Information Technology Law Definition
Information has always been one of the most valuable intangible assets for people and the business. Nowadays, along with the greater involvement of various high-end technologies, application of cloud computing services, Internet expansion, rapid development of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology, collection and dissemination of Big Data, significant increase in the number of different cyber-threats and cyber-attacks, protection of data, information/computer technologies, and privacy is becoming even more important, both on the national and international level.
Speaking about the Russian Federation (Russia), any person is granted a constitutional right to freely search, receive, transfer, produce, and disseminate information in any legal manner or by any lawful means (Article 29.4 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation), certain terms, conditions, and limits of information treatment/use are set forth by the Russian Law on Information, Information Technologies and Data Protection No.149-FZ dated 27 July 2006 (as amended), as well as other local regulations. Hence, protection, exploitation, and enforcement of data as well as information technologies (IT) must be made in accordance with the applicable laws, when investing into, or exporting such data/IT out of, Russia.
Basically, IT law regulates different aspects of production, collection, processing, generation, storage, search, transfer, dissemination, and use of data and related technologies. In other words, IT law may also extend to dealings with intellectual property (IP) rights, patents, copyrights, software, hardware, computers, high-profile technologies, outsourcing, development and procurement, Internet, e-commerce, IT services, and telecommunications. Legally, IT law protects the rights and interests of individuals, data producers, software developers, data security services, data centers, software distributors, data vendors, Internet services providers (ISPs), information ‘intermediaries’, data consumers, end users, as well as the government. Therefore, the role of lawyers and legal experts in this unique sphere of law is critical.
Usually, IT counsels will be advising their clients on various regulatory issues, including software development, procurement, and distribution, IT import/export compliance, data security, privacy regulations, especially from the ‘data localization’ standpoint. Because the IT industry is tightly coupled with IP law, IT lawyers also will be handling IP cases, such as on protection, commercialization, licensing, and enforcement of patents, copyrights, software, databases, and other IP subject matters, for their clients. The major part of IT counsels’ projects will be devoted to transactional and contractual services, and, in particular, the work on software development, license and distribution agreements, hardware/software support and maintenance agreements, technology transfer and license agreements, data and content license agreements, cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) agreements, outsourcing and original-equipment-manufacturer (OEM) agreements, and hosting and computer systems integration agreements that are made/negotiated/reviewed under the request, or for the benefit, of both IT suppliers and IT customers. In many situations, IT lawyers will be acting in close collaboration with corporate, commercial, and tax attorneys, especially in complex business projects connected with joint ventures, strategic alliances/partnerships, share/asset purchase (M&A) transactions, etc. Finally, advocates (attorneys-at-law) will be helping IT counsels on IT/IP litigation and dispute resolution matters.
Consequently, there are many types of IT legal experts. And, all of them must have an ability to find practical and efficient solutions to satisfy the economic/commercial needs of their clients.