Law, Technology and Humans
EISSN : 2652-4074
Published by: Queensland University of Technology (10.5204)
Total articles ≅ 59
Latest articles in this journal
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3, pp 68-81; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.v3i1.1558
Over the last 15 years, the working context of lawyers has undergone many changes. Evolving in an increasingly competitive, deregulated, and globalized market, they are subject to higher tax pressure while being exposed to unbridled technological innovation. Indeed, a growing number of entrepreneurs are using digital solutions to provide online legal services that are supposed to be faster and cheaper. If many of them are nonlawyer legal entrepreneurs, many lawyers are also engineering innovative projects and launching their own start-up companies, known as “LegalTech” or “LawTech.” However, few studies—or none to our limited knowledge—provide an empirically grounded analysis of such projects, leaving some questions unanswered. Who are these entrepreneurial lawyers? How and why do they engineer and develop LegalTech projects? How do they challenge the legal profession? To answer these questions, this article draws on a qualitative study of three contrasted start-ups Belgian lawyers have recently developed. The research methodology combines gray and scientific literature reviews, web-document (hereafter “manifestos”) analysis, and semi-directive interviews led with the start-up’s founders (n = 5), the Bar Association’s representatives (n = 3), and some members of the main Belgian LegalTech network (n = 4).
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3, pp 51-67; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1603
Legal reasoning is increasingly quantified. Developers in the market and public institutions in the legal system are making use of massive databases of court opinions and other legal communications to craft algorithms to assess the effectiveness of legal arguments or predict court judgments; tasks that were once seen as the exclusive province of seasoned lawyers’ obscure knowledge. New legal technologies promise to search heaps of documents for useful evidence, and to analyze dozens of factors to quantify a lawsuit’s odds of success. Legal quantification initiatives depend on the availability of reliable data about the past behavior of courts that institutional actors have attempted to control. The development of initiatives in legal quantification is visible as public bodies craft their own tools for internal use and access by the public, and private companies create new ways to valorize the “raw data” provided by courts and lawyers by generating information useful to the strategies of legal professionals, as well as to the investors that re-valorize legal activity by securitizing legal risk through litigation funding.
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1846
This article critically examines the opportunities and challenges that automated decision-making (ADM) poses for environmental impact assessments (EIAs) as a crucial aspect of environmental law. It argues that while fully or partially automating discretionary EIA decisions is legally and technically problematic, there is significant potential for data-driven decision-making tools to provide superior analysis and predictions to better inform EIA processes. Discretionary decision-making is desirable for EIA decisions given the inherent complexity associated with environmental regulation and the prediction of future impacts. This article demonstrates that current ADM tools cannot adequately replicate human discretionary processes for EIAs—even if there is human oversight and review of automated outputs. Instead of fully or partially automating EIA decisions, data-driven decision-making can be more appropriately deployed to enhance data analysis and predictions to optimise EIA decision-making processes. This latter type of ADM can augment decision-making processes without displacing the critical role of human discretion in weighing the complex environmental, social and economic considerations inherent in EIA determinations.
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3, pp 96-108; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1595
Serious challenges are raised by the way in which technology companies like Facebook and Google harvest and process user data. Companies in the modern data economy mine troves of data with sophisticated algorithms to produce valuable behavioural predictions. These data-driven predictions provide companies with a powerful capacity to influence and manipulate users, and these risks are increasing with the explosive growth of ‘Big Data’ and artificial intelligence machine learning. This article analyses the extent to which these challenges are met by existing regimes such as Australia and New Zealand’s respective privacy acts and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regime. While these laws protect certain privacy interests, I argue that users have a broader set of interests in their data meriting protection. I explore three of these novel interests, including the social dimension of data, control and access to predictions mined from data and the economic value of data. This article shows how existing frameworks fail to recognise or protect these novel interests. In light of this failure, lawmakers urgently need to frame new legal regimes to protect against the worst excesses of the data economy.
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3, pp 35-50; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1808
Governments worldwide view contact tracing as a key tool to mitigate COVID-19 community transmission. Contact tracing investigations are time consuming and labour intensive. Mobile phone location tracking has been a new data-driven option to potentially obviate investigative inefficiencies. However, using mobile phone apps for contact tracing purposes gives rise to complex privacy issues. Governmental presentation and implementation of contact tracing apps, therefore, requires careful and sensitive delivery of a coherent policy position to establish citizen trust, which is an essential component of uptake and use. This article critically examines the Australian Government’s initial implementation of the COVIDSafe app. We outline a series of implementation misalignments that juxtapose an underpinning regulatory rationality predicated on the implementation of information privacy law protections with rhetorical campaigns to reinforce different justifications for the app’s use. We then examine these implementation misalignments from Mayer and colleagues’ lens of trustworthiness (1995) and its three core domains: ability, integrity and benevolence. The three domains are used to examine how the Australian Government’s implementation strategy provided a confused understanding of processes that enhance trustworthiness in the adoption of new technologies. In conclusion, we provide a better understanding about securing trustworthiness in new technologies through the establishment of a value consensus that requires alignment of regulatory rationales and rhetorical campaigning.
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3, pp 123-132; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1489
Europe accounts for the largest number of assisted reproduction treatments (ARTs) in the world, with 56 percent of the global reproductive market quota, followed by Asia (23 percent) and North America (15 percent). However, Europe’s legal landscape of reproductive bio-commodities is a patchwork of permissive and restrictive countries, one of the main reasons for the transnational movement to access ARTs. Spain is the main destination for European middle- and upper-class couples seeking egg donation. The use of legislation has been a significant feature in making Spain a leading country in the global reproscape. This paper aims to understand the specific role of several undetermined legal concepts used by the Spanish regulation, such as “compensation” or “best interest of the child” in making global reproductive bio-commodities.
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3, pp 133-147; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1564
This paper argues that online dispute resolution (ODR) has not been readily accepted in India’s rural hinterlands. This field study involved a trip to a “typical rural village” in North India with a population of approximately 3,000 people. Barriers to acceptance include IT literacy and connectivity, English language platforms and learning resources, reliance on and preference for village-based dispute-resolution systems, mistrust of external authority, lack of awareness of the benefits of ODR, and gender and cultural issues. We find that some villagers may be interested in ODR, but its adaption requires not only outlining the advantages of ODR but also creating a sense of ownership and managing resistance to outsiders. This could be done by providing training to groups likely to benefit from ODR, including youth, women, and NGOs. The case study also has theoretical implications for the study of comparative access to legal services, the relationship between concepts of rights and local concepts of morality, and for the persistence of social structure and “traditional” means of dispute resolution despite the possibility of access to “modern” forms of legal services.
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3, pp 82-95; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.v3i1.1566
Technology is a new theology. Substantively, technology represents the culmination of human creation undergirded by reason, without reference to the supernatural. In that sense, technology is a kind of secular substitute for theology. Functionally, through its ubiquity and esoteric rules that govern our lives so comprehensively, technology echoes the binding nature of theology as a subset of religion (from religare, meaning ‘to rebind’). However, the binding nature of techno-secular theology produces biopolitical violence. In this article, I propose that recognition (‘re‑cognition’) of technology as techne, a tool to be used for good, rather than a religare, a binding, warrants a return to a theological framework to develop a more charitable community. This will facilitate the development and improvement of theology as a means of exploring mystery.
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3, pp 18-34; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1803
Children and young people throughout the world have felt the effects of Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the decisions made in response to the public health crisis, acutely. Questions have been raised about adequately protecting children’s privacy, as schooling, play and socialising went almost exclusively online. However, due to the historical lack of children’s rights being embedded throughout decision-making processes (including important participation rights), the effects of the increased surveillance as a result of the pandemic have not been thoroughly considered. This article pursues three objectives. First, it seeks to develop the literature on the enabling aspects of privacy for children in relation to education and play. Second, it seeks to expand the discussion on the exploitative risks endemic in not protecting children’s privacy, including not only violent harms, but commercial exploitation. Third, it suggests some policy responses that will more effectively embed a children’s rights framework beyond the ‘parental control’ provisions that dominate child-specific data protection frameworks.
Law, Technology and Humans, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1965
The article The Quantification of Law: Counting, Predicting, and Valuating by Rafael Viana Ribeiro (Law, Technology and Humans, 3, no 1 (2021): 51-67. https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1603) was published on March 2, 2021. The author name has been changed at the request of the author. This corrected version of the article can be found at https://doi.org/10.5204/lthj.1966