Technological development is an important economic issue for the ESCWA region. Countries with economies that are diversifying from their reliance on commodities, as well as developing countries, must pursue that issue proactively. Such issues as e-commerce and the development of a knowledge-based society depend heavily on technological enablers in order to develop properly.
To that end, there is a strong need for an appropriate legal foundation, generally referred to as cyber legislation. By definition, cyberspace is a virtual world that is wide and varied, one that encompasses such broad topics as personal data, electronic transactions, intellectual property and other related issues. That digital world, created by computers and communications tools, needs to be organized. This study reviews the status of those local and international laws within the ESCWA region. In addition, specific examples of legislative principles help to illustrate the benefits and challenges of enacting more comprehensive cyber legislation. Such information can enable policymakers and legal professionals to determine legislative priorities for their jurisdictions.
The study was created after an exhaustive review of cyber legislation at the international, regional and national levels. It analyses the following topics: (a) protection of individual and personal data; (b) protection of privacy and freedom of information in the electronic communications sector; (c) copyrights, neighbouring rights and industrial property rights within the information society; (d) electronic transactions; (e) e-commerce; and (f) cyber crimes.