What is Mobile Law?
Mobile law is an emerging area of work in legal jurisprudence that is dealing with communication devices and mobile phones, which are becoming an integral part of our day-to-day lives in existence. The term “Mobile Law” has been defined by Pavan Duggal, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and President, Mobilelaw.Net in the following terms:
“Mobile Law refers to the emerging legal discipline and jurisprudence that impacts, pertains to, is associated with or has a bearing upon complicated legal issues concerning mobiles, communication devices of any kind whatsoever, mobile networks, mobile platforms, mobile computers and laptops, as also all data, and information, in any form, digital or otherwise, which is hosted, generated, sent, received or transmitted, in any manner whatsoever, using the said mobile devices and platforms.
The emerging area of mobile law encompasses, within its ambit, complex legal issues and challenges that would impact within the mobile ecosystem, any device, computer, computer system, computer network, computer resources as well as data or information in the electronic form. Mobile law promises to become a much bigger discipline of law as the world progresses towards increasing penetration, adoption, and usage of mobile devices.”
As a discipline of jurisprudence, mobile law is the new emerging cutting edge area. The use of communication devices and the data and information resident therein has led to various complex legal issues and challenges all across the world. Different countries of the world are waking up to the need for coming up with enabling regulatory regimes to govern aspects pertaining to use of communication devices, mobiles and data and information resident therein.
The area of mobile law is emerging and different complicated legal, regulatory and policy challenges concerning the use of mobiles and communication devices are coming to the forefront especially in countries where mobile penetration is exceedingly high e.g. India and China.
It is expected that over a period of time, mobile law would emerge as a distinct area of legal practice and jurisprudence given the predominant use of mobiles, tablets, smart phones and other kinds of communication devices across the world.
The concept of Mobile Law is a newly emerging concept. It incorporates within its ambit all legal issues pertaining to the use of mobiles, mobile handsets, mobile platforms, mobile applications, communication devices, personal digital assistants and such other devices as also computers, computer systems and computer networks that assist in the communication, transmission, receipt, sending, preserving retention and other related activities pertaining to data and information in the electronic form targeted at mobile devices, communication devices as well as mobiles and mobile handsets. This is an emerging field of a discipline which incorporates within its ambit newly emerging areas pertaining to mobile platforms.
As more and more people across the world are adopting the mobile platforms and as mobile handsets are becoming more and more popular, there are emerging a variety of legal issues pertaining to mobiles and mobile platforms as also data and information connected therewith. This emerging field of legal jurisprudence is known as Mobile Law.
NEED FOR MOBILE LAW
Considering that lot of development of Mobile markets and their frequent adoption is taking place in India and China, it is but natural to expect that China and India would contribute to a large extent in terms of first movers, to the growth of Mobile Law. Clearly this trend has been vindicated by the stands taken by the relevant governments of the relevant countries. As time is passing by, the need for treating mobiles as a separate distinct category in themselves has emerged. People are pretty unanimous that mobiles are a category unto themselves and that though the mobiles qualify as computers and computer systems, there is a need for distinct legislations to deal with mobiles, mobile devices, communication devices as also mobile platforms, data and information connected therewith.
Mobile Law is the new law of the coming decade. In this field of discipline, various complicated and complex legal issues will continue to arise. These issues will relates not just to the production, manufactures, sale, marketing, distribution and related activities pertaining to mobile handsets and mobile devices as also mobile platforms, but would also incorporate therein, all issues pertaining to data and information in the electronic form that is resident on these mobile devices or is transmitted, sent or received, preserved or retained in the said Mobile devices and mobile platforms. In this scenario, it is but natural that the mobile industry would need the enabling support of legislative and legal frameworks. These frameworks are critical to further give a boost to the constantly growing graph of growth, prosperity and adoption of mobiles and mobile devices amongst the population.
Mobile law as a legal discipline, is applicable throughout the world. Different countries have adopted different rules, regulations and notifications as also laws which have an impact upon legal issues pertaining to mobiles. A majority of these legislations are drafted in indirect manner as there are very few direct legislations pertaining to Mobile Law.
Mobile Phones while driving on the Road
How many car accidents do you think have been caused because someone was talking on the phone while driving? In reality this number has been shooting up at an alarming rate. Most of the world’s lawmakers seem to think that it’s quite a few because there are a lot of laws related to what you can and cannot do on the phone while you’re driving. The UK has a ban on cell phone use while driving which started off as punishable by fine but moved up to causing points against your driving record. The fines are $250 for talking on a hand-held cell phone and $100 for text messaging.
In India, the position of law on using phones while driving is conflicted. In Kerela, a ruling that came after a Kochi resident, MJ Santosh, filed a petition, it was established that it is not illegal to talk on the phone while driving. On the other hand, under a case named Adivit Noliyal v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors., the high court of Uttarakhand issued a slew of directions to prevent reckless driving resulting in the loss of life that includes, inter alia, directing the state to cancel the license of any person that is found using a cell phone while driving.
Mobile Phones in Hospitals
Reports indicate that cell phones might be a cause for cancer concerns, while other research studies say that there’s no danger to your body caused by using your cell phone. This has resulted into conflicting laws around the world about whether or not you can use cell phones while you’re inside of the hospital. UK Hospitals have been debating this issue for many years. Mobile phones interference with medical equipment can be a huge risk to hospital patients.
Gaming on Cell Phones
Many nations have banned cell phone gaming given the fact that online gambling is illegal and that there would be potential for online gambling through mobile broadband. The issue continues to be debated around the world.
UK phone service providers abide by a Code of Practice which labels adult mobile content as “18 and up”. The purpose is to prevent underage mobile phone users from having access to adult content. Switzerland has a ban prohibiting the sale of pornographic films and images through cell phones. People sending any sort of sexually explicit message or image through mobile devices in China – whether or not the individual receiving the message is eighteen – can be fine and even imprisoned for their lustful behaviour.
Rules regarding Camera Phone
The United States has a law called the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004 which prohibits people from taking nude pictures of anyone else with their cell phone camera unless they have taken consent (and the person is of legal age to give that consent). Regulations limiting photography in the UK raised public concerns and drew petitions from people who want to be able to use their camera phones anywhere they want.
Phones in the Air
There is a lot of difference in opinion on whether or not you can use cell phones on airlines. The UK has loosened up and is testing out systems that allow both text messaging and voice conversations to take place in air.
Cell Phones in Schools
Most countries don’t have laws about this but there’s a lot of debate suggesting that some laws should be put in place to allow these kids to have their phones but to prohibit their use from disrupting class time. For instance, cellphones will be banned in Ontario classrooms during instructional times, starting September 2019 because “Ontario’s students need to be able to focus on their learning – not their cellphones”. 
Avoiding Cell Phone Spam
Spam on cell phones has been rising and has become a major problem compelling lawmakers around the globe for anti-spam law that requires people sending cell phone ad messages to offer an “opt out” option. Even Singapore says that cell phone spam should be illegal.
 Abhilasha Singh, ‘Talking on mobile while driving not illegal, Kerala High Court: Here’s why it’s a bad idea’ (Financial Express, 17 May 2018) <https://www.financialexpress.com/auto/car-news/talking-on-mobile-while-driving-not-illegal-kerala-high-court-heres-why-its-a-bad-idea/1171135/> accessed 11 June 2019
 ‘Court Directs State to Cancel License of Persons Using Cell Phone while Driving’ (Vakilno1, 26 June 2018) <https://www.vakilno1.com/legal-news/cancel-license-persons-using-cell-phones-while-driving.html> accessed 11 June 2019
 Allison Jones, ‘Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms next school year’ (CBC, 12 March 2019) <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-school-classroom-cellphone-ban-1.5052564> accessed 11 June 2019