Thursday, February 9, 2012
Challenges of Regulating ICT
There a number of challenges that ICT regulators face.
1. Technology changes and converge faster than law. The law making process takes long time. It is possible that when the law is made the technology has changed. This makes the law redundant.
2. ICT is Global and borderless. ICT such as Internet is not bound by the territorial borders set by sovereign governments. For that matter challenges such as cybercrimes, e.g., identity theft, money laundering, frauds, online child pornography, cyber terrorism, etc., is hard to prosecute in a particular country unless there is a convention (e.g., extradition) or cooperation.
3. Conservative Lawyers and law makers are less informed about technology development. Legal profession is known for being technophobic. The legislator on the other hand is not conversant with technology. It is important to note that ICT regulation requires understanding how technology is designed, how is it developed and how is it used.
4. Law is often acting after the fact. Where there is no problem the law is not formulated. Bureaucratic decision making required evidence of the problem. ICT regulation requires proactive measures not reactive ones. The speculative law making can also backfire as it can get the whole trend wrong. Technology is very uncertain. Often what is designed might not be what is implemented. And the use of technology might be different from what was contemplated during design stage.
5. The dominance of Multinaitional companies and the rise of private law making regime. Often ICT is self regulated. The state law making framework regulates licensing not how technology is to be designed. ICT depends a lot on standardisation process. This process is dominated by big fishes such as Microsoft and others. That does not mean that the government cannot control standardisation process. The government is interested in standardisation process for security, safety and health purposes. The government inteference in standardisation is often taken to be in conflict with Multinational companies business models. Thus, the stronger the country’s economy, the better for influencing ICT standardisation process.
The above and many other factors constitute the challenges of ICT regulation. There are several ways through above problems can be addressed. They are the subject of another time’s discussion.