If you want to find classic examples of unintended consequences just look at what happens when legislation and technology mix. The aims and intentions are usually laudable, but law do not seem to be able to keep up with technology and legislators seem equally unable to foresee the consequences of new statutes and regulations.
Tamara Loomis’s New York Law Journal article, “The Rising Costs of Patriot Act Compliance,” gives us some more examples and more expensive news for financial institutions and other businesses who had a hard enough time navigating through the shoals of Graham-Leach-Bliley and HIPAA.
She points out: “A year and a half later, many experts say we may never know whether the law is working as intended. Yet, effective or not, it is now an expensive fact of life for the financial firms that fall within its gamut.Although still a moving target at this point, the cost of compliance is expected to be staggering. According to research firm TowerGroup in Needham, Mass., securities firms alone will spend nearly $700 million on compliance over the next several years. The list of tasks is long and still growing. Just last week, the U.S. Treasury Department, the agency administering the new law, issued seven new sets of Patriot Act regulations.”