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JILT 1997 (3) - Moira Simpson

Curtis E.A. Karnow's

Future Codes:Essays in Advanced Computer Technology and the Law

Artech House, 1997 £55,
276pp, ISBN 0-89006-942-5

Reviewed by
Moira Simpson
Strathclyde University
moiraj@strath.co.uk


This is a Book Review published on 31 October 1997.

Citation:Simpson M, 'Curtis E.A. KArnow's Future Codes: Essays in Advanced Computer Technology and the Law', Book Review, 1997 (3) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/bookrev/97_3simp/>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/1997_3/simpson/>


This collection of essays deals with a wide range of contemporary issues relating to the use of networked digital technology and the new questions that it raises for the more traditional world of law. To the extent that any hard copy book can be, the content is up to date and relates to current prevailing trends in cyberspace. Each essay is accompanied by many useful references to further detailed sources both on the World Wide Web and in paper journals making it a valuable source of associated reading. The author is well placed to discuss issues relating to law and cyberspace, as the clients of his San Francisco law firm include the makers of Internet Tools, Encryption Software, Internet Applications, Telecommunications companies and Video Game manufacturers.

Despite its appeal to both non lawyers and non 'techies', this book would not, perhaps, be best suited to the needs of those looking for their very first introduction to the legal issues of cyberspace as the presentation is at times a little eccentric, with little interludes such as chapters 8 and 9 (a one paragraph chapter on electronic alter egos and a whimsical piece on software adoption) ,which may have been more readily understandable as short essays or comments than as chapters in a book. However, those from a legal background looking for a text to assist them in their education in matters relating to this ever changing phenomenon we know as 'The Internet' should not be deterred by the expression 'advanced technology', as although the technology concerned is indeed advanced, the technical explanations are both entertaining and easy to follow. Equally, the essays assume no prior legal knowledge so a reader from a technical background is introduced to the traditional legal concepts which are under examination in the light of the challenges posed by the emerging technologies.

Given the wide range of topics ( 'Data Morphing, Ownership, Copyright and Creation', 'Information Loss and Implicit Error in Complex Modelling Machines', Molten Media and the Infiltration of the Law, The Encrypted Self:Fleshing Out the Rights of Electronic Personalities, 'Liability for Distributed Artificial Intelligences ','Recombinant Crime:Crime in the Digital Network'. and ' The Algorithm as Nuclear Weapon'), and the fact that each essay is a separate, albeit related piece of work, it is understandable that no one essay covers in depth the chosen subject., although as previously mentioned relevant further reading is generously provided.

The book might be best suited to those with some prior knowledge in the area but who wish to be informed of the most current debates which are ongoing in CyberLaw

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