Law Inforcement and the Information Ecosystem 2014

While the academic community of constitutional law and civil law has shown great interest in the field of Law and the Internet, and there are many studies on the subject, there is much less research in the area of criminal law in this context. The conference will place special emphasis on aspects of Criminal Law and the Internet. 
In recent years, the Internet has created many challenges for law enforcement and criminal justice. The technology has facilitated the performance of certain criminal offences, and made it difficult to expose crimes and apprehend criminals, in part because the offences are committed in the private sphere and because of the possibility of acting anonymously. Connection to the Internet accords the individual much greater power than held previously. For example, a harmful publication online (libel, incitement to violence, exposure of state secrets) can reach many people, so that the damage caused by the commission of a criminal offence on the Internet can reach large and even immeasurable proportions. Abuse of powers held by Internet users can cause large scale damage, such as damage to infrastructure (poisoning of drinking water, disruption in electricity supply, disruption of the operation of hospitals). Is the state entitled or even required to take new types of surveillance and preventive measures? For example, should the state be given broader search powers than the existing powers to search premises and homes? Moreover, the Internet has allowed the development of new types of crimes, such as the phenomenon of cyberbullying. Do these types of crimes require redefinition of the offences listed in the Penal Code? The conference will examine the internal balance between provisions of civil and criminal law applicable to Internet violations: is there a need to rethink Internet crime and tort or are these offences and torts - ordinary criminal and civil offences and torts committed by new means?
Do the fundamental principles of the Penal Law apply to cybercrimes or do these offences require the introduction of a special law? What are the sentencing considerations applicable to cybercrimes? Do the general sentencing considerations apply or should greater leniency or stringency be shown in respect of these offences?
Internet intermediaries provide an infrastructure for direct communication between users on the Internet. In the past decade these intermediaries have played an increasing role in the enforcement of civil rights and the provision of voluntary or forced assistance to law enforcement agencies. In the late nineties, various countries (such as the USA) chose to exempt intermediaries from liability for damage caused by users of their services. In view of the changes in the nature and status of the intermediaries, the question of their immunity has reawakened in the public discourse. Is it appropriate to exempt intermediaries from all liability for damage caused by third parties? Should obligations be imposed on intermediaries? Is it appropriate to subject them to administrative law in view of the great power they wield?
A discussion of these questions will be conducted from the point of view of constitutional law and criminal and civil law. This is because constitutional law provides the "basic norms" upon which the law is based, including civil and criminal law. The question is which constitutional balances apply to the Internet? Do the new challenges faced by criminal law, created by the above technology, also require new balances to be drawn? To what extent do constitutional balances applicable to the Internet have an impact on civil and criminal law, including on Internet crime?
Do freedom of speech and freedom of occupation, which are rights available to users and Internet service providers, require a new balance to be drawn in respect of state powers? For example, are Internet service providers entitled, obliged or precluded from allowing state authorities to conduct searches and surveillance of users? What about the phenomenon of the "prism"? What is the status and force of freedom of expression on the Internet, i.e., does it deserve broader protection? Is there a constitutional right to use the Internet or to access information on the Internet?
The conference will consist of five sessions in various legal areas, where the principal area will be criminal law. Each panel will have three speakers who will present their research from the perspective of the European-Continental system, the Anglo-American system and the Israeli system. The concluding session of the conference will deal with Internet and the Law: A Look to the Future.
Academic Organizer: Dr. Khalid Ghanayim

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