Ok, so I raised this on...a different cricketing site a while ago...but thought it would perhaps be more suitable for discussion here...
What does everyone make of regulatory techniques or practices which are non-normative and thus dictate compliance?
In this regard I am thinking particularly of examples of things such as the copyright protection software on the internet that prevents you viewing certain videos etc... if you are not residing in the appropriate location, or the devices they have in operation on the Metro in Paris which physically prevents you from boarding a train without a ticket. Thus in essence, they remove the autonomy of the individual and enforce compliance with the law (except for the technically savvy or whatever and so on...).
Personally I think the abovementioned examples are sensible and have no objection to either of them. But in general terms surely one of the key aspects of any liberal democracy is the right to be able to choose to comply (or not comply) with any legal boundaries. As these sorts of technologies develop, and we move deeper and deeper into the information society in which we live, there's a danger that these trends could be developed to the point where they could become nastily intrusive and dodgy. I can see the virtues of both sides of the argument here...but personally the idea of hard regulation of this form fills me with a sense of disquiet.
I think to take the assumption that the laws in question are fair does make things somewhat easier, but even such a position would be pretty controversial and unwelcome I would suggest. Surely the essence of a moral community is for individuals within said community to make the right choice, for the right reason. Surely nobody really likes the idea of a society in which people make the "right" choice purely because they are forced to do so.
This becomes an even more controversial issue when we take the assumption (not a particularly difficult one to make, I might add) that certain laws may be somewhat dubious or completely void in terms of their integrity.
Even if this issue can be overcome (a possibility that I'm incredibly sceptical of), the likelihood is that we are heading towards more and more regulation by technology than regulation by law or convention. Things like Oyster Cards and Smart Cards that make for convenient use of transport around London and wherever else are a very convenient invention, but they are just another cause of an information trail that every individual leaves behind. Apparently the Police and Governmental Services apply for more warrants for people's Oyster Card activity (so to track their movement etc...) than for warrants to search people's houses. The existence of store loyalty cards and the credit cards you can make payments with by just touching the card to a card reader creates a record of an individual's location/movement/purchase/finances and allows for criminal/commercial profiling which would never have been possible previously.
Problematic tstl, I would suggest.