Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cyber Law and E-governance: Which Model is Better-the EU Model or the U.S.Model for a Developing Country?

The following question arise:

(a) What is cyber law? In what way does it distinguish from other types of law? How does creation of a separate class of law (cyber law) help legal enablement of e-governance? And why indeed is legal enablement needed and for whom?

(b) Which is larger, legally valid construct, cyber law or e-governance? (In other words, should cyber law (legally) govern e-governance or should it be the other round, that is, e-governance should govern cyber law?)

(c) What are the objectives of cyber law (and, for that matter, e-governance law)? Is it protection of life and liberties of a citizen (empowerment of citizen) or empowering the state or regulating the cyberspace?

(d) Is cyberspace not already over-regulated (from the point of view of citizen) via existing legal codes (do we not already have enough legal powers to regulate our behaviour in cyberspace?), software code (your activities in cyberspace are regulated by what the software allows you to do, nothing more nor less), and e-commerce (you will buy only what I offer and you will purchase the way I want you to do, etc.) (Check Lessig’s Code).

(e) Where and how to demarcate a cyber crime from unethical practices in cyberspace (for example, collecting your personal information before allowing you entry to a portal and subsequently misusing this information for sending promotional newsletters, or not providing for unsubscription or unsubscription link just not working, etc.)

(f) What for “generic model laws for building cyber law capacity for e-Governance” needed? What are the concrete instances/cases in which the existing laws have been found inadequate or vague in e-governance in G2G and G2C domains? Is the exercise normative (prescribing what to do) or empirical (finding what is the ground-level reality)?

(g) Should cyber law regulate e-governance policy [European Union (EU) model] or e-governance policy should regulate development of cyber law [US model- see (h)] below? What is our e-governance policy (as distinct from IT/ICT policy)? Are you aware of any e-governance policy as a written commitment for e-governance development in any country?

(h) In contrast with EU model, the U.S., the only country in the world to have done so (to my knowledge, of course), enacted the legislation- The E-government Act of 2002. Which model is better- the EU model or the U.S. model?

Is it not better to check foundations first, and then erect the building, rather than first construct the building and then worry whether our foundations are sound?

Dr D.C.Misra
November 15, 2007

No comments: