When we refer to technology law, we’re not talking about some other kind of law like medical or automotive law. The term “technology law” is what we use to refer to laws that are being enacted or administered in connection with the Internet, new technologies and new services for business in general. In this case, we’re referring to a subset of all of those types of laws.
Some of these laws are civil, others are criminal and the rest are civil-related. We’ll look at just a few examples of the categories below.
Social Networking. A growing trend in business is people who join business social networks for the purpose of communicating and collaborating with others. These companies may include most of the major players in the field such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. There is a growing trend in places like New York City to prosecute social networking users for criminal activity.
Computer crime is getting tougher every year and technology law is sure to play a big role in it. In addition to making computer systems more secure and unbreakable, technology laws may involve making companies think twice before being so lax about protecting their company data on their own computers.
Technology Law Enforcement. Technology law can be tricky because it is such a broad topic that it involves aspects of computer systems, computing, telecommunications, and the Internet. Some of the specifics of technology law includes issues like whether an electronic recording device, like a hand-held CD player, can record people in public places. Technology law also encompasses many issues that come up regularly at Congressional hearings such as the use of software development tools, privacy concerns, and intellectual property.
When it comes to torts, we’re talking about a particular legal theory. In technical terms, torts are governed by a set of regulations and procedures in the United States. Although many jurisdictions in the world have their own torts, U.S. torts tend to be the one generally adopted.
Tort law consists of different theories concerning:
- “wrongful death,”
- “breach of duty,”
- “wrongful life,”
- “economic loss,”
- “violation of fundamental rights,”
- and “public policy.”
These different torts encompass anything from the concept of a statutory right to the meaning of “act of nature” and whether your car was defective in some way.
Torts are governed by case law, judicial interpretations of case law, and statutes. The chief judicial branch dealing with torts is the United States Supreme Court. Cases are decided by a federal appeals court, which may not be unanimous. Occasionally, the high court issues a decision.
Computer Network Services.
People use computer networks for various reasons. Whether it’s to access e-mail, search the Web, play video games, or to access banking information, a computer network service is a legal entity that people use to accomplish their goals.
High-Tech Liabilities. If you’re using computers to do your job, then chances are you may have been sued by someone using a computer system. In a number of lawsuits, technology law has been used to establish a clear distinction between a common carrier liability and a torts case. In many cases, a provider of a computer service may be held liable for damages when a user acts negligently or acts irresponsibly.
As you can see, there are many facets of technology law that are very important and impacting to our society and economy. These can be classified as civil or criminal, tort or torts, private or public, technology or old-fashioned copyright and patent law. These types of laws can encompass areas that are seemingly not related and yet affect every aspect of our lives, including online social networking and using computers.