Marcus Paulsson Chapter 6 INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 6: Law In chapter 6 of The Network Society, Van Dijk describes the power of digitalization and the impact it has on different instances of the law. He dives deeper into various ups and down regarding the impact of the networks created on the internet and analyses those with law and justice in mind. DIGITALIZATION VS. LEGISLATION One of the key points Van Dijk makes is that the continuous and ever changing character of the information shared on networks and the pace of technological advances makes it a real challenge for the legislators to make laws accordingly. There are always risks because the consequence of new technology is not always clear right away. This creates a power struggle between legislators and the free will of the people(/market) on the internet. Though new technology can be harmful, legislation in advance can halt the development of potential new technology, thus the development of society. OFFLINE IS NOT ONLINE A way authorities have coped with this problem is to adapt legislation for offline environments and enforce them on the environments created by Information Communication Technologies (ICT’s). This technique is deemed to be inadequate in the long run because of the fundamental differences of these environments. Networks can act in a non physical way across borders and legal jurisdictions as public or private environments where information is shared. Making the flow of information very hard to control, both in an ethical and economic point of view. A MODERN FRAMEWORK Van Dijk describes that the framework for new legislation must be designed so that it does not depend on specific technologies and their qualities but on basic principles of law in modern high-tech societies. To find inspiration in creating this new framework, regulations of other, more established media are compared for answers and potential ways to create legislation that could be applicable. The internet is represented by a combination of the models for press and telecom. Here you can see the comparison of the different kinds of media, and the flow of information within them. COPYRIGHT LAW AS AN EXAMPLE Furthermore Van Dijk describes the rights of ownership over one's own information in networks and compares it to the copyright laws. He uses this as an example of why it’s hard for legislators to form laws that prevent unlawful (/unethical) behaviour on the internet, in an ever evolving complex network context. SHIFTING CONTROL OF THE INTERNET The complexity of those networks lies in the ever evolving instances of actors on the internet who gain influence. Van Dijk describes that the 21th century has shifted the power of those actors from the previous law (politicians) and internet community (the private sector) to the market and technical standards. He means that for those reasons, legislators have little to no power regarding the ever evolving market on networks with the old ways of enacting laws. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING Or reading!