14 Trends That Will Dominate Cyber And Technology Space In 2022
Cyber Law as a paradigm is constantly evolving jurisprudence and if I were to write a book on the current Cyber Law and if that book were to be of 100 pages, then I believe that merely 7 or 8 pages can be written and there are 90 odd pages yet to be written says Adv. Sai Sushanth Samudrala.
While we are coming to the tipping point in the interregnum period where there is light at the end of the tunnel, we are likely to witness new cyber manifestations in the year 2022. Cyber Law as a discipline has been constantly evolving and such evolution has been steered to a different direction with the coming of pandemic where aspects like Work from Home (WFH), Online Meetings, Data or Information in digital or electronic form have become the new normal.
What is cyber secure today may not be cyber secure tomorrow, with the continuous Cyber Security breaches all over the world.
Cyber Law and Cyber Security are going to be our life companions today, more so with Block chain, AI, Metaverse, Crypto, DeFi, OTT, AR/VR, Telemedicine, Robotic Process Automation, Smart Home Automation, 3D Printing, NFT, Autonomous Vehicles, IoT, 5G, Web 3.0, Gaming etc., impacting almost everyone and all sectors.
Here are 14 key trends of Cyber Law in the year 2022.
Just imagine a situation where we can create our own digital avatar in the digital world and do a variety of different activities using the same, all this is not a Matrix or Inception movie, this is Metaverse in the simplest sense. While what started off as a word in a novel has been evolving as a new world space that is taking place. Metaverse brings forwards different cyber legal aspects on the table as ultimately Metaverse is all about digital avatars, digital world making use of data or information in the digital or electronic form. While it will be interesting to see how the Cyber Law Landscape is going to evolve with Metaverse be it data protection, privacy, Metaverse e- contracts, Cyber Law Compliance, Legality of Metaverse, E-Authentication, Attribution nexus, Metaverse digital reputation etc. The fundamental question that arises with respect to Metaverse is it that legal? While the current Indian Cyber Law i.e., the Information Technology Act broadly provides legal recognition to all electronic transactions, so the broad interpretation can bring in legal recognition to Metaverse. However, specific parameters with respect to the Cyber Legal Aspects of Metaverse will have to be addressed appropriately and the year 2022 will throw more focus and light on the same. Further, with emerging technologies also applied in the Metaverse, its a different ball game altogether.
NFT (Non- Fungible Tokens)
While NFT’s have been emerging as a new avatar in the recent times be it movie clips, art works, music, paintings, memories have been protected and monetised through the verification of the same through Block chain. Given the immutable nature of Block Chain, NFT’s are becoming increasingly popular. However, these NFT’s also make use of data or information in electronic or digital form, making them amenable under Cyber Law. These NFT transactions are also e-records under the Indian Cyber Law – i.e., the Information Technology Act. The NFT Marketplaces and websites, apps are also Intermediaries under the Indian Cyber Law and will be required to comply with Information Technology Act and the rules, regulations made there under. While all this may appear hunky dory, these NFT Transactions make use of Cryptocurrency and specifically from an Indian Legal Perspective, there is no specific crypto law at the time while writing this article.
DeFi in short means decentralised financing which makes use of Block chain technology. This is ideally used for borrowing money against cryptocurrency, money remittance and insurance purchases. DeFi also relates to Cyber Law since primarily it makes use of data or information in e-form. DeFi opens up new aspects relating to Cyber Law Compliance, Privacy and depends largely on cryptocurrency related legislations. Crypto Law is also a key trend in the year 2022 given the draft cryptocurrency bill in the country. However, specific Cyber Legal principles will also have to devised in this regard. Further, DeFi also relate to the concept of DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations) which are required for operating them. The legal status of these DAO is also a fundamental aspect that requires consideration.
The Web 3.0 brings the concept of a decentralised web wherein a user can control their identity and content and verify, authenticate the same through technologies like Block Chain. However, Web 3.0 throws up challenges like data ownership, data protection law challenges, new cyber risks and crimes, cyber law compliance issue, privacy, cyber security, jurisdiction and the like. The cyber legalities surrounding Web 3.0 are likely to be more complicated specifically with the use of AI Algorithms, Meta Verse and emerging tech thereof.
AI as a paradigm never sleeps and AI as a paradigm never forgets, while this may seem something in a light note, however in reality these bring potential challenges in terms of Data Protection and Privacy Law. In very simple terms, AI primarily makes use of data and data sets. However, the concept of Machine Learning & Deep Learning is something that brings forward a different dimension to AI. Further, AI and Cyber Legal Principles are a key trend in the year 2022 given the fact that AI is being leveraged almost in all verticals. Further, AI brings to light practical issues with respect to Data Protection, Privacy, AI powered Cyber Security Breaches, Jurisdiction, Attribution nexus, Cyber Contraventions etc. Further, Level 1 Autonomous Vehicles are a ground reality in India and specific Cyber Legal Principles need to be devised concerning the same as also UK has come up with eight (8) Cyber Security Principles to be complied by the manufacturers of Autonomous Vehicles. Is AI a friend or foe remains an interesting question in this context. In addition to the above, the leverage of AI with emerging tech like IoT, Block Chain, 3D Printing, AR/VR also bring forward various Cyber Legal Aspects that need to be addressed specifically
Block chain has already started to be extensively used by both state and non-state actors. A lot of states across the country have begun coming up policy documents on Block chain. However, Block chain as a phenomenon relates to the concept of distributed ledger and in simplest form the concept of Block chain can be related to an OTT platform. Consider the OTT platform to be a block chain and all content uploaded thereof as data or information in the block and the authentication of user id, password as a security mechanism and the transparency of making content available to all the users as the nature of block chain. Block chain as a service is been leveraged by lot of organisations today for different purposes including record maintenance, document repositories, voting, entertainment, NFT. The basic concept of Block chain makes use of data or information in e- form and is provided legal recognition under the existing Indian Cyber Law. Given the distinctive legal aspects of Block chain, the legal policy and regulatory aspects of the same need to be specifically addressed. The concept of Smart Contracts is emerging with authentication through Block chain. Broadly Smart Contract can be considered as a form of e-contract and is provided legal sanctity under the existing Indian Cyber Law. However, the challenges in terms of authentication, jurisdiction, specific legal obligations, inter—operability with emerging tech are some of the key aspects in the year 2022 from a Block chain & Cyber Law perspective.
With Internet of Things playing a larger role today from merely using a IoT device like amazon alexa to Industrial IoT, the legal policy & regulatory aspects relating to IoT are a key trend in the year 2022. The Internet of Behaviour (IoB) has also been a new paradigm today and IoT Security Laws assume paramount significance. Countries are coming up with specific IoT Cyber Legal Principles for device manufacturers as part of Cyber Law and Cyber Security legal compliance. IoT used in collaboration or integration with emerging tech like AI, IoT, Metaverse will bring forward a large chunk of Cyber Legal Aspects like Data Protection, Privacy, Cyber Security, Cyber Law Compliance, Jurisdiction, Digital Evidence, E-Authentication and Piracy, Cyber Crime Regulations, Attribution nexus and the like.
With OTT Platforms being used left, right and centre during this pandemic, the OTT Cyber Legal Landscape will be a different matter altogether. The emerging tech like Block chain, Metaverse being used in the domain of OTT, will push the Cyber Law envelope in a different direction. The IT Rules 2021 in India read along with the IT Act and rules, regulations instil due diligence to be complied by OTT platforms and brings in the concept of Grievance Redressal as well. However, the concept of IPR protection in digital environment, privacy and piracy aspects are some of the key aspects in the year 2022. The OTT’s also make use of digital content which provides the applicability of Cyber Law in that domain as well.
With fifth generation (5G) Technology in the Telecom Industry making its entry very soon in the country, the connectivity and speed are going to transform the entire country to a digital country. However, from a Cyber Law and Cyber Security Legal Perspective, the 5G technology is likely to bring on the table new challenges with respect to Privacy, New Cyber Security Breaches, New Cyber Crimes as also inter-operable Cyber Legal Aspects relating to merging tech like IoT. 5G and Cyber Legal Principles will also emerge as a key trend in the year 2022 given that the Cyber Vulnerabilities, New Network Shifts, Cyber Security Breaches will be the new normal. Cyber Hygiene will assume a pivotal position in this regard.
Cyber Security has become the de-facto normal during the pandemic. Cyber Security Law as a discipline has already been the flavour of the times and countries have already started to come up with specific Cyber Security Laws. Vietnam has come up with a Cyber Security Law wherein the legislation has been defined in broadest terms to include the Internet as its national space and China has taken another approach of bringing cyber security under the ambit of its National Security. Cyber Security and Cyber Law are intertwining disciplines and Cyber Security Law is the need of the hour given the fact that Cyber Security breaches are on the galore. Cyber Security Law should address the different roles, responsibilities, obligations, legal compliances impacting different stake holders from a Cyber Security Legal & Regulatory perspective. The existing Indian Cyber Law has one provision relating to Cyber Security which defines Cyber Security as both physical and information security relating to a device. However, Cyber Security Law and Cyber Law will have to be complementing each other and I see this as a key trend in the year 2022.
While Cyber Crimes are manifesting in new forms and manner during the current period. Cyber Crime Law will emerge as a key trend in the year 2022 with a cyber crime being committed every 11 seconds. The existing Indian Cyber Law is not a penal statute; however, amendments have been made to the existing penal statutes. With fake news, Phishing, Ransomware, Cyber Stalking & Harassment becoming the jewel in the crown at this point of time. With AI being used for criminal activities, issues like attribution nexus are emerging as challenging aspects, more so with the dark net becoming the top of the pyramid. The Internet Jurisdiction also is the centre stage attention with respect to conviction of cyber criminals.
Gaming has begun to be a new toast of the times during this pandemic, with almost everyone moving to the digital bandwagon. Metaverse gaming has been predominantly popular wherein digital avatars are being used for playing digital games in the digital world. The term digital itself relates the entire concept to Cyber Law. With privacy being the fundamental right and data becoming the new turmoil, its a different matter altogether. The gaming is likely to emerge as a key trend of 2022 given the fact that there are various Cyber Legal Policy & Regulatory aspects thereof
The orientation of Cyber Sovereignty has emerged as a key aspect during this pandemic. Countries are trying to add different legal perspectives to Cyber Sovereignty specifically with the coming of emerging tech like Metaverse, IoT etc. The nations of the world are waking up with a new idea of making their Cyber Laws applicable to outer space, deep sea beds, artic and polar regions despite the fact that Internet has made geography a history. Cyber Sovereignty is likely to emerge a key trend in the year 2022 with AI, Drones, Metaverse, IoT being used increasingly.
Tele-medicine has started to be ground reality during this pandemic period and many countries are trying to come up specific guidelines in this regard. Tele-medicine has become an eye candy on stage in India with the Telemedicine Guidelines 2020 being introduced. Be it hospitals, clinics, registered medical practitioners have started to make use of Tele-medicine consultations. However, Tele-medicine Guidelines draw a reference to Indian Cyber Law since Tele-medicine consultations are being conducted via chat, audio, video and make use of information or data in electronic or digital form. Tele-medicine Platforms are also brought under the Cyber Law umbrella and Tele-medicine brings to discussion various Cyber Legal Facets like E-Medical Records, E-Prescriptions, Consent, Patient Privacy. Further, with the emerging tech like AI being used in Telemedicine.
Given the Indian Data Ecosystem and the use of the emerging tech in all walks of life be it personal, social, professional, Cyber Law development will play a crucial role in India’s 'Digital Story' given the Internet Highway.
Views are personal
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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