Information and
Communication Technology
Information and
Communication technology law is the field of law that makes available the legal
framework for collecting, storing, and disseminating electronic information in
the in both local and international marketplace. A lawyer who specializes in
this area of the law represents individuals and businesses from all different
sectors. They structure and construct ICT/ IT-related transactions in a way
that maximizes the client’s economic benefit and ensure regulatory compliance.
Attention is always given to anticipating potential sources of dispute between
the parties to a transaction, and crafting agreements that address these fears,
and hence reducing the risk of litigation.

Sometimes disputes arise
in this field of law and surely it is a lawyer specializing in these types of
cases can prove a powerful advocate compared to a general legal practitioner.
Such a lawyer is more effective at explaining technical concepts to the Court;
and will likely have contacts within the industry that make finding consultants
and expert witnesses less difficult. Clearly, information technology law is a
forte practice. 
Software Licensing Issues
It is not in doubt that
businesses often change or update their operating software in an effort to keep
pace with technology. Switching software programs can lead to greater
profitability, but it can also present any number of legal pitfalls for unsuspecting
business managers. For example, a typical software licensing contract will
contain provisions relating to performance warranties, installation and
troubleshooting, user training, limited liability and indemnification of the
vendor, infringement disclaimers, payment and finance terms, and more. Despite
the complexity of these agreements, some software company representatives
purposefully wait to provide a copy until shortly before the sale closes. 
Owners and managers who
find themselves presented with a licensing agreement that they do not
completely understand should resist pressure from the sales representative to
sign the document with little or no time for meaningful review. Any “deadline”
imposed by the vendor is likely nothing more than a high pressure sales tactic.
There is simply too much at stake in the event the software fails to meet the
needs of the business. The wisest course of action is to demand additional
time, and hire an information technology lawyer to analyze and explain the contract
and to point out terms that should be inserted or removed.

Data Privacy and Security

Much of the litigation
that occurs in this field of law results from enterprises failing to keep
customer and employee information secure. Now that it is primarily stored in
digital format, sensitive information is prone to theft on a scale unimaginable
in previous generations. Hackers and other cyber criminals routinely target
financial institutions, e-commerce websites, and ordinary businesses, sometimes
gaining access to thousands of customers’ data all at once. This can lead to
various legal claims, from government enforcement actions to class action
consumer lawsuits.
Companies that have any
presence on the internet should act proactively to avoid these problems. Information
technology lawyers are available to audit security systems and policies, and to
recommend any necessary changes; and defend against civil litigation brought by
private parties. Data privacy and security issues can arise at any time. To
succeed in today’s business environment, it is critical to stay ahead of the
curve and make safeguarding digital information a priority. 
Electronic Signature
Another growing cause of
concern for many businesses involves electronic signatures. Like digital
storage, electronic signature software has the potential to dramatically
streamline operations for businesses willing to embrace new technology. At the
same time, care must be taken to avoid compromising sensitive customer data
and/or violating government regulations on the subject. It is pertinent to
mention at this juncture that the Electronic Transactions Bill 2015 which is
currently awaiting presidential assent represent giant strides in the
facilitation of electronic transactions and recognition of electronic signatures
in Nigeria. The Bill, if passed into law, could help to address certain issues
affecting electronic transactions in Nigeria and (also to a large extent)
prevent against some inequities that occur in several electronic transactions.
The Bill will also allow
companies to replace traditional paper signature documents with electronic
forms. By virtue of the said Bill (if passed to law) the Customers will be able
to agree to contractual terms with the click of a computer mouse, speeding up
the turnaround time for a transaction considerably as long the electronic
signatures comply with rules relating to customer consent disclosures, record
retention, and document reproduction capabilities. Again, engaging a lawyer to
conduct a compliance review in this area is highly recommended.

ICT/IT Lawyers

If you conduct any type of
business activity online and you care to know whether your current practices
are exposing your business to potential liability; or you are about enter into
any ICT/IT-related transaction, contact an information Communication technology
lawyer today.

Ed’s Note: This article was originally published here.