1. Legal problem with internet messages: defamation – If you publish defamatory statements via internet messages, you may encounter legal issues for civil defamation and be criminally liable in some countries. Slander is a wrongful act or a legal mistake. It is a general term used worldwide, but in some countries it can be divided into two categories, slander and slander. Australia has abolished the distinction between defamation and slander. A defamatory statement is one that lowers a person’s reputation in the minds of mindful members of society at large, or causes them to be avoided or avoided.
Libel refers to slander through writing, images, broadcast or published works, and tends to have a permanent form, although defamatory statements made in theater in England are treated as a form of libel. Slander refers to slander that occurs through speech, sounds, sign language, or gestures; generally transient or transient. It is not always easy to judge whether a communication falls into the category of defamation or slander. However, there is an important legal distinction between defamation and slander where the distinction persists. Defamation is legally enforceable without the need to prove damage, while defamation requires the defamed person to demonstrate special damage to succeed in an action.
There are four exceptions to the above slander rule, where a person can prosecute if he has been slandered without proving that he has suffered harm. The first is where statements have been published accusing a person of committing a crime that could lead to imprisonment. The second situation is that statements have been made that a person has a serious infectious disease. The other two categories include the suggestion that someone cannot do their trade or business or make statements that they are sexually unchaste.
The victim in the aforementioned defamation cases only needs to prove that a statement has been published. In Commonwealth countries, a defamatory statement is published where the statement is first perceived by a third party. This means that you may be able to expose yourself to the defamation laws of a jurisdiction over the internet and the person who is defamed may try to sue you. Whether they can actually do that depends on several factors.
When dealing with instant messaging, it is easy to forget that you can get legal trouble if you commit defamation. The victim only needs to show that your internet message has been published to a third party to face legal issues if the statement is defamatory or falls into any of the above categories. If the victim was alone at the time the statement was received, it would not create legal issues, but if a third party was present when sending the instant messages, you could potentially be held liable for defamation.
Instant messages are similar to other electronic communications such as email, posts on forums, bulletin boards, usenet groups and websites, although the latter are all sent through a host computer and stored in a tangible permanent medium until changed or deleted. If they were slanderous in nature, they would be defamatory. In contrast, communication via instant messaging (IM), internet relay chat (IRC), or video messaging would likely be more defamatory, since the user engaged in internet messaging is involved in instant real-time synchronous communication analogous to a telephone call. The only difference is that internet messaging technology can now involve the transfer of text, images, files, video and / or audio. Such communication is immediate and interactive and resembles the legal nature of telephone communication, although when captured as an attachment in a tangible medium and exposed to a wider audience, they can also be defamatory.
The user who publishes a defamatory statement via Internet Messages (IM) may believe that there are no legal issues that differ from ordinary email or other Internet use. However, it is likely that the user who publishes a communication via an IM will create potential legal problems for defamation. It is possible to save a text conversation that is created via Internet messaging (IM), as messages are recorded in a local message history and can be retrieved.
2. Legal issues related to internet messaging: invasion of privacy – disclosure of private facts
Even if you send an Internet message (IM) that is not defamatory, you may still experience legal issues in some jurisdictions for breach of privacy or breach of trust. The legal issues will depend on the laws of the jurisdiction, but if the person with whom you are involved in internet messaging has a reasonable expectation of privacy and believes that they are concerned only with one-person instant messaging IM, you may be able to face legal problems. There is no defense of the truth for invasion of privacy. There may be potential legal issues if a victim can establish that he / she has made unreasonable disclosure of private facts through online messaging (IM).
Instant Messaging (IM) chat transcripts fall within the legal definition of electronically stored information (ESI) and are therefore treated in the same way as emails and other electronic files for discovery purposes. Instant messages (IM) are treated in the same way as emails under the discovery laws of most jurisdictions. A user may face legal issues if the data is subpoenaed by the person who claims to have breached privacy or other legal injustice and requests the third party present to testify that it was present when the instant message (IM) was sent . Many people who use text or instant messaging incorrectly assume that their messages are deleted as soon as they are sent via instant messaging or on a mobile phone. However, most service providers keep a record of text messages and instant messages from one to three months after they are exchanged.
3. Legal problems via internet messages – Cyberbullying and stalking
An online IM user for Instant Messaging can become a victim of cyberbullying, stalking or abuse of telecommunications networks that could constitute a criminal offense. Employers and individuals must protect themselves from legal problems through instant messaging that is used inappropriately. The same goes for other electronic communications, although instant messaging (IM) may be more prone to cyberbullying abuse, discrimination, hate speech, bullying and stalking online due to its immediate, informal and intrusive nature. A user needs to know how to protect himself by reporting a user who misuses IM instant messaging technology and how to avoid sending further offensive messages. As with email, those who use instant messaging can still try to reach the user by changing the screen names. This medium of internet communication allows for direct real-time communication between employees and companies without paying much attention to the legal problems that may arise in formulating an acceptable e-mail usage policy. These systems are considered to be even more informal than emails, making them a tool more susceptible to abuse for sexual harassment, cyberbullying and other offensive communications.
The legal issues related to the use of IM were widely publicized when a former congressman Mark Foley had explicitly sent sexual instant messages (IM) to home pages and individuals under 18 from his congressional personal computer. The scandal raised concerns about legal issues and warnings about the legal consequences of inappropriate internet messages. Companies have a legal responsibility under employment health and safety at work laws to provide a safe working environment free of harassment, discrimination and other illegal behavior. An organization needs instant messaging (IM) management tools to resolve the legal issues associated with using IM for Internet messaging in the corporate environment. A survey conducted in 2007 found that 30% of participants were recipients of inappropriate instant messaging communications.
4. Legal Problems with Internet Messages – Security and Compliance Risks: Instant Messaging (IM) has been described by security advisors as a preferred method for hackers to carry out phishing attacks and spread attachments containing computer viruses. The Instant Message Security Center has recorded over 1100 security attacks in three years. Viruses, Trojans and spyware can spread quickly through the friends list of infected users on the Internet. Instant messaging (IM) can lead to wasted company resources, time and resources when misused by employees engaged in social interactions during working hours, as well as a lack of awareness of the specific security concerns of Internet messaging systems. Since IM usually happens with text, it is more vulnerable to eavesdropping, and because user passwords are stored in text, they are accessible to anyone with physical access to the user’s computer. It is not feasible to encrypt the password on many instant messaging software applications. In addition, instant messaging software requires the user to open UDP ports to the world, which increases security risks. The use of instant messaging (IM) solutions in the workplace raises legal concerns regarding compliance with data security, storage and retention laws. Business communications in most jurisdictions must be archived and must be retrievable according to the rules. Many organizations do not appreciate the legal problems and the requirement to store instant messages.
5. Legal problems with internet messages: leakage of embarrassing information, company information or intellectual property – Security breaches can mean that business secrets / confidential information and a company’s intellectual property are vulnerable to being sent over an insecure network and falling into the hands of a competitor. All sorts of embarrassing and sensitive information can be discovered through IM disclosures. Like email communications and other electronic data, Internet messaging can lead to the discovery of embarrassing trade secrets and valuable business information, but employers are slower to recognize the legal issues associated with instant messaging.
The emergence of web 2.0 and social networking sites has created similar legal problems to IM facilities. It is important that individuals and companies focus their attention on the unique legal issues and risks that this communication medium entails, in addition to the broader issues related to the use of electronic data.