Many people have wondered how technological progress will affect political, economic, and civil freedoms. With the rise of encryption software, the National Security Agency's Echelon worldwide surveillance system, and the FBI's Carnivore e-mail snooping program, this subject is no longer the exclusive domain of speculative thinkers or futurists, it is the subject of intense public-policy debate. Will privacy-enhancing technology improve faster than privacy-threatening technology? Should the government mandate privacy standards? Should it enforce contracts in cyberspace, or would private law do a better job? Economist, physicist, and legal scholar David Friedman discussed these and related questions about technological change and the case for and against government involvement.
With the recent school massacre in Littleton, Colorado; the shootings of Jewish children in Los Angeles; and rampant drive-by shootings and other atrocities, what can and should be done to protect the innocent against violence in American society? Can government protect the citizenry against gun-related violence? What is the record of individual self-defense against violence in Britain and the U.S.? In this very timely Independent Policy Forum, acclaimed historian Joyce Lee Malcolm and civil rights attorney Don Kates will examine gun laws, violence, and rights.