Holographics – a way of getting around the law

Holographic protest - picture from Reuters via the Daily Mail
Holographic protest – picture from Reuters via the Daily Mail

I read a very interesting article over the weekend that was talking about the use of holographics as a way of demonstrating against the anti-protest laws in Spain. While this technology has been long imagined and is now starting to be refined I’m not sure that the inventors ever thought it would be an alternative from a physical protest.

Spain’s new law that comes into effect on the 1st of July and will make it illegal to gather in front of government buildings (including universities and hospitals) without prior authorisation. So a group calling themselves ‘NoSomosDelito’ (We are not crime) invited users to use their webcams to join them on their protest. As a result 20,000 projections took part in an hour long demonstration.

This raises an interesting question. . . If you are not physically there are you  still breaking the law? Obviously if you were using a hologram to project objectional material such as pornography there would be an obvious line that had crossed and you would be liable. But with a hologram you are not physically there and the law is against gathering in front of government buildings, not sitting at a web cam projecting an image of yourself in front of said government buildings.

Taking it a step further with tactile holographics. If your holographic image was to hurt someone in a protest like this due to colliding with someone or making your holograph “punch” a bystander would you still be liable for assault?

With new technologies emerging and developing so quickly with quite large changes to the way we go about our lives law makers need to ensure that they are keeping abreast of these developments and ensuring our laws are robust enough to ensure that they have the effect intended and that they are reviewed regularly to ensure that technological developments haven’t caused unintended consequences.


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