India: Development In Technology And Its Impact On Law

Last Updated: 1 May 2019
Article by Arunesh Chandra

Case In The Area Of Social Media

We never know what is going to come before us. Before the advent of internet, people used to believe that physical world is what the world is. At that time we had all our laws in accordance with the physical world.

But then came the concept of "Social Media". For example Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, etc. The Social Media created a new kind of world outside the physical world. Now as this new world evolved, it brought along with it new set of challenges along with the perks it offered. It brought with itself a new mode of communication, new mode of interaction, new mode of expression, etc. It brought with itself a lot of unforeseeable problems too which were discovered later on after passage of time.

With all these evolvement, could the prevalent laws of physical world be applied to this so called new world "Social Media". Was it possible to destroy the evolution of social media by making some law? If it was possible to destroy the evolution of social media by making a law in order to escape the liabilities arising out of such development, won't the law so made be arbitrary? Can an arbitrary law be even a law?

What has happened till date is there are some new and separate law made to control the aspects of social media and it is also controlled by the law of physical world as far as it is applicable. So, we see here that the law has evolved in order to tackle new problems.

Was there a scenario here, where the law put any restriction in the evolvement of the technology? If we look at the case of "Facebook", it used to collect each and every data relating to the action of its users and used to analyse it in order to sell the information to the companies to show the personalised advertisement in order to lure the customers targeted. This is also a development of technology to analyse things but this was not acceptable as there is a right to privacy of the people and it was an unreasonable interference in the life of the people and it was a very effective tool to manipulate the people which is unlawful. Here, in this case the use of personal data of the users were restricted with the help of present law prevailing in the society. Law here did put a restriction on the advancement of technology but this restriction has to be reasonable. So, we can say that law can control the advancement of technology up to an extent.

Case Of Music Distribution

If we look at the case of music distribution, the evolution of technology has made a significant impact in this case. Right from the early age, like when the music was distributed by writing the musical notes on paper to the time when it was shared via physical recording to the era of digital recording. There has always been an issue related to that, mostly of copyright in this case. But it is interesting to see in this case that the problem is solved mostly through the advancement of technology instead of any separate evolution of law. In this case the technology by keeping to evolve itself has created a solution for the problem that it created for itself.

During the early period the issues of copyright could be easily handled via normal law. But the real problem started with the development of the digital era. During this period the rights of the music creator were seriously hampered as when there was a time when the music was distributed via CDs, there was the case of pirated CDs whose distribution did not provide the owners with the royalty that they deserved. After some time the internet came and the sharing of the music started happening via internet. Music were downloaded without providing any royalty to the owner . This was so prevalent that the users did not even know that it was illegal to download music online. Here, it seemed like the technology advancement is creating a problem for the owner of the musicians.

Had this music sharing technology via internet be banned by making some law. Would it have been possible to think of the advent of applications or sites like Spotify, Saavn, Wync Music, etc. With the advent of such applications the songs were made available to the users for free and also paying the owners the royalty they were entitled to. In these applications the songs are stored in cloud and the consideration is paid by the owner of application to the owner of the music and these are made available to the users and revenue is earned from the users by showing them ads or some other way.

So, can we say that technology be allowed to evolve and let to find the solution for the problem that it has created. In this case as we have seen by letting the technology advance on its own, it has created the solution for the problem that was created without any significant help of law.

Case Of KODAK

In the case of Kodak if we see that Kodak held the patent for digital camera but still it itself was harmed by the development of digital cameras. Kodak by holding the patent of digital cameras wanted to continue its business of carrying on the conventional camera. But in the end it had to suffer a great loss due to the development of the digital camera.

So, it can be said that by the help of law one cannot control the advancement of technology.

Effect of AI on law

With the advancement of Artificial Intelligence, there is a new branch of law evolving i.e. AI law. Now law has to not only look at the affairs of Humans but also at the affairs of the machines and solve the new kinds of problems arising out of it.

Looking at the Future (What may happen?)

With the recent developments in the fields of technology like 3-D printing, Gene Editing. There is going to be a lot of new set of problems which is going to pose a serious problems for law. Like if we try to foresee the problems, it can be like with gene editing people can become immortal and once they are immortal there will be no use of lots of law which are prevalent in the present context.

If 3-D printing comes to become a norm there will be a situation where there will not be shortage of products. A lot can happen that we can't even foresee at the present moment.

Development of Block Chain is also creating challenges to law like that for the ownership of the intellectual property and it is also creating solution for a lot of thing like it has a potential to change the current banking system. However it has been put to a stop by making some laws but will such law survive? Or will the technology override such law?

We don't know what is going to come next and what impact is it going to make?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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