Digital Signature Mock Trial

Robert Hettinga rah at
Sun Mar 23 15:00:40 PST 1997

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Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 17:13:25 -0500
To: dcsb at
From: Rodney Thayer <rodney at>
Subject: Digital Signature Mock Trial
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Reply-To: Rodney Thayer <rodney at>

>Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 18:37:16 -0500
>From: Dan Greenwood <dan at>
>Digital Signature Mock Trial
>The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Information Technology Division Legal
>Department will sponsor a mock trial based on a dispute over a digitally
>signed communication. This will be an online event, probably web-based.
>There will also be a half-day "court room" mock trial to be held in
>Boston in the spring. Anyone interested in helping to plan, or
>participate in one or both of these mock trials should contact Dan
>Greenwood at dgreenwood at
>The purpose of this exercise will be to explore legal ramifications of
>deploying digital signature technology as a business tool, including:
>what grounds for a claim (consumer law, financial and banking law,
>common law, other?); what issues arise relative to preserving certain
>evidence for trial; the legal relationship between an "owner"
>(subscriber) of a digital signature, a relying party and a certification
>authority; what other evidentiary admissibility issues arise, how might
>certain contract terms be interpreted (i.e.: what arguments might be
>raised related to liability limitations, rights and duties under
>contract); etc. The case
>will be tried in a fictional jurisdiction and to fictional parties.
>The specific factual pattern (i.e.: who are the parties and what
>happened to them) will be developed so as to highlight areas of legal
>uncertainty and maximize the instructional value of this exercise. It is
>expected that this exercise will assist the
>Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other interested parties to more
>efficiently manage liability and to better anticipate legal issues as we
>look to deploy public key based network solutions.

Rodney Thayer <rodney at>
PGP: BB1B6428 409129AC  076B9DE1 4C250DD8
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Robert Hettinga (rah at, Philodox
e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
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