Cyber law indirectly and directly involves and impacts each one of us. At Evan Miles Goldberg PLLC, we want you to understand your rights, obligations, and the potential for harm. Our cyber law attorney in New York answers commonly asked questions we get from clients. If you want more specific answers that address your unique concerns, contact us at (212) 888-6497 to schedule a consultation.
What is Cyber Law?
The internet can be a very useful technological tool, but like all new fields it must be regulated and laws must be created and implemented to govern its use. To properly do so, criminal and civil laws have been enacted. These laws are known as “internet laws,” “cyber laws,” and “digital laws.”
Cyber laws govern technologies that use the internet, such as computers, iPads, smartphones, security systems, and more.
What Issues Are Covered by Cyber Law?
Cyber law is a general term that encompasses many different and wide-ranging topics. Some of the most common are listed and described below.
Hacking refers to using the internet to illegally access the information stored by someone else, or another entity. It goes hand in hand with fraud and identity theft.
Copyrights & Trade Secrets
Copyrights and trade secrets are both part of Intellectual Property law, and the internet has made it easier than ever for trade secrets and copyrights to be violated. Lawyers that help their clients combate these violations are practicing cyber law.
Fraud is often utilized in cyber crimes. Many criminals commit online fraud to find out the personal information of others.
A computer virus is a type of software that infects computers and damages data and software. Often intentionally created and disseminated, these viruses can wreak havoc. The law surrounding the investigation and prosecution of these crimes is cyber law.
When a person has been defamed online, the practice of cyber law allows them to pursue legal remedies.
The ability to harass or even stalk someone online is simple and often allows the perpetrator to commit these violations under a cover of anonymity. Fortunately, attorneys that practice cyber law are often able to find out who these perpetrators are and pursue criminal and civil action.
Identity theft is a type of fraud and many people gather the information they use to commit identity theft online. A common example would be when a thief steals a person's private information from an online credit card transaction.
The laws that grant free speech also apply to speech online. Cyber law includes the practice of defining when speech is allowed or when it is considered to be obscene.
What Is the Importance of Online Privacy?
Online privacy is crucial because it is the main means to protect personal data and prevent the misuse of sensitive information. When businesses safeguard consumer data, it creates trust among those same consumers. At the same time, businesses are obligated via regulations to implement proper data protection practices.
What is Cyberbullying, and Is It Illegal?
Cyberbullying involves using digital platforms to harass, threaten, or intimidate others. It can be illegal if it violates laws against harassment, stalking, or incitement to violence. Laws vary by jurisdiction.
What Actions Are Considered Cybercrimes?
Many activities online are considered cybercrimes, but some of the more common crimes include:
- Hacking – unauthorized access to computer systems
- Phishing – fraudulently obtaining sensitive information
- Identity Theft – using stolen personal information for gain
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – overloading a website to make it unavailable
Can I Be Held Liable for Content Posted by Users on my Website?
Under the Communications Decency Act Section 230 in the U.S., website owners are generally not liable for content posted by users. Exceptions, however, exist, and those relate to content that violates intellectual property or certain criminal laws.
What Legal Considerations Are There for E-Commerce Businesses?
E-commerce businesses must, at a minimum, consider the following to avoid liability:
- Consumer Protection – e.g., must comply with refund policies and disclosures
- Data Protection – e.g., must safeguard customer data and privacy
- Contract Formation – e.g., must ensure online contracts are legally valid
Speaking with a cyber attorney can help you better understand all legal obligations and what to do to prevent legal woes.
What Should I Do in Case of a Data Breach?
In the event of a data breach, the basic steps you should take include:
- Containing the Breach by stopping the breach and assessing the damage
- Notifying the authorities by complying with breach notification laws
- Informing the affected parties by notifying individuals whose data was compromised
- Consulting with a cyber law attorney to handle the legal aspects
How Can I Protect My Business from Cyber Threats?
Multiple ways exist to protect your business, and generally speaking, these include but are not limited to:
- Implementing cybersecurity measures, like installing firewalls, antivirus software, etc.
- Training employees on cybersecurity best practices
- Backing up critical data regularly
- Creating an Incident Response Plan to address breaches swiftly
What is the Role of a Cyber Law Attorney in a Data Breach?
A cyber law attorney can be very helpful if you are a victim of a data breach. A cyber law lawyer can assess the legal impact and determine legal obligations or legal liabilities after a breach. When applicable, a lawyer can ensure compliance with breach notification laws.
What are the Biggest Cyber Risks in New York?
The internet is an integral part of today's world. People depend on it in their personal and professional lives. This makes the practice of cyber law essential, as anyone who utilizes the internet is taking certain risks, including becoming subject to:
- Data Leakage
The good news is that an attorney who is well-versed in cyber law can help a savvy person or business owner from falling prey to these risks. In cases where individuals and businesses are victimized, a cyber law attorney will know the proper avenues to pursue, both civilly and criminally, to recover as much of what they are owed.
Does Cyber Law Mitigate Risk for New York Consumers?
Cyber law can help prevent risks for consumers, but consumers must also take matters into their own hands. The law is mostly reactionary, but it is much preferred to prevent legal problems that can arise from activities online rather than resolve them once they have already occurred. At the least, consumers should ensure they have the correct type of security on their devices if connected to the internet. Software and other tools or prevention methods can be used to prevent unauthorized traffic from accessing personal data.
Does Cyber Law Mitigate Risk for Businesses in New York?
Cyber laws are more reactive than proactive, but businesses can take steps to prevent cyber breaches, intrusions, and other problems on their own and through the assistance of a cyber lawyer.
Additionally, larger companies often have Information Technology (IT) Departments that stay on top of new ways to provide internet security, but even small companies can take precautions to help protect their data and the data of their customers. There are certain protocols and algorithms that can help provide the much needed security, as well as firewalls and advanced authentication methods.
Businesses also need to be on the look-out for internal risks as much as they are with external risks. Disgruntled employees can use the internet to access private and unauthorized data. Having internal protocols in place to ensure this does not happen is a great idea for all companies, no matter their size.
How Can a Cyber Law Lawyer Help You or Your Business in New York?
Attorneys are integral to ensuring cyber breaches do not occur, and when they do, that the perpetrators are brought to justice. However, as technology is rapidly changing and advancing, it is important that a person or business that needs help with cyber law obtain an attorney who focuses their practice on this area. These attorneys will know the most up-to-date rules, laws, and regulations.
How Do I Choose the Right Cyber Law Attorney for My Needs?
Finding the right cyber law attorney for your needs will depend on the information you obtain about the lawyer. Ask the lawyer about:
- Their knowledge of cyber and internet law
- The extent of their experience, including their track record of handling cases similar to yours
- Their communication style because, unless you are an expert yourself in cyber law, you will want an attorney who is responsive and explains complex concepts clearly
- Their resources to better understand if they have what they need to build a strong case for you or to provide all the legal support you need
If a lawyer is unwilling to provide adequate answers to your questions, then they are likely not the right cyber attorney for you or your business.
How Much Does an Internet Law Attorney Cost?
The cost of a lawyer varies greatly depending on many factors, including:
- How the fees are charged – e.g., by contingency fee, hourly fee, or flat rate
- Whether a retainer is required, which is typically a minimum of $1,000 but much more depending on the legal services and practice area
- How complex the case is – i.e., the more complicated the higher the fees
- What the case type is – e.g., legal counsel versus litigation
- Where you live – e.g. pricing trends and living costs affect attorney fees
With respect to cyber law specifically, attorney fees will tend to be higher because this area of law is very complicated and requires extensive understanding of the rules, regulations, and technology.
Contact an Internet Law Attorney in New York Today
The answers provided here are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for legal advice. If you have specific legal concerns about an issue related to cyber law, our internet law attorney at Evan Miles Goldberg PLLC will provide personalized guidance based on your situation. Contact our cyber law lawyer in New York by filling out the online form or calling us at (212) 888-6497 today.