New Year Predictions: Computers and Law

Posted On: 13 February 2009

Author: Iain G. Mitchell QC

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New Year Predictions

The year will be a year of increased tension between the opening up and the closing down of information.

In one sense information wants to be free, because it is increasingly cheap, easy to replicate and disseminate, and sitting in a cultural context where old paradigms of property are breaking down.  This is reinforced by changing cultural aspirations from a generation that is at home with You Tube, Wikipedia and social networking sites, where barriers to the flow of information (and, from time to time, misinformation) are at least permeable if not nonexistent.

In another sense, information wants to be corralled, restricted, fenced and meted out sparingly - knowledge and information give power and are of financial value, whilst people rightly expect that their personal information will be kept secure.

These tensions will manifest themselves as follows:

  • The impulse of Governments to regulate, control and snoop will increase as rapidly as their ability to succeed in doing so effectively will diminish;

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