New Technology and Delayed Law Enforcement Response

I am planning to get back to Oates.. soon.  In the meantime, I wanted to write about something I have not read anything about, but of which might be interesting to further explore.


When new technology is introduced, typically there is no legislation that directly addresses the misuse of this new technology.  I will define new technology as something that is either a) a completely ” new ” technological advancement; or b) a “significant” deviation or combination of a former technologies (all “new” technologies are probably actually just advancements of former ones).

Given that there is no legislation that can be applied to reprimand someone who “misuses” a new technology.  There is a lag period where some individuals are taking advantage of a new technology that in a latter time period this action will be considered ” illegal “.

Let’s use a very simple and well-known example.

Individuals talking or texting on their cell phones (actually from which this was inspired).

We can classify ” the delayed enforcement of the law ” on two levels.  One dealing with “law enforcement” on the national level and another on an international level.

We could construct a matrix of all the laws, either on the national or international level.  If the United States is taken as an example, we can consider the quantity of laws as “constant”.  The assumption is that only particular laws are reconstructed, or that they are dismantled only to be replaced by others.

Variable #1:

An important variable to consider would be social groups’ access to technology.

  • Socio-economic group
  • Ethnicity
  • Type of technology [determine a threshold for “universally needed” technological improvement

Variable #2:

The rate of significant technological growth.  Assumption:  All new technology, or deviations of preexisting technology, is not created equal.

Variable #3:

The economic sector which involves the technological advance.

Variable #4:

The time lag between the first commercial use of the technology and the first piece of federal legislation that addresses the technology specifically

Variable #5:

The percentage of a socio-economic or ethnic group that has access to that technology before the legislation is enacted.  We need to only consider individuals that have held a steady occupation or socio-economic level for a specified time period (example 2 or 5 years).

Variable #6:

Determine is the group has had a “learning period” with the specified technology before legislation has been enacted.  [Have various learning periods, 3, 6, 9 months, etc.]

Groups with longer learning periods will be more adaptable in the face of legislative changes and shifting incentives for the use of a particular technology.  Results will vary in accordance to which sector the technology benefits.

Do some socio-economic groups/ ethnicities  suffer from more legal penalties as a result of having delayed access to a new technology?  Can we isolate these results from other possible explanations, discrimination, use on other outdated technology, etc.?

Could the reverse also be true?  Individuals that have ” first-access ” to a technology become stuck in their ways and cannot adapt to new technological developments?


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