Emerging Trends Involving Cyber Law – Electronic Signature And Cyberstalking

In recent times, internet law has seen marked growth especially in areas of electronic signing and cyberstalking. Electronic signatures are the electronic processes, sounds or symbols logically connected to or attached to particular contract documents or other documents adopted or executed by particular persons as own signatures on the documents. In many jurisdictions, cyberstalking is taken as criminal act in which a person is attacked by another or others via electronic communications like emails. Notably, as a legal area, cyberstalking is rather new.

  1. Electronic Signature

                 In the case commonly christened J Pereira Fernandes SA v Mehta, J Pereira Fernandes SA, a bed maker sued Nilesh Mehta’s Bedcare for outstanding debts. Mehta ordered his employee to email the litigant communicating a £25,000-personal guarantee if the hearing was put off for seven days. The litigant, via a phone call, accepted the offer. But Bedcare wound up devoid of returning both the money and related documents. The bed maker succeeded in enforcing the personal guarantee made by Mehta. Mehta appealed the trial court’s decision, contending that the bed maker the guarantee was not enforceable against him since it did not bear his signature. The decision is not agreeable since in common law practice, a signature is valid if the conduct of the person making it shows a validating intention to a sound person (Mason, 2012). Even then, the email in question bore no signature. Given that Mehta’s address on the email was mechanically generated could not be relied upon to demonstrate that his conduct showed a validating intention to settle the guarantee to a sound person.

  1. Cyberstalking

In U.S. v. Bowker, Bowker was charged with stalking Tina Knight through emails send to her and her employer. The court convicted Bowker of cyberstalking along with stalking but he appealed the conviction, contending that it was hinged on an unconstitutionally overbroad statute, US Code 18 Section 2261A. The appeal court disallowed the appeal (Adams & Blinka, 2008). The disallowing of the appeal is welcome since the statute is facially constitutional and very specific.

The department should take keen interest in the emerging areas as regards internet law. I recommend that the department should train its staff members on how to steer clear of the possible legal suits relating to electronic signatures as well as cyberstalking.

Best regards.

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