The Electronic transactions legislations, paved the way for many new e-services including e- banking, e-commerce and others which are growing and happening everywhere every day. Many institutions in GCC Countries, to follow the trend, are offering diversified e-transactions. As example, the E-Gov. Projects are now, rapidly taking shape and started to perform many essential government transactions that are needed as necessary services. Needless to say, all e-Gov. services depend to a large extent on the output of electronic software and others that require proper utilization of the internet and its related fields.
The establishments of e- Gov. projects in GCC Countries, will no doubt, give a great boost to all services particularly it will enhance, to a great extent, the commercial and investment activities among these countries . However, the potential of such e-services requires certain infrastructure that should be put in place in order to give the necessary impetus to such projects and necessary services. One of the main infrastructures needed, for the new technologies, is the legal platform and the legal framework that should be cemented carefully, with due diligence and professionalism, taking into account the experience of other advanced jurisdictions in this respect.
The Internet and related software, generally speaking, is a sort of computer program primarily aimed at linking certain points electronically. Within this context, it is important to highlight some legal problems or issues that could affect the process unless certain legislations are maintained with the intention of developing such processes.
E-Gov. projects will enhance the expansion of e-commerce with other business entities in all parts of the world. However, we have to admit that e-banking and e-commerce transactions are still facing some legal, commercial and logistical problems. In the area, for example, some companies may be out of competition because they don’t have a Web site, or even if they have, are unable to display their products in an attractive or informative way. Many commercial entities or individuals are still facing computer literacy. Examples explain that, e-banking, e-transactions or e-commerce are not without obstacles which raise a call for positive legal steps to be taken, so as to prepare a healthy legal environment for all e-government projects in the region.
IT transactions, are facing criminal acts as trespassing, hacking, robbery, theft, forgery, criminal misappropriation etc. These new cyber-crimes have increased dramatically in the region. Are we prepared to face such modern crimes? Do we have clear-cut definitions to what is known now as electronic or cyber-crimes. As a matter of fact the relevant laws, in most GCC Countries, are not referring nor including clear-cut definitions to cover such modern sophisticated e- crimes related to the new e-transactions. The absence of clear provisions in the law for such misdeeds or crimes, could lead to ambiguity and doubts that could be taken to the benefit of criminal suspects. Yes, many criminals are free with blood in their hands. Therefore, there is need to issue special laws to define such crimes, including tough penalties.
According to the basic constitutional and legal principles there shall be no crime without a law and, also, no penalty without committing a criminal act according to the law. Taking these important constitutional and legal principles in consideration, we believe, the new laws should cover the new cyber-crimes that could happen due to the use of new technologies used according to the spread of the new e-transactions including e-government projects. Technology is there, however, we need to protect this technology and, also, to protect ourselves from such limitless advanced technology.
We need to fill-in the gaps by issuing modified laws, or new special laws to give proper technical definitions to such new electronic crimes, and at the same time, to provide for penalties according to the gravity of the crime committed. Issuing such laws or modifying the existing legislations will certainly create a healthy environment for e-transactions, e-government projects and all related government services. The new laws, should be the continuous work of lawyers, IT experts, academics, sociology experts, economists and other related fields….
There are many other unexpected points that could take place while we are enjoying the new electronic services and the Courts should be ready to meet the new legal difficulties, if any. Judges and prosecutors should be properly trained and educated to understand the new technologies, new laws, new evidence rules and procedures. Moreover, the legal education in universities should be developed and improved in a practical way that enables students to understand and digest the new laws with new legal concepts that are needed to boost and enhance e-transactions, e-Gov. projects and all new technologies coming every morning. I believe, we have a long way to go in the path of technology and related legal matters. But we have to start moving in the right direction.
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