Overview: law in the information age

AuthorGeorge Takach
ProfessionAdjunct Professor
Law is the set of rules created by governments to order social and eco-
nomic behaviour and to mediate and resolve conflicts among people.
Law (which includes publicly sanctioned force) may be contrasted
with private force. There was a time, for example, when a person who
felt aggrieved by another’s malicious statements would resort to the
sabre or pistol for a duel, and a bloody family feud might have erupt-
ed. Today, the maligned person would commence a lawsuit for libel.
And lawsuits have multiplied because the fabric of society has become
complex, with many more interests and entities and many more situa-
tions where interests collide than in the past. Thus, the areas of law
have multiplied beyond the traditional subjects of property, contract,
and criminal law, to include negligence (tort), commercial, corporate,
family, securities, environmental, labour, and tax. Although some
bemoan the number of laws, lawyers, and legislators in Canada, con-
sider what our country would be like without the rule of law. It is not
such a hard thing to imagine; one has only to look at the evening tele-
vision news to see agonizing, bloodstained reports of communities that
refuse to adopt, or for some unfathomable reason decide to jettison, the
rule of law, and replace it with the arbitrary, capricious, and violent rule
of private force.
Computer law is the body of legal rules related to the broad spec-
trum of activities and transactions involving computing technologies.
Drawing upon the general concept of law noted above, computer law

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