Stephen Mason

Barrister - Conference Speaker - Author

 
The Worlds a Minefield
Stephen Mason
Speaking and training
Author
Academic
Law Reform
Membership
 
Introduction
The digital leader
ATMs, debit and credit cards, on-line banking
Electronic signatures, identity and authentication
Digital evidence

Introduction

Stephen Mason is a barrister. He was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in November 1988.

BA (Hons) (History and Educational Philosophy), MA, LLM, PGCE (FE)

Briefing Stephen

Stephen is the recognised authority on electronic signatures and digital evidence, and has assisted governments in China, the Middle-East, Central America, and businesses in continental Europe and Africa, including the Corporation of London, the Ministry of Justice of the United Arab Emirates, and the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

More recently he has agreed to:

Work with the Commonwealth Secretariat on the International Cooperation Programme regarding the Interception of Telecommunications in the Harare Scheme and the Commonwealth Draft Model Legislation, with a view to developing a framework for the interception of telecommunications.

Accepted an invitation extended by the Home Office to be a member of an Expert Panel on Digital Signatures in the Acquisition of Communications Data within the Criminal Justice System.

He undertakes the following types of work:

(i) Practical and clear written advice to governments and businesses, including entrepreneurs and inventors that devise new software applications and products, and who want advice regarding the admissibility of their product in legal proceedings.

(ii) Advice generally on banking, digital evidence, electronic signatures, e-signature products, identity and authentication, security, data protection and related matters to online trading.

(iii) Non-contentious advice and statements to solicitors, in-house counsel, and lawyers in other jurisdictions.

(iv) Preparation and critiques of e-mail and internet use policies; software licences; online trading terms; disclaimers; businesses’ terms of use and trading; privacy policies for e-commerce sites; domain name disputes and back-end contracts; agency and distribution agreements; bespoke commercial agreements for national and enterprises trading globally; terms of trading.

(v) Legal advice for the investigation and collection of digital evidence across jurisdictions.

(vi) He also has experience of organizing seminars and fact finding events for business and governments. If you wish to instruct him, please note the terms that he undertakes work.

Disclaimer

The information and any commentary on the law contained on this web site is provided free of charge for information purpose only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by me. The information and any commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. If you need to obtain specific, personal advice about a case or matter, you are advised to approach a lawyer with suitable knowledge of the area of law that you need advice on, and not to rely on the information or comments on this web site.

The digital leader

As far as he is aware, he was the first lawyer to write an e-book in 1999 on the Y2K issue (distributed on the cover CD ROMs of PC Magazine in May 1999 and PC Pro in July 1999 to 300,000 readers); he was the first barrister to write a set of e-commerce precedents for lawyers on behalf of the Butterworths Tolley Electronic Business Law web site in 2000; he prepared the digital evidence and electronic signatures part of the syllabus for the British Computer Society ISEB Certificate in IT Law Essentials course in 2006, and has taken part in European Union projects:

Admissibility of electronic evidence in court (AEEC) project

European Certificate on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence (ECCE)

e-Newsletter dealing with the topic of cybercrime (he was the editor responsible for Jurisprudence and Events)

He was invited by the National Notary Association of the United States of America to help draft the Model Notary Act (1 January 2010)

ATMs, debit and credit cards, on-line banking

Stephen advises generally on ATM and internet banking cases, and on the negligence of the bank when money is withdrawn from an account or taken from a credit card as part of a complex fraud.

Stephen represented Mr Job in an electronic signature case in respect of PINs and ATMs in Job v Halifax PLC (not reported) Case number 7BQ00307; date of trial: 30 April 2009; date of judgment: 4 June 2009, the full judgment and a commentary by Alistair Kelman can be found in the Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review, 6 (2009) 235 - 245 http://journals.sas.ac.uk/deeslr/

Electronic signatures, identity and authentication

Stephen has advised governments and businesses on the following:

(i) legal requirements of electronic signature laws in all major centres of commerce and jurisdictions;

(ii) admissibility of digital evidence and binding legal effect of electronic signatures;

(iii) integration of electronic signatures to acquire products and services in a number of jurisdictions;

(iv) audits and assessments of electronic signature programmes by businesses;

(v) electronic gateways constituting legally means to form contractual relations;

(vi) binding use of electronic signatures with indemnities and guarantees.

More recently, he provided advice to a commercial client on the legal and regulatory factors affecting the use and acceptance of e-signatures in commerce; the extent to which electronic signatures are used today, and in what manner; standardization of technologies and authentication and identification methods; admissibility of electronic records in courts of law; cultural factors that may affect adoption of electronic signatures and records and case law, including admissibility standards for electronic records and signatures in the following jurisdictions: England & Wales, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Russia; Australia, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand; Canada and Mexico.

Digital evidence

Stephen has advised the legal profession, global businesses and governments on digital evidence and electronic signatures. In particular on:

(i) legal analysis (admissibility, weight, resolution of problems) of software products for inventors, businesses and vendors;

(ii) the legal implications of tendering copies of e-mails, rather than tendering the entire e-mail;

(iii) admission of digital evidence into legal proceedings;

(iv) challenging the weight of digital evidence;

(v) advising the binding effects of digital gateways;

(vi) authentication, retention of electronic documents; e-mail and internet use policies; security policies; interception and monitoring of communications and data protection.

 
 

Speaking and training

Stephen provides training, seminars and takes part and speak at conferences.

His next engagements are:

'Some challenges of dealing with digital evidence in criminal proceedings', Centre for Criminal Justice, School of Law, Limerick, Ireland, 26 and 27 March 2014

Three lectures on digital evidence to students at Juridiska fakulteten vid Lunds universitet, 24 and 25 April 2014, Lund, Sweden

R3, The Association of Business Recovery Professionals at the 24th Annual Conference, 14-16 May 2014, Vilamoura, Portugal

Academy of European Law, 'The validity and admissibility of electronic evidence in cybercrime cases', 5-6 June 2014, Prague

'Handling digital evidence', North East Fraud Forum Annual Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne, 19 June 2014

Author

Academic

Stephen is an Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London.

Stephen has acted as the external marker in postgraduate degrees dealing with digital evidence:

LLM at the University of Oslo (2006)

PhD at the University of Exeter (2013)

PhD at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (pending)

Law Reform

The IALS Think Tank on Law Reform has adopted a proposal Stephen's which has been entitled the Mason Report of the IALS Think Tank on the reform of the law concerning the presumption that mechanical instruments - in particular computers (now an out-of-date concept) are 'in order'.

Membership

Stephen is a member of:

IT Panel of the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales

The scientific committee of Tech and Law Center, a research center of the University of Insubria (Como)

Society for Advanced Legal Studies

tScheme Limited (tScheme is the national body responsible for accreditation and supervision referred to in Article 3(4) of the EU electronic signature Directive) (He was invited to be an independent member of the Board of Directors in 2009)

He is a friend of:

Global Prosecutors e-Crime Network

Council of Europe Octopus Cybercrime Community