The digitization has given rise to fundamental challenges for the rule of law. It calls into question principal assumptions of our existing laws and simultaneously requires sensible regulations at short notice. Take tort law as a simple example: At its core, it is the notion that of having to pay damages in cases in which an illicit action has caused damage to someone else. However, its premise is that there is a human being initiated or controlled that action and can thus be held accountable. In the past years, artificial intelligence has begun to blur the lines when determining who (or what?) is responsible for a certain action.
There are countless topics in technology law – widely covered issues include online hate speech, copyrights, cyberattacks, data protection, or e-government. Some fundamental questions pop up frequently: How free can and should the digital space be? Can national regulations play a significant role in the digital age? How should the law cope with the increasingly oligopolistic market power of Big Tech? Is it possible for the law to proactively frame the digital development or is it condemned to being an reactionary instrument?
We will approach these broader questions from two angles. Jeanne Mifsud Bonnici is a professor at the University of Groningen and the co-founder and -leader of the Security, Technology and e-Privacy Research Group (STeP). She will address the (alleged) conflict of privacy and security as well as the struggle for more transparency in technology and effective data protection. Professor Spindler is a professor at the University of Göttingen and a high level expert in the European Commission’s Expert Group on Liability and New Technologies. He will discuss questions of liability for autonomous systems, e.g. as used in self-driving cars.