A Canadian appellate court ruled that a lower court had jurisdictional authority to issue a production order to craigslist based upon its virtual (but not physical) presence in British Columbia. The production order requested that Craigslist produce to Canadian officials documents relating to a user post in connection with a criminal investigation. (British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Brecknell, 2018 BCCA 5 (Jan. 9, 2018)).
This decision highlights another situation where a court blurred the distinction between a physical and virtual presence of a corporation that engages in global e-commerce. Indeed, we had written about an important Canadian decision last year that involved an American company objecting to an order to delist certain search results globally. With U.S. companies already concerned about the territorial scope of the EU’s GDPR, they also have to address legal risks associated with jurisdiction by a virtual presence north of the border (and possibly other jurisdictions).