LawTech.Asia

Asia's Leading Law & Technology Review

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. 

Unpacking the Lootbox: Legally Dubious, Ethically Odious

Reading time: 13 minutes

Written by Nigel Ang Teng Xiang | 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 Nigel Ang, explores current global regulatory measures surrounding loot boxes in video games. Question explored include: What is the problem with lootboxes that the proposed measures are attempting to solve? Who is, or should be liable for these problems? What is the next step for regulators and game developers? To answer these questions, focus will be on the interaction between both legal and non-legal regulatory measures taken, and the quirks and qualities of the technology each seeks to regulate. This includes the content of the games themselves, intermediary platforms that host such content such as app stores, and self-regulation from within the sphere of game development. The cultural and psychological phenomena that underpin the impetus for lootbox regulation will also be discussed.

TechLaw.Fest 2021 Quick Chats: Alexander H. Southwell, Partner, Co-Chair of Privacy, Cybersecurity and Data Innovation Practice Group, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Reading time: 5 minutes

By Utsav Rakshit & Ong Chin Ngee | Edited by Wan Ding Yao

TechLaw.Fest 2021 (“TLF”) took place virtually from 22 September to 24 September 2021, becoming the virtual focal point for leading thinkers, leaders and pioneers in law, business, and technology. LawTech.Asia received the exclusive opportunity to interview Alexander Southwell, Partner at global law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Gibson Dunn) post his panel discussion titled “That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles” alongside Charmian Aw (Reed Smith), Steve Satterfield (Facebook) and Michael Kleber (Google). Alexander co-leads Gibson Dunn’s pre-eminent Privacy, Cybersecurity and Data Innovation Practice Group with Ahmed Baladi, Ashlie Beringer and Connell O’Neill, who were also speakers at TechLaw.Fest 2021. The group advises clients in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Latin and North Americas.

While cookies track us, Alexander has been tracking them. We tapped into his knowledge on key issues relating to the evolution of cookies. We also sought his views on tangential topics he specialises in, particularly in the area of data protection, cybersecurity and legal technology and technology law (for which the latter two are key tenets of this year’s TechLaw.Fest!).

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