We all know how quickly technology is changing.
But how will changes in technology affect changes in the law?
As Arizona enters its second century, three Arizona attorneys weigh in on the legal changes they see coming as technology continues to rock our world.
Cheryl Walsh, shareholder, Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A.: Just 107 years ago, the Wright Brothers flew a plane for the first time. Who could have imagined then that we would have the technologically-rich world we have today? With that in mind, we do have technological advancements in our midst today that are ripe for challenge and examination. For instance, access to information and data as a result of technology can increase safety and efficiency of law enforcement substantially; however, privacy and personal rights must be balanced in the process. The Supreme Court will be tackling this issue in the current session by considering the admissibility of GPS tracking device information obtained without a warrant. Cameras are everywhere and soon we will enter our homes and businesses with eye recognition technology that will make the individuality of fingerprinting more obsolete than ever. Protecting our rights while advancing our civilization is a delicate balance.
Yu Cai, associate in Polsinelli Shughart’s science and technology practice group: Intellectual property development and protection will become an essential part of any business plan. Particular attention must be paid to the recent change in patent law from “first to invent” to “first to file,” requiring earlier interaction and involvement between inventors and their legal representatives.
John E. Cummerford, co-managing shareholder, Greenberg Traurig: Until fairly recently, “privacy” — as we think of it today — was a rare commodity. The word “privacy” doesn’t even appear the Constitution, no doubt because it was so uncommon when the Constitution was drafted. Technology has sharply reduced — and in my view, will soon eliminate — the whole notion of personal privacy. Naturally, this will cause a lot of worry and fear. But, when nobody’s privacy is safe, how will that affect our own inclination to invade the privacy of others? I think it will cause people to actually become more respectful of others, and will — for lack of a better term — cause them to avert their eyes.
That is, will the muck-raking reporter who makes a living ferreting out scandals and embarrassing others really want someone to find out, say, his own bank balance, or what websites he has visited, or with whom he has been keeping company and put that information on the web? Probably not, although that information may be readily available. And so, I think that recognition that we are all vulnerable to invasions of privacy will foster more civility and I dare say more kindness among people. And that will be a good thing indeed.