Legal Issues of the 21st Century

Syllabus (Preliminary)


The main text for the course is my Future Imperfect, available on the web and as a published book. Chapter references refer to it. Lee Silver's Remaking Eden provides information for one topic. There will also be additional readings.

1/11: How to think about legal issues raised by new technologies. Chapters I, II

Part I: Privacy

How technologies of surveilance, interception, etc. reduce the possibility of privacy, how encryption and related technologies increase it.

1/18 "Strong Privacy" [networking, encryption] Chapter III, Wikileaks, Chapter IV

1/25: The Transparent Society ch 1-3 [surveillance tech and its implications; one chapter is webbed, the book is on reserve.] Chapter V.

Part II: Doing Business Online

2/1: ECash Chapter VI, Contracts in Cyberspace Chapter VII , From China to Cyberspace

2/8: Open Source Software, Virtual firms and gift economies: Chapter IX
The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Homesteading the Noosphere,
How to Destroy the Publishing Industry

2/15: Technological protection Chapter VIII, Social Networks and Political Change

2/20: President's day--class shifted to the 21st

Part III: Crime and Crime Prevention

2/22: Making Trouble Online: The Caltech (fake?) harassment case, Cornell case, et. al.

Chapters X, XI, High Tech law Enforcement Chapter XII

Intel v Randal Schwartz (webbed)
Chaos Club v Microsoft (webbed)

Part IV: Biotech

2/29: Human Reproductive Technology: Chapter XIII
Remaking Eden by Lee Silver

3/5-3/10: Spring break

3/14: Life Extension and Cryonic Suspension (see links) Ch XVII

3/21: Other biotech issues, Ch XV

3/28: Mind drugs: Ch XVI

Part V: The Real Science Fiction: Things that Might Not Happen

Important technologies that may (or may not) develop during the first half of the next century.

4/4: Nanotechnology. Ch XVIII 

4/11:Artificial Intelligence. The Age of Spiritual Machines by Kurzweil (prologue and chapters 2-4, 9), Ch XIX and Deep VR Ch XX

4/18: Space Ch XXI

4/23: Ch XXII

Reading List

Brin, David, The Transparent Society (selected chapters)
Friedman, David "From China to Cyberspace," Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy
Friedman, David, Future Imperfect.
Kurzweil, Ray The Age of Spiritual Machines (selected chapters)
Silver, Lee M. Remaking Eden : How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family
[Additional readings may be added]

Optional Readings

Drexler, Eric, Engines of Creation
Friedman, David "A World of Strong Privacy," Philosophy and Public Policy
L. Lessig, "Reading the Constitution in Cyberspace."
Macintosh, Kerry,
Illegal Beings: Human Clones and the Law
Manne, Robert, "The Cypherpunk Revolutionary"
Maranto, Gina, The Quest for Perfection
Radin, Margaret, "Market-Inalienability", 100 Harv. L.Rev. 1849 (1987)
Silver, Lee M. and Susan Remis Silver, "Confused Heritage and the Absurdity of Genetic "Ownership"," Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, 11,3 (Summer 1998).
Sterling, Bruce, The Hacker Crackdown [more fun than the others]
"The Blast Shack"

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