At the Summer School for IT Law and Legal Informatics 2022, renowned experts will offer participants an insight into cutting-edge research from the fields of IT Law and Legal Informatics.
Usually, the Summer School consists of four thematic units, each of which will cover a specific area over a period of two days. Each thematic unit will comprise one lecture by a highly qualified researcher or practitioner and may include presentations by participants in which they shall discuss elements of their own research project. The concept of the Summer School will be profoundly interdisciplinary, thus aiming at offering insights into both, computer science research and closely connected legal questions.
Without any doubt, one of the biggest challenges today’s society is facing is Artificial Intelligence. Its scope of application is enormous. In the years to come, autonomous systems will increasingly replace autonomous processes. Autono-mous systems will change our society forever. As predicted by studies and surveys, progressively, machines will replace human beings.
Concurrently, classical programming will be replaced more and more by self-learning systems — a sort of “machine learning” with a potential previously never seen. Increasingly, machine learning algorithms are being applied to new and ever more challenging fields.
These developments can be seen as being positive: hopes connected with the usage of autonomous systems comprise aspects such as a reduction of physical workload, the possibility to work more efficiently and a drop in the number of accidents due to the usage of autonomous vehicles.
Yet, replacing human beings by machines also comes with certain concerns: some examples of undesired consequences creating uncertainty comprise changes to daily work and a loss of jobs – in the worst case, even a complete loss of self-determination.
Data and the Law
Data protection belongs to the most intensely and controversially discussed legal topics of our age. The EU General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR Regula-tion (EU) 2016/679 – creates a uniform legal framework. By comparison, the US-American legal system is lacking a similar data protection system. Rather than providing a general regulation, the US relies on specific rules, for example on the protection of consumers, – emphasizing transparency rather than private data protection (“data minimization”). Recently, many countries have passed modern data protection laws clearly based on the Data Protection Regulation, but setting different priorities and seeking to achieve a compromise between a need for data protection and the use of data. Privacy Enhancing Technologies complement legal data protection measures by providing (amongst others) anonymization, data aggregation and enforcement of data processing policies.
“Big data”, or “data economy” refers to the the potential of new technologies to, amongst others, process large amounts of data as a basis for new products and services and increase efficiency of business processes.
It Security and the Internet of Things
Digitalized societies are based on IT systems; being connected via the Internet is a core element of many modern personal lifestyles. As a result, to an increasing extent, the Internet and electronic networks constitute essential infrastructure all of us depend upon.
However, being highly complex, these systems also tend to be vulnerable ¬ and so are we. Security loopholes open up the possibility for attacks impairing confiden-tiality, integrity or functionality of IT systems. Therefore, any such loopholes must be taken extremely seriously. This poses a great risk to personal and private data, and, additionally, to financial assets and the identity of individuals. Attacks on critical infrastructure, such as water or electricity supply, can have devastating consequences for the general population.
The key terminology of the "Internet of Things" – which, in Germany is more commonly known as the "Industry 4.0"– describes a current trend dealing with the interconnection of computing devices (individual machines and products) embedded in everyday objects via the Internet. In the past, the Internet connected humans acting via their computers, whereas nowadays, and even more so in the future, individual machines and products are communicating automatically and directly with one another.
Accordingly, extensive efforts are being made to master any associated technical and legal problems. For example, the European NIS Directive (EU) 2016/1148 provided a legal framework for IT security addressing so-called “critical infrastructure” and the draft NIS 2 Directive (COM/2020/823 final) will take legal regulation of IT Security to a new level. Technical research tries to address both, application-specific issues and the foundations of IT Security.
The key word "Legal Tech" describes technology relevant for legal acts and procedures. The best-known example is Blockchain technology, which does not only provide the technical basis for a novel electronic currency (Bitcoin), but is also instrumental in deliberations on new forms of legal interaction. By using Blockchain technology, contracts can be concluded as "smart contracts", and companies will no longer be controlled by a board of directors, but by using an algorithm. Businesses and legal systems are likely to be impacted by Artificial Intelligence of this kind.
Legal acts and procedures are changing massively due to the influence of legal technologies on the level of both, their theory and practical application, thus, challenging existing legal regulations. At the same time, new technology has to adapt to legal requirements. Risks and limitations of new technologies have to be analysed carefully and understood well in order to fully benefit from their advantages.