Technology law is part of legal frameworks that governs the application of different types of technologies. It should manage all applications of technologies through public and private platforms. It should also cover all ways of applications through methods of communications and modern devices that really impact the business and non-business society of the country.
As a developing country that aspires for growth and development, technology in Ethiopia is a vital tool that requires applications. However, if the application of the technology has no rules and regulations, the disadvantages may outweigh its advantages. The benefits may get eroded unless they are well managed through a legal system.
Of course, technology law is different from other types of discipline because of its dynamic as well as scientific nature. It also incorporates the use of technology in areas of the government, private institutions and individuals. In countries like Ethiopia, which applies a federal system, technology law is subject to the federal government even though there are laws that emanate from states. The United States is a good example.
Since technology covers areas that involve what users could do with the information gathered using technological means, it might have an inherent civil or criminal nature. That means its enforcement also requires the participation of different agencies. There is no single type of law that puts all technology-related issues in one basket.
For instance, for business operatives, technology law mainly refers to the commercial, intellectual property and compensation aspects of the consequence while for public prosecutors it may concentrate on the criminal nature of the technology. On the other hand, security officials may focus on its application in connection with intelligence and surveillance matters. However, all concerns could be managed by a technology law that pertains to all these interconnected subjects.
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All businesses shall obey and admit the protection of technology applications. The use of technology must be protected by law. Separate proclamations and specific provisions must be incorporated under the wide umbrella of a technology law that governs all types of laws in relation to technology. The main points which any business should consider while legally using technology are:
A – Is there any permission/license required to apply the technology?
B – After legally acquiring the license, is there any requirement to transfer the technology to a third party?
C – What are the requirements to transact a discovered technology?
D – What are the privacy policies of a given technology?
E – How can I manage clients’ privacy or trade secrets while applying technologies?
In addition to the use of a given technology, any business shall consider the whats?, the hows? and the whens? surrounfing the use of technology. If these applications are not governed by law, the application of the technology may have an adverse role.
In line with this, Ethiopia should consider having a compiled code of technology law that incorporates all rights, applications, duties as well as remedies. Some items of technology like computers have legal frameworks in Ethiopia.
However; instead of having different pieces for each technological outpus, we need to put the general framework, principles, procedures and management mechanisms of technology into a single and codified technology law like what we did with the commercial law.