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Subject: [legalxml-comment] Virtual Legal Presence

Some of you may be interested in the following recently published
article exploring the concept of "Virtual Legal Presence", an idea
coined at the E-Commerce Architecture Program (ECAP) here at MIT last
year.  Jessica M. Natale, a student intern at ECAP from an Suffolk Law
School assisted with the research into this concept and decided to
write up her work for ECAP into a law review article.  The article is
available at:

Among other things, the research was intended to examine the types of
functions, requirements and constraints that would apply in order to
allow a person to be participate electronically in a place and at a
time where the law requires "presence" of that person.  For example,
to vote at a Town Meeting (the governing body of towns in
Massachusetts), a citizen must be "present".  To speak at a public
hearing, a citizen must be "present".  I sought to deconstruct the
underlying policy goals achieved by a physcial presence requirements
(e.g. to hear and be heard, to see and be seen, to authenticate the
"identity" of the person, etc) and determine which of them could be
met by various electronic methods.  The research was also expected to
turn up examples of situations where doing away with the physical
presence requirement would probably not be desirable (like the social
and quasi-religious imperative, reflected in some jurisdictions as a
legal requirement, that both parties be "present" at their wedding

This research is an input to the ongoing academic treatment at ECAP of
legal and policy implications inherant in various technical
architectures.  Other applications of this academic inquiry are linked
from http://ecitizen.mit.edu

 - Daniel Greenwood

|  Daniel J. Greenwood, Esq.
|  Director, E-Commerce Architecture Program
|  MIT School of Architecture and Planning
|  77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 7-231
|  Cambridge, MA 02139
|     http://ecitizen.mit.edu
|     or http://www.civics.com
|     dang@mit.edu

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