Web 2.0 and the explosion of social media has taken the world by storm. Taking selfies in the bathroom, posting content about your workplace and even starting your own website have become the order of the day.
As the saying goes, “it’s all fun and games till somebody gets hurt”. Nowhere is this true than on the internet.
Understanding web 2.0 and the nature of the internet is crucial to comprehending the need for internet law. The original internet, or web 1.0 as some may call it, saw users viewing information and maybe downloading a file every now and then. Today, in the case of web 2.0, we see users interacting with websites, creating their own websites and engaging with other users on a daily basis. This has made the web a free for all environments. As society has come face to face with this reality a new field of law has emerged and keeps growing by the day. It is called internet law.
This field of law has opened up a new area of expertise, introducing the internet lawyer. Andrew Harper from RevisionLegal.com explains that online privacy is one of the biggest issues facing internet users in 2019. There are a number of important fields where these kinds of lawyers operate and provide a guiding light for companies operating online or even those running their operations on the ground. Unlike traditional areas of law practice, such as litigation and conveyancing, internet law is a developing and expanding body of knowledge. Therefore the internet lawyer’s job is a growing one, requiring professionals to stay at the forefront of web development
This is a popular area of infringement, among internet users, also a very broad field of expertise. An individual or company’s intellectual property (also referred to as IP) could be registered designs and copyright.
Further, it could also include trademarks and even domain names. The internet lawyer often acts on behalf of a company, provides advice in this area or assists in the protection of assets online.
This is a fairly common area of work for the internet lawyer and often comes as a result of ignorance on the part of businesses and individuals. Most businesses today have domain names ending in .com or .org and these names are easily registered with any registrar found on the internet.
It happens every so often that these kinds of company names have been registered by individuals and then companies are held ransom by estranged employees.
Data has had its fair share of the spotlight in recent years. Some of the big players on the internet scene, like Facebook and Google, do what they do to collect data. On a much smaller scale, almost every business has a website with data being transacted.
The recent introduction of GDPR legislation has seen almost every website stepping up their game in order to comply or face serious consequences.
Businesses usually stored records of data for many different reasons. Some of these reasons could be to comply with government regulations or possibly to recover crucial information.
IT departments usually set up systems to ensure that data is kept for reasonable periods of time and complies with specific regulations.
Social media has become a platform for people to air their opinions and almost everything else. Everyone has seen a post saying the worst about so and so’s service or how pathetic politician X is.
By definition, defamation refers to any kind of information spread by an individual that would degrade that person in the eyes of the public. This is an area where many people are guilty, possibly more than they realize and an area of the internet that is receiving increased attention. Here the internet lawyer will receive an increasing amount of work.
This area enters the realm of great complexity for any business. A trade secret is that bit of information that gives the cutting edge and that business owners want to keep away from the outside world. Without the internet, protecting these secrets would have been pretty straightforward. Just keep the papers in safe and secure storage.
These days it has become increasingly difficult to do, it is very easy for a disgruntled employee to share this information on the internet or for a hacker to gain access to one’s system and share vulnerable information. Here the cyber law professional plays a very important role in ensuring suitable recourse for the organization.
The growing internet ecosystem has birthed a whole new world. For all the good these developments have brought about, it has also exposed the need for professionals who understand the legal aspects of viewing, creating and sharing information.