Legal Risks and Social Networking: Removing the Blinkers on Cybersafety
Ria Hanewald, ed., From Cyber Bullying to Cyber Safety: Issues and Approaches in Educational Contexts, Nova Science Publishers Inc, New York, 2013
Posted: 18 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 16, 2013
While projects have tackled the issue of cyberbullying surrounding the use of social media and in particular social network sites, little research has been performed in Australia and internationally on the broader legal issues such as privacy, intellectual property, copyright, unauthorised disclosure and criminal law. This chapter describes some of these serious and frequently misunderstood legal risks, drawing on an extensive review of regulatory frameworks, research literature and a large scale study of middle school students, their caregivers and teachers.
Much of the literature dealing with cyber safety generally focuses upon abusive behavour, such as cyber-bullying and groomig. Little attention has been given to other potentially more common legal risks. Therefore this chapter attempts to fill a gap in that literature.
After an analysis of Australian and international regulatory frameworks, legal rulings, media reports and various studies, four key areas were identified as giving rise to relevant legal liability for young people: privacy, disclosure and breach of confidence; intellectual property rights, especially copyright infringement; defamation; and criminal laws including harassment and offensive material. Our findings indicate that the most serious legal risks arise from the unforeseen consequences of publication to an unintended audience. Thus user education has an important role to play in minimising such risks.
Keywords: privacy, intellectual property, copyright, unauthorised disclosure, criminal law, cybersafety, social networking, social media risks
JEL Classification: K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation