In a world where everyone seems to be just as concerned about data as the air we breathe, it is important to get at least a glimpse of the aspects and importance of Cyber Law. This applies to consumers as well as to businesses and governments accordingly.
Cyber Law or IT Law refers to the Law of the Internet, which is not a separate area of law per se. It is more a combination of contract, intellectual property, privacy, and data protection laws designed to tackle new-age problems stemming from a highly globalised world where our daily, social, and professional life is more and more taking place in the digital sphere. We shop online, we communicate online and since the COVID-19 pandemic, we work increasingly more online. Companies also opt to conduct their business online, leading to the rise of e-commerce and e-finance.
With the growth of cyberspace and the imminent “metaverse”, the dangers associated with it are also rising. Cybercrimes involve criminal activities that are traditional in nature, such as theft, fraud, forgery, defamation, and mischief, but whose criminal scope is also applicable to actions in cyberspace. Cyber law acts in that respect as a shield over cyberspace to prevent those cybercrimes from happening. This is indeed a difficult challenge for lawmakers and crime enforcement considering the unimaginable size of the internet and the fact that cyberspace does not know borders that clarify jurisdiction as the real world does.
The laws implemented for cybersecurity largely vary from country to country and their respective jurisdiction. Hence, citizens need to know the cyber laws of their respective countries to be aware of all relevant cybersecurity information. In the European Union, the most prominent regulation is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has been applicable since 2018 in all Member States to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe. This can be seen as preventative law focussing on mitigation risks and seeking to prevent cybercrime or mitigate the damage resulting from the commission of cybercrime.
It is important to have cyber laws in place to identify standards of acceptable behaviour for information and communication technology (ICT) users, establish socio-legal sanctions for cybercrime, protect ICT users, in general, and mitigate and/or prevent harm to people, data, systems, services, and infrastructure, in particular, protect human rights. Moreover, it enables the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed online and facilitates cooperation between countries on cybercrime matters. Cooperation is crucial for combatting cybercrime since the perpetrator can sit everywhere and attack anywhere, anytime. Without laws, regulations, and most importantly common frameworks in place in the sense of nullum crimen sine lege, the internet will stay a wild west lawless place. Cybercrime law helps to maintain order and to enforce laws and society´s values from the real world online.
With cyber laws in place, it is comforting to know that the victims of cybercrimes will be legally protected, and the guilty will be severely punished. However, in face of cybercrime being all so rampant prevention goes a long way and is pivotal to organizations and businesses. Without a cybersecurity program and prevention measures businesses cannot defend themselves against data breach campaigns, financial cybercrimes, hacking, and cyber-terrorism, which makes an irresistible target for cybercriminals.
Cybercrime prevention measures entail having strong passwords, protection against spyware attacks, restrictive social media settings, a secure network connection, and knowledge on how to protect your data, avoid pop-ups and protect from identity thefts. Finally, we must not only educate our children about internet risks but also ourselves to navigate both worlds safely.
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