| • Intellectual property and IT|
| • Organizational information management rules|
| • Legal regulation and computer abuse|
This chapter is concerned with the need for rules about the use of computers and who should enforce them. This involves a consideration of the need to protect individuals against the abuse of IT by governments, multinationals and other firms and individuals. We discuss the need to protect intellectual property (including copyright, patents, trade marks, design right, etc.) in a global information economy and the (opposing?) case for freedom of discussion and innovation. This leads to an analysis of how organizations should manage their data, software and other intellectual property. Finally, we consider the role of government regulation and self-regulation, especially on the Internet.
Computers and privacy
After 15 years of White Papers and government reports, the UK government passed the first Data Protection Act in 1984 for two main reasons: first, to protect the privacy of the individual against the increasing use and capabilities of computerized information systems; second, to allow the UK to comply with the Council of Europe Data Protection Convention. The Convention allows participating countries to refuse personal information to be transferred to countries that do not have adequate data protection laws (‘data havens’). This could have placed the UK at a disadvantage in the international IT market.
In 1998 a new Data Protection Act (DPA) was passed which came into effect in stages from 1999. This was a response to the 1995 European