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Trustworthy Information Systems Handbook: Appendix E, VI.

Personal Jurisdiction via Electronic Records

The minimum contacts required for personal jurisdiction in another state can be electronic. As a result, an organization that posts advertisements on the Internet through its web site may be subject to jurisdiction in all states in which such information can be accessed. For example, in Inset Systems Inc. v. Instruction Set, Inc. (937 F. Supp. 161, 1996), the court found that ISI was subject to Connecticut jurisdiction because it had a toll-free telephone number and an Internet web site on which it posted advertisements. There are at least 10,000 Internet-connected computer users in Connecticut, all of which could access ISI's advertisements again and again.

In addition, a person who conducts business via electronic mail with a person in another state is subject to jurisdiction of the courts in such state. In Hall v. Laronde (666 CA Rptr 2d 399, 1997), a California court held that a person living and working in New York may be sued in California when he negotiated the purchase, and of software modification from a California resident via electronic mail and the telephone, even though the California resident reached out to the defendant first. The defendant worked with the California resident through a period of time, and made continuing royalty payments, thus creating a continuing obligation between himself and the California resident.

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Appendix E

TIS Handbook last updated July 2002, Version 4.