What is computer law?
Computer law is a branch of legal knowledge that considers computer science as an instrument and object of study.
Its primary purpose is to regulate, through various laws and regulations, computing in its multiple applications, such as: data processing, content transmission, remote communication, artificial intelligence, and any other form of incorporation of data. computers in daily tasks as a way to automatically process information.
In this way, computer law directs its attention to various areas, including: copyright law, computer crimes, civil liability for consequential damages, computer procedural law, etc., which generate social, economic, and cultural implications. , among others.
The evolution of computer law has been hand in hand with technological advances since its inception. However, the first record that is had about the automation of legal documents dates from the year 1950, when the use of computers ceased to be exclusive for mathematical calculations.
Then, in the 1960s, thanks to the use of magnetic tapes, the development of automated systems began to have access to legal information, related to jurisprudence, doctrines, bibliographies, among others.
At the same time, different software specialized in the processing of legal data began to be marketed. And at the end of the year 1960 the legal management informatics emerged, based on the possibility of accessing through these programs, not only legal data, but also certifications, models of sentences, judicial powers, etc.
From then on, computer law has continued to position itself as one of the most widely used branches of law, being able to adapt to both the continuous changes and the constant evolution of the computer sector.
To learn a little more about what computer law is, below we will present its characteristics, classification and other aspects of interest.
Among the main characteristics of computer law, the following can be mentioned:
It is derived, basically, from the appearance and use of information and communication technologies (ICT), currently regulating all kinds of provision of computer services, as well as the use of associated goods and equipment.
Due to the constant evolution of ICT, computer law is changing, as it is in constant motion.
On the other hand, it constitutes a wide source of documentation, facilitating the performance of management activities involved in decision-making processes.
Due to the conception of computer law, which considers computer science as an instrument and, at the same time, as an object of study, there is the following classification:
It refers to the research and study of general computer knowledge, related to the retrieval of legal information. Among them, laws, doctrines and any other information of interest in this regard. In turn, it is divided into documentary, control and management legal informatics, and meta documentary informatics.
Documentary legal informatics basically deals with the retrieval and storage of legal texts. While the control and management informatics is in charge of the administrative activities associated with the exercise of law. For its part, metadocumentary informatics constitutes a support in the management of legal expert systems, in terms of research and legal forecasting.
It is in charge, through the application of laws, norms and principles, to give special treatment to the negative repercussions that originate as a result of the implementation and use of information technology. It is less used than legal information technology because, generally, the damages are less important than the benefits of information technology.
At this point, it is important to clarify that the laws are all the legal systems that exist, whether national or international, that deal specifically with the fact of computing. The rules make up the IT policy from a point apart from the pre-appointed legislation, and the principles are those that arise from the postulates of the judges and other experts in the field.
For its part, the fact is the consequence of an action attributable to the human being, related to the performance of computing, and the act is the direct result of the use of computing, which is caused by man.
Policy and legislation
There are two concepts highly related to the knowledge of what computer law is, these are: politics and computer legislation. The first is a set of standards that are used to plan computer development. While the second is the regulation specialized in preventing and correcting the damage caused by the inappropriate use of information technology.
Thus, the IT policy includes aspects such as: planning, dissemination and application of the IT fact, formulation of standards for the contracting of IT goods and services, management and control of activities related to the import and export of IT equipment and software, and any another activity necessary to guarantee the growth and development of this important sector.
For its part, computer legislation questions existing regulations in order to study their suitability for the cases under study or, on the contrary, establish the need to expand their coverage. In addition, it is attentive to the evolution of the jurisprudence regarding the cases that arise and, if necessary, creates new rules in such a way that they border on the existing ones.
Facts and legal-IT acts
As we have already mentioned, computer law directs its attention to different areas, from which the following legal-computer facts and acts are derived: regulation of information, protection of personal data, legal regulation of the internet, intellectual and computer property, computer crimes , IT contracts, electronic commerce, spam, labor aspects of IT, probative value of electronic documents, electronic democracy, among others.
Legal regulation of information and data protection
The automation of daily processes leads to the creation of digital data banks, made up of medical, academic, sports, cultural, banking and other records. In addition, the use of forms that contemplate the filling and sending of personal data through digital channels constitutes, nowadays, a wide source of available information that must be protected.
In this regard, it is important to note that although the data itself is not vulnerable, it can be objects of indiscriminate use by third parties, causing alterations to the fundamental rights of society.
In order to stop and regulate this type of situation, there are tools that guarantee the existence of an adequate legal regime, among them, the protection of human, personal and property rights, individual and societal guarantees, etc.
Legal regulation of the international flow of data and the internet
As is well known, data and information in general can cross the borders between countries that are necessary for their processing, storage and retrieval. However, some governments have limitations in this regard, which causes a legal problem that can be solved through computer law.
Among them we can mention the illicit use of data transmitted abroad, applicable tax rates and levies, possible attacks against the sovereignty of the countries involved, review of the clauses for contracting computer services, etc.
In addition to the negative implications that may arise from the international flow of data, there are also positive implications that must be addressed. These are: the strengthening of free communication, strengthening the ties between the rights of man and the fundamental rights of society, the promotion of technological progress, among others.
For its part, the legal regulation of the Internet tries to establish standards for the interconnection of the services involved in the processing of information through the network of networks, especially those related to the unification of the existing legal rules in this matter.
Intellectual property and computing
It refers to the legal protection of computer programs and the legal protection of domain names.
Regarding the first aspect, it can be said that there is no clear regulation that protects content creators from illegal seizure of information, industrial espionage, and unfair competition, among other attacks against property. However, real efforts have been made to regulate the encryption of information, as a way to protect the contents.
Another aspect to consider is the intention to also protect users from the redundant offer of similar programs that blunt the software market, with the same functionalities and high prices.
For its part, the legal protection of domain names aims to solve conflicts related to the registration of such names, identity problems and the way to connect computers to the network using their own name.
The current interconnection of communication networks and the incipient increase in the use of information systems, unfortunately, lead to a greater risk of malicious attacks against said systems, among them we can mention: illegal access to information, the dissemination of malicious programs, denial of services, interception of communications, computer fraud, illegal reproduction of content, among others.
Thus, computer law, despite the existence of loopholes on this matter, tries to exercise the necessary administrative, regulatory and technical control to reduce the occurrence of this type of crime.
In the same way, it tries to direct its investigations towards the proper application of sanctions and the corresponding penalization of computer criminals, in order to dissuade the rest of society from practicing these actions that are so harmful to the development of computer technology.
IT contracts What is computer law
Computer contracts are legal figures that regulate the commercialization of goods and services derived from computer technology. Due to the multiple implications that these entail, the practical negotiation of them can become difficult, meriting the intervention of computer law.
In this way, the objective of computer contracts is to avoid ambiguities in the wording of the same, such that they cause damage to any of the parties. In general, these cover the following aspects: human resources, general consulting, planning of premises and installation of computer equipment, exploitation of licensed computer programs, computer marketing studies, corrective and preventive maintenance of equipment, management, diagnosis and auditing of data, development of feasibility studies and development, among others.
E-commerce What is computer law
E-commerce strengthens what some call the digital economy, which is directly reflected in the progress of financial markets. In addition, it entails the creation of new forms of commerce that have caused the expansion of commercial activities through digital media, even between different countries.
Due to the constant evolution of electronic commerce, the technological and commercial environment has undergone major transformations. It is exactly these changes that try to be regulated by this edge of computer law.
Among the main issues involved in electronic commerce are: the legal validity of digital transactions and contracts, the protection of copyrights, the defense of consumers against the emergence of possible misleading advertisements, security related to electronic payments, the collapse of the internet, etc.
Legal regulation of unwanted email (Spam)
Email or email is one of the most common ways of engaging in digital communication, but it is also the most widely used means of sending unsolicited information, including malicious files and general advertising. This type of email is what is called Spam.
In general, spam causes congestion on mail servers, as well as a decrease in available space on the computer, which translates into loss of quality of service for the user.
In this regard, computer law establishes regulations that oblige companies to ensure the necessary mechanisms to avoid sending fraudulent information or unwanted advertising, either through the creation of lists of people who do not want to receive spam emails or through the use of authorized distribution lists. In addition, there is a requirement for companies that provide email services to implement spam encryption.
On the other hand, it gives the user the opportunity to report spammers, who will be forced to renounce the electronic accounts used for such purposes.
Labor aspects of computing What is computer law
Within the multiple applications of computer law, there is also the treatment given to the implications derived from labor displacement as a consequence of computer development, unemployment due to the automation of industrial processes, and the general conditions of work associated with the technology sector. computing.
Among them: working hours, vacations and rest days, wages, rights and obligations of employers and workers, contractual categories, occupational risks, and others.
It is important to note that within the job categories that are protected by computer law, there are also teleworking and outsourcing, apart from jobs considered as traditional.
Finally, the legislation referring to the labor aspects of computing, contemplates collective bargaining and the formulation of new regulations that adjust to the constant evolution of the productive sector.
Evidentiary value of electronic documents
In the first place, it should be noted that the evidentiary law is adjusted to the particular structure of each society. In such a way that, due to the advancement of information technology, new forms of law associated with the proof of electronic documents have emerged.
However, it is important to clarify that in most cases, this type of computer law refers to the need for the document to be considered as legal evidence of legal processes, although it can also be directly related to the use of computers and other technological tools.
On the other hand, the document to which the computer law refers can be public or private, declarative or representative, but it must always correspond to the legal and commercial activity of the computer sector. In such a way that the opportunities presented by technology can be optimized.
Aware of the importance of computer law in the era of communication and information, various international organizations have established a series of regulations in this regard, including the United Nations (UN). We will give details about it below:
Computer legislation of the United Nations Organization What is computer law
It is important to note that before the appearance of technology in society, real efforts were already being made to protect information. This is stated in the first conventions established by the UN.
Later, with the emergence of technological means, the rise of computer systems and automation of processes, there have been many and varied attempts to regulate the activities arising from the use and marketing of computer goods and services, as well as as well as to protect the creators and users of computer systems in general.
In this way, in this regard, there is the declaration of multiple agreements by the UN. Among the main ones are:
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property, 1883, and its subsequent revisions in the years 1900, 1911, 1925, 1934, 1958, 1967 and 1979.
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, Paris Act, 1886, and its subsequent revisions and amendments (1896, 1908, 1914, 1928, 1948, 1976, 1971 and 1979).
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
- Universal Copyright Convention, 1952 and 1971.
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 and 1977.
- Stockholm Convention on the World Organization of Intellectual Property, 1967.
- Resolution on the rights of man and the progress of science and technology, 1968.
- Brussels Convention on the Distribution of Program-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite, 1974.
- Recommendations addressed to governments and international organizations on the legal value of computer records, 1985.
- Guiding principles applicable to computerized personal data files, 1990.
- UN Data Protection Guidelines, 1990.
- Model Law on Electronic Commerce, 1996.
- World Intellectual Property Organization Treaty on Copyright, 1996.
- Tampere Convention, on the management of telecommunications resources for disaster mitigation, 1998.
- Model law for electronic signatures of the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law and its incorporation into domestic law, 2001.
- Convention for international commercial law, regarding the use of electronic communications in international contracts, 2005.
- Consensus on cybersecurity of the international telecommunications union, as part of the program of actions aimed at the information society, 2005.
- Convention on the use of electronic communications in international contracts, 2007.
General Assembly on advances in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, 2009.
- Resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, 2013.
- Covid-2019, about the obligation of governments to promote and protect access and free flow of information during the pandemic, 2020.
Finally, there is another regulation that is still important within computer law. This is the ISO 27001 Standard, which deals with aspects related to computing, especially those that allow you to assess the risks and threats that loom over company data and information.
In addition, it enables the establishment of controls and recommended strategies to reduce and eliminate said risks. In this way, the 27001 system is based on the definition of security policies, the performance of risk analysis, the selection and implementation of controls and the adoption of preventive and corrective actions.
Conclusions What is computer law
Finally, we will make a small summary about what computer law is :
Computer law is a branch of law that is responsible for regulating computer applications in different fields of society. It is divided into legal information and computer law.
Legal informatics is about the study of general computer knowledge, through the recovery of all kinds of legal information. The computer law is responsible for the application of legal treatment to the negative repercussions that derive from the use of computer technology.
The origin of computer law dates from the 1950s, coinciding with the increase in the use of computers, and later with the automation of processes in general.
It constitutes a wide source of documentation and information, always keeping in motion thanks to the constant evolution of information and communication technology.
The main facts and legal acts addressed by computer law are: legal regulation of information and data protection, legal regulation of the international flow of data and the internet, intellectual and computer property, computer crimes, computer contracts, electronic commerce, regulation legal of spam e-mail, labor aspects of computing and probative value of electronic documents, among others.
There are multiple universal regulations that try to regulate computer activity, its derivations and implications. These include the conventions, agreements and regulations stipulated by the United Nations, such as: conventions for the protection of intellectual property, laws on electronic signatures and computer contracts, consensus on cybersecurity in telecommunications, laws of electronic commerce, resolutions on the privacy of the information, among others.
The ISO 27001 standard aims to establish controls and strategies that reduce risks and threats to computer data present in companies.