If we accept that the US government do not do enough to change their laws to combat social conduct, then it is important to understand a corporeal example of this. Perhaps one of the most relevant is the rise of cyber bullying, which sees young and vulnerable individuals threatened and abused by anonymous offenders. It has come to prominence in the wake of increased technological advancement and the unlimited access that individuals have to it, and has afforded bullies the opportunity to operate remotely and beneath the guise of anonymity.
A recent case in North Andover has exemplified this perfectly. A young girl who had both suffered from and beaten cancer before the age of 11, she began to receive texts and emails which threatened both her mental and physical well being. After missing a period of school and finding herself cowed by fear, she eventually discussed the situation with her parents and dismissed their fears that she was once more unwell. After reporting the details to the police, an investigation revealed that the perpetrator was one of the victims closest friends, who had used technology to disguise her contact details to harass and intimidate her.
A New Threat to Personal Security
This is a prime example of a relatively new but significant threat to individual safety and well being, and one that has no accepted precedent as a consequence. In this particular case, the perpetrator received a course of counselling and a set amount of community service, although this has been dismissed by the parents of the victim as inadequate and derisory. Regardless, a clear and stringent consequence for those found guilty of cyber bullying must be implemented, both to protect potential victims and act as a deterrent to those who look to perpetrate it.
Like intricate fraud and online identity theft, this is an offence that was not in relevant during previous generations, so therefore becomes something of an unknown quantity when it emerges and becomes prominent in society. This type of new and developing social issue requires a reactive type of government rather than a proactive one, and must be dealt with in both a swift and decisive manner. Through prompt resolution, the problem is tackled and can be prevented from becoming widespread throughout society.
A Misuse of Online Technology
As you may well have noticed, technology has played a significant part in the emergence of new threats to individual safety and liberty. Most pointedly, it appears to offer potential criminals and offenders an anonymity through which to conduct their acts, and has drastically changed the methodology of theft and anti-social behavior. In terms of threatening or aggressive behavior, which is historically something that was extremely overt in its nature, the evolution of technology has created tools which have served to offer protection to the individual perpetrator.
Of course, technology is itself as much of a victim as those who suffer at the hands of online crime. As something that exists to improve an individual standard of life by aiding everyday processes, it should not see its reputation tarnished by the machinations of those who seek to misuse it for their own selfish requirements. Technology itself is vulnerable, as it is currently dependent on people to aid its successful function, and can therefore be manipulated or tailored as each individual user desires.
Technology and Social Conduct
Technology and its vulnerability to misuse is an increasingly influential factor on social conduct, and this is something which cannot be ignored by governments and law enforcement bodies. As it continues to develop at an increasingly fast pace, it is likely to diversify even more and offer additional methods to assist in financial fraud or anti-social behavior, so it is important that governments respond now to successfully combat cyber crime and bullying. Without this action, there is a danger that it may become overwhelmed and helpless at the hands of online criminality.
So regardless of whether we are dealing with the constantly evolving world of technology or the more gradual trends that are set with specific diseases and social conduct, it is clear that government and its legislation must be both reactive and consistently changeable. Social demand changes at a rate that is unprecedented, and it is part of the governments duty to be both flexible and efficient to meet these needs. If it can do this, then it can protect its citizens to the best of their power and also prevent social issues from becoming epidemics for present and future generations.