Legal issues concerning cyberspace, internet are dealt under Cyber Law. The advents of smartphones and tablets have enhanced our digital ecosystem. It has brought in an era that cannot be reversed, although there is a need to appreciate these new trends, it has added new spectrums of threat to individuals and threat of pharmaceutical fraud.
Emergence of cyber jurisprudence
Internet has grown in an unprecedented scale; also during its growth there were no laws which regulated the onset of cyber world. The need for cyber law was felt when criminal activities started to take place. There was invasion of privacy, cyber harassment, and theft of copyrights and patents which pushed for the need of a legal system which dealt with such cyber-crimes.
Cyber jurisprudence has emerged since the 21st century. It has been undergoing tremendous change depending on the ever changing types of criminal activities. The police and investigating authorities have utilised the social media as an important source to track down criminal / terrorist activities.
Various types of cybercrime identified
This list has been undergoing tremendous amount of change. Some of the common criminal activities that have been identified include –
• Financial crime – Credit / Debit card fraud
• Extortion in the cyber world
• Terrorism/war through internet
• Data theft / IP theft
• Obscene / offensive content on social media
• Harassment via offensive content including SMS / MMS
• Drug dealing
Microsoft suggested that $1.5 bn was lost in the year 2012 by means of debit / credit card fraud alone. Recent study by Juniper Research suggests that this number could be as high as $2.1 Trillion by the year 2019.
Cyber terrorism has been on the rise, there has been an increase in terrorism related content on social media especially after the rise of IS. Recently, twitter had to cancel over 2 Mn accounts which were involved in terrorist related tweets. The Investigation authorities have been using social media as an important means to track criminal activities.
Some jurisdictions identify sending bulk emails for advertising purposes as cybercrime. This is termed as spamming. Certain other countries identify phishing as a cyber-offense. Phishing emails may often contain links which may lead to malware content.
Offensive content is yet another aspect which is increasing by the day. Trolling is a popular term which is gaining momentum with the expanse of twitter. Many twitter users with controversial tweets are attacked on a personal level and “trolled”. Although individuals get away with personal attacks, it is likely that there could be a legislation to handle this aspect in the near future.
Global trends emerging in the cyber legal system
The jurisprudence has undergone immense change, especially after the advent of smartphones. Smartphones have hooked the youth to social media and has made it accessible 24/7. The year 2014 saw a sea of change in cyber laws. The authorities and Government alike understood the magnanimous impact of cyber world and the criminal activities that could be conducted in this ecosystem. There was increased importance and thrust on vigilantism. Authorities identified cost-efficient means to monitor and decrypt information transfers across the network.
Recent Wikileaks which revealed US surveillance programme PRISM had a huge impact on the need to up the cyber legal systems. This revelation exhibited how various networks and internet related activity of various other countries were monitored. This was completely illegal, however, not much could be done from a legal perspective due to lack of concrete laws.
There is a need to regulate the surveillance and interception of internet related activities. Especially the ones outside of ones Countries’ boundary, they have to be effectively regulated. There is increased focus on securing the cyber sovereignty of countries. Cross-border vigilantism needs to be addressed due to the fragmentation of internet. The places of origin of cybercrime and destination of impact are aspects to be dealt with. This is pertinent to secure national networks.
The Hillary Clinton email leaks are another aspect of how vulnerable people are when exposed to the cyber world. It had a huge impact on her popularity and image which had been carefully built spanning decades of her political career.
Individuals are unaware of the kind of negative impact that they could face while posting personal photos, details over the internet. There is a need to increase protection of user’s online privacy. The mobile ecosystem is not short of challenges, there is a need to constantly evolve and ensure that stakeholders’ personal modesty is preserved.
Film piracy has gained humungous momentum which has brought down the earnings of the industry drastically. Cyber laws in many countries remain ineffective. There is a need to create stringent monitoring and punishment system which will reduce piracy of content.
Cloud computing and analytics are emerging trends which gained significance in the early 2012. Although it comes with huge advantages, there are large regulatory challenges due to the adoption of cloud computing and big data analytics on a large scale. The cyber legal system is likely to fine tune it’s jurisprudence to handle unfavourable situations that could arise in this regard.
Growth of virtual currency such as bitcoins is another important trend to watch out. There are an increasing number of instances where virtual currency is being used for illegal activities such as sponsoring warfare, terrorism; drug pedalling etc., Cyber legal system may tighten its noose against such crimes.
No legal system can be static. There is a need to constantly evolve depending on the trends, morals and values that guide the society. The pace, at which the cyber world is evolving, looks like cyber legal system has a lot of catching up to do!