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Legal Implications of Digital Surveillance: Individual Protection

Reading time: 14 minutes

Written by Lim Hong Wen, Amelia | Edited by Josh Lee

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 Lim Hong Wen, Amelia, seeks to analyse three key concerns that may arise from the use of digital surveillance, in particular, the issue of privacy, harassment, and algorithmic bias. This paper then examine how the four modalities expounded by Lawrence Lessig will come into play in regulating the use of digital surveillance (i.e. the law, architecture, social norms, and the market). Part II first explores the developments in the use of digital surveillance by the state, employers, and individuals. Digital surveillance has since transformed over the years and current laws may be insufficient in protecting individuals against certain unwanted forms of digital surveillance. Part III of this paper identified the inadequacies of current laws to address the key concerns identified earlier (i.e. privacy, harassment, and algorithmic bias). Given the lack of legal recourse available, Part IV then analyzed how the use or misuse of digital surveillance can be regulated by the remaining three modalities (i.e. the architecture, social norms, and the market).

Stablecoins: A Stable Picture in Singapore?

Reading time: 14 minutes

Written by Lee Da Zhuan | Edited by Josh Lee

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 Lee Da Zhuan, critically examines whether the present regulatory picture in Singapore presents a clear framework to govern the phenomenon of “stablecoins”.

As its name suggests, stablecoins have been held to be a form of cryptocurrency which are designed to function as the composition of some value which attempts to stay stable with traditional currencies or its underlying assets. Given its recent hype in Singapore as being the cryptocurrency which generates exceptional returns with significantly lower risk vis-à-vis other cryptocurrencies, an important question arises as to whether our current legislations presents a clear framework to regulate these cryptocurrencies. This paper examines this question by adopting the following approach. Part II provides a primer to stablecoins and its different classifications used today. Heralding on the information from part II, part III evaluates that the scope of coverage found in the current Payment Service Act is insufficient to cover various different classes of stablecoins. Part IV concludes with possible recommendations. It is the author’s hope that the findings presented from this paper would present an overview of the lapses of the Payment Services Act concerning the governance of stablecoins. 

The Insufficiency of Singapore’s Amended Copyright Act: A Proposed Shift Towards a Balanced Creator-User Rights Regime in the Social Media Era

Reading time: 15 minutes

Written by Ashley Ho | Edited by Josh Lee

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 Ashley Ho, critically examines Singapore’s new Copyright Act. Though it acknowledges the Act’s attempt in striving for a balance of interests between creators and the general public, it posits that ultimately this attempt falls short of the goal. Firstly, this paper argues that there is a need to re-examine the purpose of copyright law in the context of the digital space. This is to be done by questioning whether the justifications behind copyright protection still apply or whether they have become irrelevant in this new digital world. If the answer is the latter, then there is a need to recalibrate this balance of interests. 

As a caveat, this paper does not go so far as to suggest a complete revocation of copyright protection. Instead, it simply suggests for the inclusion of a non-commercial user exception, such as that under Canadian law, to make it a permitted use for users on social media to utilize other users’ content. This exception provides greater certainty than the recently added defence of fair use and aligns with the Legislature’s intent on encouraging the production of creative works. Crucially, the key idea that this paper puts forth is that social media operates and thrives on the free value of content, and this norm of the new world ought not to be governed  by old rules which no longer hold the same relevance. 

The Epistemic Challenge Facing the Regulation of AI: LRD Colloquium Vol. 1 (2020/07)

Reading time: 25 minutes

Written by Josh Lee* and Tristan Koh**

Editor’s note: This article was first published by the Law Society of Singapore as part of its Legal Research and Development Colloquium 2020. It has been re-published with the permission of the Law Society of Singapore and the article’s authors. Slight adaptations and reformatting changes have been made for readability.

ABSTRACT

The increased interest in artificial intelligence (‘AI’) regulation stems from increased awareness about its risks. This suggests the need for a regulatory structure to preserve safety and public trust in AI. A key challenge, however, is the epistemic challenge. This paper posits that to effectively regulate the development and use of AI (in particular, deep learning systems), policymakers need a deep understanding of the technical underpinnings of AI technologies and the ethical and legal issues arising from its adoption. Given that AI technologies will impact many sectors, the paper also explores the challenges of applying AI technologies in the legal industry as an example of industry-specific epistemic challenges. This paper also suggests possible solutions: the need for interdisciplinary knowledge, the introduction of baseline training in technology for legal practitioners and the creation of a corps of allied legal professionals specialising in the implementation of AI.

LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for TechLaw.Fest 2020!

Reading time: 2 minutes

We are proud to be recognised by the Singapore Academy of Law as an official media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2020!

TechLaw.Fest 2020 (held from 28 September to 2 October 2020) is a signature convention in Singapore that will be the focal point for leading thinkers, leaders and pioneers in law and technology.

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