Cyberlaw is a constantly evolving discipline. Each year contributes substantially to the growth of jurisprudence pertaining to use of computer systems, networks, computer resources and communication devices.
Seen from a global angle, it is hard to predict what exactly would emerge within the area of Cyberlaw in 2013. However, based upon certain existing events, certain significant Cyberlaw trends of 2013 seem to be palpable on the horizon. Some of these important trends are likely to have an impact on the growth and evolution concerning cyberspace across the world.
Year 2013 is expected to be a watershed in the growth of mobile law jurisprudence, and will be dedicated to the mobile phone and connected legal issues. With each passing month, millions of people are joining the mobile bandwagon. The increased usage of mobile devices in different parts of the world will give rise to more mobile-related crimes. With increased dependence of users on mobile apps, the connected legal issues will become more relevant. This is all the more so since mobile apps, when delinquent, can wreck havoc on the life and personal details of any user. Countries would increasingly try to evolve mechanisms to deal with delinquent mobile behaviour through mobile law. Mobile adware or madware is likely to continue to consistently grow in 2013. As time passes, governments of the world are likely to come up with appropriate legal mechanisms to deal with the challenges facing the mobile ecosystem including challenges faced by apps and madware, apart from mobile crime.
With increased use of mobiles, a variety of legal policy and regulatory issues pertaining to the mobile system are likely to arise. World governments are likely to come up with appropriate enabling frameworks that will help, protect and preserve the rule of law in the mobile ecosystem.
The year 2013 will continue to see an increased quantum of cybercrime across the world. Various figures have predicted an increase in cybercrime across the globe. However, new kinds of cybercrime are likely to become more significant. Cyber terrorism will continue to grow as a significant tool to propagate political ideology. Cyber conflict will become more frequent in the world’s largest nations and even smaller ones will begin to start preparing for cyber conflict. Cyber war will be an important component of priority for the defence force of any sovereign nation. As cybercrimes increase, countries will try to come up with appropriate legislative framework to deal with emerging, new kinds of cybercrime. There will be increased international efforts to come up with international legal mechanisms to prevent the occurrence of cyber conflict and cyber war.
Given the increase in cybercrime, it is but natural to expect that countries will pay far more attention to legal, regulatory and policy issues pertaining to cyber security. Various nations of the world are likely to amend their existing IT legislations to provide for enabling frameworks for protecting, promoting and securing cyber security.
Cloud legal issues
Increased adoption of cloud will continue to consolidate in 2013. Various connected policy, legal and regulatory issues pertaining to cloud computing will increasingly engage the attention of the relevant stakeholders including the lawmakers and governments. Appropriate frameworks pertaining to legal aspects concerning cloud computing are likely to emerge. Already at the time of writing, Cloud Service Level Agreements and Cloud Privacy Level Agreements are gaining centre stage attention. Issues about privacy and data protection in the cloud computing scenario will continue to gain significance as time passes by.
Privacy & data protection
As the world moves towards more ubiquitous computing at 24x7 access to various kinds of resources and communication devices, online privacy and data protection will continue to be important topics as far as growth of cyberlaw jurisprudence in 2013 is concerned. Different countries are likely to come up with their own enabling frameworks so as to not only preserve and protect online privacy but also provide for stringent methodologies for protecting data in the digital and mobile ecosystems.
Increased adoption and usage of social media are likely to bring together various legal, policy and regulatory issues. Already, changes made to their policies by some social media service providers triggered off huge backlash and litigation. As companies in the social media ecosystem start monetizing their data, there will be increased legal regulatory and policy challenges in this space which will require appropriate responses. Countries are also likely to come up with not just mechanisms to help enable the further growth of social media but also plans, to help ensure that the rule of law prevails on social media and that it does not become a wild-wild-west. Consequently, it is expected that some nations may come up with appropriate mechanisms so as to regulate some portions of content on social media in their various national legislations in different parameters or manifestations.
As such, social media legal issues will continue to be significant and relevant in 2013 and countries will have to come up with their own mechanisms of how to deal with such policy and regulatory challenges concerning social media.
Social media crimes are increasingly gaining attention of the relevant stakeholders. Inappropriate usage of social media is likely to engage the attention of the lawmakers. Concept of privacy in the context of social media is further going to be eroded. In the constantly changing times, there will be lot of challenges for Cyberlaw makers across the world of how to effectively regulate social media on the one hand and also further provide effective remedies for redressal to the victims of various unauthorised, unwarranted and criminal activities done in cyber space and in social media.
Spam will continue to engage centre stage attention in 2013. The absence of any specific strong anti-spam legislation in a majority of countries has further propelled the growth of spam. Consequently, we are likely to see measures at various national levels so as to deal with issues pertaining to spam. Further, countries are likely to come up with appropriate civil and criminal provisions to deal with spamming related activities. This becomes all the more relevant since spam initially seemed to be a phenomenon targeted at computers but has now increasingly targeted mobile phones as well. With increased number of natural disasters happening, there is going to be increased spurt of phishing and spam e-mail scams.
The aforesaid are some of more significant and important Cyberlaw trends that are likely to emerge in the year 2013. The aforesaid list is only illustrative in nature and is no by means exhaustive. The said list has been collated based on existing tends on the ground. The present trends have been derived on analysis of the existing jurisprudence on Cyberlaw up-to-date. The author does not rule out other important trends also emerging as time passes by which will have an immense impact upon the growth and development of jurisprudence concerning cyberspace.
The year 2013 promises to be an interesting year as far as growth of Cyberlaw jurisprudence is concerned. The year 2012 has been an important year. 2013 is expected to build upon the successes and achievements made in the year 2012 and further expected to immensely contribute to the development and evolution of cyber jurisprudence across the world.
The author is an Avocate at the Supreme Court of India, and a leading Cyberlaw expert.