Technology Outpacing Laws

We live in an age when technology keeps trying to one-up the last hit thing. This works not only for legitimate technology for the masses, but also for people who might be taking illegal actions.

Recently there has been an interesting increase in robocalls to people who had previously signed up for the no call list. The problem is while legitimate businesses will follow the no call list, the scammers and any illegal business is not going to follow that law. Now with all the different technologies they make it easier for these groups to make call after call with no way to track where the call is coming from.

This is just one example where probably the new technologies can make it difficult to prosecute someone. In some ways we see this complication all the time with online harassment with no way to track the perpetrator – often there is nothing that can be done. The technology that we use and have access to outpaces so many of the laws that exist in this digital age.

Laws Created Pre-Technology

Some of the problem with this is that the laws were written at a time that these technologies did not exist and it is not an easy thing to change. You cannot just add an addendum to an existing law to get it up to speed with the emerging technologies. It is so fascinating because some of these laws actually stand in the way of progress, but that just means that those who want to use it for nefarious means are the only ones actually using it. To update the laws it means that someone in the legislature has to care enough to change it or that legal precedence has to get set with court cases. Either way by the time one thing is figured out it is possible that another comes along.

Technology Good and Bad

In general with most technology there is usually a good and a bad that it can be used for. I mean the Internet alone is amazing, but it also brings a lot of the minority idea groups out into the open and allows them to mobilize. Where before it might have been a couple people in a town of thousands, now they can get together online and find a larger support group for their ideas. This is not a bad thing in itself, but some of the ideas can be hateful and violent. By finding others who share your thoughts you can insulate yourself from other ideas.

There is nothing inherently illegal about these groups, but it does allow for potential planning online. Usually they say that terrorists find supporters through online sites, but it is harder to track from point a to point b if those points don’t physically exist.

What This Means

I think that a lot of this means that we need to be vigilant and hopefully when a new generation of legislature comes in to office we can get further. At the same time the higher likelihood is that laws are just going to be a little bit behind; until the advancement of technology plateaus it is going to be difficult for the laws to keep up. As fast as they can create the laws (which is not very fast), someone can come up with a way to work around it.


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