What Is ‘Cybersecurity Law’?

By on September 29, 2017

Our society has become a cyber society. We are all now interconnected through our phones and computers. Of course, this technological advancement has brought to life an abundance of opportunities in terms of communication, commerce, information sharing, and so on and so forth. However, what this also does, unfortunately, is create vulnerability. Not a day goes by without us hearing of a new cyber incident happening. Those attacks are not only aimed at large business corporations but the government institutions as well. So, cybersecurity has stopped being just a technical problem. There are many legal issues that we need to address in order for us to keep a high level of security and confidentiality in the public as well as the private sector. Now, the most interesting thing about cybersecurity, from a legal standpoint, is that it has a lot of open-ended questions that are waiting to be answered. To put it differently, it’s much more dynamic.

Since cyberspace functions in a drastically different way from our society, most of the laws of the real world cannot be applied to it. More than ever before, there is a need for a legal infrastructure that is in concordance with modern times.

So, what is cyberlaw? Cyberlaw is the law that governs cyberspace. Computers, networks, the internet, mobile phones, they are all comprising what we call cyberspace. Aforementioned cyber incidents are what cyber law actually deals with:

            – Cyber crimes

            – Data protection and privacy

            – Intellectual property

            – Electronic signatures

Cyber crimes are basically any crimes that are performed through the use of computers and telecommunication technologies. Now, this involves any committed crimes where computers were used either as objects or subjects. There are three main categories of cybercrime which were constructed on the basis of who is the victim of the crime. That being said, cyber crimes can be committed against persons, property or government.

If you stop and think about it, we do not rely on paper anymore. All of our data is kept in electronic form. This alone is a good enough reason for why cyber laws should exist in the first place. From a consumer’s perspective, we are less and less inclined to use cash for paying for our goods. Can you think of a person that does not possess a credit card? Most of the government forms are kept in electronic forms, like income tax returns. What about our means of communication? Everyone has a cell phone, and we do not only used them for purposes of texting and calling. We can also access our e-mails through them.

A few months ago, People’s Republic of China has put into effect their new Cybersecurity law (1 June 2017). Here is a brief overview of the law that can give you a detailed insight into what is covered by it.

  1. Personal information protection – there are certain requirements for the collection, use, and protection of personal information.
  2. Preservation of sensitive information – personal information and important data collected in China must be stored domestically.
  3. Protection of critical information infrastructure
  4. Network operators – there are security responsibilities of network operators (owners of networks and network service providers).
  5. Certification of security products – critical equipment and cybersecurity products can be sold only if they receive security certification.
  6. Penalties – as far as penalties go, the law includes suspension of businesses, a closing of businesses, revocation of licenses and a maximum fine of one million RMB.

Most of our everyday activities are closely related to the usage of electronic devices. However, if we step away from the personal and delve deeper into the public, we are faced with the fact that most of the world’s communication, sharing and trading is being mediated by the internet. We now know much more because we are capable of accessing a vast amount of information in a single heartbeat, but we have never been more vulnerable and exposed than we are today. Being connected in such a broad way has brought with itself an extensive amount of ramifications that need to be dealt with through utilizing policies and legislation that are in concordance with modern times.

Boston, MA

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