Laws and Legislations

Laws and legislations were introduced due to the fact that ICT was growing and since the uses of large computerized databases as they became quite useful for sensitive personal data to be stored without the individual’s knowledge. Employers, credit card companies or insurance companies, could access this confidential data. Therefore personal privacy is important as it is our human right to not want personal information on age, religious beliefs, family circumstances or academic qualifications to be accessed by others without permission.

An Individual User

An individual user would use various software applications in everyday life throughout ICT. The main uses of ICT software are:

> E-mail

> Internet

> Mail merge

> Excel

> FrontPage

> Access

Due to the increased of the amount of information available particularly on the Internet it has been a concern for the interest taken by hackers into and stealing data therefore the government had to produce may different legislations to prevent this from occurring. Legislations were also created for the misuse of data and viruses as well. Before 1990 there wasn’t a law against any misuse of computers so it was legal to send a virus to someone’s computer. Since then there have been several legislations, which have come into place that prevent this from happening. Suitable protection acts:

Many of these legislations take effect in our community including cyber caf� bars and libraries. Cyber cafes have many users using the same computer so it is important that information is protected and not found by others. There are also many people using the same computers in libraries. Systems have to be designed to prevent information being leaked so users are reassured of their privacy.

Computer Misuse Act (1990)

The Computer Misuse Act was used to rectify these situations as it is used to stop various criminal offences taking place. The three main offences are hacking, viruses and other nuisances that may damage data.

The main points of the computer misuse act are:

1. Unauthorized personnel are not to allowed to access other files

2. To not cause damage with criminal intent

3. To not modify computer material

The legislation protects data that has been made and also other computer material. It also protects the users of the data and the producer of the data.

The criminal offences associated with this act are:

1. Hacking

2. The sending of viruses

3. Unauthorized modification of computer material

This act protects an individual user very well because it makes people more reluctant from hacking and creating viruses due to the risks involved. It was designed to protect the individual user and their rights and I think they have achieved quite a high standard of protection.

Advantages

* Hackers would be more couscous by being caught and will be hesitant to try to hack in the future.

* Viruses can be traced back to the person responsible for create it. Law enforcements can discipline them in a suitable fashion, causing them to give up on creating other viruses.

Disadvantages

* The legislation cannot stop hackers from trying to steal or corrupt information, as a professional hacker tends not to leave traces. Only hackers who have been caught doing it can be prosecuted.

Improvements that can be made

This legislation could be improved by sentencing a persecutor to jail depending on the offense committed and the after effects of it. Also criminals found guiltily could be totally band from touching computers.

Summary

The individual user is protected quite well though in many cases this protection is just not enough as it does not stop hackers from hacking information. Hackers and people who send viruses still continue to do this but the risks have increased which may just make people more reluctant from doing this in the future.

This law also effects facilitates such as libraries and internet cafes are they are shared computers which must have licensed software and products and such legislations must come into effect to make sure the software producers products can be protected from being copied or altered.

Copyright Designs and Patents Act of 1988

This legislation covers a wide range of intellectual computer-incorporated property such as music, literature and software. Provisions of this act make it illegal to:

1. Copying software

2. Run pirated software

3. Transmitting software over a telecommunications line, thereby creating a copy

Advantages

* If music is being copied the legislation can shut the illegal operation down.

* If the act was not in place the cost of legal software would go up, as more money is need to stop people producing illegal software copyrighting as copying software is cheaper than buying illegal products.

Disadvantages

* The shutting down of illegal operations is not an initial process it takes court cases to settle the disagreements which is takes time along with lost of legal cost to win cases.

* Although the legislation is present it seems to have little effect already as a lot of pirate copies of software is still being produced and sold.

Improvements that can be made

As soon as the illegal operations have been found on computers they should be shut down immediately. Software producers should include copyright protect with all of their products to ensure that copying of any software cannot take place.

Summary

The copyright act is beginning to become very ineffective, more modern laws need to be introduced to sustain a solid legislation. Overall the legislation is ok but with more restrictions there will be less hassle with the production of pirate software, as shutdowns on illegal operations would make the software useless.