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(a) A positive law which follows a technological advance (a law regarding seat belts after seat belts were invented). Such positive laws are intended either to disseminate technology or to stifle it.
(b) An intentional legal lacuna intended to encourage a certain technology (for instance, very little legislation pertains to internet with express aim of "letting it be"). Deregulation of airlines industries is another example.
(c) Structural interventions of law (or law enforcement authorities) in a technology or its implementation. The best examples are breaking up of AT&T in 1984 and current anti-trust case against Microsoft. Such structural transformations of monopolists release hitherto monopolized information (for instance, source codes of software) to public and increases competition - mother of invention.
(d) The conscious encouragement, by law, of technological research (research and development). This can be done directly through government grants and consortia, Japan's MITI being finest example of this approach. It can also be done indirectly - for instance, by freeing up capital and labour markets which often leads to formation of risk or venture capital invested in new technologies. The USA is most prominent (and, now, emulated) example of this path.
4. A Law that cannot be made known to citizenry or that cannot be effectively enforced is a "dead letter" - not a law in vitalist, dynamic sense of word. For instance, Laws of Hammurabi (his codex) are still available (through internet) to all. Yet, do we consider them to be THE or even A Law? We do not and this is because Hammurabi's codex is both unknown to citizenry and inapplicable. Hammurabi's Laws are inapplicable not because they are anachronistic. Islamic law is as anachronistic as Hammurabi's code - yet it IS applicable and applied in many countries. Applicability is result of ENFORCEMENT. Laws are manifestations of asymmetries of power between state and its subjects. Laws are enshrining of violence applied for "common good" (whatever that is - it is a shifting, relative concept).
Technology plays an indispensable role in both dissemination of information and in enforcement efforts. In other words, technology helps teach citizens what are laws and how are they likely to be applied (for instance, through courts, their decisions and precedents). More importantly, technology enhances efficacy of law enforcement and, thus, renders law applicable. Police cars, court tape recorders, DNA imprints, fingerprinting, phone tapping, electronic surveillance, satellites - are all instruments of more effective law enforcement. In a broader sense, ALL technology is at disposal of this or that law. Take defibrillators. They are used to resuscitate patients suffering from severe cardiac arrhythmia's. But such resuscitation is MANDATORY by LAW. So, defibrillator - a technological medical instrument - is, in a way, a law enforcement device.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com.
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com