When technology is concerned, the law is doing one main thing: Trying to catch up.
As several high-profile cases have shown, technology - and in particular, communication - is developing faster than we can legislate.
The use of technology and legal implications
What this has created is a vacuum of uncertainty.
Grey areas and murky water, loopholes and unexpected rulings.
The three areas I think this is particularly evident in are:
- Data collection and privacy
- Abuse, threats, and online-bullying
At the moment, there is legislation in place to try and cover disputes in these areas, but the concepts they rely on are loose and ever-changing.
Not to mention the fact that they're undermined by huge corporations and entire governments in some cases.
I think in the near future we will see an exponential growth in the field that studies the legal implications of technology's use. But, for now, we are in a world of shade-dwellers that swoop and steal with impunity, and where the law swings around wildly and heavy-handedly, trying to retain control.
Technology and the law
Another interesting point is the way technology is changing the law - and the way we interact with it.
In the past, lawyers were crucial, because they had access to swathes of legal information that was simply inaccessible to us.
How long will it be before algorithms will determine things like our access to certain rights based on scenarios and circumstance? How much would it take for a machine to skim through a directory of case precedent to find a matching legal argument to rely on?
All food for thought!