Here is the real question which inspired my last: Does legality of an computerized action depend on user location or computer location?
Someone can be found guilty of crime legal in their home state if they use a computer located in another jurisdiction where the action is illegal to perform the action. However, with cloud computing a user may not be aware of where his computer is located, it may even 'move' to another country transparently; possible even as he is using it. Usually you have a good idea of where you computer likely is, but nothing is gaurenteed.
So lets imagine someone in the US who has purchased a virtual machine from amazon. This machine is physically hosted on a computer somewhere in the world, but the user doesn't know where that physical computer is. If the physical computer he is using dies for some reason his virtual machine may move to another computer located in a different physical location transparently without his being aware of more then a short system 'hiccup', likewise if he gets more customers to his service a new computer may start up in some other part of the world to support his customers, then kill itself later once demand lowers and it isn't needed. The point being he has no way of knowing where his computer is located or if it will move to another location when he purchases amazon's services.
Lets say that he is doing something with this virtual machine (or machines) that is legal in some states, but not in others. Maybe he has a marijuana home delivery service where some states allow selling marijuana and others don't (bad example, since marijuana is still illegal federally, but you get my point, different states have different laws). There is a good chance (but not gaurentee) that his VM from amazon is hosted somewhere within the US, but rather or not it's in a state that would find his action illegal is impossible to know or control.
I'm wondering rather he could be found guilty if amazon automatically moves his VM to a state where his action is illegal despite his home state being legal, without his having any way to prevent amazon from moving him to a state where the action could be illegal.
I know in reality no one would likely pay enough attention to realize his VM moved to somewhere where his action is illegal, and no prosecute would likely prosecute him for such a thing; but I'm talking about letter of the law, assuming a prosecute is aware of the computer location and for whatever reason chooses to prosecute.
Would our theoretical user have any legal defense he could use in this situation to be found innocent?
If it matters you could replace my example, of moving between states, with someone from Cuba buying a VM to discover it's in the US; if federal vs state laws actually matter. I'm assuming our unfortunate criminal happens to travel to the location the VM is located in at some point and thus can be arrested without extradition.