International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies
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International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies

Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Diana M. Bowman and Andrew D. Maynard

As scientists and technologists discover how to engineer matter at the nanoscale in increasingly sophisticated ways, conventional approaches to ensuring safe use are being brought into question. Nanotechnologies are challenging traditional regulatory regimes; but they are also prompting new thinking on developing and using emerging technologies safely. In this Handbook, leading international authors from industry, government, non-governmental organisations and academia examine the complex and often controversial regulatory challenges presented by nanotechnologies. Across several disciplinary boundaries, they explore how the future regulatory landscape may evolve. From the Europe Union to the United States, workplaces to personal products, and statutory instruments through to softer approaches, it is clear that considerable vigilance will be needed in governing these powerful and novel technologies. To succeed, society will need new thinking, new partnerships and new mechanisms to balance the benefits of these technologies against their possible downsides. Anything less will prompt cries of illegitimacy and potentially compromise a promising new realm of technology innovation.
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Chapter 17: Military Applications: Special Conditions for Regulation

Jürgen Altmann


Jürgen Altmann 17.1 INTRODUCTION Nanotechnology has the potential to change the way wars are fought, with the possibility of exceptionally small, uninhabited vehicles or weapons capable of autonomous firing decisions. Unconstrained, these applications could lead to precarious situations between states, as well as arms proliferation. Further, specific military uses of nanotechnology could make their way onto the civilian market, with non-state actors or individuals using it for illegal activity. Given this, regulation of military uses of nanotechnology is required. However, regulation of technology applications by the military takes place in a quite different framework than in the civilian realm. In order to better understand the special conditions that apply to military uses of technology, this chapter will first recall how regulation works within civilian applications. The chapter will then discuss how military uses of any technology are regulated, and the problems associated with regulation of the military given the requirements of combat effectiveness and secrecy. The use of preventive arms control at an international level is then discussed. Next, this chapter looks at military research and development of nanotechnology, as well as the potential military uses of nanotechnology. Finally, the chapter will suggest concepts for international regulation of military nanotechnology and pose the question if mastering the coming revolutionary technologies will be possible within the existing international system. 17.2 ‘NORMAL’ (CIVILIAN) REGULATION Regulation of technologies that carry a risk usually takes place within nation states according to the respective established legal systems (which may differ depending on history and...

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