It’s impossible to resist a contentious topic. Especially when it comes to technology and the law. In our own backyard, a motorist became the first to be ticketed for wearing Google Glass while driving. Google Glass is a wearable “computer” with a clear display that you wear like eyeglasses. The motorist says she’s fighting the charge, but the right versus wrong argument is not what this post is about.
One of the more interesting responses to the story that caught my eye was the person who wrote “This is what happens when laws cannot keep up with technology.” And that got me thinking about how hard it’s going to be to get legislation to keep up with innovation.
Take the FCC for example. It nearly took 10 years for it to come up with a workable regulation for the signal booster market. While a signal booster in your home may seem a comparatively pedestrian device, an almost 10-year wait is hardly going to be acceptable for developing rules around wearable devices. In that space of time, cars will be driving themselves, Google Glass could be all but extinct, and everyone will be sporting countless wearable devices that may or may not affect their ability to get around safely.
The question is at what point in a technology play should regulators step in (or not)? Should they be nipping questionable driving habits in the bud? Or waiting to see the data before putting the wheels in motion to legislate personal habits?
There are no easy answers to this one. But what I do know is with technology moving at the pace it is, we can’t afford to wait years – perhaps in some situations even months – for the legal powers that be to make up their minds.
What do you think? When is the right time to regulate new technology usage? How much legislative supervision is needed for the upcoming wave of wearable devices?
By Werner Sievers, CEO