Legal Issues: Security and Privacy with Mobile Devices

Legal Issues: Security and Privacy with Mobile Devices

Brian Leonard (Alabama A&M University, USA) and Maurice Dawson (University of Missouri – St. Louis, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8345-7.ch006
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Abstract

Privacy and security are two items being woven into the fabric of American law concerning mobile devices. This chapter will review and analyze the associated laws and policies that are currently in place or have been proposed to ensure proper execution of security measures for mobile and other devices while still protecting individual privacy. This chapter will address the fact that as the American society significantly uses mobile devices, it is imperative to understand the legal actions surrounding these technologies to include their associated uses. This chapter will also address the fact that with 9/11 in the not so distant past, cyber security has become a forefront subject in the battle against global terrorism. Furthermore, this chapter will examine how mobile devices are not like the devices of the past as the computing power is on par with that of some desktops and the fact that these devices have the ability to execute malicious applications. In addition, this chapter will discuss the reality, significance, legal and practical affects of the fact that suspicious programs are being executed offensively and security based attacks can be performed as well with the use of programs such as Kali Linux running on Android.
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Industry-Specific Laws

Although comprehensive policy remains a challenge, there have been strides made in the passage of laws in specific industries and areas where the U.S. government and by representation, most U.S. citizens have acknowledged and likely accepted the need for national regulation regarding the security and safety of information. An early attempt at protecting electronic information from unauthorized access, is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). This Act criminalizes the unauthorized access of the electronic communications of another without the owner’s or recipient’s permission (Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 1988). Although probably not contemplated by the Act in its inception, mobile devices which transmit electronic communications in the form of e-mail and other forms of communication are likely covered by the ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act,1988). However, this Act does not go far enough in that it does not deal more specifically with the more sophisticated nature of cyber attacks today.

Next, health information is probably for many the most important area of information that needs protection from attacks. Through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), the U.S. Government has provided for the creation of national standards for both the practical and technical security of health information (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 2000); Security Rule and Privacy Rule, 2003). Through subsequent standards adopted by the U.S government, these technical standards include such safeguards as the use of encryption, passwords, and other means of protecting health information from cyber attacks (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 2000; Security Rule and Privacy Rule, 2003).

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