Since the general public began to use the Internet in the mid 1990s, there has been a vast amount of investment by governments and commerce in digital communications technologies. There has also been a fair degree of confusion and sometimes controversy about the purpose and effectiveness of such technologies, for example the proposed UK identity card system. Decisions about digital communications technologies are not always so clearly a subject of political concern as is the case with identity cards.
The far-reaching implications for commerce and society of some of these decisions in invisible or opaque specialist fields, however, mean they should be matters of concern for every citizen. This book argues:
•Decisions should be based on an understanding of the systems, technology and environment within which they operate.
•Experts and ordinary people should work together
•Technology and law are evolving in restrictive rather than enabling ways
It aims, through a gentle narrative approach, to stimulate an awareness of the issues and be a readable, challenging and informative introduction, both for university students and the general reader, to processes surrounding developments in technology and law which have important implications for the knowledge society.
Ray Corrigan is a Senior Lecturer in Technology with the Open University.