Cyberlaw and Beyond – What to Expect After Legislation?

By: Sonny Zulhuda

The recall of Malaysia’s existing legal landscape related to electronic business (see my previous posting here on ‘Legal Landscape of Malaysian E-Business Environment’) may result in impression that the country has done good enough. True, Malaysia should take the pride of among the regional leader in enacting legal framework for e-business. But surely enacting rules alone is not sufficient. Not only they need to be implemented, but also they need to prove their effectiveness.

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Legal Landscape of Malaysian E-Business Environment

By: Sonny Zulhuda

The need to enact, pass and thus implement e-business-related laws has been closely linked to assurance of having smooth and secure e-commerce activities and thus it is closely associated with a country’s determination to speed up development in this information era. The Malaysian Government has indeed reaffirmed this link. They include in their pledge to the international community when initiating Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project that Malaysia would become a regional leader in intellectual property protection and cyberlaws. This is because Malaysia believes (like other countries supposedly do) that the existence of cyberlaws in the country means guarantee for the invention, e-commerce as well as consumer protections. This is why cyberlaw is important for country’s growth and development.

 

Based on the nature of the scope of the legislation, e-business-related law can be categorized into two distinctive categories, firstly, those legislations that address solely the specific electronic environment and applications. Secondly, those legislations that do not solely address on electronic environment, instead they apply as a general law but applicable, in part or in totality, to the cyberspace and online environment. On the ground of these categorization, this paper makes an attempt to assess the current legal landscape of Malaysia’s e-business environment.

 

Since their enactment in 1997, specific set of Malaysia’s cyberlaws provided ground for establishing legal frameworks for country’s e-commerce and information security. Besides, there are other laws that have been identified as providing important grounds for the effective and efficient operation of electronic business. Continue reading

Deciphering Cybercrime (3) – Legislation in Select Countries

By: Sonny Zulhuda

How do other countries respond? The progress that is ongoing in the Europe and international level is also taking place in many individual countries in Asia. Some of them had already legislated laws on cyber crime as early as 1993 (Hong Kong and Singapore) and 1997 (Malaysia). Some of these legislations were influenced by the UK Computer Misuse Act 1984 due to the fact that they were part of English Commonwealth countries. The summary of those laws is presented here derived from various sources.

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Deciphering Cybercrime (2) – Global Prescription for a Global Problem

By: Sonny Zulhuda

UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime 2000

Even though criminal law is subject to the local criminalization of offences such as described in the earlier paragraph, there is a growing consensus that some types of crime is given a global recognition, due to two-fold factors: the cross-border implication of such crime and the fact that certain crimes are perpetrated by a cross-border organized crime. This global crime reputation is currently enjoyed by criminals involved in money-laundering, global terrorism, as well as in illegal trafficking of gun, drugs and human.

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Deciphering Cybercrime (1) – What and What

By: Sonny Zulhuda

Introduction

Sixteen years after the being revolutionized by the invention of the World Wide Web, the Internet now becomes a common platform of over one billion users in the world who embrace into the cyberspace to exchange information, trade communications and execute commercial transactions. In this sense, the WWW founder Sir Tim Barnes Lee might have reached his prime objective in that the idea of cyberspace becoming a two-way transactional medium had been well achieved; when writing information is as simple as reading it. With the abundant benefits readily acquired by Internet users ranging from scientific researchers to trade merchants, from university students to corporate managers, and from government officials to mothers at home who explores new recipe, however, Sir Tim may have never imagined that today’s cyberspace would also have achieved another ‘reputation’ of being a notorious criminal frontier where stealing data is as easy as acquiring it rather legally. The truth is, the Internet is already very helpful for malicious minds who wish to pursue their malicious intention.

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The Fundamental Principles of E-Business Legal Framework

 

By Sonny Zulhuda

 

The increasing numbers of transactions in both international and local trade are carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of communication, commonly referred to as electronic commerce (e-commerce). This e-commerce seeks at the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information (Chissick & Kelman, 2000). This substitution is increasingly phenomenal today where more and more applications are used to eventually turn the Internet as a virtual business sphere. Nevertheless this initiative is more technologically advanced rather that its other aspects. If the traditional trading activities are already well equipped with traditional sets of laws and regulatory frameworks, its new electronic environment is not the same. Certainly this was the motives that pushed the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), an international body under the United Nations, to look at possible model laws that seek to equip this new environment.

 

In an electronic business environment, a good law is supposed to provide a conducive framework in which the compliance would eventually serve as facilitator instead of barrier to the business (Lallana, 2004). Thus, the first and utmost function of the law here is to legitimize the use of electronic tools and methods for the purpose of contract and commercial transactions. Furthermore, there are general principles that ought to be considered by the policymakers and lawgivers in this country in respect with the law of electronic commerce, which include: preservation of national interest, harmony with national legal system and international initiatives, a balance between potential conflicting interests such those of industry and public consumers, and last but not least, being technology neutral, and anticipative of future challenges, given the evolving nature of the Internet and information technology.

 

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The Assessment of Indonesia’s Cyberlaw Bill: The Electronic Information and Transaction Bill (Rancangan Undang-undang Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronik – RUU ITE)

By Sonny Zulhuda

The current Electronic Information and Transaction Bill (`the Bill’) is considered the first initiative of the country to enact a comprehensive legislation on cyberlaw. There were initially two government agencies that came out with two different bill drafts at the same time. This fact reserves some comment in the later part of this paper.

 

The Ministry of Industry and Trade initiated the draft of Electronic Information and Electronic Transaction Bill. On the other hand, the Department of Tourism, Post and Telecommunication under the Ministry of Transport also came out with the draft of Information Technology Bill. This double initiative was uncoordinated creating prolonged, unfocused and unnecessary debates among academics and IT professionals.Nevertheless, the debates were deemed to have brought constructive ideas as well. It is noteworthy that the two drafts took different approach in formulating cyberlaw into legislation. While the Electronic Information and Electronic Transaction Bill was concentrated on e-commerce law and related aspects taking into account the requirements under UNCITRAL model law on e-commerce, the IT Bill was a general law (some called `umbrella law?) dealing with so many issues on general terms.

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