The Increasing Complexity of International Cyber Laws

The Increasing Complexity of International Cyber Laws

Cutting-edge technological advancements always supersede meaningful legislative change. The situation has grown exponentially more challenging since the dawn of the digital age. Governments the world over have to safeguard their citizens’ rights on one hand while trying to benefit from rapid technological advances and stifle them as little as possible on the other.

The result is a system of complex laws that govern ever more facets of our digital activities. What does cyber law entail? How is it evolving? What challenges does its international growth bring? Continue reading to gain a better idea.

What Is Cyber Law?

Cyber law is a part of the legislature that establishes a legal framework for governing various aspects of cyberspace.

Most laws enforced worldwide currently focus on the protection and regulation of collecting private data. However, cyber law, in general, is broader in scope and evolving. For example, some laws focus on securing the infrastructure and communications channels required for digital data transmission.

Others lay the groundwork for a more regulated and secure digital space with special protections afforded to intellectual property and payment processing. Cybersecurity measures are another vital aspect. Codifying and enforcing sound cybersecurity practices reduces the risk and cost of data breaches and other forms of cyberattacks for compliant businesses and individuals.

How Is Cyber Law Evolving?

We can trace cyber law’s roots back to the first attempts at regulating the collection and protection of personal data. Only a handful of countries developed such laws towards the end of the 20th century. These focused on sectors like healthcare or finance rather than offering complete solutions.

With the early 200s internet boom came the need to regulate and protect online financial transactions. The fledgling cyber laws of the time reflect this. Europe and the USA were the first to implement transaction protection legislation. They would continue to be the frontrunners in developing broader and more refined laws during the next decade.

It was clear by the mid-2010s that the scope of cyber law needed to expand. In the US, the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act laid the groundwork for collaborative efforts on all levels of government to coordinate against and respond to cyberattacks.

The EU published the first version of the Network and Information Security Directive in 2016. The directive establishes measures members should adopt in securing networking infrastructure that supports key sectors like finance, energy, and transport.

Global adoption and the current situation

The proliferation of social media, not to mention a string of prominent data breaches that exposed sensitive information about millions of users, prompted a greater interest in and focus on personal data protection. Users started considering what they share online more and how companies used freely available information to target them. Some even started asking how to remove personal info from Google and searched for services that could help them do that. Governments recognized the growing issue and started stepping in.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in 2018 and remains the gold standard. It regulates what information organizations may collect on EU citizens. It emphasizes transparency and offers guidelines on protecting collected information. Entities that don’t comply face hefty fines.

Other countries and territories soon followed, basing their own regulations on the GDPR to varying degrees. Brazil, Russia, and China are the most prominent adopters.

Around 80% of countries now have legislatures about data and transaction protection as well as cybercrime prevention.

Emerging concerns

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, prompting legislators to keep up. Blockchain and artificial intelligence are the most immediate concerns. The AI Act is the EU’s upcoming attempt at regulating the transparency, safety, and ethical use of artificial intelligence within its borders.

The Cyber Resilience Act is another trailblazing EU legal framework. It focuses on digital product security. The act outlines software and hardware measures manufacturers should implement during the development and manufacturing process to boost their products’ resilience to cyber threats.

Cyber Law Enforcement Challenges

While more robust and poignant cyber laws are a net positive for all stakeholders, enforcing them comes with unique challenges that not all businesses can overcome.

The lack of dedicated resources is impacting SMBs. Compliance dictates they set aside a certain percentage of their budgets for cybersecurity needs. While doing so is indispensable, it takes away from critical areas a struggling business may already have trouble financing adequately.

Cross-jurisdictional operations are a concern regardless of size. If a company operates internationally, it needs to follow domestic laws as well as ones that apply to customers and suppliers elsewhere. Things get even more confusing if one territory’s cyber law contradicts another’s.

Ensuring secure data transfers, especially when questioning, “is VPN legal,” is crucial in such situations. Luckily, adapting is straightforward with the help of a business VPN. Using one establishes a secure, encrypted connection between parties anywhere in the world. No one can decipher the data transferred this way or tamper with the connection. This goes a long way towards ensuring regulatory compliance and data protection.

There’s also the human factor to consider. An organization might make efforts to stay compliant yet fail due to unaware employees or bad actors. Regular cybersecurity training, access controls, and in-depth audits can curtail these threats.

Finally, there’s the matter of cyber law evolution. Rapid technological advances make updating old laws and introducing new ones that meet emerging challenges a top priority. Businesses need to keep abreast of these changes and adopt them, which may require hiring legal counsel or expanding their internal legal teams.


The increasing complexity we can observe in global cyber law adoption and development is both expected and welcome. Governments will never be able to regulate cyber challenges as they emerge. Still, their continued efforts ensure there’s a framework in place that guarantees rights and protections for citizens such developments might undermine otherwise.