Learning Outcome 1: Understand the impact of National and Global legislation involved in computing and information systems development. Computers and their uses have become pervasive in today’s society with new uses occurring on almost a daily basis. In general this use is beneficial; however, as with all technology, computers may be put to the wrong use. In order to safeguard computer users in the UK there are different types of legislation covering the many uses or misuses of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Following is the current legislation in computing: 1. 1)Computer Misuse Act 1990 1. 2)Consumer Protection Act 1987 1. 3)Data Protection Act 1998 1. 4)Disability Discrimination Act 1995 1. 5)Freedom of Information Act 2002 1. 6)Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 1. 7)Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 Reference: http://www. sqa. org. uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_01. htm ? 1. 1Computer Misuse Act The Computer Misuse Act 1990 was designed to clarify UK law with regards to the intentional malicious use of computers.
Many critics of the bill argue that malicious intention can’t be readily established or proved.
This view is cited because of the case that gave rise to the bill where what the defendants did, could not be classified as “computer crime” but rather as “inappropriate behaviour”. The UK Computer Misuse Act 1990 has acted as a blueprint for other countries when designing new laws concerned with computer crime. Reference: http://www. sqa. org. uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_02. htm 1. 2Consumer Protection Act
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is designed to protect consumers and give them rights when buying goods and services, eg manufacturers are legally obliged to put certain information on products, such as health and safety messages on cigarettes.
The act covers a range of issues including fraud, unfair business practice, product liability and many other consumer and business activities. As well as being bound by domestic UK legislation, businesses must take account of European laws with regards to consumer protection. Reference: http://www. qa. org. uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_12. htm 1. 3Data Protection Act The Data Protection Act 1998 was designed to provide a legal framework upon which to protect the privacy of personal data when used with information technology. The Data Protection Act is UK legislation designed to place legal constraints on the use and processing of personal data. The act gives people rights to protect themselves against any misuse of data held about them. The first data protection act became law in 1984 before the widespread popularity of the Internet.
The rapid growth of the Internet meant that information could be easily shared even between countries which do not have data protection legislation. This (and to bring it in line with European law) led to a revision of the act in 1998 which became law on 1st March 2000. The updated act covers personal data held on paper as well as computer and makes it illegal for data transfer to countries that do not have appropriate data protection laws and rights. The data protection act has two general purposes: 1.
The rights of individuals about which data is held and what they can do regarding data held about them. 2. The responsibilities of the data users and processors. Reference: http://www. sqa. org. uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_16. htm 1. 4Disability Discrimination Act An Act to make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled persons in connection with employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services or the disposal or management of premises; to make provision about the employment of disabled persons; and to establish a National Disability Council. 8th November 1995] The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) is UK legislation that makes discrimination against anyone with a disability illegal. The act states that everyone should be viewed as equal with regards to employment, education and training, property, providing goods and services, facilities and equipment. The UK Disability Rights Commission was set up to help support the legislation and to investigate non-compliance to the act. The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s web site includes excellent resources on all aspects of equality and the law.
Reference: http://www. sqa. org. uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_29. htm 1. 5Freedom of Information Act The Freedom of Information Act 2002 places responsibilities on public bodies to be open and visible about their work. There are certain instances where exemptions can be made, such as national security. The earliest freedom of information act is considered to be Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act dated 1766. Typically, the Freedom of Information act defines the way in which government information can be made available to the public.
A related concept is open meetings legislation, which allows access to government meetings, not just to the records of them. In many countries, privacy or data protection laws may be part of the freedom of information legislation; the concepts are often closely tied together in political discourse. The backbone of the UK Freedom of Information act is that the burden of proof is with the government body and not whoever wants access to the information.
The UK freedom of information legislation is called the Freedom of Information Act 2000, although there is separate but similar legislation in Scotland, which is called the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Both of these acts became law in January 1st 2005. Reference: http://www. sqa. org. uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_40. htm 1. 6Health and Safety at Work Act The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) is concerned with providing a legal framework with regards to health and safety in the UK. The act places specific responsibilities on four major groupings.
Employers Employees Occupiers of premises Designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers. Under the act all employers must meet statutory duties to employees, including the production and distribution of a statement of ‘safety policy’ and its implication to employees. Employers must also consult with employee’s representatives on health and safety issues. There are different penalties for breaking the H and S law ranging from fines to imprisonment. Reference: http://www. sqa. org. uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_44. htm 1. Copyright, Designs and Patent Act The Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 was designed to protect the copyright of individuals and groups. The act protects the ownership of computer software in a similar way that copyright works with printed material. This act protects the software developer’s rights and lasts for fifty years after the writer’s death. Surveys have shown that possibly up to 29% of UK companies may be using illegal software and 50% of small businesses. Reference: http://www. sqa. org. uk/e-learning/ITLaw01CD/page_48. htm
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