What is IT law

IT Law - Laws and Security in Information Technology

The Information technology - IT for short - can look back on a long history. The historical development begins with primitive data processing and discovering our number system. With the Chinese abacus, which was adopted by the Romans and is still called today abacus is known to arrive at the first basic Arithmetic operations, for example subtraction and addition.

The mechanical architecture of computing developed rapidly. Famous names should be mentioned, such as Wilhelm Schickardwho designed the first adding machine. The first adding machine was made by the French Blaise Pascal in year 1642 constructed. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz further shaped this calculating machine (1673) and created that dual / binary number systemwhich can be called the first foundation of modern computers.

Special advice on IT law

Basics in IT law

The Briton Charles Babbage is considered by many historians to be the real inventor of the Digital computers. The Difference Engine was a program-controlled calculating machine whose further development could not be financially realized, which is why the project was discontinued in 1834. Nevertheless, Babbage continued to work on his concepts. His son later realized parts of these plans and built one analytical machinethat possessed all the distinctive characteristics of a computer. Your input stream was through Punch cards implemented what a kind Data storage and arithmetic unit represented.

This punch card system meant a Data processing revolution. In a further development, a system was created that analyzed these punch cards with the help of electrical contacts.

But by no means that most famous personalityThe one to be mentioned when it comes to the history of the computer is probably the German one Engineer Konrad Zuse. He built 1940/41 the Zuse Z3, the first "real" computer for the German Air Force that worked with a punched tape input and output. There was also one for the first time keyboard to disposal. Only four years later, Zuse presented the first programming language worldwide, the "Plankalkül".

1944 developed Howard Aiken on behalf of IBM a computer at Harvard University. This "giant" was 15 meters long and weighed whole 35 tons. He was particularly popular with the US Navy used.

The performance limits of the data processing of these first computers were not until the Use of electric tubes in 1946 broken through. Various further developments followed, some by Zuse, but also by IBM, which moved ever closer to today's electronic data processing. It came firstSilicon chip, in which the complete processor was integrated. The Z31 by Konrad Zuse was on Transistors with mega heart technology built up.

Ted Hoff from Intel co-designed the first computer integrated circuits. It contained a chip that for the first time combined the control and arithmetic units on a single silicon wafer. Since this computer was able to process four binary digits at the same time, it is considered to be 4-bit processor.

The first 8-bit calculator again created Intel (1972). Techniques for the mass market could also be made affordable. The Apple PC came. In 1976 he was involved in a garage project by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak developed. Only one year later they founded the company of the same name. That followed in the same year Apple II with a main memory of 64 KByte and one 8-bit 6502 CPU (Incidentally, the 6502-Cip was developed by Motorola).

A competition of further developments and new constructions between IBM, Intel, Apple, Commodore, Motorola and later also Atari led to one rapid progress in information technology at the end of the 20th century. From 1982 conquered the Commodore C64 The households. Already 1985 has been Windows 1.0 released. At that time nobody suspected that this would work its way up to the largest and most widespread operating system in the world. In the same year, Commodore created the Amiga and 1986 then brought Intel the 32-bit processor on the market.

That too World wide web (WWW), that 1989 of Tim Berners-Lee with the HTML programming language was a giant leap. It was his intention to publish information from scientists at a Swiss research institution on a computer network. From 1990 More and more universities and companies used the WWW and later also the people at home.

Just ten years later the Internet already dominated the majority of technical information exchange and today dominates it him. More and more transactions are being regulated over the World Wide Web, from Online banking on the Online shop, "Write a diary" via the Internet, upload documents and download pictures, videos, films. You can always be reached via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or other networks and are informed about what our friends and acquaintances are doing or where they are currently; in addition, everyone can now give their opinion on various topics in forums.

The World Wide Web offers many possibilities; it has brought a lot of good to mankind, but also a lot of bad. Because of this, it required one own legal area, because the internet is no longer an area free of law. The IT law, which in Germany with the introduction of the specialist lawyer title "Specialist lawyer for IT law" 2006 only gained relevance, regulates the structures on the Internet and clarifies legal questions of information technology. IT law should therefore now be included in this counselor Be a topic and be explained in detail.

Outdated terms for IT law are, for example Computer law, EDP law, internet law or software law. The clarification of legal issues in information technology are the main fields of consideration of IT law. To IT are both Network applications as well as Database applications, the Software engineering and office communication applications.

IT law occurs as one Cross-sectional matter on the linked to various sub-areas of other areas of law is. Therefore, it is often difficult to classify exactly which field of practice a case belongs to. This includes, for example:

Because of this, there are some for IT law Cross-legislative provisions and ordinances which deal with individual areas in detail and areas such as the privacy check more closely. Unfortunately, there is currently no uniform set of rules for IT law.

Laws and ordinances relevant to IT law

All of them take a large part in the area of ​​IT law Safety measures and the privacy a. Other laws that are relevant to IT law are the Telemedia and Telecommunications Act; these legal provisions are to be explained in more detail below.

More advice on data protection

(Federal) Data Protection Act (BDSG)

Data protection law is enforced by the Federal Data Protection Act regulated in Germany, whose Original version of the year 1977 originates. The New version is from the year 1990 and is constantly updated. The right about data protection is also very great complex and multi-layered.

Data protection means that the Protect individual is when it comes to the Handling of his personal data goes (details of personal or factual contexts from an identifiable person). Otherwise the individual would be in his Personal rights according to Art. 2 Abs. 1 GG, because data protection in Germany is based on it. Data protection is the right to informational self-determination; so everyone can decide for themselves to what extent they divulge their personal data for use.

A Specification of data protection law for IT law is carried out within the federal and state laws. That takes the largest area of ​​application Federal Data Protection Act a. The data protection is primarily the technical and organizational data backup.

Users often need a Data protection sign or confirm to consent to the collection and storage of your personal data. The obligation to include a data protection declaration is according to Section 13 of the Telemedia Act (next chapter) basically every website operator. As the privacy policy available at any time must be, it makes sense to do this right away to be placed in the imprint.

Especially in the age of the internet the word creation has changed in the sense of IT law IT compliance developed when it comes to the sensitive subject of "data protection". Compliance means something like "observance", but the term is usually also used "Compliance with the rules" translated. This already shows that IT compliance is about adhering to certain regulations. In this case it is the Compliance with legal, corporate internal and external (e.g. dealing with passwords and complying with DIN and ISO standards) as well as contractual provisionsthat must be followed in the company process. Of course, this also falls under the statutory provisions privacy in the nature of IT security.

Also the e-mail has become extremely important in business dealings. From the end of a calendar year, all companies are required to Business correspondence - be it electronic or non-electronic - to be kept for six to ten years. In IT law there is the so-called Email archiving, because e-mails must also be retained for this time.

When archiving emails, a legally compliant technical solution for custody be chosen to be a Data loss or even one Manipulation of the data to prevent. After the retention period, the corresponding e-mail must then deleted under data protection conditions become. Various systems to support e-mail archiving help with better management and save e-mails securely. Cloud solutions have already proven to be useful.

But be careful, not all e-mails need to be archived: Is it allowed for employees to private e-mail perform, it's an employer not allowedto keep it; unless the employee has expressly consented to this.

The topic of data protection has also been in the field in the past few times Cloud computing Received entry. A cloud is a "cloud" in German. The Internet has long been known as the cloud in technical terms. However, cloud computing is always enjoying itself these days greater popularity. That is what is meant by that "Calculating in the cloud". Many people now store files such as photos, music files or other documents in such a cloud. It offers the possibility of anytime and anywhere with the help of a computer and an Internet connection access the private files.

Also in terms of things Smartphones Due to the rapid technical development, new questions or Data protection issues. The small electronic companions offer permanent access to the Internet - but this permanent connection can be used to double edged sword it also means that all data can theoretically be called up at any time. additional Information on the subject - for example, how much the Siri smartphone service stores, can be found on marktforschung.de

Also work-related Numerous companies already use cloud computing, for example to work in the home office or to be able to access company data in completely different locations. Not only can employees use the cloud, but also theirs Customers. A “virtual computer” is operated on a third-party PC. This means that a high-performance computer is no longer required for the actual work, as one works via the cloud on a virtual computer that is located in a data center somewhere in the world.

However, this form of data processing also makes it necessary over data protection framework ponder; especially if public authorities of the federal government use cloud computing. So always has to Data integrity and confidentiality (personal data, but also trade and business secrets) - especially when archiving data. In the form of IT compliance, for example, employees are required to regularly your Passwords to to change. Also have to Troubleshooting measures and the defense against hacker attacks.

Telemedia Act (TMG)

The Telemedia Act concerns all electronic information and communication services, which is why it is often referred to as Internet law or Internet law in IT law. This actually means almost all of them favors offered on the internet, such as:

  • Podcasting (media files that can be subscribed to, such as video and audio files, on the Internet; mostly in MP3 format)
  • Blog
  • Online shop
  • e-mail
  • Search engine
  • Chat room

However that is Streaming about a Internet radio with 500 users since 2009 in the Interstate broadcasting treaty regulated, as it is notifiable as broadcasting.

There are also regulations in the Telemedia Act for imprint. That means every service provider resp. Provider has a general information obligation. He must therefore publish an imprint on his website that is easy to identify, quickly accessible and available at all times. This imprint is intended for § 5 (TMG) contain among others:

  • name and address
  • Information for quick contact, such as the e-mail address
  • The commercial register or something similar in which the provider is registered
  • The chamber to which the provider belongs
  • Information about stock corporation, limited liability company or partnership limited by shares if they are in the process of being wound up or liquidated

It is now mandatory that every website has an imprint contains, your own blog must also comply with the information obligation.

Furthermore, the Telemedia Act wants Spam, i.e. emails that contain unwanted advertising, fight. Rather, it means that the Concealment and obfuscation of commercial intent a sender of an email is punished.

In addition, the Telemedia Act also contains Data protection provisions and the Saving of user data. The provider must inform the user, among other things, of the extent and for what purpose the provider is using the customer data before the start of use. Accordingly, the user has to agree to this use of his data within a data protection declaration or not.

Here the principle applies to Personal data protection. However, the provider is allowed to use advertising, Market analysis or the needs-based design Create user profiles using a pseudonym, unless the user has generally objected to this. However, it is forbidden to assign personal data to this pseudonym. This would move in fine of up to 50,000 euros after yourself.

Telecommunications Act (TKG)

The Telecommunications Act regulated In addition to IT law, on the one hand telecommunications and on the other hand it should also ensure that Telecommunication services continuously guaranteed.

First of all, it stipulates that everyone can freely provide telecommunication services, but with the Federal Network Agency has to register. The Federal Network Agency is also authorized by the TGK to identify so-called dominant companies To impose conditions and thus intervene in the market to regulate.

Also the Consumer protection is strengthened by the Telecommunications Act. The costs for special numbers must be shown separately (landline and mobile network separately) and at their maximum amount. In addition, it has been mandatory since May 2012 that DSL provider Specify not only the maximum but also a minimum speed.

IT security law

The IT Security Act came into effect in July 2015 in force, or rather, that "Law to increase the security of information technology systems". It is intended to strengthen IT security. It contains various framework conditions that affect every website operator.

Also, creating one is central reporting planned that at Federal Office for Security in Information Technology - BSI for short - is to bundle.

Internet security and the security of all IT systems and critical infrastructure are, in the opinion of Federal government highest priority. In the economic sector, for example, companies such as banks, hospitals and energy suppliers must take special steps Cyberattacks to be protected. The IT Security Act has been responsible for this since 2015. Therefore, server failures and hacker attacks of a group should be reported as quickly as possible, as this creates a risk for data protection and thus for all citizens.

One speaks of one Server failure or a so-called "Downtime"when a service, or more precisely a website, can no longer be reached. The causes can be as diverse as the solutions required to end such a downtime as quickly as possible. The reason for a server failure can be a simple technical error be or a Attack by hackers. Hackers are people who gain unauthorized access to the networks of a computer system. They often invade with the help of one virus or Trojans into the PC and use it for further attacks sensitiveCopy data and offer them for illegal download or paralyze entire systems.

In the IT Security Act are even Fines of up to 100,000 euros unless the providers of websites do not adhere to the reporting obligation or do not make their systems correspondingly secure.

Areas of law that affect IT law

The main areas of law are copyright and domain law in IT law, so these two areas of law will be discussed in the next sections and their connection to IT law will be explained.

You can find another guide on the subject of copyright here:


Copyright also affects IT law. At the copyright it is a subjective rightthat, in short, benefits a creator or creator to be intellectual and personal property (Work) to protect. Such intellectual property includes a literary work, but also an artistic or scientific work. Among other things, this also includes computer programs.

Especially when it comes to using software, copyright comes into play. As a well-known example here are the Microsoft Office applications to call. Numerous are circulating on the Internet illegal versions for download. However, these applications are subject to copyright because they were developed by Microsoft. However, the company offers the option of using it via a Software licensethat the future user can purchase.

With the software license, the user can easily get the Rights of use to the corresponding softwareif he accepts the terms of use in advance. Such single user licenses are also known as end user license agreements, in English they are known as “End User License Agreements” or EULA.

However, such a license always has corresponding provisions, namely those that the Creator grants. For example, the software license can be limited in terms of space, content or time. Therefore, the usage rights to software can vary. Whereby a time limit is rare.

But there are other forms of permission to use intellectual property in copyright law. There is, for example, the so-called GNU license. The GNU project has already been 1983 Founded by the American Richard Stallman because he wanted to develop a free operating system. The GNU license is a releasefor open source codewhich is known as open source in IT law. That means, with the help of the GNU license, anyone can now use the Open source source codesee, free to distribute, change and even copy. Well-known projects that were created using a GNU license are, for example, the Linux and Mozilla operating systems.

Domain law

It does exist no law of its own, but the Jurisprudence has created some regulations for the use and allocation of domains within the meaning of domain law. In some cases, legal questions about a domain also concern that Naming rightswhen it comes to the Distinctness goes, but also that Trademark law, if the name of the domain is also a protectable brand by a company.

A domain is the Internet address of a website. It is used by the domain owner to be on the World Wide Web individually to be able to occur and easily perceptible to be. In the background, however, a domain consists of one IP address, i.e. a sequence of digits consisting of 4 blocks of 3 numbers each, separated by dots, like this one: This IP address (currently) leads to the homepage of the search engine service Google.

Any domain usually has theirs own IP address. In exceptional cases, a domain has several IP addresses that lead to the domain, as is the case with the Google homepage. But usually it's just one fixed IP address that is linked to the domain. Basically, you can say that the domains were only set up because otherwise nobody would have been able to remember the sequence of numbers. However, such a beautiful domain is ideally memorable.

Incidentally also has every internet connection has an IP address. However, this is different every time you dial into the network again. The IP address can be obtained from your Internet provider (provider).

If a person now buys a domain, he is the domain owner. He in turn closes one Contract with another providerwhich in turn has the website belonging to the domain on a server. Such contracts can contain different services. However, legal conflicts can arise when assigning the domain name. For this reason, names should not be used, for example, as these are identified by the Name right protected in § 12 BGB are. In addition, other things should be considered:

  • Trademark law: Problems under trademark law can arise if you include a brand or a company name in your domain that is not your own. But even if you happened to have Krupp or Bosch as your last name, this can be difficult. Even city names and designations of state institutions are prohibited in domain law.
  • Competition Law (UWG): Trading domains is no longer a rarity. A so-called domain grabber registers a wide variety of domains in order to later sell them at high prices to interested parties, especially companies. If claims under trademark law are to be excluded here, claims under competition law can be asserted. Because in such a case a misleading commercial act can exist (§ 5 UWG).

Basically, however, there is no limit to buying a domain. For example, the little one sold Tuvalu island state his rights to hers country-specific top-level domain ".tv" for a total of $ 50 million. Nevertheless, the motto "First come ..." always applies. When assigning domains checks also first of all nobody, whether you violate any rights with the domain name. But if the worst comes to the worst, the domain owner is always liable.

What is regulated by IT law

Online trade

More and more online shops are conquering the Internet. The book trade and consumer electronics are right at the forefront. Online trading is also called E-commerce (Electronic Commerce) known. What is meant by this is the trade in goods operated via the World Wide Web. E-commerce is legally regulated in the German Civil Code under §§ 312 ff. as well as through the Distance selling law; in addition, there are provisions from copyright law, the trade regulations, the law on unfair competition, from the Commercial Code, the Telemedia Act, the general terms and conditions law and other regulations.

Accordingly, an online shop such as eBay, Zalando or Amazon sometimes has a certain information obligation towards its customers. For example, an order confirmation must be sent immediately by email or electronically.

This shows that customers in particular are far from buying in a normal shop more rights have. In particular, these rights include Right of withdrawal when buying on the internet. Only in June 2014 was there an important new regulation through a new EU consumer directive. A uniform right of withdrawal now applies across the EU of 14 days. This revocation must now be clearly justified, as it is fundamentally no refund more there. In addition, the consumer must now have the Return costs unless the dealer has communicated otherwise.

The online shop is obliged to do this Order button Placed legibly and correctly labeled to prevent the consumer from falling into a Cost trap to grope. Possible designations can be:

  • to buy
  • agreement to pay for the order you are placing

Only the word "order" does not make it clear to the buyer that he is actually purchasing the product for which he is obliged to pay. In addition, the consumer is clearly the Prices as well as the Shipping to show; this information must not first appear by scrolling.

The are also important for online shops Conditions - the general terms and conditions. If an online shop has terms and conditions, then they must be immediately visible and always available, or their validity must be pointed out. In addition, the terms and conditions are in one reasonable scope , so if possible they should not be 20 pages long. When creating the general terms and conditions, a Lawyer stand by your side, as he is familiar with the requirements that must be met in order for the terms and conditions to be met Part of the contract could be.

It should also be noted that Competition law. So is for example Advertising by email prohibitedunless the addressee has given his express consent.

Online trading is nonetheless trending, because online retailers now need no physical sales room more. In some online shops there is even no large storage room, because often the so-called Drop shipping is carried out - the instigation of Delivery directly from the wholesaler or producers to the customer.

Child and youth protection on the Internet

Child and youth protection on the Internet is also a constant public discussion. In Germany, the Youth Media Protection State Treaty (JMStV) the Commission for youth media protection of the state media authorities (KJM) and the Youth protection guidelines (JuSchRiL) for the protection of minors on the Internet and on television. Create across Europe EU directives on the subject of regulations. Generally in these regulations there are things like pornographic representations or murder andimages glorifying violence regulated. In addition, inter alia Broadcast times set for different formats or the Identification of the age groups certainly.

The central supervisor the KJM with the National inspecting authority for youth harming media (BPjM) together as well as with the state media authorities and jugendschutz.netwho check the observation of content that is harmful to minors and report violations to the provider. Under certain circumstances, the customer will then be asked to change or discontinue the offer.

With following Tips you can do the with your children train safe use of the World Wide Web:

  • Children and parents should experience their first contact with the Internet and telemedia together
  • They should talk together about the various online services and websites, as well as online safety
  • Children should also be taught how to use passwords
  • Talk about data protection, privacy and responsible communication and explain what personal data is and that it should not be posted on a blog, for example, and that an e-mail and its attachments may not be opened or accepted by strangers
  • With the help of special software, a kind of “child protection” can be installed in the browser
  • the protection of your computer helps to keep a virus away if it is updated regularly
  • Talk to friends, acquaintances or educators about the subject of child and youth protection on the Internet

Penalties for offenses against IT law

It is now nothing new that there are also numerous on the Internet Legal dangers lurk IT law therefore also affects that Criminal law and anyone who violates data protection & Co. must expect high sanctions. So-called computer crimes or computer crime are also in the criminal code regulated:

  • 263a StGB - computer fraud
  • 303b StGB - computer sabotage
  • 202 StGB - Breach of the confidentiality of letters
    • 202a StGB - Spying on data
    • 202b StGB - Interception of data
    • 202c StGB - Prepare for data spying and interception

The interception of data has often been seen in connection with the Online banking belongs. In these cases, for example, the one required for online banking was often used TAN (transaction number) intercepted, which is necessary to complete a transfer. This can also be done under the "Computer fraud" offense fall, as the incorrect design of a program results in unauthorized use of data in order to protect yourself or a third party illegal pecuniary advantage To provide. here we can Up to five years' imprisonment or face a fine.

The offense of “computer sabotage” falls when hackers take you Virus or trojan use to Attack, damage, destroy or manipulate computer systems. This is used in particularly severe cases Imprisonment up to ten years and additional fines.

But copyright can also be violated. This happens, for example, when a person Copied content from another website. Then there is often one Warningto refrain from doing this. In the same way, there is a violation of copyright in the so-called illegal Streaming. A stream is a continuous transmission of digital data. These can be audio files, such as music and movies. Such a Stream can be legalif the author of this free for streaming, as is often done within the Media libraries of public television programs is the case. But there is also the option of paying a fee for a stream. Numerous providers, such as Amazon Prime Instant Video or Netflix, make a number of films and series freely available after paying a monthly fee. At Amazon, however, some films still cost money even within Prime membership.

It is forbidden, however, that Bypass copy protection and illegal streaming or even download the stream file to your home computer. In the same way, there is initially a threat of a warning from a lawyer, the Claims for damages from the author, but usually there is even a Criminal proceedings initiated. This threatens a high Finewhich depends on the severity of the act. Furthermore, this can also be a Imprisonment have as a consequence.

The penalties for illegal streaming also fall higher if the stream file is sent using File sharing then also in a swap exchange for Download provided by third parties becomes. With file sharing, files are passed on directly to other users on the Internet. This is usually done via a file sharing network, i.e. a kind of Exchange exchange on the World Wide Web. The factual situation also applies theillegally downloading software without the appropriate software license to.

Since the illegal downloading of music and movie files as well as software is considered by many to be Trivial offense is perceived, it is among many private internet users widespread. But in addition to the risk of receiving a warning, this illegal content can just as well be one Bring virus with itwhich in turn can cause even greater damage.

Users who receive a warning of such download and streaming crimes should contact a chancellery or a lawyer or even directly to one Specialist lawyer for IT law who can assist you with his knowledge.

The IT law always prevails in the present more meaning. Especially because modern society tends more and more to control processes via the Internet.Therefore, dangers appear here and it is becoming more and more necessary to subject the World Wide Web to strict laws and regulations. It is therefore no longer a lawless area. IT law regulates the data protection of personal and other sensitive data as well as the security of computer systems. It is also important to promote child and youth protection on the Internet and to regulate business processes there. Since digital data is easier to copy, copyright also comes into play in the field of IT law in order to protect files or software from creators against illegal use or illegal download.

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IT Law - Laws and Security in Information Technology
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