Telecommunications law was greatly changed and enhanced by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The primary purpose of this act was to deregulate the telecommunications market and allow for more free competition. While this act allows any entity to enter the telecommunications market unrestricted, it has mainly succeeded in narrowing the market and consolidating ownership among a few major broadcast networks with the capability of reaching national or global audiences. Smaller, local networks are slowly being driven from the market, and the lack of regulations allows for this takeover to happen without any governmental intervention. However, it also ensures that small local or private networks can always be created so long as they have sufficient funding.
IT Law and its complexity has exploded in the last few decades. The massive expansion of the internet quickly created the need to protect users’ privacy and freedoms. In the US and most European countries, IT law is primarily designed for privacy protection, fair business practices, and proper limitations are marketing and solicitation. The ease at which electronic mail and advertising can be created and deployed to large audiences is beneficial from a business standpoint, but IT law is very specific about users’ rights to block, reject, or refuse any such electronic solicitation at any time. A common sight of IT law in action is the right to refusal or cancellation link found at the bottom of all email solicitations.
The US has also been careful to ensure that the rights to free speech and open communication are extended to all media, including and especially the internet media. With a few exceptions, it is legal to view, share, and download any content from the internet. When content such as intense violence or explicit sexual activity is shared, it is required to have users enter their age or birthdate and agree that they are legally able to view “adult” material. The standard age requirement for this is 18 years.
Cybercrime, sometimes called “hacking”, covers a slew of possible criminal actions using technology. The most common cybercrimes are those involving the theft of personal information electronically or the unauthorized access and use of an electronic device. The most disturbing aspect of cybercrime is how simple it is to conduct. Any public wireless network exposes a user to possible cyber infiltration. The hacking programs used are not complex, and the computer knowledge required is relatively basic. Most hackers are not computer geniuses nor do they usually possess degrees in computer science. Most infiltration programs are limited to data another user is actively inputting or viewing. For example, if you are checking your email and a hacker has accessed your computer, he would probably be able to get your email address and password, but not much else. However, if you check your email then get on Facebook, he now has that password too. If you then go and check your online banking, you have just given him access to your financial accounts. While there are no laws regulating access to public networks, it is strongly advices that extreme caution be used when inputting personal information on a public network. The theft of personal information is a federal offense in the US and a major crime in most other nations. Electronic identity theft is a leading cybercrime.
Author Bio: Brenda Panin is a contributor to several blogs. She writes about ISP and Telecommunications Law, IT Law and Technology Law, Commercial Law and Intellectual Property Law. She is currently a web content writer for Trademark Lawyers.
PLEASE NOTE: Nothing in this post shall be construed as an offering of legal advice. These posts are meant for informative and educational purposes only. Please call our office to discuss any legal issues you may be facing.