How Norms, Not Laws, Can Regulate Technology
Norms take time to catch up to technology, but they are all the regulation we need.
JEFF JARVIS, author of Gutenberg the Geek (Amazon Publishing), Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live (Simon & Schuster, 2011) and What Would Google Do? (HarperCollins 2009), blogs about media and news at Buzzmachine.com. He is associate professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.
He is consulting editor and a partner at Daylife, a news startup. He consults for media companies and is a public speaker. Until 2005, he was president and creative director of Advance.net, the online arm of Advance Publications. Prior to that, Jarvis was creator and founding editor of Entertainment Weekly; Sunday editor and associate publisher of the New York Daily News; TV critic for TV Guide and People; a columnist on the San Francisco Examiner; assistant city editor and reporter for the Chicago Tribune; reporter for Chicago Today.
The first serious discussion of a legal right to privacy in the United States didn’t come until the year 1890 and that was because of the invention of a technology.
That technology was the Kodak camera.
Before, cameras were big and they sat in studios and you knew when you’re picture was being taken. Suddenly people could take this camera out in the street, take a picture of you anywhere and that picture could appear before the whole world in the penny press. It freaked people out.
They didn’t know what to do about it and so Louise Brandeis and Samuel Warren wrote a now famous paper that was the fundamental intellectual base of looking for a legal right to privacy in the US and what was really happening there was there was a gap between technology and society’s norms.
A new technology came along. It caused a change. It was disrupting and unsettling. We didn’t know what to do about it and so we feared it and there were efforts to stop it.
There were attempts to create laws in New York State for example that wouldn’t allow your picture to be taken unless you had explicit permission, which would stop people from taking pictures on the street for example in public. There were a lot of stories in The Times about fiendish Kodakers lying in wait, about a young Vanderbilt who horsewhipped a Kodaker. President Roosevelt outlawed Kodaking in Washington parks.
What happened here, obviously, is that our norms caught up with this technology and we figured it out. We now know you’re not going to go into the locker room at the gym and take a picture, but you are going to be allowed to take a picture on the street.
We have agreed upon norms.
Jeff Jarvis will be appearing at Techweek Chicago on June 27. Find out more here.
These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.
We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.
Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.