Computer Crime Research Center


Regulation of Social Information Legal Relations in Ukraine

Date: July 19, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Victor Sabadash

Social legal relations really exist. People act to create, modify and cancel their rights or duties through the Internet. However, these actions to create, transmit, exchange, store, spread information, or any other actions performed through computer networks are to be regulated and are slightly reflected in the current law now. Nowadays a lawmaker needs A clearly elaborated scientific basis, STRONG conceptual theoretical regulations.

With a view to development of information and communication technologies, the structure and dynamics of social development is being changed, new branches of economy appear and their integration rises, new schemes of governmental management are determined, social relations and social psychological character are modified. All mentioned processes are dissimilar since they proceed against a background of digital inequality and depend on scientific progress.

The Internet is the most striking example of modern progress of information technologies development. As a result, regulation of modern social relations in the information sphere becomes the most topical task of up-to-date law. This regulation is carried out under several branches of law: constitutional (right of information), civil (contracts on rendering services to access the Internet, electronic deals and payments), administrative (communication law, information security).

The plurality of regulation creates coexistence of various methods to define rights and duties of the participants of these relations. In the opinion of certain authors these problems may be solved in the framework of a separate complex branch of law - information law. This approach, however, raises necessity to solve a series of important tasks: integration and differentiation of the subject of regulation (relations that appear in connection of the use of the Internet), revelation of a specific method to regulate, and also to form a hierarchy of rules that regulate social relations in the information sphere (or information relations).

The formation and structure of information law contains the analysis of "information relation" as the object of legal regulation. Its appearance is conditioned by regular development and complication of social relations. As a result, information flows in society, volumes and structuring of information increase; constant improvement of material information carriers, capabilities of its transmission and storage is needed.

Thus, social relations appear, where information, besides its nature of being necessary for all social relations and from this point of view is inseparable from relations, becomes something ascertained, estranged, separated, i.e. acts as an object, with relation to which these relations arise. Therefore, information relation is a volitional social relation where information is a boon, with relation to which appear rights and duties of subjects.

Subjects of law actions related to creation, transmission, exchange, storing, consuming, spreading or other rotation of information, information resources are the main objects of legal regulation that can be and should be regulated by law. Therefore, we can note formation of a new branch of law - information law.

Legal regulation of the sphere of information relations in Ukraine is conducted by a number of legal documents. The main laws are the following: Information Law, Information Security in Automated Systems Law, Preservation of Scientific Information Law, Communications Law; President's decrees: "On Measures of Development of the National Component on the Internet Global Information Network and Provide Broad Access to this Network in Ukraine", "On Measures of Information Protection Resources of the State", etc.

The Internet is an absolutely new legal environment that breaks ideas on validity of legal rules in space, and erases national frontiers, compels to consider behavior of people acting on it, in the first place, in the field of international private law:
- court of which state has competence of the legal relationship, i.e. a court or a competent agency of which state is authorized to judge;
- law of which state should be applied;
- contents of law applied.

The peculiarity of Internet relations makes us answer these questions a bit differently as compared to the similar cases, where common, real world relations with foreign elements are considered.

Huge investments, international aspects of information relations, hundreds of millions of users and new mechanisms of doing business turn the Internet into an object of constant concern.

More than 20 countries accepted legislative documents to regulate social information relations that appear due to the use of the Internet. Network mechanisms conduct a series of important organizational functions of the country: voting in elections (California, USA), filing suits and spreading of various procedural documents (Colorado, USA). The number of judicial precedents related to the violation of constitutional rights of the citizen, using information network technologies, rendering services, selling goods on the Net and violation of copyrights counts hundreds of cases tried in different states of the US. The number of cases of violation of the Internet increases in Germany, Great Britain, France, Australia and all other countries where the Internet is deeply and deeply introduced in all possible social mechanisms.

We can divide two approaches of the Internet regulation: legal approach to ascertain the supremacy of law and legal documents of real world over the network, demanding wide explanation of laws in force for social information technologies; and natural-network to declare famous self-organizing slogan "Governments, go out!". As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Some countries try to solve the following key questions to regulate the Internet: global theoretical problematic of the network, the category "electronic information" that appeared due to global character and immateriality of the Internet, a complex of special legal questions related to use of the Internet technologies and the main problem of the limits of application of the current laws to new social information processes. Solution of the last problem is extremely complicated by extremely large gaps in the sphere of governmental laws on networks and absence of international agreements on the Internet. But general regulations of law should determine rules of play in the network, although the principle of antecedence of the rules of real world should not be understood literally: network social information relations are very different from other known social processes and they should be considered taking into account their internal specifics.

Aforesaid general theoretic problematic of the Net includes problems of network jurisdiction, sovereignty of the state in the network, institution of providing evidence and questions of legal personality of people that render, spread and consume information on the Internet, a problem of establishing time and location on the Internet, a question of responsibility of informational intermediaries - information providers for their clients' actions.

Special issues of legal regulation of the Internet concern, but are not limited by problems of regulating e-commerce, intellectual property objects use, mechanisms of cryptooperation and cryptography, taxation of transactions on the Internet.

We need to accept a block of new legal acts to properly and efficiently regulate information relations that comprise cyber space. The specifics of arising social relations oblige us to go beyond amendments and modifications of existing legislation in the frames of traditional law.

The problem of global and extraterritorial character conditioned by distribution of electronic computer networks all over the world and limited territorial competence of a separate country can be solved by active international collaboration in the sphere of rapprochement and unification of law of different countries of the world on use and operation of electronic computer networks.

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