His statement ""our societies are increasingly structured around the bipolar opposition of the Net and the Self" (1996, p. 3) still finds relevance, if not more relevance, a decade after he made it, particularly considering his definition of the self as "the multiple practices through which people try to reaffirm identity and meaning in a landscape of rapid change."
This paper will analyze how, in essence, technology can be socially constructed and can determine human action, and as an extension of this, how it is necessary to develop and formulate regulations to address the uniqueness and complexity of this medium.
The epochal periods of the stone, bronze, iron and silicon ages represent the proclivity and accelerating capability of our species at tool making. We use some animals as tools: horses and camels for transportation, dogs for hunting, and oxen or carabaos for cultivation. A first great leap that set us apart from other primates was our ability to create and control fire. Fire disinfects food; fire molds metals and transforms other materials. Like the sun, fire is energy, fire by itself is a tool, and energy is required to make and run other tools. In the current century, we started tapping the celluloid, uranium, electromagnetism, and now the photon. To neutralize harmful germs, we even employ the services of the bacterium. Another great invention is mathematics, derived naturally from the Homo Sapiens' ability to conceive quantity. Spectacular tool making is not possible without the continuous development of mathematics. Our species has gone this far, equipped with only a few pounds of brain matter, a small and frail anatomy, and natural senses limited to a mere five (sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing).
Given these leaps, it has been necessary to come up with a set of social codes to regulate behavior and ensure continuous order. The law, it is said, operates to regulate behavior and maintain the cohesiveness of a given society. In order to maintain its role as bulwark, it capitalizes on and gains credence from the idea that there is but one set of "correct" rules and that legal decisions are but logical outcomes of tested principles that are empirically-replicable.
Perhaps there are very few modern developments that have posed a challenge to this notion of the law and the legal system than the advent of the Internet. Precisely because of the uniqueness of the medium and the vastness of its breadth, there has been great difficulty imposing regulatory mechanisms on its use - thereby leading, in many cases, to its abuse. There can be no denying that information technology plays an important role in the molding of social values and in the legitimization of personal perceptions. In the United States, 98% have at least one television, 70% have more than one television, 70% have cable, and 51% of households with children have a computer. (Paik, 1994)
For example, on the issues surrounding Internet obscenity, Petrie (1997) found that "because the Internet is a unique communications technology, it does not fit squarely into the conceptual scheme of traditional obscenity law." (p. 638). In a nutshell, the Internet, also called the information superhighway, is a