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Technology neutrality means

that different technologies offering essentially similar services should be regulated in similar manners. However, technologies offering similar services do not necessarily have similar features in all aspects, and exactly identical regulations may, therefore, result in the advantage of one technology] over another in the market. Technology neutral regulation can, consequently, include slightly differing regulations for different technology solutions in the same market segments.[1]
the freedom of individuals and organizations to choose the most appropriate and suitable technology to their needs and requirements for development, acquisition, use or commercialisation, without dependencies on knowledge involved as information or data.[2]


"[T]o the extent specific regulation of online activity may be necessary . . ., any such regulation should be drafted in a technology-neutral way. Regulation tied to a particular technology may quickly become obsolete and require further amendment. In particular, laws written before the widespread use of the Internet may be based on assumptions regarding then-current technologies and thus may need to be clarified or updated to reflect new technological capabilities or realities. For example, regulation of 'wire communications' may not account for the fact that communications may now occur through wireless means or by satellite. Technology-specific laws and regulations may also 'lock-in' a particular technology, hindering the development of superior technology."[3]

Technology neutrality does not take into account ethical or social issues of good or bad technology, whether it be technology that respects a user's privacy or something that restricts what the user may do with that technology.


In 2013, technologist Mauro D. Ríos[4] proposed certain principles for technological neutrality. There five principles are:


  1. ICT Regulation Toolkit, at 3.3.2 (full-text).
  2. Mauro D. Rios, "Technological neutrality and conceptual singularity" (2013) (full-text).
  3. The Electronic Frontier: The Challenge of Unlawful Conduct Involving the Use of the Internet.
  4. Mauro D. Rios, "Technological neutrality and conceptual singularity" (2013) (full-text).

See also

External resources

  • Peter Alexiadis & Miranda Cole, "The Concept of Technology Neutrality" (Oct. 2006) (full-text).