Technology and law: irreconcilable, you say? Yet in a digital world, such as the digital society we live in today, law and technology can no longer develop without each other. The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the digital transformation of our society with the introduction of successive conclusions overnight. Millions of people around the world have been forced to work remotely, leading to decentralized work, more connected consumers, the creation of new technologies, increasingly decentralized finance, and more widespread use of cryptocurrencies. However, this new immaterial world is not necessarily an area of lawlessness, and as we will learn in this article, technological innovation needs law to thrive.
The Bodyguard’s Right to Technological Innovation
It is true that in many areas of technology there is always one step ahead of the lawHowever, the role of law is not necessarily to stay ahead of technology, but rather to understand and support it. The law should encourage the development of technology and, like a bodyguard, protect it from criminals and corruption, regulating it so that this technology maintains good ethical standards and respects the values instilled in our society from time immemorial.
Often we find that legislators don’t really understand the legal challenges that new technologies face. Government agencies often react by inventing legal ploys to protect themselves without necessarily understanding Tech’s perspective on the situation. However, given that we are now developing into digital Society, the goal should be to increase the number of programmers and engineers in government and the legislature. Indeed, lawyers, programmers and legislators should work together in close and daily cooperationso that law and technology go hand in hand as we adapt to the digital transformation of our society. Moreover, aren’t codes and algorithms a form of rules and law?
If we analyze the lines of code that create all the new technologies that surround us, we see that they have two roles: allow or restrict our activities, and the right. Outside of this code, it is not controlled or structured, it can be written by anyone, which unfortunately leaves room for some disruptors who will use these new technological tools to commit offenses.
Indeed, if the Internet allows freedom of expression without borders on networks, there is also a downside to the coin: the existence of violent, racist speech, the disclosure of personal information without consent, digital espionage, child pornography problems, actors who are too curious, who interferes with our data and illegally passes them on to earn a reward… Whether in finance or e-commerce, transactions must be protected by regulatory measures and/or computer codes to keep our personal data private and to fight cyber attacks.
Since deviation is easy, it is not about regulating the technology itself, but about regulate human activity. All this shows that technological innovation and law have a fundamental need to cooperate without holding each other back.
While some regulatory measures can be time consuming and costly to implement, keep in mind that compliance allows you to have a secure and controlled ecosystem that inspires confidence in your customers and partners. It is highly recommended to arm yourself with legal advice and “self-regulate” as much as possible when you innovate.
Study the architecture of your codes and algorithms, strengthen your cybersecurity, implement anti-money laundering measures for your business and your customers. Whether we are an economic player or a simple Internet user, we all need to pay attention to the security of our “cyberspace”.
On the way to “cyberethics”?
Today the trend is towards cyberethics ”, in particular with the emergence of new fundamental rights such as: the right to digital oblivion, the principle of prohibition of general surveillance measures, the right to net neutrality, the right to privacy of the virtual home, the right to mask medical data…
As Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig so aptly put it:
“We are building a world in which freedom can flourish, not by depriving society of any form of consciously accepted control, but by building it in a place where some form of freely accepted control survives. We are building freedom, as our founders did, by building a society on the basis of a certain constitution. »
In conclusion, the intangibility of computing, the decentralization of our financial system, the emergence of new cryptocurrencies, NFTs, smart contracts and blockchain offer a renewal of our material industry that calls into question various branches of law, in particular: personal data protection law, intellectual property law (disputed the advent of non-fungible NFT tokens), contract law (disputed by “smart contracts” often associated with Blockchain operation) and financial law, which now has to deal with a fully decentralized ecosystem: DeFi.
Thus ends the first chapter on adapting the law to new decentralized technologies. The next installment of Towards a Decentralized Ecosystem: DeFi will take you a little further down this challenging yet exciting journey.