Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cyber Security Laws, Lawyers And Law Firms

Techno legal fields like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, cyber warfare, cyber terrorism, etc were never considered to be a cup of tea for lawyers and law firms. This may be due to many factors like lack of knowledge, absence of suitable cyber security laws, non remunerative nature of techno legal issues, etc.

One positive development that I have recently noted about these techno legal fields is that lawyers and law firms have started exploring the areas like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, etc. Although the number of such lawyers/law firms is negligible yet the growing interest in the techno legal fields would increase such numbers in future.

Further, techno legal issues would also change the way traditional businesses and transactions would be carried out in future. For instance concepts like cyber insurance, online dispute resolution, e-courts, digital evidencing and e-discovery, media forensics, cyber forensics, etc would be very much used in future.

However, technology laws have their own peculiar problem. Cyber laws are generally curative in nature as against the desirable preventive requirements. They are formulated keeping in mind the crimes/cyber crimes that have already taken place instead of what cyber crimes can possibly happen in future. In short, cyber laws must be “futuristic” in nature as against “historical” in their applicability.

A very crucial factor that has resulted in limited growth of cyber law and cyber security practice world over is that we have no internationally acceptable cyber law treaty and international cyber security treaty. For instance, India is not a party to any international cyber law treaty and is thus free to formulate its cyber laws as per its own requirements.

However, the cyber laws due diligence requirements are already well laid down world over, including India. Business houses and companies cannot take these requirements of cyber due diligence casually. Even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to ensure robust cyber security for their banking transactions. Despite these cyber due diligence and cyber security requirements, companies, banks and organisations are not coming forward to adopt them.

Naturally, with the increase of litigations and disputes only, these stakeholders would come forward to check the legal issues arising out of use of technology by them. Further with an active use of public private partnership (PPP) model by all countries of the world, governments and private players are combining their knowledge and resources to provide better results. Slowly and steadily lawyers and law firms would also joined this PPP model.

With issues like cyber espionage and cyber warfare, the traditional armed forces and legal fraternity are now collaborating upon a very unique platform where lawyers need to have a sound knowledge of both law and technology. It seems the techno legal community alone would be able to dare to explore issues like cyber law, cyber security, etc in future.

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