(2016) 13:3 SCRIPTed 232–409

Issue DOI: 10.2966/scrip.130316

Cover image

  • Max Mitscherlich

    The City of Edinburgh inspired me to take this picture. Right after sunset I was standing on Calton hill and observed the pulsating city life. The diversity between old buildings, nature and modern technology is what fascinates me about this city.


Editorial


Articles

  • Decentralisation, Distrust & Fear of the Body – The Worrying Rise of Crypto-Law
    Alan Cunningham, pp. 235-257
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    The increasing collective use of distributed application software platforms, programming languages and crypto-currencies around the blockchain concept for general transactions may have radical implications for the way in which society conceptualises and applies trust and trust-based social systems such as law. By exploring one iteration of such generalised blockchain systems – Ethereum – and the historical lineage of such systems, it will be argued that indeed their ideological basis is largely one of distrust, decentralisation and, ultimately, via increasing disassociation of identity, a fear of the body itself. This ideological basis can be reframed as a crypto-legal approach to the problems of human interaction, one whereby the purely technological solutions outlined above are considered adequate for reconciling many of the problems of our collective existence. The article concludes, however, by re-iterating a perspective of law more so as an entirely embodied and trust dependent notion. These aspects go some way to explaining the necessarily centralised role it takes on within societies. They also explain why the crypto-legal approaches advanced by systems like Ethereum – or even the co-opting of blockchain technology by law firms themselves – will only ever be at best efficiency exercises concerned with the processing of data relating to legal affairs, and not the more radical, ambiguous and difficult process of actual legal thought or, indeed, engagement with trust.

  • Incident Response: Protecting Individual Rights Under the General Data Protection Regulation
    Andrew Cormack, pp. 258-282
    PDF

    Identifying and fixing problems with the security of computers and networks is essential to protect the data they contain and the privacy of their users. However, these incident response activities require additional processing of personal data, so may themselves create a privacy risk. Current laws have created diverse interpretations of this processing – from encouragement to prohibition – creating barriers to incident response and challenges for collaboration between incident responders. The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation explicitly recognises the need for processing to protect the security of networks and information. It also, through rules on processing for “legitimate interests”, suggests a way to identify an appropriate balance between risks. Consistent use of these provisions could provide a common legal approach for incident response teams, enabling them to work more effectively. This article builds on analysis by the Article 29 Working Party to develop a framework for assessing the benefit and impact of incident response activities. This is applied to a range of practical detection, notification and information sharing techniques commonly used in incident response, showing how these do, indeed, protect, rather than threaten, the privacy and data protection rights of computer and network users.


  • Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property essay competition

  • Editorial: The Future of IP Law in an Age of Artificial Intelligence
    Burkhard Schafer, pp. 283-288
    PDF

  • Human Aspects of Digital Rights Management: the Perspective of Content Developers
    Marcella Favale, Neil McDonald, Shamal Faily, and Christos Gatzidis, pp. 289-304
    PDF

    Legal norms and social behaviours are some of the human aspects surrounding the effectiveness and future of DRM security. Further exploration of these aspects would help unravel the complexities of the interaction between rights protection security and law. Most importantly, understanding the perspectives behind the circumvention of content security may have a significant impact on DRM effectiveness and acceptance at the same time. While there has been valuable research on consumer acceptability, (The INDICARE project, Bohle 2008, Akester 2009) there is hardly any work on the human perspective of content creators. Taking video games as a case study, this paper employs qualitative socio-legal analysis and an interdisciplinary approach to explore this particular aspect of content protection.

  • Computers as Inventors – Legal and Policy Implications of Artificial Intelligence on Patent Law
    Erica Fraser, pp. 305-333
    PDF

    The nascent but increasing interest in incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into tools for the computer-generation of inventions is expected to enable innovations that would otherwise be impossible through human ingenuity alone. The potential societal benefits of accelerating the pace of innovation through AI will force a re-examination of the basic tenets of intellectual property law. The patent system must adjust to ensure it continues to appropriately protect intellectual investment while encouraging the development of computer-generated inventing systems; however, this must be balanced against the risk that the quantity and qualities of computer-generated inventions will stretch the patent system to its breaking points, both conceptually and practically. The patent system must recognise the implications of and be prepared to respond to a technological reality where leaps of human ingenuity are supplanted by AI, and the ratio of human-to-machine contribution to inventive processes progressively shifts in favour of the machine. This article assesses the implications on patent law and policy of a spectrum of contemporary and conceptual AI invention-generation technologies, from the generation of textual descriptions of inventions, to human inventors employing AI-based tools in the invention process, to computers inventing autonomously without human intervention.

  • Artificial Invention: Mind the Machine!
    Shamnad Basheer, pp. 334-358
    PDF

    This script is a work of pure fiction intended to serve an educational purpose. Though it substitutes for a law review article in terms of format, it attempts to highlight the key arguments on the topic with appropriate references, where applicable. Much like an original piece of scholarship, it also advances some novel arguments in the form of tentative theses.


Analysis

  • Data Localisation and the Balkanisation of the Internet
    Erica Fraser, pp. 359-373
    PDF

    Unrestricted international data flow is of critical importance to economies and people globally. Data localisation requirements interrupt the global flow of data by restricting where and how they may be stored, processed or transferred. Governments are increasingly imposing such requirements to protect the individual rights of their citizens, along with sentiments of national sovereignty and aspirations of economic benefit. However, data localisation requirements are likely to lead to the balkanisation of the Internet, which may threaten those very objectives. This Analysis article provides and introduction to and an overview of the likely advantages and drawbacks of data localisation requirements following the Snowden revelations. Economic, security and individual rights questions are addressed and illustrated with the recent Russian data localisation law.


Reports

  • Conference Report: Liminal Spaces Symposium at the IAB 2016: What Does it Mean to Regulate in the Public Interest?
    Annie Sorbie, pp. 374-381
    PDF

    This Conference Report summarises a Wellcome Trust-sponsored symposium held at the 13th World Congress of the International Association of Bioethics, held in Edinburgh 14-17 June 2016 (IAB2016). This symposium was curated by the Liminal Spaces Project, which is conducted under the auspices of the JK Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law at the University of Edinbugh School of Law, and sought to address the question: “What does it mean to regulate in the public interest?”


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