Abort, Retry, Fail: Scoping Techno-Regulation and Other Techno-Effects

  • Bibi van den BergEmail author
  • Ronald E. Leenes
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 25)


Technology affects behaviour. Speed bumps, for instance, provide an effective way to enforce speed limits imposed by the legislator. In cases such as these, technology is instrumental to the enforcement of legal norms. This kind of regulation by technology, techno-regulation, or ‘code as code’ has become part of the contemporary regulator’s toolbox. The idea underlying this kind of influencing behaviour by means of technology is relatively straightforward. Norms can be transformed into computer code or architecture in a way that affords certain actions or functions and inhibits others. What is less clear is what the boundaries of techno-­regulation are. In this paper we analyse how technology affects human behaviour and we present a typology of techno-effects in order to provide a clear boundary of techno-regulation vis-à-vis other normative and functional aspects of technology. We survey topics such as nudging, affordance, scripts embedded in technological designs, and anthropomorphization. The paper draws from legal philosophy, STS, human computer interaction and regulation theory.


Human Behaviour Legal Norm Medium Equation Constitutive Rule Automatic Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to thank Martin Pekárek and Mireille Hildebrandt for their willingness to challenge and debate the ideas put forth in this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden Law School, eLawLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and SocietyTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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