How to Deal with the Challenges of Digital Law in 2019

Desireé Duffy  |

The legal rights and restrictions put in place to govern the use of digital technology change regularly and can be very confusing. In today's world, most people just don’t keep up with the ever changing laws and regulations. Some are unwitting criminals who innocently break the law because they don’t understand what an appropriate use of technology is, while other more nefarious characters know exactly what they’re doing.

The most common violations from “oops” to “Go directly to Jail, do not pass go do not collect $200” include pirating software, illegal file sharing sites, copyright infringement, creating viruses, stealing someone's identity, and hacking into networks or systems. Sounds bad doesn’t it? Trust me, it only gets worse by the day.

Don’t worry, the world hasn't turned a blind eye to the problem. Many countries are working diligently to form rules and regulations to control how technology is used in order to prevent criminal activities. Unfortunately, it's becoming harder each day to enforce the rules.

Global VS. National Concerns

When talking about legislation, we have to consider the application of required standards on a large scale, while viewing cyber security control at the national level. The legislation generally works well when it’s focused on regulating behavior, but as you can imagine, there is some societal push back.

For example, many people think it’s perfectly fine to download music for free. It’s possible we’ve all done it at one point or another whether we realized it or not. Here’s the problem, it’s theft and it’s illegal. Don’t care? You will if you’re caught. If the goal is to crack down on free downloads, it’s important to use VPN services such as NordVPN. NordVPN and similar services offer online privacy and security as well as access to restricted content. Read a review about this VPN provider here.

Delays in Law Enactment

There are so many considerations which determine how laws are created in different countries that many times enactment will be delayed. Their expediency can depend on things like political issues or issues affecting local initiatives.

Politicians must also think about adherence to international agreements which encourage an equal level of technological development. By 2016, about half of countries that had confirmed their engagement in the Budapest Convention had taken over a decade to complete the confirmation, as a result of - among other things - delay in the formation of their laws.

Laws That Lag in Context and Time

Technology is advancing so fast that the formation of standards may lag far behind the advances themselves. To combat this concern, it’s typical for organizations to update their standards continuously in response to the evolving risks and technologies. In the same way, the law must be ahead when it comes to answering to the present and emergent problems which may need regulation.

The best way to correct the imbalance between technological innovation and enactment of the right legal measures is, once again, to focus on regulating the human behaviors. Law makers who take this approach would be well advised to remember that this could contribute to increased tension in the future. We’ve seen this occur when legislatures try to control how social networks, which the legislative enactment does not support, are used.

Technical and Legal Heterogeneity

Different countries employ varying methods when adhering to regional or international conventions. These different methods lead to diverse, but very specific initiatives set for the formulation of their laws. Sounds reasonable right? Here’s the rub. Technical and legal disparities make it hard to investigate, respond to and make rulings on international cyber security incidents. Not good. It’s no wonder that we have limited international cyber collaboration and occasionally hostility.

For example, bilateral or regional initiatives are created to meet particular needs. This is the case with the EU-US Privacy Shield, a framework with an aim to protect the basic rights of people in the EU whose data are relocated to companies based in the US. This does not factor in collaboration with other regions or countries.

Conflicts of Basic Principles in Digital Law

Now, while legislation is generally effective when regulating behavior, laws can always be improved. This is especially true if we consider that some projects could undermine certain fundamental human rights or even the basis on which the internet lies. Considering that the internet is always free, with no physical borders, there are instances where legal or constitutional rights arise despite the application of legislation. Think about the conceptions and meanings of privacy and freedom of expression. The debate between security and privacy is complicated and eternal.

Limitations on the Extent of Application

The absence of agreements or legislation on specific details of some issues can directly hinder international partnerships, even within the same region. Both private and public sectors face problems when it comes to accessing information with implications for security, commercial interests, and the right to privacy.

A significant example of this natural conflict is the famous case between Apple and the FBI. In this case, a U.S. judge requested Apple to cooperate with the FBI by unlocking the iPhone belonging to a terrorist who was involved in an attack. A very different but also relevant case is one in which a Rio de Janeiro judge ordered fines against Facebook and blocking of WhatsApp across Brazil.

Situations like these, show us the need for both local and cross-border consent to collaborate and avoid a potentially dangerous conflict of interests.

DISCLOSURE: I have no affiliations with this company

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


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