About Cyber Law
Legal minds differ in their view of what Cyber Law entails. Some are of the opinion Cyber Law is an independent area of law, separate and distinct from the broad categories of legal doctrine such as property, or torts. Others, like the Honorable Judge Easterbrook, as noted in his white paper "Cyber Space and the Law of the Horse," believe that Cyber Law should be considered the amalgamation of well established legal doctrine applied to emerging technologies, as opposed to its own area of law. Easterbrook suggested that Cyber Law as an independent category of law makes for inefficient legal study under the Coase Theorem. The sentiment being, intellectual property law can solve much of the regulatory needs that the cyber space presents, and that duplicative bodies of legal doctrine are not efficient and will in turn increase transaction costs.
I adopt a hybrid perspective. There are some areas of law that can properly and efficiently regulate the cyber space. Intellectual property, and contract law are good examples. However, there are characteristics specific to the cyber space that are unique. Jurisdiction, for example, can become extremely complex within the fluid environment of the Internet. I believe this complexity, paired with the fast rate of technological development calls for a separate body of law in these narrow circumstances. Though I agree with Easterbrook in that, when possible, it is most efficient to make analogical comparisons and draw from case precedent to increase the depth of law, as opposed to the width.
In making these comparisons, squaring technology and law creates a circularity. Law takes time to develop, technology does not. With the gridlock of the two party system in Congress, and the slow rate at which courts are able to interpret the law, makes it difficult, if not impossible for the law to catch up to technology. Most would agree that limited regulation is necessary to support an equitable capitalist system. But how does one effectively and efficiently regulate an industry that the law cannot catch up to?
This blog is designed to bring clarity to such questions. Intended to pose leading ethical, legal, and technical questions that emerging technology presents, with an analysis intended for legal practitioners, the technically inclined, and the curious at heart.
About the Author
Sean Lanagan is a licensed Texas attorney who has focused his practice in the field of Cyber Law. Sean graduated from St. Mary's School of Law with honors, and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance and Risk Management. He is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Information Technology with an emphasis in Cyber Security. Sean finds his passion providing simple explanations to complex problems, and takes particular interest in data privacy, and international law as applied to cyber operations.