Judicial Glossary of Selected Internet Terms

AuthorDavid A. Potts
ProfessionBarrister, Bar of Ontario
Judicial Glossary of Selected
Internet Terms
As was mentioned at the beginning of thi s book, the judicial glossary has a
limited scope and l imited purpose. Encyclopedic and comprehensive glos-
saries of Internet terms can be found in the following resources:
Barry Sookman, • Computer, Internet and Electronic C ommerce Terms:
Judicial, Legislative and Technical Denitions (Toronto: Carswell, )
www.webopedia .com•
http://en.wikipedia.org/wik i/Glossary_of_Internet-related_terminology•
http://whatis.techtarget.co• m
is glossary is really a judicial version of the Frequently Asked Ques-
tions chapter. No jurisdiction has a monopoly on the best explanations of
these terms. For this reason, denitions have been drawn from not only Can-
ada but a lso Australia, the UK, and the US, as well as some perti nent non-
judicial s ources. e process for developing t he treatment of the list below
was as follows: if comprehensive explanations or denitions of a particular
topic in Canada existed, I did not proceed any farther. Where comprehensive
explanations or denitions were unavai lable in Canadian jur isdictions, the
discussion of the term is supplemented by Austral ian, UK, and non-judicial
Canadian Law
R. v. Fenton,  ABQB , [] A.J. No. ,  A.R. ,  W.C.B. (d) , 
Alta. L.R . (th) ,  CarswellAlta , []  W.W.R.  at para. :
Between January  ,  and December ,  the Respondent visited the
Windows Li ve Spaces website where he maintained a weblog or “blog.” A
418 Cyberlibel: Information Warfare in the st Century?
blog ca n be des cribed as an online journal that is frequently updated and
intended for general public consumption. It is a series of entries posted to a
single page in reverse chronological order. A blog generally represents the
personality of the author or portrays the purpose of the website that hosts
the blog. Topics somet imes include brief philosophical musings, commen-
tary on internet a nd other soc ial issues and links to other sites the author
favours, especia lly those that support a point being made on a post. On the
particul ar blog i n question, the Respondent posted material that could be
accessed and viewed by a nyone on the internet.
R. v. LeBlanc,  NBPC , [] N.B.J. No. , [] A.N.-B. no , 
NBCP ,  N.B.R. (d) ,  W.C.B. (d)  at paras.  and 
Melbourne University Stu dent Union Inc. (in liq) v. Ray, [] VSC  at para. 
(S.C. Vic.):
On  January , Mr Cass set up a “blog” (an abbreviation for “web-
log”) on his website, which is es sentially an online dia ry. Mr Ca ss has de-
scribed t he website as being ded icated towards a critique of the liquidator’s
professional conduct. e contents of the website will be considered in detail
shortly; su ce to say that they are high ly critical of M r McVeigh’s conduct
as MUSU liquidator.
Society of Compose rs, Authors and Music Publishers of C anada v. Canadian Assn. of
Internet Provid ers,  SCC , []  S.C.R.  at para. :
A partic ular issue arose in respect of the appellants‘ use of “caching.” W hen
an end user visits a Web site, the packet s of data needed to transmit the re-
quested information wi ll come initially from the host ser ver where the les
for this site are stored. As t hey pass through the hand s of an Internet Service
Provider, a temporary copy may be made and stored on its server. is is a
cache copy. I f another user wants to visit this page shortly thereaer, using
the sa me Internet Service Provider, the information may be transm itted to
the subsequent user either directly from the Web site or from what is kept in
the cache copy. e practice of creat ing “caches” of data speeds up the tra ns-
mission and lowers the cost. e subsequent end user may have no idea that it
is not getting the information direct ly from the original Web site. Cache cop-
Judicial Glossary of Selected Internet Terms 419
ies are not retained for long periods of time since, if the original les change,
users will get out-of-date information. e Internet Serv ice Provider controls
the existence and duration of caches on its own fac ility, although in some
circumstance s it is open to a content provider to specify no caching , or an end
user to program its browser to insist on content from the orig inal Web site.
R. v. Graham Westgarth, R. v. Smith Mike Jayson, [] EWCA Crim  at para . :
e question of me ns rea was, however, considered by the Divisional Court
in At kins. Li ke Bowden, t hat was a case of downloading images f rom the
Internet. Some were deliberately stored by the defendant on one of the com-
puter’s directories. Others were stored i n the computer’s cache, a temporar y
information store created automatica lly by an Internet browser program me
when accessing a site on the Internet. e defenda nt was charged with mak-
ing both the photographs stored in the directory and those stored in the
cache. He was also charged wit h possessing the photographs stored in the
cache. e Stipendiar y Magistrate was not sure that t he defendant had been
aware of the operation of the c omputer’s cache, but convicted him of t he
oence of being in possession, holding that the oence under section ()
of the  Act wa s one of strict liabil ity. He ruled that there wa s no case to
answer in relation to the charges of making , since making required an act of
creation, and it was not satised by stori ng or copying a document.
Atkins v. Director Of Public Pro secutions, Goodland v. Director O f Public Prosecu-
tions, [] EWHC Admin  (th March, ) (H.C.J. — Q.B. Div.)
e internet is a medium to publish and obta in information using comput-
ers. A browser programme, for exa mple the Netscape browser, ca n be used
to access t he internet. e browser is able t o locate servers and i n doing
so the user is able to download information, or ‘ documents.’ A user can
deliberately choos e to download or save documents, but it is not commonly
known by users that t he browser automatically creates a temporary infor-
mation store, a ‘cache,’ of recent ly viewed documents. e re ason for this is
that when the user re visits the do cuments the browser may use t he locally
stored cache, provided that it is not too old and does not need up dating,
which saves ti me in fetching the documents . . . . e cache is automatically
emptied of documents as it becomes ful l, but even then it is possible to re-
trieve infor mation forensically. Expert computer u sers can access the cac he
directly . . . . e J Director y does not form part of the cache and must have
been created separately.

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