Technology is advancing at an alarming rate. Not so long ago most homes didnt even have internet access, today almost all us not only have it at home but we carry it around in our pocket too. It’s estimated that ninety five percent of us own a smartphone, a powerful little computer that can help us to run our lives. We set alarms to wake us up in the morning, we read the news, chat with friends, read books or play games on it when we’re bored. We write shopping lists, order from our favourite stores, watch videos, listen to music and do a million and one other tasks- all from our mobile devices. While they have benefited our lives in many ways, it does mean that the law is ever changing to make sure we’re all kept safe. Here are some of the ways smartphones have altered the practice of law in recent years.
Driving and Using a Mobile
In Australia, using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited– except in the cases of making or receiving a phone call (or to use its audio functions provided the phone) when it is secured in a commercially designed holder that fixed to the vehicle. A phone can also be used when it can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone, or the phone isn’t resting on any part of the driver’s body. So using a voice controlled feature to make a phone call for example would be allowed, providing the phone isn’t on your lap or being held up to your ear. Lots of countries across the world have similar laws which are becoming more and more strict, due to distraction from phones still being the cause for a large percentage of accidents.
Emojis in the Courtroom
Emojis are more than an inoffensive new method of communicating with others. These little icons are challenging lawyers, judges and lawmakers all over the world, with their use being recognised, in a legal context. Not simply as a joke, but as a legitimate form of literacy and communication. Researchers have found that emojis pose cultural and technical problems for anyone before the court, for example sexual assault cases, harrassment and bullying have been presented where the victim and offenders use of emojis have been discussed. The judge needs to know what the emojis mean as well as how certain emojis could be defined. Where the intended meaning of these emoji in messages is unclear, it has become apparent that the legal status of the images needs to be determined. Some offenders are now serving jail time due to their use of emojis, and so there need so be no grey area. If you’ve been wrongly accused of a crime like this where something has been taken out of context, your best bet would be to get more info from an experienced criminal defence lawyer. Times are changing and the law is catching up so you need to know exactly where you stand.
Legal Considerations for App Developers
In many ways, apps have changed the world. We now do our banking through an app, communicate with friends and manage medical conditions amongst other things. This is fantastic, but what it means is that there’s a risk of our personal information being handled in an improper way. These apps not only collect personal details, but store, move and access them online.As an app developer, there are a number of issues to take into consideration to ensure you’re staying in line with the law. One of the biggest, is the way that personal information is handled. May last year, the Data Protection Act is actually going to be replaced by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. This is a framework with much greater scope and stricter punishments for developers who fail to comply with new rules around the way personal data is stored and handled. This is good news for all, since cybercriminals have been quick spot opportunities in this mishandled data- with thirty three percent of companies in Australia falling victim to cybercrime in 2016. Data breaches can give criminals access to things names, birthdates, addresses and in some cases, even social security and pension information. With the rise of smartphone apps comes changes in the law to ensure the public is properly protected.
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