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The law has never kept up with technology

When we talk about new technologies we often intuitively think about the future, the Silicon Valley, technological start-ups. These natural associations are obviously correct but highly insufficient. Leaving aside the philosophical and scientific considerations concerning the nature of the future, with Albert Einstein’s famous statement that the difference between the past, present and future is a persistently maintained illusion, there is no doubt that new technologies are present here and now.

We communicate with each other in a digital reality, sending text messages, e-mails, talking through communicators. Very often we are not even aware that our communications and documents stored in a cloud circle around the earth before they reach our business partner in another part of town. We have no idea where our personal data are retained, or that when we make a call our voice is transformed into an electrical signal and transmitted on radio frequencies or using VOIP technology.

Bitcoins, blockchains, autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, robotics, expanded or virtual reality, all these are not concepts from science fiction books but increasingly a part of commercial, and legal, reality. Of course, some time will pass before we can travel in time, teleport ourselves or settle on other planets, (and however abstract this may seem to us, physicists believe that none of these facts are theoretically impossible). But very soon we will need to answer questions concerning issues like who is the author of the source code or image created by artificial intelligence, what is the liability for damage caused by objects connected with the internet (IoT – Internet of Things), or what collective rights management organisation is appropriate for managing the rights to streaming music at a space station.

The law could never keep up with technology. This is its essence. The law must be stable, while technology by nature changes and develops all the time. However, it is worthwhile looking at exactly how much the legal sphere diverges from reality on the example of personal data. In the European Union we are currently facing a major legal and philosophical revolution in the area of protecting personal data (GDPR). Previous regulations concerning personal data (the 1995 Directive 95/46/EC and the Polish 1997 act) were created at a time when the creator of Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg – was respectively 11 and 13 years old. The world has changed somewhat since then.

What does it mean in business practice? It means that unless we are running an “ecological”, self-sufficient household entirely cut off from the rest of the world, we must, to a greater or lesser degree, deal with the legal issues involved in new technologies, from the very simplest ones like whether a given application or code may be used for commercial purposes and do I have the relevant licenses, does big data analysis, or even the common recruitment process that I am handling, comply with the GDPR? What are the risks involved in investing in cryptocurrencies? What is the liability of the supplier of robotics to my factory? – all the way to the more complex issues like is my business model associated with aggregating online content and combining it with an expanded reality legal? How to make it legal to deliver parcels using drones? And finally, how to protect the cybersecurity of my organization and how to react to breaches? How to commercialise technology? And… what does a Central American dictator have in common with a virtual sword?

We have tried to answer at least some of these questions in the gazette we are publishing, „Nowe Technologie. IT. RODO. GRY” [„New technologies. IT. GDPR. Games”]. For a complete version of the gazette click HERE 

#cyberbezpieczeństwo #IT #nowe technologie

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