The Technology of Law

Written by Sam Vaknin

One can discernrepparttar following relationships betweenrepparttar 133581 Law and Technology:

1. Sometimes technology becomes an inseparable part ofrepparttar 133582 law. In extreme cases, technology itself becomesrepparttar 133583 law. The use of polygraphs, faxes, telephones, video, audio and computers is an integral part of many laws - etched into them. It is not an artificial co-habitation:repparttar 133584 technology is precisely defined inrepparttar 133585 law and forms a CONDITION within it. In other words:repparttar 133586 very spirit and letter ofrepparttar 133587 law is violated (the law is broken) if a certain technology is not employed or not put to correct use. Think about police laboratories, aboutrepparttar 133588 O.J. Simpson case,repparttar 133589 importance of DNA prints in everything from determining fatherhood to exposing murderers. Think aboutrepparttar 133590 admissibility of polygraph tests in a few countries. Think aboutrepparttar 133591 polling of members of boards of directors by phone or fax (explicitly required by law in many countries). Think about assisted suicide by administering painkillers (medicines are by farrepparttar 133592 most sizeable technology in terms of money). Think about security screening by using advances technology (retina imprints, voice recognition). In all these cases,repparttar 133593 use of a specific, well defined, technology is not arbitrarily left torepparttar 133594 judgement of law enforcement agents and courts. It is not a set of options, a menu to choose from. It is an INTEGRAL, crucial part ofrepparttar 133595 law and, in many instances, it ISrepparttar 133596 law itself.

2. Technology itself contains embedded laws of all kinds. Consider internet protocols. These are laws which form part and parcel ofrepparttar 133597 process of decentralized data exchange so central torepparttar 133598 internet. Evenrepparttar 133599 language used byrepparttar 133600 technicians impliesrepparttar 133601 legal origin of these protocols: "handshake", "negotiating", "protocol", "agreement" are all legal terms. Standards, protocols, behavioural codes - whether voluntarily adopted or not - are all form of Law. Thus, internet addresses are allocated by a central authority. Netiquette is enforced universally. Special chips and software prevent render certain content inaccessible. The scientific method (a codex) is part of every technological advance. Microchips incorporate in silicone agreements regarding standards. The law becomes a part ofrepparttar 133602 technology and can be deduced simply by studying it in a process known as "reverse engineering". In stating this, I am making a distinction between lex naturalis and lex populi. All technologies obeyrepparttar 133603 laws of nature - but we, in this discussion, I believe, wish to discuss onlyrepparttar 133604 laws of Man.

3. Technology spurs onrepparttar 133605 law, spawns it, as it were, gives it birth. The reverse process (technology invented to accommodate a law or to facilitate its implementation) is more rare. There are numerous examples. The invention of modern cryptography led torepparttar 133606 formation of a host of governmental institutions and torepparttar 133607 passing of numerous relevant laws. More recently, microchips which censor certain web content led to proposed legislation (to forcibly embed them in all computing appliances). Sophisticated eavesdropping, wiring and tapping technologies led to laws regulating these activities. Distance learning is transformingrepparttar 133608 laws of accreditation of academic institutions. Air transport forced health authorities all overrepparttar 133609 world to revamp their quarantine and epidemiological policies (not to mentionrepparttar 133610 laws related to air travel and aviation). The list is interminable.

Once a law is enacted - which reflectsrepparttar 133611 state ofrepparttar 133612 art technology -repparttar 133613 roles are reversed andrepparttar 133614 law gives a boost to technology. Seat belts and airbags were invented first. The law making seat belts (and, in some countries, airbags) mandatory came (much) later. But oncerepparttar 133615 law was enacted, it fosteredrepparttar 133616 formation of whole industries and technological improvements. The Law, it would seem, legitimizes technologies, transforms them into "mainstream" and, thus, into legitimate and immediate concerns of capitalism and capitalists (big business). Again,repparttar 133617 list is dizzying: antibiotics, rocket technology,repparttar 133618 internet itself (first developed byrepparttar 133619 Pentagon), telecommunications, medical computerized scanning - and numerous other technologies - came into real, widespread being following an interaction withrepparttar 133620 law. I am usingrepparttar 133621 term "interaction" judiciously because there are four types of such encounters between technology andrepparttar 133622 law:

The Internet in the Countries in Transition

Written by Sam Vaknin

Thoughrepparttar countries in transition are far from being an homogeneous lot, there are a few denominators common to their Internet experience hitherto:

1. Internet invasion

The penetration ofrepparttar 133580 Internet inrepparttar 133581 countries in transition varies from country to country - but is still very low even by European standards, not to mention by American ones. This had to do withrepparttar 133582 lack of infrastructure,repparttar 133583 prohibitive cost of services, an extortionist pricing structure, computer illiteracy and luddism (computer phobia). Societies inrepparttar 133584 countries in transition are inert (and most of them, conservative or traditionalist) - following years of central mis-planning. The Internet (and computers) are perceived by many as threatening - mainly because they are part of a technological upheaval which makes people redundant.

2. The rumour mill

All manner of instant messaging - mainlyrepparttar 133585 earlier versions of IRC - played an important role in enhancing social cohesion and exchanging uncensored information. As in other parts ofrepparttar 133586 world -repparttar 133587 Internet was first used to communicate: IRC, MIRC e-mail and e-mail fora were - and to a large extent, are - allrepparttar 133588 rage.

The IRC was (and is) used mainly to exchange political views and news and to engage in inter-personal interactions. The media in countries in transition is notoriously unreliable. Decades of official indoctrination and propaganda left people reading between (real or imaginary) lines. Rumours and gossip always substituted for news andrepparttar 133589 Internet was well suited to become a prime channel of dissemination of conspiracy theories, malicious libel, hearsay and eyewitness accounts. Instant messaging services also led to an increase inrepparttar 133590 number (though not necessarily inrepparttar 133591 quality) of interactions betweenrepparttar 133592 users - from dating torepparttar 133593 provision of services,repparttar 133594 Internet was enthusiastically adopted by a generation of alienated youth, isolated fromrepparttar 133595 world by official doctrine and from each other by paranoia fostered byrepparttar 133596 political regime. The Internet exposed its users torepparttar 133597 west, to other models of existence where trust and collaboration play a major role. It increaserepparttar 133598 quantity of interaction between them. It fostered a sense of identity and community. The Internet is not ubiquitous inrepparttar 133599 countries in transition and, therefore, its impact is very limited. It had no discernible effect on how governments work in this region. Even inrepparttar 133600 USA it is just starting to effect political processes and be integrated in them.

The Internet encouraged entrepreneurship and aspirations of social mobility. Very much like mobile telephony - which allowedrepparttar 133601 countries in transition to skip massive investments in outdated technologies -repparttar 133602 Internet was perceived to be a shortcut to prosperity. Its decentralized channels of distribution, global penetration, "rags to riches" ethos and dizzying rate of innovation - attractedrepparttar 133603 young and creative. Many decided to become software developers and establish local version of "Silicon Valley" orrepparttar 133604 flourishing software industry in India. Anti virus software was developed in Russia, web design services in former Yugoslavia, e-media inrepparttar 133605 Czech Republic and so on. But this isrepparttar 133606 reserve of a minuscule part of society. E-commerce, for instance, is a long way off (though m-commerce might be sooner in countries likerepparttar 133607 Czech Republic orrepparttar 133608 Baltic).

E-commerce isrepparttar 133609 natural culmination of a process. You need to have a rich computer infrastructure, a functioning telecommunications network, cheap access torepparttar 133610 Internet, computer literacy, inability to postpone gratification, a philosophy of consumerism and, finally, a modicum of trust betweenrepparttar 133611 players inrepparttar 133612 economy. The countries in transition lack all ofrepparttar 133613 above. Most of them are not even aware thatrepparttar 133614 Internet exists and what it can do for them. Penetration rates, number of computers per household, number of phone lines per household,repparttar 133615 reliability ofrepparttar 133616 telecommunications infrastructure andrepparttar 133617 number of Internet users at home (and at work)- are all dismally low. Onrepparttar 133618 other hand,repparttar 133619 cost of accessingrepparttar 133620 net is still prohibitively high. It would be a wild exaggeration to callrepparttar 133621 budding Internet enterprises inrepparttar 133622 countries in transition - "industries". There are isolated cases of success, that's all. They sprang in response to local demand, expanded internationally on rare occasions and, onrepparttar 133623 whole remained pretty confined to their locale. There was no agreement between countries and entrepreneurs who will develop what. It was purely haphazard.

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