LawTech.Asia

Asia's Leading Law & Technology Review

Cryptocurrency: Liability and Regulatory Issues

Reading time: 15 minutes

Written by Tan Yan Ru | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong

We’re all law and tech scholars now, says every law and tech sceptic. That is only half-right. Law and technology is about law, but it is also about technology. This is not obvious in many so-called law and technology pieces which tend to focus exclusively on the law. No doubt this draws on what Judge Easterbrook famously said about three decades ago, to paraphrase: “lawyers will never fully understand tech so we might as well not try”.

In open defiance of this narrative, LawTech.Asia is proud to announce a collaboration with the Singapore Management University Yong Pung How School of Law’s LAW4032 Law and Technology class. This collaborative special series is a collection featuring selected essays from students of the class. Ranging across a broad range of technology law and policy topics, the collaboration is aimed at encouraging law students to think about where the law is and what it should be vis-a-vis technology.

This piece, written by Tan Yan Ru, seeks to explore liability and regulatory issues around cryptocurrency. It begins by exploring how the two central characteristics of blockchain – decentralisation and pseudonymity raise liability and regulatory issues. It then examines existing measures taken by regulators and policymakers to address liability issues, while acknowledging increasing sophistication on the part of those seeking to evade these measures. Other measures, such as raising cryptocurrency literacy and setting up a cryptocurrency task force are examined. Moving on, it examines the existing regulatory conundrum arising from the use of cryptocurrencies. It is observed that current regulatory regimes appear to reflect an escalating legal arms race to be the first in coming up with a solution. Finally, the paper submits that regulatory issues may be resolved by the harmonisation of the various regulations with international institutions working together.

Digging digital dirt: Rethinking the evidentiary landscape in the age of social media

Reading time: 13 minutes

Written by Sim Qian Hui | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong

We’re all law and tech scholars now, says every law and tech sceptic. That is only half-right. Law and technology is about law, but it is also about technology. This is not obvious in many so-called law and technology pieces which tend to focus exclusively on the law. No doubt this draws on what Judge Easterbrook famously said about three decades ago, to paraphrase: “lawyers will never fully understand tech so we might as well not try”.

In open defiance of this narrative, LawTech.Asia is proud to announce a collaboration with the Singapore Management University Yong Pung How School of Law’s LAW4032 Law and Technology class. This collaborative special series is a collection featuring selected essays from students of the class. Ranging across a broad range of technology law and policy topics, the collaboration is aimed at encouraging law students to think about where the law is and what it should be vis-a-vis technology.

This piece, written by Sim Qian Hui, seeks to demonstrates the need to rethink the evidentiary landscape in the age of social media. The use of social media evidence in court proceedings is plagued with uncertainty. By assuming that people present themselves in the same way online and offline, the courts misinterpret the relevance of certain types of social media posts.  The courts lack understanding on social media culture and draw mistaken inferences from common types of social media conduct. Further, the overly broad discovery of social media content violates an individual’s right to privacy. Accordingly, courts must consider the unique properties and social norms surrounding social media when utilising social media evidence. Given that social media has become part of today’s society, courts ought to ensure the continued relevance of the evidentiary regime. 

Fake porn, real harm: Examining the laws against deepfake pornography in Singapore

Reading time: 15 minutes

Written by Poon Chong Ming | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong

We’re all law and tech scholars now, says every law and tech sceptic. That is only half-right. Law and technology is about law, but it is also about technology. This is not obvious in many so-called law and technology pieces which tend to focus exclusively on the law. No doubt this draws on what Judge Easterbrook famously said about three decades ago, to paraphrase: “lawyers will never fully understand tech so we might as well not try”.

In open defiance of this narrative, LawTech.Asia is proud to announce a collaboration with the Singapore Management University Yong Pung How School of Law’s LAW4032 Law and Technology class. This collaborative special series is a collection featuring selected essays from students of the class. Ranging across a broad range of technology law and policy topics, the collaboration is aimed at encouraging law students to think about where the law is and what it should be vis-a-vis technology.

This piece, written by Poon Chong Ming, seeks to examine the laws against deepfake pornography in Singapore. Despite years since the emergence of deepfake pornography, it remains inadequately dealt with by the law. As a result, deepfake pornography is proliferating with greater prominence, inflicting more and more harm on victims while leaving them without proper recourse. This paper attempts to look at the issue of deepfake pornography specifically within Singapore, in light of the stark increase of local sexual abuse cases involving technology. The paper first explains the need for a strong legal framework due to the nature of deepfake pornography (hyper-realism combined with ease of production). Subsequently, the paper proceeds to examine the efficacy of current laws in Singapore (civil, criminal, and regulatory measures) in dealing with deepfake pornography. Finally, by looking at measures taken in the United Kingdom, the paper will provide suggestions as to the direction of the law in Singapore, with the most viable recommendation being to build upon Sections 377BE and 377BD of the Penal Code. 

The value of differential privacy in establishing an intermediate legal standard for anonymisation in Singapore’s data protection landscape

Reading time: 11 minutes

Written by Nanda Min Htin | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong

We’re all law and tech scholars now, says every law and tech sceptic. That is only half-right. Law and technology is about law, but it is also about technology. This is not obvious in many so-called law and technology pieces which tend to focus exclusively on the law. No doubt this draws on what Judge Easterbrook famously said about three decades ago, to paraphrase: “lawyers will never fully understand tech so we might as well not try”.

In open defiance of this narrative, LawTech.Asia is proud to announce a collaboration with the Singapore Management University Yong Pung How School of Law’s LAW4032 Law and Technology class. This collaborative special series is a collection featuring selected essays from students of the class. Ranging across a broad range of technology law and policy topics, the collaboration is aimed at encouraging law students to think about where the law is and what it should be vis-a-vis technology.

This piece, written by Nanda Min Htin, seeks to examine the value of differential privacy an establishing an intermediate legal standard for anonymisation in Singapore’s data protection landscape. Singapore’s data protection framework recognizes privacy-protected data that can be re-identified as anonymised data, insofar as there is a serious possibility that this re-identification would not occur. As a result, such data are not considered personal data in order to be protected under Singapore law. In contrast, major foreign legislation such as the GDPR in Europe sets a clearer and stricter standard for anonymised data by requiring re-identification to be impossible; anything less would be considered pseudonymized data and would subject the data controller to legal obligations. The lack of a similar intermediate standard in Singapore risks depriving reversibly de-identified data of legal protection. One key example is differential privacy, a popular privacy standard for a class of data de-identification techniques. It prevents the re-identification of individuals at a high confidence level by adding random noise to computational results queried from the data. However, like many other data anonymization techniques, it does not completely prevent re-identification. This article first highlights the value of differential privacy in exposing the need for an intermediate legal standard for anonymization under Singapore data protection law. Then, it explains how differential privacy’s technical characteristics would help establish regulatory standards for privacy by design and help organizations fulfil data breach notification obligations. 

Is the PDPA really sufficient to protect our data?

Reading time: 14 minutes

Written by Moo Wen Si, Amelia | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong

We’re all law and tech scholars now, says every law and tech sceptic. That is only half-right. Law and technology is about law, but it is also about technology. This is not obvious in many so-called law and technology pieces which tend to focus exclusively on the law. No doubt this draws on what Judge Easterbrook famously said about three decades ago, to paraphrase: “lawyers will never fully understand tech so we might as well not try”.

In open defiance of this narrative, LawTech.Asia is proud to announce a collaboration with the Singapore Management University Yong Pung How School of Law’s LAW4032 Law and Technology class. This collaborative special series is a collection featuring selected essays from students of the class. Ranging across a broad range of technology law and policy topics, the collaboration is aimed at encouraging law students to think about where the law is and what it should be vis-a-vis technology.

This piece, written by Moo Wen Si, Amelia, seeks to examine the sufficiency of the PDPA in today’s world. In a technologically advanced world where e-commerce, cloud computing and data mining are flourishing, data has become one of the most valuable assets in the economy. This has raised concerns as to whether our data is being fully protected from misuse and the remedial actions available in cases of data breaches. In response, the Singapore Parliament enacted the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (“PDPA”) seeking to protect individuals’ data from misuse by organisations in the private sectors. The PDPA, aimed to be a comprehensive data protection law, is however severely lacking in the protection it affords to individuals. This paper seeks to argue how the PDPA is insufficient to protect one’s data from being misused and the limited recourse that individuals have even when their data privacy has been compromised. 

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