The Australian Society for Computers and Law officially launched on Tuesday evening, 14 July 2020. It was an online launch via Microsoft Teams. 

The majority of the two hour event was a panel discussion that included The Hon Justice Kirby, Francis Gurr (Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO), Dr Jed Horner, Julian Burnside QC, Professor Jeannie Paterson and Professor Graham Greenleaf.

What are Michael Kirby and Julian Burnsides’ credentials in information technology? For those of us who didn’t know, it came out during the discussion that they were both instrumental in the establishment of their state’s societies for computers and law in the early 1980s. 

The name Graham Greenleaf is synonymous with the establishment and ongoing development of AustLII.

Combined with Director General Francis Gurr, Dr Jed Horner and Professor Jeannie Paterson, it was a thought provoking and candid discussion. 

It was asked, does the younger generation care about the privacy of their data as much as older generations? Perhaps the younger generation is more experienced at knowing what personal information they are willing to provide in return for free and low cost services such as facebook, Google and TikTok.

Data privacy was one of the main themes in the panel discussion. It was mentioned that data privacy has been built on the principle of consent. It was proposed that the consent model is broken and that it is time to move on to another model. For example, who reads the terms and conditions when signing up to an online service? The answer is, almost no one, so why do we continue with the pretence of consent? It was also mentioned that some online services have become so fundamental and necessary to our personal and work lives that we have little effective choice about whether we use them.  

Regulatory competition was another theme discussed by the panel. It was proposed that regulatory competition is a way to overcome a current lack of international cooperation in establishing common laws for IT issues that transcend international boundaries. One example is the EU GDPR rules which have defacto been adopted in many parts of the world. Rather than wait for international agreement, regulations can be implemented in certain jurisdictions which, on their merits and for practical reasons, are then adopted more widely. 

The Australian Society for Computers and Law (AUSCL) aims to be Australia’s leading interdisciplinary think-tank on issues relating to the law, at the intersection of technology and society. AUSCL members include legal and technology professionals, business leaders, government officials, academics and members of the bar and judiciary.

It’s mission: Inspire new thinking, Reconnect professionals across disciplines and Reimagine the future.

More at its linkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/auscl/