It is now generally recognized that “code is law”: how computers process the millions of on/off, yes/no signals in their binary universe can have legal effects beyond their obvious output. Deciding how computers handle data they receive is a matter of choice, and those choices have consequences. These consequences arise whether or not the software writers, the coders, are aware of their choices or assumptions.
Two developments have brought the coding issue back to the fore in public discussion. The first is the computerization of what used to be purely mechanical devices. The analysis of physical phenomena is done, pursued . . . [more]