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Stout, H.D.

Helen Stout, born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1959. Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Professor at the Delft University of Technology.

Fellow (1 September 2009 – 30 June 2010)


One of the important features of network industries is their considerable dynamism, not least as a result of technological innovations. These innovations sometimes make existing legislation obsolete. This was the case with telephony introduced to the Netherlands in the 1880s. The Telegraph Act 1852 was overtaken and had to be changed substantially. Another example is the invention of the Segway Personal Transporter PT, which threatens the existing Road Traffic Act 1994 to become outdated.

Issues to be addressed were:

1. What makes an act grow obsolete?

2. Can all acts become obsolete or does this apply to just a particular type of act?

3. What public values are at stake and what are the effects of hampering legislation?

4. How can acts be designed in such a way that it can absorb new technological developments?