chapter  1
22 Pages

Regulating information technologies

Information technology law? Since its inception, the internet has metamorphosed from a minority research tool to a globally utilised communications instrument which exerts a profound effect on the world we live in be it socially, politically, economically and culturally. To many of its users it is far more than a mere tool but provides an environment for personal interaction with other users across the globe whether for business or pleasure. This revolution has been facilitated by the evolution of a plethora of devices from which the internet can be accessed and a multitude of programs and applications which enable and support that access. Together these developments have created dramatic changes in the ways in which people communicate via the internet and other information and communications technologies (ICT). Many of us now access the internet via mobile devices and may rarely use a static desktop PC. The internet has often been heralded as a democratising medium and the increased use of both mobile devices and social media has arguably fuelled that democratising effect. These smaller and often cheaper devices are also eroding the digital divide; for instance, many disadvantaged and displaced people learnt about Europe from Facebook. It has also created more government concerns about the circulation of information perceived to threaten the social order – such as in relation to terrorism and radicalisation – leading to calls for increased interception and surveillance.