The Italian parliament passed the law on assisted reproduction after a heated debate. The promulgation of this law (Law 40/2004) is the end point of a long and troubled journey that has seen many bills come and go, all of which have failed. The law consists of a whole set of regulations that will have a great impact on health and on society in general. The law is against many of the technical practices of assisted reproduction; several such practices are (...) banned. This paper outlines ethical and medicolegal issues arising in connection with the law. The law states that no more than three embryos must be created at any one time and all the embryos created must be transferred together even if the couple does not need all the embryos. Embryo cryopreservation is also forbidden, as is assisted reproductive technology (ART), which uses a third party in any way, and the screening of embryos for genetic defects. (shrink)
The paper examines how technology challenges conventional borders of national legal systems, as shown by cases that scholars address as a part of their everyday work in the fields of information technology (IT)-Law, i.e., computer crimes, data protection, digital copyright, and so forth. Information on the internet has in fact a ubiquitous nature that transcends political borders and questions the notion of the law as made of commands enforced through physical sanctions. Whereas many of today’s impasses on jurisdiction, (...) international conflicts of law and diverging interpretations of statutes can be addressed by embedding legal safeguards in ICT and other kinds of technology, to overcome the ineffectiveness of state action by design entails its own risks, e.g., threats of paternalism hinging on the regulatory tools of technology. Rather than modelling people’s behaviour by design, the article suggests that design policies should respect individual and collective autonomy by decreasing the impact of harm-generating behaviour (e.g., security measures and default settings for data protection), or by widening the range of people’s choices (e.g., user friendly interfaces). (shrink)
Embryo litigation -- Access to ART treatment : insurance and discrimination -- General professional liability litigation -- Paternity and donor insemination -- Maternity and egg donation -- Traditional and gestational surrogacy arrangements -- Posthumous reproduction : access and parentage -- Same-sex parentage and ART -- Genetics (PGD) and ART -- ART-related embryonic stem cell legal developments -- ART-related adoption litigation -- ART-related fetal litigation and abortion-related litigation.
Abstract: The discovery of DNA paternity tests has stirred a debate concerning the definition of paternity and whether the grounds for such a definition are legal or biological. According to the classical rules of Islamic law, paternity is established and negated on the basis of a valid marriage. Modern biomedical technology raises the question of whether paternity tests can be the sole basis for paternity, even independently of marriage. Although on the surface this technology seems to challenge the (...) authority of Islamic law in this area, the paper argues that classical Islamic rulings pertaining to paternity issues continue to hold higher authority even in cases of conflict with modern technology-based alternatives. Through closer analysis, the paper traces the emergence of a differentiation in the function of DNA tests between identity and paternity verification. While the former is accepted without reservation, the latter is approved only when it does not violate the rulings of Islamic law. (shrink)
Contemporary law offices use many different technologies for storing and retrieving documents produced in the course of legal work. This article examines two approaches in detail: document management, as exemplified by SoftSolutions, and electronic publishing, as exemplified by Folio VIEWS. Some other approaches are reviewed, and the pragmatics, politics, economics, and legalities of legal work product retrieval are discussed.
The proliferation of electronic databases is raising someimportant questions about how the evolving access to new or previously inaccessible information is likely to change the practice of law. This paper discusses TRAC, an interesting electronic source of previously inaccessible information that is currently used by members of the media, public interest groups, lawyers, and the federal government. Summaries, reports, and snapshots of TRAC's data can be accessed through a series of public web sites. TRAC's subscription service allows users access to (...) the data warehouse and data mining tools (see http://tracfed.syr.edu/info.html for more information). Additionally the paper examines how AI can be employed to assist for the legal profession in utilization of TRAC's data. Finally, it speculates about how TRAC and other new electronic data sources may impact the practice of law. (shrink)
In this paper, we employ Extended Cognition as a background for a series of thought experiments about privacy and common used information technology devices. Laptops and smart phones are now widely used devices, but current privacy standards do not adequately address the relationship between the owners of these devices and the information stored on them. Law enforcement treats laptops and smart phones are potential sources of information about criminal activity, but this treatment ignores the use of smart devices as (...) extensions of users’ cognitive capability. In Philosophy of Mind, Extended Cognition is a metaphysical theory about the relationship between consciousness or cognitive activity and various external tools or aids that agents employ in the service of cognition. Supporters of Extended Cognition argue that mental activity must be understood as taking place both within the brain and by way of tools such as a logician’s pen and paper, a mathematician’s calculator, or a writer’s word processing program. While Extended Cognition does not have universal support among philosophers of mind, the theory nevertheless describes how agents interact with their “smart devices.” We explore the the implications of taking Extended Cognition seriously with regard to privacy concerns by way of a series of thought experiments. By comparing the differences in expectations of privacy between a citizen and the government, between an employee of a corporate firm, and between citizens alone, we show that expectations of privacy and injury are significantly affected by taking the cognitive role of smart devices into account. (shrink)
Engineers have a greater responsibility than many other professionals not to commit civil disobedience in performing their jobs as engineers. It does not follow that engineers have no responsibility for their company’s actions. Morally, engineer may be required to speak out within the company or even publicly against her company. An engineer may be required to work on a project or quit her job. None of these acts, generally, are against the law. An engineer may be morally required to commit (...) civil disobedience as a private citizen. But, given the institutional character of engineering and the division of labor in the modern world, very rarely will conscience require an engineer to violate the law in the performance of her job as an engineer. (shrink)
Introduction -- Rational anthropology and the difference between persons and animals -- Human freedom and conscience -- The three moral determinants and doubts of conscience -- The principle of double effect and consequentialism -- Cooperation and scandal -- Virtues--natural and supernatural -- Sin and grace -- Revelation -- Reproductive technologies -- Homosexuality and same-sex marriage -- Contraception -- Abortion -- Marriage and family -- End of life issues -- Appendix A : Summary of Evangelium Vitae -- Appendix B : Summary (...) of Savifici Doloris. (shrink)
A recent parliamentary postulate in Switzerland calling for joint custody as the legal norm argues that fathers are discriminated against in Swiss divorce law. This postulate has incited a debate which circles around issues of equality, the role of fathers and mothers, and the good of the child. Our article, uniting approaches from literature, cultural studies, and science and technology studies, examines the arguments sparked by the debate with a view to different takes on gender and family. In doing (...) so, it traces the roots of contemporary Swiss family law in the Rousseauian narrative of family life in Emile ou de l’education; it explores the manner in which scientific knowledge is marshaled to lend political legitimacy to current debate; and it asks finally how narrative bridges the gap between public discourse and lived experience. (shrink)
Cyber warfare is becoming a new reality with new battles fought everyday on virtual battlefields. For a century and a half, International Humanitarian Law has been a sentry for victims of wars guaranteeing their legal protection from the calamities of war, trying hard to respond to Clausewitz’s “chameleon of war”. Cyber conflict marks new chameleon’s colour together with the unmanned aerial vehicles, autonomic battle systems and other technologies deployed on battlefields. However, it would be greatly erroneous to claim that the (...) International Humanitarian Law may not apply to the new phenomena just because it is caused by the advanced technology. Even if the Geneva Conventions of 1949 are already sixty years old, the International Humanitarian Law in itself has at minimum customary response mechanism, granting, in a spirit of Marten’s clause, protection and authority of the principles of international law derived from established custom, from the principles of humanity and from dictates of public conscience (Protocol I). Notwithstanding, some more complicated fundamental issues also have to be addressed: how the use of cybernetic weapons and means may affect the classic notion of armed conflict? How it can be interpreted in the light of new technologies, i.e. can we still rely on a classic understanding of weapon’s kinetic effect as the main element, or shall we embrace effectsbased “Schmitt’s criteria”. If it so happens, will it make an act without apparent damage to a person/property equal to military hostilities, required by the armed conflict notion and justify the real-life response to it. The effective or overall control tests were used for the attribution of non-state actor’s activity to the state party of an armed conflict but these tests might not meet its purpose in the virtual battlefield of loose networks and open-source communities. If the concept of armed conflict is treated more flexibly, other changes (including issues of attribution) may follow, as well. Perhaps this is the way how the combatant institute will evolve. With classic combatant’s criteria impossible to apply on virtual battlefields, one of the options would be to elaborate concepts of “constant combat function” and “direct participation in hostilities” more precisely, as well as to reconsider state’s affiliation requirements. (shrink)
The first IVF baby was born in the 1970s. Less than 20 years later, we had cloning and GM food, and information and communication technologies had transformed everyday life. In 2000, the human genome was sequenced. More recently, there has been much discussion of the economic and social benefits of nanotechnology, and synthetic biology has also been generating controversy. This important volume is a timely contribution to increasing calls for regulation - or better regulation - of these and other new (...) technologies. Drawing on an international team of legal scholars, it reviews and develops the role of human rights in the regulation of new technologies. Three controversies at the intersection between human rights and new technology are given particular attention. First, how the expansive application of human rights could contribute to the creation of a brave new world of choice, where human dignity is fundamentally compromised; second, how new technologies, and our regulatory responses to them, could be a threat to human rights; and, third, how human rights could be used to create better regulation of these technologies. (shrink)
Risk analysis as a regulatory driver has now become firmly entrenched in public health and environmental protection. Risk analysis at any level essentially has to accommodate two gut feelings of the constituency: whether society should be risk-prone or risk averse, and whether government and its institutions can be trusted to make the necessary decisions with a high or a low degree of discretion. The precautionary principle (or rejection thereof) arguably is the ultimate reflection of the promotion of risk to a (...) societal value. There is no doubt that especially amongst the representatives of the Member States (as opposed to the officials at the European Commission), public (pre)caution with respect to the long-term environmental and public health implications of gene technology influenced the reluctance to allow marketing of GM foods and feeds until a strict regulatory regime had been rolled out. Industry would argue that the delay in regulation, as well as the eventual regime was of such a nature as to stifle the technology. This contribution reviews a number of features of standard EU risk analysis decisions, so as to assess its current propensity towards smothering rather than smoothing the introduction of new technology. The current development of a regulatory framework for nanotechnology serves as a case study. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to address some of the questions on the notion of agent and agency in relation to property and personhood. I argue that following the Kantian criticism of Aristotelian metaphysics, contemporary biotechnology and information and communication technologies bring about a new challenge—this time, with regard to the Kantian moral subject understood in the subject’s unique metaphysical qualities of dignity and autonomy. The concept of human dignity underlies the foundation of many democratic systems, particularly in Europe (...) as well as of international treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Digital agents, artificial organisms as well as new capabilities of the human agents related to their embeddedness in digital and biotechnological environments bring about an important transformation of the human self-appraisal. A critical comparative reflection of this transformation is important because of its ethical implications. I deal first with the concept of agent within the framework of Aristotelian philosophy, which is the basis for further theories in accordance with and/or in opposition to it, particularly since modernity. In the second part of this paper, I deal with the concept of personhood in Kantian philosophy, which supersedes the Aristotelian metaphysics of substance and builds the basis of a metaphysics of the moral human subject. In the third part, I discuss the question of artificial agents arising from modern biology and ICT. Blurring the difference between the human and the natural and/or artificial opens a “new space” for philosophical reflection as well as for debate in law and practical policy. (shrink)
The criminal law raises wonderfully thorny foundational questions. Some of these questions are conceptual: What is a plausible conception of crime ? What is a plausible conception of criminal law ? Some of these questions are genealogical: What are the historical and genealogical roots of the criminal law in a particular jurisdiction? Other questions are evaluative: What are the political and moral values on which a given conception of criminal law depends? What kind of rational reconstruction, if any, could the (...) criminal law be given? And, finally, still other questions are exploratory and normative: Should parts of existing criminal law be abandoned? What new topics in criminal law theory need to be addressed in our globalised, technologically savvy world? The contributors to Antony Duff and Stuart P. Green’s collection Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law tackle these questions with zeal and independent spirit. They disagree markedly with each other about what the foundational questions are. And, they disagree about how those questions should be handled. This article charts their disagreements by situating the contributors within two taxonomies. The first groups them according to their approaches to the foundational questions; the second groups them according to their modes of theorising. This double taxonomy provides a useful frame within which to analyse these competing takes on the philosophically foundational work of criminal law theory. (shrink)
The paper identifies some of the problems with legal systems and outlines the potential of AI technology for overcoming them. For expository purposes, this outline is based on a simplified epistemology of the primary functions of law. Social and philosophical impediments from the side of the legal community to taking advantage of the potential of this technology are discussed and strategic recommendations are given.
The case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) is shaped by the language in which it is drafted—i.e. French. However, because French is rarely the mother tongue of those drafting that case law, the texts produced are often stilted and awkward. In addition, those drafting such case law are constrained in their use of language and style of writing (owing to pressures of technology and in order to reinforce the rule of law). These factors (...) have led to the development of a ‘Court French’ which necessarily shapes the case law produced and has implications for its development, particularly insofar as it inevitably leads to a type of precedent in that case law. That case law also undergoes many permutations of translation into and out of up to 23 different languages. The resultant texts that make up the case law are hybrid in nature—consisting of a blend of cultural and linguistic patterns, constrained by a rigid formulistic drafting style and put through many permutations of translation. The present paper investigates the production of the Court’s multilingual case law and considers whether the hybrid nature of that case law can actually aid the presentation (and thus the development) of a ‘uniform’ EU case law. (shrink)