Law, Liberty, and Technology

Roger Brownsword

in The Oxford Handbook of Law, Regulation and Technology

Published in print July 2017 | ISBN: 9780199680832
Published online December 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191800467 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Law, Liberty, and Technology

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This chapter assesses the relationship between liberty and technology. Adopting a broad conception of liberty, covering both the normative and the practical optionality of developing, applying, or using some particular technology, four questions are pursued. These questions concern: (i) the patterns of normative liberty in relation to new technologies and their applications; (ii) the gap between normative liberty and practical liberty; (iii) the impact of technologies on basic liberties; and (iv) the relationship between law, liberty, and ‘technological management’. While the expansion or contraction of normative liberties remains relevant, the key claim of the chapter is that, in future, it is the use of ‘technological management’—for a range of purposes, from crime control to the regulation of health and safety, and environmental protection—that needs to be monitored carefully, and particularly so for its impact on real options.

Keywords: liberty; technology; optionality; paper options and real options; technological management

Article.  13424 words. 

Subjects: Law and Society

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