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Computer Law
david.swarbrick@wrigleyclaydon.com

I, (David Swarbrick) started work as a programmer back in 1973. I worked on some of the very first micro-computers, and later part paid my way through law-studies, by working as a sub-contractor analyst and programmer.

Computers then had 4k memory. They used hand-punched 80 column cards for input, and tally rolls for outputs. No disk drives and no monitors. For real excitement, we had 32 red diodes which we could flash on and off, suggestively.

Ever since then, I have maintained interests both in programming, and in the law related to computers. I will not try to list my programming achievements, but I have written our own accounts programs for the office, two or three conveyancing program suites, intelligent document management, and time recording systems. Of late I have become more literate in Access.

My former firm was the first British firm of solicitors to set up and run a Bulletin Board system (called 'Just Mooting'), back in 1992 - long before Internet became the be-all and end-all of computers and communications. The system ran for three or more years, and provided one of the few sources of UK law and law-related matters on-line. At its peak we had about 500 Mb of text and programs related to law and its practice, available for download. We had as many as 40 visitors a day. Not bad for that period.

The world moved on, and so did we. We now have a substantial Internet presence through the web-site you are now looking at. In case you haven't noticed, this site is too big for me to maintain happily. We now have between 30Mb and 35Mb of text on the site, in over 600 pages.

I have acted for software houses and other computer industry members since 1984 and before. We act for the smallest firms, and as time has gone on have given specialist advice to the very largest international companies, and from time to time to public bodies and to Quangos. When we talk to computer company clients, it soon becomes clear that we understand (more than most of) their business.

My particular interest has been encryption and security and privacy law, and I have been advising, writing and lecturing on these issues since 1993. I believe that it will come to be an even bigger issue as the Internet and e-commerce begins to mature.

Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
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18 October 2013 http://www.swarb.co.uk/lawb/cpuwcCompLaw.shtml 72 18 October 2013