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Information Technology Law
Information Technology Law Definition
As information technology (IT) becomes the beating heart of the business sectors it transforms, so the practice of IT law and the role of IT lawyers are developing from traditional lawyering of IT contracts towards a more holistic and comprehensive role looking at how the technology that organisations develop and use fits into their particular operational and regulatory environments.
This isn’t to say that preparing and negotiating IT procurement, development and supply contracts are not an important part of the IT lawyer’s workload – in many ways, equipment, telecoms, services and (particularly) cloud, data, and software contracts are, and are likely to remain, the bedrock of IT legal practice.
But, in a world where IT-driven change is sharply and noticeably picking up speed and intensity, traditional transactional/contractual IT work is increasingly being supplemented by advisory and regulatory work as businesses figure out how to address the legal, technical and operational challenges that will unlock the benefits of efficiency, flexibility, adaptability, insight and prediction.
IT change is increasingly architected around the combination of big data and machine learning - the powerful pattern recognition processing and algorithms of artificial intelligence. This means harnessing big data’s volume, velocity and variety and using it compliantly with all applicable intellectual property rights and data protection (privacy), cybersecurity and regulatory duties and obligations. IT lawyers are increasingly becoming key members of the business teams that develop the practical corporate strategies, policies, processes and procedures that enable all the different interests and constituencies around data and AI to be balanced and aligned – a more organic, integrated approach to IT law practice than in the past.
Looking ahead, the fourth industrial revolution – after steam, electricity and computing, the term popularised by Davos founder Klaus Schwab for the deep digital transformation that Schwab says is now upon us – is set to further broaden and deepen IT legal practice. As the next waves of digital innovation start to transform our physical, digital and biological worlds, we stand on the threshold of vast ranges of IT-driven change: AI, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, big data, blockchain, connected homes, Internet of Things, neurotechnologies, robotics, smart cities and 3D manufacturing will each impact all our lives. Although it is hard to foresee the first, let alone subsequent, generation consequences of the impact of these changes, lawyering these technologies will be central to each aspect of the business uptake of the fourth industrial revolution’s digital transformation.
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