterhead and date and address etc.) from the company financing my car, telling me my loan was now paid in full. It finished with the usual cordial invitation to contact them if I should need any further services, then ‘sincerely, [name of company]’, then:
“NOTE: This letter is computer generated; no signature is required.”
And sure enough, it looked like an old computer printout, as if it had holes up the side to feed it through a printer, and an ancient font, pre-Courier. . . . [more]
A recent news story, on CBC and elsewhere, told of a woman whose son went missing for two years. When she found his body (in a morgue), she did not know why he died. She has been trying to get information about his social media accounts, in order to see if there was something particular on his mind that might explain his death.
She has not been very successful, especially with the US social media giants like Yahoo and Google. (She did get an order from a Canadian court that got her some information from Canadian sources.)
Question: should the . . . [more]
Lately we discussed on this blog U.S. legislation appearing to validate contracts or signatures done by blockchain, by saying that ‘electronic record’ and ‘electronic signature’ under the states’ e-transactions legislation included blockchain. There was considerable thought that this was not necessary, that the conclusion was obvious (or badly wrong, if there could be a non-electronic blockchain).
Apparently this kind of legislation has been around for a long time. Here is a note (h/t Ian Kyer) about Pennsylvania legislation in the 1890s saying that typewriting was writing for all legal purposes. Could this have been previously in doubt, given that printed . . . [more]
Last month the Ontario Securities Commission refused to approve a prospectus for a fund that proposed to invest in bitcoin. The investment did not have enough liquidity, i.e. investors could not be certain enough that they could sell their investment when they wanted to. A summary is here.
The OSC also had concerns about the valuation of bitcoin (surprise!) and its safekeeping. Given the number of thefts of cryptocurrency in recent years, and the Quadriga mess, the latter concern may be justified as well.
What do you think? Is the OSC just doing its job, or is it not . . . [more]
Here are some further thoughts on how Canada might authorize electronic wills. Perhaps the Uniform Law Conference of Canada could use them in the mix of policy proposals when and if it takes up the topic, as it is almost bound to do sooner or later – as companion jurisdictions move towards law reform.
Speaking of those jurisdictions:
. . . [more]
• In July, 2018, the Uniform Law Commission in the US gave first reading to its Uniform Electronic Wills Act. No further draft has been released to follow up on the discussion. The developments in that project so far are online at
The ABA’s technology journal has an article advocating legislation to give consumers (or everybody) a right to repair their devices. What this does is prohibit manufacturers from making their devices impossible or dauntingly difficult for the owner to repair, and often for professional mechanics to do as well.
The article gives several examples of the difficulties deliberately created by manufacturers to this end. Its focus is electronic devices, but many other types of goods have also raised the question.
Sometimes repairs can be done by service centres related to the manufacturer, but even then the repairs can be very expensive, . . . [more]
The Court of Justice of the European Union is hearing arguments on whether the right to be forgotten under EU law (notably based on the Spanish case from 2014 that started all this discussion) should be applied globally by search engines. Here is The Guardian’s report.
You will notice that the report closes with a mention of the Canadian Supreme Court decision (in Equustek, not named) where the court made its takedown order against Google globally. I did not think the SCC dealt well with the arguments being raised at the CJEU, namely that if France, or Canada, . . . [more]
The American Bar Journal reports that some people are harassing their spouses by remote manipulation of smart home devices, like thermostats, TVs and the like – turning the heat way up, or off, turning TVs or radios on and off, etc.
Is this a problem in Canada? Is there a reason that the spouse left in the home can’t just turn off the devices, or the central control device like Alexa?
Would restraining orders need to deal with this kind of ‘contact’ or abuse expressly? . . . [more]
The Guardian has an article about the number of businesses in the U.K. that are refusing to accept cash in payment, notably for food and drink, and services.
The article and the comments to it point out the difficulties such policies may cause for people who do not have or cannot get bank accounts – but also the benefit for the businesses, who do not have to keep or tally cash.
The comments in particular point out the privacy and control implications of having all one’s transactions recorded – and the data often sold – electronically.
Some other countries, notably . . . [more]
Some states in the US, notably now including North Carolina and Florida, require that part of one’s mandatory continuing legal education include education on techology. Florida’s rule requires three hours over three years – so an hour a year, but if one took a three-hour course (which might be a more useful format than three one-hour sessions), one could fulfill the duty. At least in NC, their annual requirement is 12 hours, same as in Ontario.
This is all in the context of the ABA’s Professional Conduct rules – adopted in many states – that expressly requires competence in matters . . . [more]
You will probably have heard that Google has developed a system by which a machine can make phone calls to humans, notably to make reservations for hotels and restaurants (and what more human an activity is there?) – and the machine, using AI, can sound remarkably human. Apparently we have here a device that passes the Turing test with flying colours.
Question: should it have to tell people it deals with that it is essentially a robot? A lot of people claim to be unhappy with the idea that they may deal with the machine and not know it’s . . . [more]