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Servers, Jurisdiction, Diplomatic Relations, and RON Platforms

Remote Online Notarization has been a blessing to many prior, during, and after the massive spread of the COVID-19 virus. Documents were able to get notarized safely and conveniently from home or office no matter where the signer was located at in the world. Thousands of thousands stored data collected during Remote Online Notarization requests and completed transactions were in the hands of servers.

In the Information Technology (IT) world, what is a server? Is a device that could be used to run programs or store data. I will not get too much into technical details. The important element here is to point out that there are RON platforms that store data outside the United States. For example, there is a RON platform that clearly states in its privacy policy the following:

We, along with our affiliate ‘in the United States’ store data collected in New Zealand on servers in New Zealand data centers.

Claims by US residents are governed by US law and shall be resolved exclusively in single panel arbitration in Tampa, FL under the auspices of the American Arbitration Association.

The issue is, US law has jurisdiction over claims made by US residents. Who has jurisdiction over the data stored in servers outside the United States?

Here is another excerpt from the Privacy policy of this particular RON Platform:

Subject to the rights that those in the European Union have under the GDPR and those in the US have under applicable US law, this Policy and its interpretation and operation are governed solely by New Zealand law. Subject to the rights that those in the US and European Union have under the GDPR and applicable US law, you, the RON platform, and all users, submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand arbitral tribunals and courts as further described in our Terms and you agree not to raise any jurisdictional issue if we need to enforce an arbitral award or judgment in New Zealand or another country.

Maybe, having a great relationship with RON platforms that store data outside the USA could open up a window to exemplary diplomatic relations. One never knows from which angle one country might be helping another get things done so processes can move on in peace and prosperously. However, the question of jurisdiction remains in the air.

Remote Online Notarization might take place from an office in the United States of America, but the service provided might be considered global. It seems that the people who interpret the digital law and the people who write policies related to digital laws and transactions over cyberspace will need to continue to review and revise what it has been written as this amazing and convenient new technology continues to evolve.

Just putting out there for you to think about and consider it when selecting and/or approving RON platforms.


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