Although it may be difficult to imagine the Internet regulated, it also needs a set of rules meant to manage and supervise the content and manner of the data shared. Internet law, or cyber law, is a combination of contract law, intellectual property and security laws, with the goal of regulating the use of internet.

Main components of Internet Law

  • Copyright, fair use, copy protection for digital media leading to controversies on software patents;
  • Software licenses, end user license agreements, free software licenses and open-sourced licenses are related to product liability, professional liability of the developer, warranties, contract law, trade secrets and intellectual property;
  • Rules on unauthorized access, data privacy, spamming, limitations to the use of encryption and other equipment used to deter copy protection schemes;
  • Rules on taxation, trade, consumer protection and advertising;
  • Censorship rules that limit freedom of expression and data retention by government bodies and law enforcement agencies;
  • Civil and commercial contracts, as well as other forms used in computer communication and which can also be used as evidence, with new methods of tapping and surveillance;
  • A rising area is computerized voting technology leading to internet and mobile phone voting.

Challenges to Cyber Law

  • Jurisdiction: a challenge in the Internet area is to establish jurisdiction or the administrative and judicial competence to hear a case. Given the configuration and spread of the Internet cannot be identified with a specific physical location, there are usually several jurisdiction that may apply for an instance to a transaction:
  1. The law of the state in which the user resides;
  2. The law of the state where the host server used for the transaction is located
  3. The law of the state applicable to the person or business which whom the transaction is taking place.
  • Authority responsible with enforcement: the question of jurisdiction leads to issues related to enforcement, or which agency or body is entitled to pursue the offender(s) and re-establish the rule of law. Usually, where cybercrime is concerned, different national agencies interested collaborate in order to trace and punish the perpetrator.
  • The nature of the laws governing the Internet: it is becoming more complicated to obey the rules of different countries regarding the cyberspace, therefore there are initiatives of having rules imposed by neutral entities such as service providers that would be applicable to individuals not as citizens, but as Internet users.

Since the Internet is a space not corresponding to a specific geographical one and till a better system is implemented, users still need to obey the rules of the country governing the specific transaction.