As the world is developing today with advantages and impacts of technologies, so some evils relating to crimes and or offences are rising daily to meet up with those advantages and even surpass those advantages. The government of the Country and other law enforcement agencies are also not folding their arms to bring all those who perpetrate these evils in the society to book.
Much more worse is that the majority of the citizens in the civil society are still ignorant of the various technologies and their effects so, they are easily vulnerable to be taken advantage of without the technical knowledge of technologies. Therefore, this paper is of the view that lawyers have a great role to play, especially those lawyers who have technical knowledge of technologies by making suggestions and or recommendations that are workable to the government to assist the government on combating these menaces and to aid the efforts of the law enforcement agencies in bringing those involved in efforts aimed at bringing this nation into disrepute to book, hence, this paper.
The word ‘technology’ or ‘tech’ is defined by the Online Webster Dictionary as ‘the use of science in industry, engineering, etc. to invent useful things or to solve problems’, ‘a machine, piece of equipment, method, etc., that is created by technology’.
‘Technology’, according to Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, among other definitions, means ‘a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge <new technologies for information storage>.
In the legal profession today, for instance, the impact of technology cannot be over-emphasized. Few years ago, there was discussion on the impact of Information Communication Technology (ICT) as it concerns the legal profession. However, as of today, and with the development in ‘technology’, several advancements have been made which have impacts on the legal services rendered by lawyers across the globe and in the legal profession as a whole. Surprisingly, just as the technology advances, there are various crimes associated with such advancements. Some of the areas where I have viewed these impacts are stated below drawing a blinking eye at some likely perpetrated crimes in those areas:
Computerized law reports: As of today, the need of having law reports in hard copies has been reduced. Even judges now have on-line law reports accessed at their need. For instance, the Law Pavilion Law Report (LPLR) is one of the foremost on-line law reports in Nigeria, with great advantages. In this too, there are likelihood of crimes being perpetrated which must be scrutinised very well, especially by those lawyers with technical knowledge of computer by drawing out those likely dangers or risks in this impact by sensitizing members of the legal profession of those likely vulnerabilities. Lawyers or judges too can be vulnerable without due technical knowledge of the technology.
On-line blogs as a form of media platform for enlightening the public about law: This area is another area at which there is a very great impact on the legal services. Several blogs have emerged over-time and have great impacts on the legal profession and the rendering of legal services. Lawyers now have a platform through which they share ideas and gain more diversification in the obtainable legal practices across the globe. This is an international medium of communication as lawyers across the globe get directly connected to the blog and also have the opportunity of commenting on the published work(s). In this advancement too, it is easily possible for some miscreants to disseminate hate speeches, share pornography by intruding into group platforms, scamming and hacking another person’s information and or profile and or contacts. All these have continued to be experienced day-in-day-out.
Electronic-mail (e-mail) as a form of communication between lawyers and clients: Many lawyers have developed the idea of communicating with their clients especially those who are not able to visit their offices directly. Consultations, briefs, etc. are now made via e-mail. Accompanying this advantage are numerous evil acts of some persons who could utilize this means to achieve their evil intention. So, tech-lawyers should enlighten us all as lawyers and as members of the ignoramus civil society.
Enactment of Evidence Act, 2011 and the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 in Nigeria: These laws were enacted as a result of the growing trend in technology and the need to advance in the laws of evidence to suit legal suits and to give access to information including on-line. Some of those miscreants have developed other evidence not likely covered by the Evidence Act in order to use same as lacuna to escape criminal liability and to pervert the cause of justice.
Courts’ e-filing processes: This is another development in the legal profession and the legal services, as lawyers can now direct their clients to also confirm their suits filed on their behalf via the on-line courts’ e-filing platform, among other advantages. Criminality in technologies has no limit, therefore, research and sensitization must continue in this regard too.
The impact of the Social-media: The social-media is another impact of technology, especially via android phones. The WhatsApp, twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, etc. are now very useful tools. Law officers in a particular office now have a customized WhatsApp group for communication. In this advancement too, it is easily possible for some miscreants to disseminate hate speeches, share pornography by intruding into group platforms, scamming and hacking another person’s information and or profile and or contacts. All these have continued to be experienced day-in-day-out.
E-conferencing, e-learning, etc.: These also form part of the impacts observed as brought by the advent of technology. This aspect of technological advancement too should be covered to ensure that all those miscreants are prevented from taking advantage of the ignorance of the unawares and the uninformed members of the civil society.
Finally, it is my conclusion that technology in few years will bring more impacts on legal services and on Nigeria as a whole than that of today. And as much as those impacts are positive, more negative impacts are to be expected unless we all put hands on deck to ensure that all those loopholes where those who perpetrate evils using technologies will have no way or route of escape. This is better achieved where lawyers who have technical knowledge in the areas of technologies too are ready to assist the government of the nation and other appropriate law enforcement agencies in combating such tech-crimes in the public interest and in the interest of protecting those ignoramus citizens who could easily become victims of crimes.