Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
  • Publication
    Computer Crime in Ireland : A critical assessment of the substantive law
    (Round Hall, 2005-03)
    Irish law on computer crime is an afterthought. The principal offences in this area are contained in the Criminal Damage Act 1991 and the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001: in both cases, the offences have been tacked on to an Act whose primary focus is elsewhere, and in both cases the drafting reflects this lack of attention. In addition, the offences are beginning to show their age: recent technological developments have resulted in new threats and responses which do not fit easily into the existing law. Some reform of the law is overdue, and in any event will be necessary if Ireland is to implement the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and the (proposed) Council Framework Decision on Attacks Against Information Systems. This article looks at the substantive law relating to computer crime with a view to identifying problems which currently exist, flagging some developing issues and offering some suggestions for reform.2.
  • Publication
    Criminals, Data Protection and the Right to a Second Chance
    (The Irish Jurist, 2017-11) ;
    In 2016 Ireland adopted its first legislation to allow for expungement of adult criminal records and, in doing so, highlighted a changing technological and legal context which challenges the assumptions underlying rehabilitation laws. The potential impact of convictions on individuals' life chances has increased as mandatory vetting has become more widespread. Even where vetting is not required, the practical obscurity of old convictions has been undermined by internet search engines which render criminal histories easily accessible. In the other direction, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union have developed privacy and data protection principles which require states to limit the availability of information about old convictions. This article outlines the Irish legislation and use it as a case study to consider these wider issues, examining its legal context and how it illustrates the growing importance of European privacy and data protection norms in national criminal justice and rehabilitation systems.
  • Publication
    Regulating the Information Society: Data Protection and Ireland's Internet Industry
    (Oxford University Press, 2021-09-01)
    Ireland has become a global hub for personal information as internet firms headquartered in Dublin collectively gather and use information on billions of users. Has Ireland been a responsible steward of the data these firms control? This chapter examines the approach taken by the Irish state, tracing the evolution of data protection governance and its application to the internet industry. The chapter starts by outlining the regulatory context. It argues that regulation in this area has been hampered by a weak legislative framework and significant under-resourcing. Using Facebook as a case study, it examines how this has in turn prompted international pressure for stronger Irish regulation. The Irish government response is discussed, and the chapter assesses the impact of the resulting commitment to “best in class” data protection regulation. The chapter concludes by arguing that the state has yet to fully engage with the wider issues presented by its new role as a key jurisdiction for the internet industry, with data protection being just one of the aspects which need more attention.
  • Publication
    Child Abuse Images and Cleanfeeds: Assessing Internet Blocking Systems
    (Edward Elgar, 2013)
    One of the most important trends in internet governance in recent years has been the growth of internet blocking as a policy tool, to the point where it is increasingly becoming a global norm. This is most obvious in states such as China where blocking is used to suppress political speech; however, in the last decade blocking has also become more common in democracies, usually as part of attempts to limit the availability of child abuse images. Numerous governments have therefore settled on blocking as their 'primary solution' towards preventing such images from being distributed (Villeneuve 2010). Child abuse image blocking has, however, been extremely controversial within the academic, civil liberties and technical communities, and this debate has recently taken on a wider public dimension. At the time of writing, for example, public pressure has forced the German Federal Government to abandon legislation which would have introduced a police run system while the European Parliament has also rejected Commission proposals for mandatory blocking (Baker 2011; Zuvela 2011). Why have these systems been so controversial? Two lines of criticism can be identified, which might be termed the practical and the principled. The practical argument claims that blocking is ineffective, with ill-defined goals and easily evaded by widely available circumvention technologies (see e.g. Callanan et al. 2009). The principled argument, on the other hand, is that blocking systems undermine the norms associated with freedom of expression in democratic societies (Brown 2008). This latter argument stems from the fact that blocking sits at the intersection of three different regulatory trends – the use of technological solutions ('code as law'), a focus on intermediaries and the use of self-regulation in preference to legislation – which individually and all the more so collectively create a risk of invisible and unaccountable 'censorship by proxy' (Kreimer 2006; McIntyre & Scott 2008). This chapter introduces and evaluates these claims by examining three prominent examples of child abuse image blocking – the United Kingdom Internet Watch Foundation ('IWF') Child Abuse Image Content ('CAIC') list, the European Union sponsored CIRCAMP system and United States hash value systems. It discusses the operation of each system and the extent to which the critics' concerns are borne out. It concludes by considering the lessons which might be learned for proposals to extend blocking to other types of content.
  • Publication
    Internet Filtering: Rhetoric, Legitimacy, Accountability and Responsibility
    (Hart Publishing, 2008-10) ;
    This paper argues that the automatic and opaque nature of internet filtering, together with the fact that it is generally implemented by intermediaries, raises new problems for the law and in particular may tend to undermine aspects of freedom of expression. The paper starts by challenging the rhetoric underlying the use of the term “filtering” and suggests that the use of other terms such as "blocking" or "censorware" may be more appropriate. It then considers where filtering fits into the modalities of governance and the resulting issues of legitimacy and accountability. As regards legitimacy it argues that the use of technology to exert control over internet speech frequently undermines aspects of the rule of law concerning both the process for and content of norms governing behaviour. In relation to accountability, the paper argues that where it is not clear what is being blocked, why, or by whom, the operation of mechanisms of accountability - whether by way of judicial review, media scrutiny, or otherwise - is greatly reduced. Finally the paper suggests that, as compared with control through legal instruments, filtering may rob users of moral agency or responsibility in their use of the internet, with the implication that they may freely do whatever it is technically possible to do, with no necessity of moral engagement in their activities.
  • Publication
    Cybercrime: Towards a Research Agenda
    (Routledge, 2015-12-01)
    This chapter sets out to take stock of our knowledge on cybercrime in Ireland. How prevalent is it? How is it policed, and by whom? Are Garda resources for tackling cybercrime sufficient? What are the substantive laws criminalising online behaviour? Do these meet international standards?
  • Publication
    Judicial Oversight of Surveillance: The Case of Ireland in Comparative Perspective
    (Edward Elgar, 2016-04)
    This chapter examines how judicial oversight can regulate secret state surveillance, with a particular focus on Irish, European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and European Union (EU) law. It begins by considering the general arguments for judicial oversight and the types of oversight structures which can be used. It then examines the extent to which Irish, ECHR and EU law require judicial oversight in particular circumstances. Next, it takes as a case study the Irish experience of data retention. It concludes with suggestions for improving the effectiveness of judicial involvement in surveillance.
  • Publication
    Internet Censorship in the United Kingdom: National Schemes and European Norms
    (Hart, 2018-11-29)
    The United Kingdom (UK) has been at the vanguard of online censorship in democracies from the beginning of the modern internet. Since the mid-1990s the government has developed distinctive patterns of regulation – targeting intermediaries, using the bully pulpit to promote ‘voluntary’ self-regulation, and promoting automated censorship tools such as web blocking – which have been influential internationally but raise significant issues of legitimacy, transparency and accountability. This chapter examines this UK experience in light of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and EU law, arguing that in key regards current censorship practices fail to meet European standards. The chapter builds on the existing literature in two main ways. First, it assesses emerging censorship practices in the area of terrorist material and extreme pornography. Second, it considers how recent EU legislation and ECtHR case law might constrain the freedom of the UK government and force a move towards different models of censorship. The chapter starts by outlining the regulatory context. It then takes three case studies – Child Abuse Material (CAM), terrorist material, and pornography/extreme pornography under the Digital Economy Act 2017 – and traces how censorship has evolved from one context to the next. These systems are then evaluated against the standards set by European law and in particular Articles 6 and 10 ECHR, the Open Internet Regulation, and the Directives on Sexual Abuse of Children and on Combating Terrorism. The chapter concludes by considering what lessons we can learn from the UK experience.
  • Publication
    Implementing Information Privacy Rights in Ireland
    (Bloomsbury Professional, 2015-11-22)
    This chapter examines the reception of international privacy norms into Irish law and examines the factors which have shaped legislation and litigation in this area. It identifies and explains a previously parochial approach to privacy and discusses a number of factors - in particular, the growth of the internet industry in Ireland - which are now forcing Irish courts and policy makers towards greater engagement with international privacy standards.
  • Publication
    Blocking child pornography on the internet: European Union developments
    (Taylor & Francis, 2010-10-29)
    Internet blocking has become increasingly common within Europe as a tool to attempt to prevent the distribution of child pornography. However, until 2006, blocking systems largely developed independently at a national level. Although there have been European measures against child pornography since 1996 these measures have previously focused on other responses such as the approximation of national laws and the development of hotlines to report illegal content. This, however, is now changing and European Union (EU) policy is moving towards greater use of blocking. For example, the Safer Internet Plus Programme has funded the CIRCAMP ('Cospol Internet Related Child Abusive Material Project') police network to promote blocking and the sharing of national blocklists and the European Commission has proposed legislation which would require all member states to introduce blocking systems. This article outlines these developments and assesses the implications that they may have for freedom of expression online.
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